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Back on June 15th my writers group set goals of what we’d like to accomplish by the end of the year. Now that we’re halfway there I  thought it would be a good time to remind myself what those goals were and check in on my progress.

June 15th Goals for Year End

1. Finish Nano 2010 first draft

Done!  I finished the first draft on June 30th and it felt great! This kind of concrete progress is really good for the old self-esteem.

2. Finish first edit of Nano 2010 first draft in time for Nano 2011

Perhaps I ought to have checked those goals back in early July. Instead of taking a short time away from the big project and returning to edit as planned I’ve started on a whole new project. I don’t have any regrets on this decision; I’ve learned too much from my chosen course of action. What this calls for is a revised set of goals for year-end.

Instead of finishing a first edit of a draft I will work to finish the first draft of the July Novel in time for Nano 2011. That’s about six weeks to write what I estimate will be about 60 to 70K.

This leaves a question hanging. When Nanowrimo begins this year I will possess two first drafts waiting for revision. Will I want to put them both aside to pump out yet another one? I have three novel length story ideas waiting to be written but at some point I need to take the next step.

I have enough to do now that a decision can wait. Come October 31st I trust I’ll know which path is right.

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Hey there blog people!

For the first time I hit my Nano 50K early, at 7:30AM on the 28th to be precise.  I used the rest of the month to get in a few more words but mostly I got lazy.  Now we’re into December and I’m ready to get going again!  Well almost, I have two more exams to write and those take precedence.

In the meantime I have been planning out the rest of my novel and have come to a scary conclusion.  It’s going to be long.   Really long.  Long enough that I’m starting to think trilogy.  That represents a lot more work than I thought I would be putting into this book and I was already banking a lot of time on it.

Science fiction is interesting, I love reading it.  I have enough of a grasp of science that I can create interesting ideas around theories but I lack the thorough knowledge I think I’m going to need to make my ideas into something believable, or at least believable enough.  So in my writing plan there is a hefty portion of time allotted to research.  So I knew I’d be spending a lot of time on writing this book.  I’m starting to get a better understanding of what that means.

I’m nervous and a little scared of how much there is to do.  Mostly though, I’m excited about it.  Time to ride the wave of enthusiasm!

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Sin’s Long Labyrinth.

It’s my working title.  It’s from Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage by Lord Byron and the moment I heard the phrase I knew it was perfect.  It reminds me of the classic science fiction titles that promised momentous journeys of the mind.  It is an ambitious title that inspires me to strive to live up to it in my writing.

Aside from being up to date on my nano word count and loving what I’m writing so much it makes me giggle there isn’t much to say right now.  So I will share a recipe I’ve created just this morning.

Aura’s Kale and Asiago Omlette

  • Kale, shredded into little bite size pieces
  • shredded asiago cheese
  • Sunflower seeds (I like roasted and salted for this)
  • Broth (I used leek and it was perfection)
  • Granulated garlic (or real if you’re less lazy then me)
  • Butter or cooking oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • eggs
  1. I put a little butter in the pan and then tossed in the kale and let it cook with a lid on the pan.
  2. Add salt and pepper to taste as well as the granulated or real minced garlic.
  3. Once and awhile as necessary add a bit of leek broth.  Let the kale get pretty soft, it takes awhile.  (I learned the hard way not to assume it would cook like spinach!)
  4. Once the kale is almost soft enough add some balsamic vinegar, not too much.  Cook until the vinegar smells a bit sweet like in a reduction (look it up, it’s delicious)  The kale should be good and soft.
  5. Remove from pan to another container and add sunflower seeds and a bit of shredded asiago.  You have a delicious side dish now.  I like to just leave it in the fridge and go nibble some cold when I get peckish.
  6. Oh right, the omlette part!  Grab a few eggs, beat and toss into a pan with a bit of butter to keep it from sticking on med-low heat.
  7. When the bottom of the omlette starts to cook toss in all the kale mixture you can fit in.  I tamp it down gently with a fork to make sure the kale isn’t too raucous and gets egg on top of it.
  8. Add a bit more asiago to the top if you want a bit more cheese, folding over is optional.
  9. It’s not in the ingredients but a little hot sauce on top is yummy.

Delicious and packed full good healthy Kale.  Everything a little novelist needs to start a day of novelizing.

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It is now halfway into Nano and I start today about 8000 behind, including what I need to write today.  (See, it’s not so bad).

The 15th seems like a good day to take stock.  I have shelved the steampunk novel I started for a time when I can do the research necessary to let me be happy with what I’m producing.  Instead I am writing what I will call a sci-fi novel.  The second restart began on the 4th of November so technically I am on track if my month runs from November 4th until December 4th but I don’t think it works that way.  Fortunately I have complete faith in my ability to catch up.

I’m really excited about both my concept and how the story is developing so far.  When I write there are these magical moments when my characters will take on a life of their own and start doing things I didn’t know they were going to do.  This can tangle the plot in delicious ways that I get to sort out.  It’s why I keep writing even when I want to throw my laptop through a window.  This would be especially bad since I’m using DH’s spare laptop for Nano. In this novel the characters are coming alive like never before.  I dream about them.  I think about them when I’m in school and when I write about them they continually surprise me.  When I’m laying in bed thinking about what to read, I want to know what they’ll do next.  I love writing, I can’t imagine not writing but I think I’m finally starting to see what an addiction it can truly be.

Without further ado here is a brief synopsis of my novel.

A woman born directly into adulthood with memories that don’t match the world she is living in and a man born with an affliction so terrible he has been in hiding since he was an infant must choose whether to save the civilization that rejects them.

The snowflake method will require me to pare this down to 20 or even 15 words but I’m not ready for that yet.  No time, Nano calls.

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It has begun.

Nano is here.  So far, well, it’s been OK.  I’m behind but I have tests this week so my focus is elsewhere.  That’s okay, in past Nanos I’ve always lagged behind only to make herculean leaps forward every couple of days.  Last year I wrote 17,000 words in one day.  So I’ll take this week a bit slow and trust that I can catch up later.

In other Nano news the snowflake method taught me that I don’t want to write the book I have spent the last month planning.  So once again I embark upon a totally surprising project at the last minute.  It’s going to be steampunk.  Things are going to get interesting.

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Writing Update

Looking back at my archives and seeing how my last post was October ’09 I’d very much like to blame Nanowrimo for my failure to update but that would be unfair and untrue.  It definitely contributed to a lack of posting in November (that wonderfully hectic bliss that is Nano) but after that was all me.

Not to fear it hasn’t been an unproductive year!

So without further delay here is an update since last year:

  • 4 finished stories
  • several more being worked on
  • 9  story submissions
  • 7 form rejections (may your work find a home elsewhere)
  • 2 rejections with personalized feedback (We liked it enough to tell you what we didn’t like, submit again)
  • 45 poems in various stages of editing (probably a third or less are polished)
  • 2 poetry submissions

I’m pretty proud of myself!

Nano ’09 Update

I completed 2009 Nanowrimo successfully.  However unlike 2008 my story wasn’t finished in 50,000 words.  I take it as a good sign that my story writing is becoming more complex.  That I’m able to sustain a richer world and plot that requires more meat on the bones of my idea.   Or I got better at padding.   I haven’t looked at last years novel since November ended but I don’t regret leaving it incomplete.

Nano ’09 was a sequel to Nano ’08 and before I could write the sequel I had to go back and look the first.  And it wasn’t as bad as I remembered.  There was some good things going on.  Sure, it needed work and a lot of it, but it could be good with a little love and surgery.  So Nano ’09 will go unfinished until Nano ’08 gets it’s due because who knows what a rewrite will do to the world and the plot and especially the characters.  The ideas in the sequel will still be there ready to be saved or discarded when I’m ready.

Nano 2010!

Here it is coming up on November 2010 and I’m looking forward to it like never before.  I have a real idea!  In the past I’ve begun the first day of Nano not knowing what I would write.  I just sat down and started putting word to page.  It was exciting!  It taught me so many things about writing and about myself.  I certainly don’t regret my past Nano novels but they were spontaneous in a way that made it hard to make them cohesive.

This year I have an idea, a plan, a plot even.  I’ve been developing it using the snowflake method.  It seems really simple but it’s not, trust me.  When he says you take an hour to do the first step he’s not kidding.  An hour to write a sentence?  Impossibly pull-your-hair-out frustrating but completely worth it for the focus it gives to the project.  I’ll admit I dashed out a 15 word sentence and thought “Ha, simple.” Except then I read it again and saw how vague it was.  So I tried to tweak it, tighten it up, say more with less.  I sharpened the vague idea drifting in my mind into something strong and concrete.  An hour was barely enough for that one sentence.

So my prep for Nano this year is going to be to continue building my snowflake.   I already know it’s going to be difficult because fleshing out the details of a novel can be difficult and I’ll be trying to do the heavy work all at once.  The payoff will be when I get to hammer out my nano with ease because I’ve made myself a detailed road map to get me to the end.

Will it work?  I don’t know but I can’t wait to find out.  Either way this is going to be great!

A Note On Poetry

Under accomplishments poetry is definitely new this year and a real change for me.

I used to write poetry regularly but I stopped in high school because, honestly, it was terrible stuff.  Teenage poetry thy name is angst and cliche.   I still enjoyed reading it but only from a book, preferably by someone I never had to meet.  A good poet can create much with little.  A good poem is full of raw expression; it can be evocative and inspirational.  I’m a little too shy to share myself so openly so poetry reading was done in secret.

Then I met a poet and we got to reading some poetry together.  I had a poetry partner if you will and I was not just okay reading other people’s poetry in public and sharing that enjoyment but reading my friends poetry and discussing it with them.  It was a revelation and I loved it!  It was short step to writing my own poetry again.  Words became so much more fun.  I have a bunch now that are finished and I believe decent but will never see the light of day because of their personal nature.  It can be a cathartic endeavor.   Much better are the poems, coming more and more frequently, that are more than just veiled therapy.  I’ve shared some and I’ve had some really positive responses .

I’ve started putting together a collection.  I try not to write love poems or breakup poems but they happen and some are even clever and fun so I’m going to get them out of the way.  It’s working title is Because the World Needs Another Volume of Bitter Love Poetry but that’s kind of unwieldy so I’m looking for something a little more pithy.  It will be interesting to see what comes of this endeavor.

Wrap up

So that about brings us up to date.  I’ve got some good ideas brewing and some good ideas on page waiting to be brought to life.  I have some plans for eclectophilia too.  I’m looking to share some work here, snippets and teasers, maybe the occasional poem.  So I’ll be back soon.

Ta.

A.

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