Day 15: Turning Point
- 28,244 words (if poetry, lines) long
I think this novel, unlike last year's, will actually wrap up in 50K or shortly thereafter. I know this because today, in between 24K and 28K, I reached the midbook climax.
This scene is definitely not one of the boring bits. Not to me. It's one of the scenes that I go over and over again in my head when thinking about writing the novel. This, in terms of Joseph Campbell's oft-quoted thesis, is the "refusal of the call" scene. This is where the not-so-imaginary friend gets far too real, and the MC has to repudiate it/him/her. It/him/her is effectively banished now, but it/etc./etc. has already managed to impart a portion of the deadly gift it needs to bestow. The supernatural powers which the MC has inherited from her mother are now available to her; the knowledge of them, alas, not yet. Which is an accident waiting to happen. Which is the next not-boring-bit in the plot. Which, unfortunately, can't happen for at least 10K and 3 months of story time, or else the pacing goes all to hell.
Appropriately enough, today's Real Author Pep-Talk was exactly about this.
Explanation: This year, Chris Baty asked a handful of published authors to write pep-talks for all us NaNoWriMo participants. These pep-talks are being emailed out at strategic intervals, their topics coinciding with the time of the month. We received a pep-talk from Tom Robbins on Nov 1, and it was all about the excitement of starting the novel. On Nov 6, we got one from Naomi Novik, and it was full of strategies for keeping up the daily writing routine even after the Day 1 excitement fades. Sue Grafton's pep-talk was about beating back those creeping insecurities that appear in the vacuum left when that excitement does fade.
Today, we got Sara Gruen's pep-talk about how to get that excitement back: by writing the fun bits first.
It's a strategy that's really made me appreciate novel outlining in general and Spacejock Software's yWriter in particular. Not that you can't skip to the fun bits without an outline or a software application that encourages creating each scene before writing it, of course. But if you do take the time to outline or to create chapter and scene files in yWriter, you'll end up knowing where all the fun bits are--as well as all the "and then something unspecified happens and takes up a month of plot time" bits. (Knowing where those are is also good. It enables you to figure out what that unspecified something actually is.)
The other nice thing about Writing The Fun Bits is, those bits are fun. Duh. Sorry. What I mean is, them being fun to write has another nice effect besides getting the writer unstuck. They also tend to result in the writer writing a lot. I meant just to get to 25K and stop today. As you can see, I went about 3K longer. Whoo! All caught up and stock-piled for the future!
Of course, the bits that are fun to write accrue extra words because we linger over them. About 1,500 words are probably going to get edited out of that scene. It needs to not go on so long or be so very repetitively explicit. But editing doesn't happen in November. I wrote those words. That's all that matters.
Day 14: A Musical Interlude
- 23,381 words (if poetry, lines) long
I updated my NaNoWriMo profile recently. The bit where it says, "Favorite writing music," it always used to say "Blue Man Group: Audio" there, because I usually prefer writing to instrumentals. I've even got my computer set to start playing the album at 6:00 AM in the hopes that I will, upon hearing "TV Song," wake up and write. Generally this doesn't work. Generally I just hit the MUTE button on the outside of the computer and go back to sleep.
A couple of years ago I update that field to say, in addition, "FlashBackRadio.com." All '80s, nothing but the '80s, live DJ love for the '80s with listener requests and dedications. I recommend it. When I'm anywhere with internet and I'm not having a craving for anything in particular, that's what I put on. And then I request Rush's "YYZ," and I type "Greetings and departures" where the request form prompts for a new message subject line.
That has changed this year. This year sometime I was listening to a-ha's East of the Sun, West of the Moon, and thinking for the hundredth time that I really ought to get ahold of the actual "one-hit-wonder" album that everyone thinks of when they think of a-ha. The one with "Take On Me" on it. That would be Hunting High And Low. For some reason I finally acted on that thought this November.
And the two albums have been on infinite repeat pretty much since.
That will probably change soon, because I'm starting to get that weird dissatisfied feeling, a sort of almost physical ennui, where I'm still singing along and getting the songs stuck in my head, but it's not as fun anymore. It's not like I get sick of 'em. It's more like getting a surfeit of 'em. Like the way you start munching in response to a sweets or snacks craving and then after a while you realize you're still eating the yummy stuff mechanically but not really enjoying the experience. My sing-along voice is getting a little tired. It's getting bored of the melodies and even the usual harmonies. Some really improbable counterpoints are starting to come out.
There's an unusual amount of storm imagery on these two albums. It's rather striking when strung together into one big playlist. HH&L ends in a song called "Here I Stand And Face The Rain." After that, the first song on ES/WM is "Crying in the Rain." It has some nice rumbly weather sound-effects over the entrance of the main melodic line. The same sound effects accompany the penultimate song on the album, "Rolling Thunder," bringing the album full-circle so effectively that the last song feels like an epilogue.
And, y'know, all that storm imagery is sorta appropriate, isn't it, given the title and topic of the novel I'm working on.
No, I didn't just make that connection. But I was still embarrassingly late making it. Maybe I figured this out by Day 7, I dunno. In any case, I'm probably going to stick with this playlist throughout November, even if I do sometimes feel like the taste has cloyed.
There may be more connections to make, or inspiration to take, from some of these songs' cryptic lyrics.
Day 11: Writing The Boring Stuff
- 18,688 words (if poetry, lines) long
If the author is bored, the reader is quite definitely going to be bored too. However, sometimes you still gotta write the boring stuff. Maybe on revision it will become un-boring.
I haven't gotten to the really emotionally attached wincing with embarrassment stuff yet. I have to get through my MC's first date, first. And this is not a subject that intrinsically interests me. It's newcomer plot fodder, stuff that got added recently in order to make this story plausible as a Really Truly novel. The story that's been in my head for some 15 years now has mainly been about how the MC inherits her mother's supernatural nature, forces her way out from under her oppressive foster mother's thumb, and learns about her heritage. But in trying to redeem that plot from being a transparent case of angsty teenage wish-fulfillment into being a novel someone other than myself might actually want to read, the original characters have begun acquiring complexities (e.g. the foster mother isn't repressive at all; she's just very detached, and she knows some scary things that the MC doesn't know), and the plot has begun accruing secondary characters. Such as the MC's boyfriend.
And I'm just not really interested in this guy. Scenes with him seem to serve no other purpose than to give the movement time to crescendo (and give me a better chance of hitting the target word count). So I slog my way through those scenes, taking dictation as I watch them hold hands over the red-and-white checked table-vinyl at a second-rate pizzeria in Slidell, and I get bored, and I wonder why I should care.
We'll get there, never fear. We really are getting there. I'm finding new ways every day to tie him into my original conception of how the plot should work, so that his relationship with the MC plays a part in the process of her transformation. For instance, he asks her out only after she trusts him enough to say, "OK, you're going to think I'm crazy, but 1) I haven't managed to outgrow my imaginary friend, and 2) this imaginary friend has started making passes at me, and 3) I'm beginning to wonder whether he's all that imaginary after all." That seems to work on several levels. He genuinely cares for her, and wants to be there for her when she's distressed. And her leap of faith in trusting him with this convinces him that A) she deserves a leap of faith from him in return, and B) she's not going to laugh in his face after relying on him not to laugh at her. But then, for all that he cares about her, he does think she's a little mentally disturbed, and he thinks that it would be healthier for her to have a boyfriend than to have (in his view) externalized all those normal adolescent hormonal developments into an imaginary construct that sexually harasses her.
So... the boyfriend is a loving, caring, trusting and trustworthy person who also is a little patronizing and for-her-own-good manipulative. Which, I think, is realistically complex, and sets up the possibility for a scene where this ulterior motive comes out in the open and causes them to have a bit of a fight. Which tension will in turn be a plausible reason for the crux in the plot between the MC and her not-so-imaginary friend.
Also, the MC's eventual transformation will have a decided impact on the boyfriend. And the outcome of that will shape how the MC relates to her newfound powers. So everything gets worked into the network of causal relationships that push the story forward. It's all good, at least potentially so, and none of it ought to boring.
But it just isn't the stuff I've been looking forward to writing, that's all. It's the writing that's actual work, as opposed to the writing that comes springing fully formed and armed for battle out of the Muse's forehead. Of course, the latter sort of writing is a lot rarer than many people think, so where I get off complaining that I'm bored with the former sort of writing, I have no idea. But it's my blog, so I can complain if I want to. Nyah.
Anyway, that's my so-called insight for today. Take it or leave it.
(If I sound grumpy, blame the NFL. Today's game between the Rams and the Saints was painful.)
Day 10: Avoiding the "Well, Duh" Reaction
- 16,811 words (if poetry, lines) long
There is an art to withholding information from characters and readers. There's a line beyond which lies the hell of Authorial Contrivance and the "Well, Duh!" reaction. We want to stay on the correct side of that line.
It's only natural that the author knows more than the characters and the reader. The author knows the whole story as one complete thing, whereas the reader is being told the story bit by bit and the characters are living it as it unfurls. But after that things get a little hairy. Some things the characters know but the reader doesn't. Some things the reader knows but the characters don't. Some characters know more than others about certain things.
And eventually everyone discovers stuff. Managing that discovery convincingly is an art.
So here's the thing. The main character's mother was, for all intents and purposes, a supernatural being. She wielded some remarkable powers which were as capable of causing tragedy as triumph. Our main character knows nothing of this, and the woman raising her--who was very close to the MC's mother but won't tell the MC for fear of the MC asking questions--would like to keep it that way. But at the same time, she is scared witless that the main character will inherit both those powers and the related tragedies. In today's scene, these conflicting goals (to keep the MC in the dark, but to forewarn the MC against catastrophe) cause the tension to escalate for both characters. The MC just wants to borrow the car and go on a date; her guardian is scared of the entire idea of the MC experiencing sexystuffs because the MC's mother had a way of causing fatalities when her emotions got out of control.
And here I am knowing everything about it and hating the conversation I'm writing because everything seems far too obvious. "Jeez, I'm writing an MC with an INT roll of 6! Surely she should be able to see through her guardian's lies about the extent to which she knew the MC's mother. Surely she should be able to figure out what her guardian's worried about? And surely any reader can see through what's up with that whole not-so-imaginary friend business, what with the NSIF going on about 'I knew her before.' I mean, well, duh!"
These sorts of insecurities will probably only be assuaged by the reactions of a beta reader. And beta readers aren't getting a hold of this in November, let me tell you. They may never. (You'll notice there's still no excerpt posted at my NaNoWriMo Profile.)
If the above sounds kind of cryptic, it's meant to be. I'm still not ready to get very specific here. I'm mainly just whining. (See? This post falls under the Whining category.) I am not likely to get less cryptic tomorrow, either. The stuff I'm really shy about letting anyone read is coming up in the next few scenes. But it will then be followed by several months (in story time) of the (relatively) boring time-passing stuff that I never bothered thinking about before (because it wasn't emotionally compelling to a daydreaming high-schooler). That might be safe to share. It might even be less boring than I fear. We'll have to see.
...annnnnnd All Caught Up Again!
- 15,103 words (if poetry, lines) long
Not likely to fall behind tomorrow, either. Will be at the Tea Spot from noon until five. Noon until two is designated for writing, and I can't see why I wouldn't.
You know what I found out today? My main character's brand-new boyfriend (that was a new discovery last month, that she has a boyfriend) has got an elderly relative he refers to as Aunt Widget.
The story all takes place in the New Orleans area. The boyfriend is actually at his grandmother's place in Pearl River. Large southern families get nicknames. They do. Gods know that in my southern family, more people in it have silly nicknames than don't. Some bestowed by parents. Some by siblings. Some by very small children who hadn't got that pronunciation thing down yet. Some by the merciless affection of neighborhood friends (to this day, all the used-ta-been kids from my old block call me "Nooba." Sometimes "Nooba-cheese." I'm not entirely sure why, to tell you the truth). And then there's the collection of family codewords for ordinary objects, and individual phrases as simple as "Oh, apricots!" (I think Mom would have to tell you that one, I'd only get the details wrong) that will reduce the whole holiday gathering to tears of laughter because they all know exactly what hilarious exploit that refers to.
And then there's the way outsiders and former outsiders react to all this chaos. My husband has a southern family, too, but it's not nearly so large, and his left eyebrow got a workout the first time he met all my relatives. I mean, what with him always turning towards me and raising it sardonically while repeating, sardonically, the name he just heard. And being from Houston didn't somehow prepare him for me shopping at (R. I. P.) Schweggmann's. "OK, one more thing on my list," I said, "what was it now?"
"Oh," he says, "the muck-muck."
I looked at him blankly for a moment, then realized. "That's chow-chow, you dingbat!"
Right. Because "chow-chow" is a perfectly normal name for a mustard-based condiment. (Which Zatarain's no longer makes, I am deeply distressed to report. Apparently someone is selling jars of the stuff on Underbid. Soon as I get home on my own encrypted signal, and as soon as I figure out whether anyone's selling the stuff for cheaper, I'm placing a goddamned order, damnit!)
Which--to make a long story short ("Too late!" -entire cast of Clue)--is what sort of stuff I was drawing on when my characters had the following conversation:
"Sorry, my Aunt Widget just walked in. Wanna tell her Merry Christmas?"
"MERRY CHRISTMAS AUNT GIZMO!"
(in the distance) "What? Who you talking to? Get off the phone and come have dinner."
"OK. Gotta go."
"Tell your Aunt Thingamabob bon apetit for me."
I feel like it's trying to turn into a chapter from Good Omens. "Fine old Lancashire name, Device! Nothing wrong with it at all! Are you laughing? Stop laughing!" But, y'know, nothing wrong with that. At all.
On Headaches, Flu Shots, and Other Likely Excuses
- 13,392 words (if poetry, lines) long
So, no writing yesterday. Not a single word. Lots of reading, lots of sleeping, no writing. Was in bed all day with a headache. (Awww.) It was that tight neck-muscle sort of headache, the one where there's an invisible spike going in at one of those two lumpy edges of skull to the left and right of the top of the spine and out the corresponding eyebrow ridge. I think maybe getting a flu shot Wednesday had something to do with it. No, I absolutely do not believe "the flu shot gives you the flu," that's silly (the killed virii in the injection can't infect you), but I absolutely do get the typical recognized "flu-lite" side effects of achy muscles and touch-o-fever. Achy muscles are tight muscles. Tight muscles mean headache. And there ya go.
 Public Service Announcement: There are two good reasons you should get vaccinated if you're able. First, to prevent getting infected and spending a week out of work, in bed, or in the hospital. Second to avoid carrying the disease and thus infecting others and landing them in bed, the hospital, or, if they are very vulnerable, the grave. If you are able (and there are valid reasons why you might not be), you should get vaccinated--if not for your own sake, than for the sake of those who cannot (and there are valid reasons why some cannot) avail themselves of vaccination. The lives you save might be more than your own!
But here's the thing about neck-muscle headaches and staying in bed. The combination means they only get worse. Why? Because staying in bed in practically the same position all day only makes neck muscles tighter. Also, being asleep means not drinking water, and headaches thrive on dehydration. Boy did I feel stupid when I finally got up.
So today I feel much better. The muscle aches aren't less, but the headache is, probably because I've been up and moving all day. The hot soak in the tub probably helped too. (Maybe the aches are less after all.) And now I'm at Cafe Play working on two days' worth of NaNo wordage. As my total right now this minute is greater than 1,667 times 8, I'm allowed a break to blog in. And do other things in, because NaNoWriMo isn't the only thing I'm behind in.
Off to those other things now. Also, bringing the total up to 1,667 * 9. Laters.
Day 6: On Premature Climaxes
- 10,068 words (if poetry, lines) long
Get yer mind out of the gutter. I'm talking about plot.
OK, well, the scene I'm thinking of did have sexual elements. But that's not the point. Point is, sometimes in writing a long piece of work, there's a temptation to, er, blow one's wad a bit early. Maybe it's just me. I've got this whole novel in my head, and some scenes are clearer in my head than others. Generally, the more tension in the scene, the more clear it is. Which means I'm more likely to start writing it, like, now.
That didn't make a lot of sense.
Think of fairy tales, where things happen three times. Three nights the adventurer watches over the twelve princesses to discover why their shoes turn up all worn through by dawn. The first two nights, some magic spell puts him to sleep and he misses the whole thing. But by the third night he's figured it out, he avoids the trap, and he follows the princesses down the stair to the ballroom where they're ensorcelled to dance the night away. It can't happen until the third night, else the dramatic tension goes fizzle. But there's a temptation to write it Right Now, because it's cool.
Yesterday I managed to write a scene like that, only to realize that I'd cranked the stakes up way too high way too soon. It left me nowhere to go, no way to increase the tension over the next couple chapters.
This is where I plug Spacejock Software's yWriter. (Here we go again.)
So, yWriter is essentially project management for novelists. You define chapters and scenes, and each shows up as a separate writing space. The chapters you've defined are listed off to the left. Whichever one is selected, its scene list shows up in the middle. Double-click on a scene description to open up the text editor to write that scene. (If that was confusing, just take a look at the screenshots on the yWriter website.)
As November approached, I defined the chapters and scenes for this novel, and on November 1, I began writing the text that belonged in Chapter 1, Scene 1.
So when I realized that what I'd just written needed to happen on the third fairy tale night rather than on the first, all I had to do was cut the text from Chapter 2 Scene 3 and paste it into Chapter 3 Scene 2. I could do this because Chapter 3 Scene 2 already exists, even though it has a word count of 0. (Also, I made a mental note that i'd need to create a few more scenes in between, and figure out what happened. Because, unlike a fairy tale, I need more than just "The next night, the prince fell asleep again.") Yay for yWriter!
Other than that, all I have to report is that I have remained on track. I got a bit behind yesterday, but I'm all caught up now. 10,086 is greater than 1,667 times 6. Whee! Good for me!
And you know what? Most of the people I see at write-ins in my region have consistently higher word counts than me.
Have I said Boulder rocks? Boulder rocks.
Day 4: Still On Schedule / Ditching the Mary Sue phobia
- 6,849 words (if poetry, lines) long
Hello. Back for more, as promised. Also, the Saints totally did kick the Jaguars' collective butts. It was brilliantly played. How about that onside kick, eh? "No, really, a field goal is nice, but we really wanted a touchdown. So... we're not gonna give you the ball just yet." And I'm all like, "Is that even legal?" because I'm not really knowledgeable about football at all, I just like watching my team win.
Anyway. One football game and 1667 words later...
So after digging up the "Namarie Sue" Making Light blog post to link to yesterday, I started reading it (and much of what it linked to) afresh. And part of the ensuing conversation rang very true, especially considering it mentions NaNoWriMo:
Mitch Wagner: "As a reader and wannabe fiction writer myself, I hate to think of up-and-coming writers who might be scared off of writing idealized versions of themselves because they're afraid of committing Mary Sue."
Kass Fireborn: Unfortunately, I gather it's so: Writing the Non-Mary-Sue Female Protagonist [now-defunct link to old NaNoWriMo forum topic]. There are five pages there discussing the problem of, well, writing the Non-Mary-Sue female protagonist, and that's just one of the threads which bring the concern up--and these days, NaNoWriMo is a broad enough cross-spectrum of future writers so you can figure if it's got that much of a discussion there, it's a problem elsewhere, as well. [...] So what you get, basically, is an effect on two kinds of people. One group contains people who, yes, might have written a Mary Sue if they hadn't seen this sort of thing, and went back and rethought their characters and as a result got something with better depth. The other group is full of people who wouldn't have written a Mary Sue--but they think they could have. They also think of not for grammar guides they'd have misused a semicolon, and if not for a class on plot structure they'd have had a novel that went nowhere. And so they go back and rethink their characters too, and start carefully sanding away certain bits of them, because they'd hate to give offense or do something as horrible as writing a Mary Sue. [...] If this sanding gets taken to extremes, what they end up with is, I suppose, a sort of anti-Mary Sue--a character so unremarkable you can't care about her at all.That is me all over. I'm sitting here so totally worried about the Sue-ishness of my main character that I'm, well, not so much sanding off her interesting bits as much as being made practically too paranoid to write her story at all.
I think the thing to remember here is, once again, rough draft. What you end up with on December 1 is a huge amount of total rough draft. Rough draft is supposed to be flawed. No one writes it perfectly on the first try--well, maybe some people do, but their example is not useful to us mere mortals. Our rough drafts get better as we continue practicing our craft, but then so do our revision skills, and our standards rise too. So we don't so much aspire to write publishable rough draft as we aspire to have better stories at the end of the writing-revising-polishing process.
As it is, the conclusions people came to on that Making Light comment thread can be summarized as follows: You can have author-insertion that isn't a Mary Sue. You can have admirable characters that aren't Mary Sues. Mary Sue is, quite simply, bad writing. If your wish-fulfillment story is well-written and its main character is well-rounded, it's not going to be a Mary Sue.
Also: A Mary Sue is the character that you're told to like. Because the author says so. For no other reason. Which condemnation says nothing at all about those characters that you come to like because they're genuinely likable.
Also: A pre-emptive remedy for Mary Sue-itis might be, "OK, so you have God-like powers. Now what?"
Also: Read the whole thread. It's good for you.
On a nearly unrelated note, Kass's mention of NaNoWriMo came about because several people upthread were outing themselves as NaNoWriMo participants: "It's rapidly becoming impossible to encounter a fairly large body of prospective writers without tripping over at least one WriMo." And this was 2003. There's even more more of us now. That we Nano'ers are considered a significant portion of the future write population, and that we can gab with pro writers who don't look down at us for choosing this method to produce our rough drafts, is a fine fine thing.
Did I Mention It's November Again?
- 5,141 words (if poetry, lines) long
Yes. We're three days in already, and I have this to report: I'm solidly on the 30-day NaNoWriMo schedule. Truly. 1,667 words or more per day, every day. 5141 words so far.
As promised, the novel under development is one I always said would never, ever, ever be read by anyone else. On the one hand, it originated in the stuff of pre-teen fantasy, a protagonist all Mary Sue supported by characters drawn straight from the realm of high school crushes and pop celebrity idols. And on the other hand, the main character's strengths, capabilities, and her very name all came out of what folks in the shaman business like to call "a big dream." The idea of telling tales about this character for the entertainment of the general public feels like sacrilege.
Given that those two problems are at opposite ends of the banal-to-sacred spectrum, it follows that whoever owns those two hands has an extremely wide armspan. I'm finding out interesting things about my main character that make her much less Mary Sue-ish. Did you know she doesn't read? She simply doesn't read. Story does not appeal to her. The idea that I might write a character who doesn't share my tendency to devour books was not one that had occurred to me before, say, November 1 2007. Then I added this to what I already knew about her, which was that she didn't have much of a social life, and I boggled. What the hell does she do for fun? If she doesn't read, and she doesn't have many friends, what's left to occupy her time when she runs out of homework? Origami, for crying out loud? Stamp collecting? Whittling, maybe? That this is a dilemma probably says more about me than I'd prefer. The Boulder contingent (of NaNoWriMo participants) has been as active and excited about another flurry of novel-writing madness as anyone could hope. It's not safe to plan kick-off events! Every one 'em, with the exception of the traditional midnight "three, two, one, WRITE!" pot-luck at Chez LeBoeuf-Little, has turned into a recurring weekly write-in due to attendees heading home again with the words, "So... same time again next week?" We have next weeks coming out our collective wazoo. Saturdays at the Tea Spot, Tuesdays at the Burnt Toast, Wednesdays at Caffe Sole, Fridays at Cafe Play, Tuesday and Friday lunch hours at Vic's II Downtown, and that's not even getting into our Longmont writer-in-residence at the Deja Brew and various plots hatching for meet-ups in Lafayette/Louisville/Broomfield. And you know what? Words are getting written at these write-ins. Words by the thousand. I'm all self-congratulatory because I'm sticking to the traditional words-per-day recommendation rather than falling behind on Day 2, but at least three write-in regulars are pushing 10,000 already. Boulder loves to write. This year is said to be the biggest NaNoWriMo event ever. (Every year is the biggest ever. Sign-up numbers have never decreased.) And the official web site, as usual, is feeling the burn. All the above events are on the calendar, except the calendar is inaccessible what with the website being down for maintenance at the moment. And before that it was de facto down by virtue of page timeouts by the score. I'm surprised people are managing to stay informed about events. And yet each has been extremely well attended. Like I said, Boulder rocks. So there's yer kick-off report. More tomorrow, probably after the Saints kick some Jaguar butt at lunch-time. If you need me, I'll be playing a game of Go with my husband at the Lazy Dog and making incoherent fan-girl noises at the bar TV.
I'm finding out interesting things about my main character that make her much less Mary Sue-ish. Did you know she doesn't read? She simply doesn't read. Story does not appeal to her. The idea that I might write a character who doesn't share my tendency to devour books was not one that had occurred to me before, say, November 1 2007. Then I added this to what I already knew about her, which was that she didn't have much of a social life, and I boggled. What the hell does she do for fun? If she doesn't read, and she doesn't have many friends, what's left to occupy her time when she runs out of homework? Origami, for crying out loud? Stamp collecting? Whittling, maybe?
That this is a dilemma probably says more about me than I'd prefer.
The Boulder contingent (of NaNoWriMo participants) has been as active and excited about another flurry of novel-writing madness as anyone could hope. It's not safe to plan kick-off events! Every one 'em, with the exception of the traditional midnight "three, two, one, WRITE!" pot-luck at Chez LeBoeuf-Little, has turned into a recurring weekly write-in due to attendees heading home again with the words, "So... same time again next week?" We have next weeks coming out our collective wazoo. Saturdays at the Tea Spot, Tuesdays at the Burnt Toast, Wednesdays at Caffe Sole, Fridays at Cafe Play, Tuesday and Friday lunch hours at Vic's II Downtown, and that's not even getting into our Longmont writer-in-residence at the Deja Brew and various plots hatching for meet-ups in Lafayette/Louisville/Broomfield.
And you know what? Words are getting written at these write-ins. Words by the thousand. I'm all self-congratulatory because I'm sticking to the traditional words-per-day recommendation rather than falling behind on Day 2, but at least three write-in regulars are pushing 10,000 already. Boulder loves to write.
This year is said to be the biggest NaNoWriMo event ever. (Every year is the biggest ever. Sign-up numbers have never decreased.) And the official web site, as usual, is feeling the burn. All the above events are on the calendar, except the calendar is inaccessible what with the website being down for maintenance at the moment. And before that it was de facto down by virtue of page timeouts by the score. I'm surprised people are managing to stay informed about events. And yet each has been extremely well attended. Like I said, Boulder rocks.
So there's yer kick-off report. More tomorrow, probably after the Saints kick some Jaguar butt at lunch-time. If you need me, I'll be playing a game of Go with my husband at the Lazy Dog and making incoherent fan-girl noises at the bar TV.
No no no really.
OK. SRSLY. Here's the plan.
Tomorrow (er, later today) is Saturday. It's also the day I have a Cessna 172 reserved for a flight out of Boulder. Me and a friend, our plan is to get in that plane around 8:15 AM and go up to Cheyenne, kinda like I did two weeks ago, and have a productive writing date at the airport diner there. Then we'll fly back in time to arrive around 12:30 PM.
I'm not exactly certain that the flying part of that is going to happen. A cold front is moving in tonight, and that may mean high winds. Cheyenne area is forecasting 15 knot winds around when we'd be taking off to go home. Before it starting saying "NIL," Rocky Mountain Metro was talking about 15 gusting to 24 knots. Also? Winds from the west. Landing on Runway 26 in Boulder. In high winds and gusty conditions! I'm not entirely sure I'm comfortable with that. I'm not even certain I should aspire to be comfortable with that.
I'll have to reevaluate in the morning, when the new TAFS show up. (That's "Terminal Aerodrome Forecast." Yer welcome.)
However, the writing date part of the plan will go off as planned. It may not be in Cheyenne. It may be in Highland Square. It may be right here in Boulder. But we're gonna go plonk ourselves and our laptops somewhere wired-n-caffeinated, and we're gonna write.
Gonna write a bit now, actually. Just noodle around for about 5 minutes, see what I think up before I drift off to sleep.
No, you won't get to see that either. But it'll happen!