Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Crossing the Finish Line!

As of now, I am validated and have won National Novel Writing Month 2011, with 50016 words.

My story is not done, but I'm done spending time with it for now. As it stands, I consider it the weakest of my three Steampunk novels (all three of which share the distinction of being unfinished. Oy.) But I am finished, and I am proud. I do so love doing National Novel Writing Month; the pressure, the forearm pain, the utilization of wacky ideas to further the story that might push the limits of what I would normally decide to do. NaNoWriMo is a good experience, to learn more about yourself, and your writing process, and to say "I wrote a novel this year!"

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, November 28, 2011

Once the Seal is Broken

This may or may not offend you.

When I have a new hoodie, I try to put off washing it for as long as possible. For one, I'm a freak and like the "new clothes" smell. Far more than the "new car" smell, in fact, which instead of filling me with pleasure and a sense of pride, leaves me vaguely nauseous. Obviously, if the hoodie gets something on it or smells bad in any way, I'll wash it, I'm not one of those weirdos who freezes their Levis in lieu of applying soap (though again, jeans get washed if they smell or have something on them. Similar principle, but more importantly, worn jeans fit better and are more comfortable. This is not science. This is my life). But it's always a sad thing. The fleece is never so soft and velvety, once washed, as it was new. The strings get weird, the inevitable shrinking starts to occur.

Now how am I going to relate this to books?


Sunday, November 27, 2011

In the Home Stretch!

All right, I'm at 43,677 words. Slightly behind but, well, I've been sick, and I did the cooking for Thanksgiving. I took some time to recover!

I've found that, being something of a crazy dog person, I frequently add animals to my writing. Dogs, more often than not, but horses factor in as well. A lot of the time, when I read a book, animals feature in it, but sort of as accessories. Window dressing. They might as well be plaster book end animals, or pillows.

I try to look at these matters differently.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Novel Rewards

The video game everybody is talking about this week (in my circles anyway) is Skyrim. It's the next game after Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, which I must say, I played the hell out of. As in, got all the achievements on the xBox for it but the Thieves Guild. Do I want to play Skyrim? Yes I do. Roaming Dragons? Dual wielding, either weapons, or magic, or a combination? Sign me up!

The stumbling block? National Novel Writing Month.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

And in that Dark Sleep

I remember reading once that Salvador Dali had a unique setup to gain inspiration: He sat upright in a chair, his hands hanging down. Under one hand, he had a plate, and in that hand, a key. He would nod off, and when the key hit the plate, he would wake up and drew what he saw in his near dreaming state.

Apocryphal or not, it's a neat story. And I can say that I myself have frequently pulled inspiration for stories from dreams.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

This is Your Brain On Drugs

I'm really pretty boring. I don't do drugs, I don't really drink (don't like the taste of most of it). I don't play paintball, I don't skydive. Well, I do one drug. Caffeine.

Since college, my soda intake, though switched from regular to Diet, has gotten what I think is a little out of hand. It's a waste of money, it isn't good for me in any way. I assure you, high doses of caffeine have not turned me into a metabolic furnace that melted the pounds away. Would that it were so. Really, so far as vices go, it could be worse. But, I want to cut back. National Novel Writing Month was perhaps not the time to do this. Or was it?


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Got Doberman?

I've mentioned before that I have a Doberman, Elka, and that I have a blog about her, The Elka Almanac.

Well, right now, Chase Community Giving is having a vote on Facebook to give away/split up $3 million for the top 100 organizations that are voted for. The Doberman Assistance Network is listed there, and it is a cause that I really support. It is nationwide in the United States, and has many many employees that are dedicated to pulling Dobermans from kill shelters and unsafe situations, getting them into foster and rescue, and getting them homes. D.A.N. Is an organization that I truly support, and would really like to see them get enough votes to hit that top 100.

So, if you are so inclined, and have a Facebook account, it's really pretty easy.

1. Click this link: Chase Community Giving

2. You need to "like" them to vote.

3. Vote for the Doberman Assistance Network and, if you are so inclined, share it on your Facebook wall so that your friends, coworkers, and various hangers on get the word as well. This is a FREE way to help a lot of dogs, and the Doberman is a breed that's captured my heart, if I may be so sappy. I'm putting this in every corner of the Internet that I frequent, so I apologize if you've seen it before.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Where Am I to Go, Now that I've Gone Too Far

There was an article in the Wall Street Journal recently on how young adult fiction has become "too dark". I was interested and perplexed by this kind of an article and argument. There is lots of dark young adult stuff; there is also still a fair number of bubblegum and sunshine high school and boyfriend style young adult fiction. A lot of these books address "real teen issues", though, perhaps more than they used to. Judy Blume has always been very forthright in her writing of these sorts of things, and I think that many current authors maybe be taking a page from her book.





Sunday, November 13, 2011

NaNoWriMo: The Halfway Point

Just now, I reached the halfway marker in National Novel Writing Month. In fact, I'm just slightly past, with a current word count at 25,024.

So, what do I have to show for it? A decent building intrigue in my plotline. A bit of a shocking event. A notion of where that plotline is actually going, or rather, how my main characters are going to get there.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Quote of the Day: November 12, 2011

"Wanna hear something funny? When I was in prison, I was a librarian for three years!"


Working with the public is so rewarding.

Friday, November 11, 2011

In the News: November 11, 2011

Mars Crew Lands after 520 Days : I read articles on this "Mars Mission" with a good deal of interest and amusement. Mars Live Action Role Play? Governmentally funded? I just want to know why they didn't have space guns, and whether they had astronaut ice cream. I love astronaut ice cream.

The Bloop: Okay, I confess, not a news article in the most recent sense, but a mystery of science and nature.  Or perhaps Cthulhian. Nobody knows.

Asteroid 2055 YU55 passes close by Earth: how close did it get?: While reading about this asteroid, I kept thinking of Susan Beth Pfeffer's book Life as We Knew It. There are two more, but really, the first book was the best of them. I also wondered "Who the hell names these things?" because really, Asteroid 2055 YU55? That's a pretty sucky name.


Western Black Rhino Declared Extinct: Thing like this make me profoundly sad.



Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Seedy Underbelly

Ever watch something half-informed, or half asleep, and miss some subtle but important overarching detail?  Ever read something and finish the book completely mystified, not enlightened at all? Ever watch something as a child, and then watch it as an adult, and realize that it wasn't what you thought it was at all?

I've got a major example of one of those. Somewhat embarrassing, but really kind of funny. The Sound of Music.


Sunday, November 6, 2011

It's a Matter of Style

I don't make plans.

This isn't to say that I'm incapable of planning a chain of events in day to day life (meal plan for the week, how to organize tasks at work, how to teach Elka a new trick). But when I'm writing? I sit down and write the first words first, and the last words last. Sometimes I write down the middle words out of order, so I don't forget. But, outlines? Character maps? You're kidding, right?



Friday, November 4, 2011

NaNoWriMo: the First 10k

So,  a lot of people are talking about National Novel Writing Month. A lot of people are doing NaNoWriMo, which is awesome!

As the files in the "Writing" folders on my computer can attest, it is in fact easier to start a story or a novel than finish one. But sometimes, obviously, starting can be hard too.



Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Things We Carry

To date, I've enjoyed Tim O'Brien's book The Things They Carried the best so far as Vietnam writings go. I'm not sure if it could be properly called a novel, or essays, but I tend to read things as fiction anyway, so it doesn't bother me any. It's some of the finest prose pertaining to wartime situation that I've read, though not all of the stories contained happen in the Jungle, but a serious book too in its somewhat dreaminess, not like Catch-22 (which was about World War II but still somehow funny) or Matterhorn (which got too big for its britches and was equal parts too serious and too slangy), or The Short Timers (if you've watched "Full Metal Jacket", you know The Short Timers) or Generation Kill (book and miniseries are about equivalent).

The title is both literal and figurative. What I've been thinking about is the same way.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

In the News: November 2, 2011

Just a few news articles that piqued my interest and seemed really cool, whether they're true or false.


'Magic' Viking Sunstone Just Natural Crystal: the dismissive tone in part of this article bemuses me. Even if it was "just" natural crystal and not "magic", it was still pretty brilliant.

Scientists Claim to Have Discovered Cold Fusion: Yeah, we've been here before. But, with video. Cold fusion! Who cares if it's true! (well, actually, I think it would be rad if it was. I have a distinct dislike of nuclear meltdowns)

Reformed Skinhead and his tattoo removal (sorry some of these are Yahoo news, it's just where I saw them first): this seems like how I would have preferred American History X to have ended. The guy even talks a bit like Edward Norton.

Chernobyl Liquidators : Pretty self explanatory.

And, for the heck of it, my Doberman, Elka: