Tuesday, November 25, 2008

TA-DA Final Word Count 50079 or 50055

This is what it's all about folks. No fireworks, no awesome speeches, just the satisfaction of knowing that I had the perserverance to sweat out 50,000 words in less than thirty days- Actually 50,079 by my word counter and 50,055 by NaNoWriMo's word counter.

But it's over. It's done. Now back to regularly scheduled programing.
I'm going to take a couple of bloggy days off to eat turkey and let my carpel tunnel rest, then I'll be back on Monday posting. This novel goes in the drawer for a while, but the other one gets pulled out and finished. (I have now let my internal editor out of the drawer, and let me tell you, she is hopping mad. No amount of chocolate is going to calm her down. She wants to see that novel and she's not taking no for an answer.)

I'll be blogging about my progress finishing the edits, what my readers think of it and even my progress in writing my stinking synopsis. Finally, I hope to be shopping it to agents around February. When I don't have progress to report, I'll be posting writing opportunities, contests, and interesting writing tips and newsy items.

Conference time is right around the corner, so if you know of good ones, let me know and I'll get them posted.

Have a blessed holiday, and stop back by on Monday. If you're traveling, travel safe.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sprinting to the Finish Line--Word Count 47014

Courtesy of TimothyJ

I'm headed for the finish line. Tomorrow will be a monster. After I get home for the gym, I'm locking myself in my office with a gallon of Diet Coke, a bag of pretzels and a Depends. Okay, a box of Depends. I'm not coming out until I hit 50,000 words.

My daughter gets in tomorrow night for the holiday. I don't want to have to write while she's home.

Friday is our annual "shopping bitches" day. (Don't judge us. I see you tsking.) We get out and elbow the crowds just like all the other crazed bargain hunters. Armed with coupons and cell phones, we sneak out of the house before daylight (lest we wake the dogs and then have to stop and take them potty.) It's really quite hilarious. I think last year, I forgot to brush my hair. And my daughter wears scrubs (probably the ones she slept in, but I'm not telling.)
courtesy of LarimdaME

Each car we pass on the way to our first victim/store, we high five each other, because it's one more carload of shoppers that we'll be in front of. If one passes us, we get out the gogo-gadget wheels and step on the gas.

One year, we arrived at Famous Barr (before they sold their souls, I mean before they became Macy's) at 5 am, to stand in line to get the $10 off coupon that they were giving to the first XXX customer. We were there in plenty of time. It was freezing cold and we were dressed in jeans and sweatshirts (no coats to weigh us down while we were shopping.) People were standing around bundled up in blankets and quilts. We could see the managers inside the store counting down to zero hour. We were well within the number of lucky people who would receive the coupon. Zero hour arrived, the doors flew open and two carloads of women pulled up to the curb, hopped out and elbowed their way to the front of the line.

I kid you not. Everyone was screaming at them to no avail. They got the dang coupons and we missed out by about five people. Stupid shopping bitches! We had probably passed them on the highway.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Call for Submissions - AND Word Count 40734

I made it over 40,000. The total is 40734 and that's 81% of the way to the finish line. I'm not getting overly confident. I still have to come up with over 9000 words. That's a lot of plot to add. I'll be spending some time going back over my outline and seeing where I need to add scenes. I know of several, but some will have to come after I've reached the 50000, because they require a lot more thought than I'm able to put in them right now.

For those of you wondering... No it's not done when I reach 50000. It's only the beginning. I need to add about 25000 more words, but I also need to go back and begin the editing phase (remember the little internal editor is locked away.) There's still a lot of work to do.

'Nuff about that. I promised a call for submissions.

Sojourn a journal of the arts is calling for submissions with a deadline of December 31, 2008. They are looking for a variety of submissions which include fiction, nonfiction, poetry, art, translations and scripts. Check out their submission guidelines.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Word Count 38793 and Seven Questions

courtesy of thorinside

Laundry is done. Word count is caught up. It took me all day, and I had to skip critique tonight. Sorry scribes. I'll be back in December. I promise.

I ran across a couple of interesting blogs about critiquing. One by my friend Donna who has a site called Donna's Book Pub where she lists her Top Seven Reasons for Joining a Critique Group. Not to be outdone, fellow blogger and Missourian Sean McLachlan lists his Top Seven Reasons for Not Joining a Critique Group on his blog Midlist Writer. If you have the time, go check out both their blogs. Great information and funny.

I can relate to what both bloggers say. My advice is try before you buy. Or check out the group and make sure it fits you and what you want to accomplish. And ask yourself several questions to make sure you are ready for a critique group.

1. Am I ready to hear the good, the bad and the ugly about my work?

2. Can I tell others the good, the bad and the ugly about their work?

3. What do I expect to get from a critique group?

4. What do I have to offer a critique group?

5. Am I willing to revise and learn from critique?

6. How much time am I willing to put into a critique group?

7. Can I differentiate between critiquing a story and critiquing a writer?

So there you have it. My Seven Questions to ask yourself before joining a critique group. You might even turn those questions around and ask them of potential critique groups.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Word Count 36872

Writers Block by bornazombie
It took a while, but I caught up. Thanks to my online writing buddies for suggesting a couple of scenes. They worked. I love them.

Tomorrow, I'll be 75% of the way to my word count goal. My husband has been very patient, even cooking dinner a couple of nights. He's even resorted to bringing me a snack in the evening. Probably just making sure I'm really writing and not playing video games. Honest, I haven't played even one game of Mahjongg.
I think he's a little tired of me locking myself away in the office to write for hours on end. Plus, I really need to do laundry tomorrow. You can only turn your clothes inside out so much, you know.

The dog even growled at me today. See if he gets any treats the next time I go to the pantry.

Oh, this was Barbie day. On Wednesdays, my friend Barb and I run errands and have lunch. I told you this already. Anyway, we did a nice nutritious lunch today--Chili's Shrimp Caesar Salad, minus the caesar dressing and with light ranch on the side. Pretty yummy and not so bad for you.

We also had a little coupon frenzy at Macy's. I love to shop, but I hate to break in new salespeople. Here's a hint, Mr. Retailer--please give these people more than four hours of training before you turn them loose on a big sales day. I know it's not the salespersons fault, but cut loose with some dough and give them more training. I hate seeing a new person struggle with trying to credit a return or some weird problem that never cropped up in training.

And there's always one idiot customer (not me, of course) who wants something special. Like the gal in front of me who brought in a coffee maker that didn't work and couldn't decide if she wanted a replacement or not. Duh? Did you not think about this before you left for the store. It's a simple question with a simple answer, yes or no. It is not multiple choice. And who gives a rip if you left your coupon at home. Go home and get it. I brought mine. There are 75 people behind you in line and we haven't had lunch and we probably have to pee. And we are in the housewares department where there are a lot of sharp knives. Make up your mind.

Sorry, but that felt better. Just wish I could use it in my word count. Let the holiday season begin.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Word Count 32074

who has the upper hadn now? courtesy of sandcastlematt

Yikes! I've fallen behind.

Story veered off in a wierd direction, now I'm trying like crazy to get my character out of a stupid jam.

My internal editor jumped out of the drawer yesterday and sat on my desk shaking her head.

Keep your fingers crossed!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Word Count 30903

courtesy of evadedave
A quick word about palindromes. You know, words that spell the same thing forward and backward. Like Bob, Hannah, Anna, Mom, Dad. You get my drift. Take a look at my word count--30903 a numerical palindrome. Isn't it cute?

Thanks to all the geeks on NaNo who got me started looking for the palindromes.
So tell me more palindromes to get my mind off numerical ones. I seriously need a distraction.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Word Count 28718

Run turkey, run
Well, the month is half over and I'm more than halfway to my 50,000 word goal. Unless I have a major meltdown, looks like I'll actually get to eat turkey with my family.

We had snow flurries here today, so that and the wind made me want to stay inside and write. I have a hard time staying at my desk when the weather is nice. I put my garden to bed early this year, so I'd have time for NaNo and would not be tempted to go out and prune plants.

I have to give kudos to Chris Baty and all the behind the scenes folks that work countless hours to keep NaNoWriMo functional. You all give us the momentum we need to push through our procrastination, stubborn characters, stalled plots and everything else that keeps us from writing.

This is my second year participating in NaNoWriMo. I crossed the finish line last year and plan to do so again this year. But I know if I were doing it on my own, I wouldn't find the ooomph to push me to the end. Thanks for everything you all do.

If you are so inclined hop over here and give NaNoWriMo a small donation to help them defer the costs of this awesome program. I know they will be grateful. I am.
And if you don't know anything about NaNoWriMo, go check out their programs here.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Writer's Digest University: Editors' Intensive

Cincinnati at Night by Cayusa

Chuck Sambuchino, Editor of Guide to Literary Agents had a post on his blog about a new Writer's Digest workshop called Writer’s Digest University: Editors’ Intensive.

It's December 13th and 14th at Writer’s Digest Headquarters at F+W Media, Inc., 4700 E. Galbraith Road, Cincinnati, OH 45236.

The cost is $199.

Check out the link above for more details. But it's limited to 50 people, so better get moving.

WORD COUNT - Ended the day with 26,431

Historic Moment

Balloons by Crystl

Not like the election or anything, but at 6:40pm, I crossed the halfway point. Yeppers, I have 25,003 words. I still have the whole night ahead of me and all day tomorrow before the month is half over.

More later... with a workshop announcement.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Word Count 24402

Chicken dog Matisse with his monkey
I'm closing in on the halfway mark. And I still have more than half a month. Woohoo!

WARNING--DOG STORY FOLLOWS This has nothing to do with writing, but it does provide me with comic relief.

So we're dog sitting my daughter's dogs Max and Matisse. Max is a kindly gent and never causes a problem, unless you drop his lease when you take him for a walk. If that happens and he figures it out, he runs like hell.

Matisse on the other hand is like a boomerang, but it's because he's a big chicken. Tuesday the power company was working on a transformer somewhere in the neighborhood. The lights flickered just long enough for the carbon monoxide detector to go off. It emits a horrible squeal, but it goes out quickly. Well, it squealed and chicken dog about wet himself. Now this dog is over 70 pounds and he's trembling like a big sissy cat. Just about the time we got him calmed down, the power goes off again. Yep, now he's frantic.

I decided to unplug the detector and in the process it went off again. By now he's about to have kittens (and by the way, Max is sacked out on his bed sawing logs.) Matisse raced to the garage door and wanted out. So we let him in the garage. He stayed out there for twenty minutes, and we couldn't coax him back in--not even with a treat.

I felt sorry for him because it was cold, so I opened the van door and he hopped in and curled up on the back seat. He stayed there for an hour before we could get him back inside. When he came in, he kept walking around the table staring at the wall socket where the detector had been plugged in.

Needless to say, the carbon monoxide detector is staying unplugged until he goes home.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Word Count 22238 and Critique Groups

Dice courtesy of pure9

So I'm a bit behind on my word count. Bunko reared its ugly head last night and I stayed too late. I had every intention of getting my word count in early, but it just didn't happen. I figured I'd have plenty of time after. We usually don't party too late, but no we stayed later than usual. I only managed to get about 700 word of my 2000 goal. I still ahead of the NaNo goal, but remember I'm planning on a three-day hiatus around Thanksgiving, so I can enjoy the holiday with my family and not have to be shut up in my office while they're having a good time.

Enough of my whining. I'm skipping critique tomorrow night, so I can get caught up. So in honor of that here's a post on Redlines and Deadlines about critique groups. Enjoy!

What's your experience with critique groups? Do you believe in critiquing with peers or would you rather go it alone?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

American Fiction Prize (and word count 19704)

This from my writing friend Julie Earhart...


Judge: The Member-Guest and The Weatherman author and two-time American Fiction Prize winner Clint McCown

First Prize: $1,000

Second Prize: $500

Third Prize: $250

Entry fee: $12

American Fiction will revive this year with its American Fiction Prize contest, a competition whose past judges include Joyce Carol Oates, Ann Beattie, Raymond Carver, Anne Tyler, Louise Erdrich, Tim O'Brien, and Tobias Wolff.

This year's judge, Clint McCown, teaches in the creative writing program at Virginia Commonwealth University and is a recipient of the Associated Press Award for Documentary Excellence for his investigations of organized crime and corruption in Alabama politics, and the Society of Midland Authors Award. His novel, War Memorials, was designated for Outstanding Achievement in Literature by the Wisconsin Library Association. McCown's short stories and poems have appeared widely, and he has published two books of verse. He has worked as a screenwriter for Warner Bros. and as an actor with the National Shakespeare Company. He has edited several literary journals, including the Beloit Fiction Journal, which he founded in 1984.

Contest winners and finalists will be published by New Rivers Press in Fall 2010 and distributed nationally by The Consortium.

Entries must be postmarked by March 15, 2009. Winners and finalists will be announced by September 2009.

Contest Guidelines:

We accept all genres of unpublished literary fiction. Entries must be: unpublished; strictly 7500 words or less; postmarked by March 15, 2009; clearly marked "American Fiction Prize" on both the story and the outside of the envelope; accompanied by a $12 entry fee per story (make checks payable to American Fiction). Please include a cover page with your name, story title, mailing address, and email address. Do not include your name on the pages of the story. Please ensure all stories are typed, double-spaced, and that the title and page number appear on each page. In lieu of an email address, please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope.

We welcome multiple entries ($12/story). For entries outside the U.S.: please send entry fee in U.S. currency or money order. While we cannot return manuscripts, we will forward a list of the winning stories to any entrant who includes an SASE; as well, we will e-mail contest updates to anyone who provides an active e-mail address. Entrants retain all rights to their stories.

Mail entries to:

American Fiction Prize / 5712 Briarwick Court / Hermitage, TN 37076

Please e-mail any questions to americanfictionprize AT yahoo DOT com. Thank you for your interest, and good luck!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Word Count 18084

Short and sweet today.....

Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Word Count 13465

I'm more than 25% of the way to the 50000 words. Big woohoo for me. And I know you guys are visiting, so where's the comments--Thanks Tricia G. for the support. How about the rest of you? Stick your head in and say HEY! (I have it set to MODERATE COMMENTS, so don't worry if you comment doesn't show up right away.)

Sticking to the outline is harder than I imagined. Last year I did NaNoWriMo by the seat of my pants. No outline, just the idea for a story and a few characters in my head. This year I spent some time preparing the outline. I know--already told you that. Not only did I add a twist at the end, now my story has zigged off. But it's a good thing. It's allowing me to add more depth to one of my favorite characters (think major love interest here.)

I'm swilling down the tea and working into the early hours of morning, but I'm having fun. I found a cool free gadget called Cool Timer from Harmony Hollow. I know I could use a kitchen time, but this one make cool noises. I set it for an hour and write. When the timers goes off, I set it for 10 minutes and give myself a little break. When it sounds again, back to work I go. It's really helping me stay on track and away from surfing the internet.

I'm listening to Taylor Swift, Toby Keith, Kenny Chesney and my hero Trace Adkins--especially Trace. I love his voice. I imagine my character Case Alder with Trace's voice, except Alder can't sing. But he's got the same deep voice.


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Word Count at the end of Today - 11157

A Winter Wicked Witch courtesy of smcgee
In some respects this NaNoWriMo is easier than last year. I worked out a pretty good outline before the contest began, so I knew more where my story was headed. Last year, when I started NaNoWriMo, I didn't even have a clue whodunit. I just started writing and characters emerged, the storyline changed and by the end of NaNoWriMo I thought I knew whodunit. I didn't. In the editing process, I added a twist and another character was born.

So the fact that I know where this one is headed is easier, I thought. Today I changed the whodunit. But it made sense and it makes plotting the story easier. I was having trouble with the motive of my suspect, so this change makes so much sense. And it's too cool. I also have to credit my friend, Tricia G for the suggestion. Tricia G, you rock. Now finish that damn zombie book.

The hard part for this one is turning off my internal editor. I thought I'd left her on a cruise ship in Montreal, but the little snit has turned up. I didn't even leave chocolate crumbs, so how she found me, I'll never know. But she's screaming at me to slow down and add sensory details.

Maybe I better get some sleep.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Word Count 7426

my messy desk 3 courtesy of sparkle glowplug

All I can say is thank goodness my desk doesn't look like that one.

Here's a shout to my friend Barb who didn't know I had a blog, even though I email her her a bazillion times a day, and the blog site is on my signature. Hi Barb!

Today was our weekly outing (me and Barb.) We usually spend Wednesdays together running errands, eating lunch and shopping. So needless to say I'm just now starting on my word count for the day. I'll be up until the wee hours of morning, but that's okay. I enjoy my Wednesdays with Barb and wouldn't trade them for a finished novel.

Barb and I keep each other sane by sharing rants about our husbands, kids, families and life in general. But the great thing is we're equal opportunity ranters. She might monopolize the rant this week, but I get my turn next week. And so it goes. Fortunately for you, I won't be sharing those rants, I'll save mine for Barb next week.

Back to the manuscript.

P.S. For those of you who read my story about the white pants and red flowered underwear--it was Barb who didn't tell me until I'd made a fool out of myself. Thanks Barb.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Cast Your Ballot

Voting is Patriotic (USA) courtesy of farlane
Time out from NaNoWriMo for a political message.

Tuesday is Election Day. I may be one of the few who is not shoving a candidate in your face. I figure if I can influence your candidate choice at this late date, then God help us.

I'm not telling you who to vote for. Just VOTE. It's your right.

I wish both the candidates a good night's sleep and may the best man win.

Word Count 2906


Yep, I'm slacking. Not intentionally, though. Had to make a trip to Cedar Rapids yesterday to pick up my daughter's dogs (that's Maxwell in the picture)...so round trip that cost me about 8 hours. I did manage to work out some plot issues in my head while driving up there. That counts, doesn't it.

When I got home I worked on the novel for about 3 hours. Today I will be chugging to catch up. If you use all thirty days in November to write, you have to average a little less than 1700 words a day. I've built in a couple of off days around Thanksgiving, so I've upped my target to 2000 words a day to compensate. So starting out this morning I am 1100 words behind my goal. Off to write.

Thanks for checking in and keep that encouragement coming. It keeps me away from the chocolate.

Oh, yesterday I went through Jo dee Messina, Tracy Lawrence, Martina McBride and a partial Kathy Mattea (had to shut it off--somehow the cd got scratched, and it's one of my favorites! Ouch! Sorry Kathy.)

P.S About the dogs, they winter at Grandma's house from November until January. My daughter's schedule is crazy until mid-December. She comes home for Thanksgiving and then for Christmas, so she's usually only away from thethem for about a month total. And it beats having to drive the dogs back and forth for the short Thanksgiving holiday.

Now I really am off to see how much trouble I can get Sissy into today.

P.S.S. If you aren't writing today, how come?

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Word Count 1008

typewriter courtesy of texas gurl

I have one of these old typewriters in the basement. Bought it when I fancied myself an antique collector--I'm not. But I'm sure glad I'm pounding away on a Dell and not this monster.

It's 11:00 am. I started about 8:30 and have 1008 words. Actually, I stayed up until midnight last night and entered the first sentence, so eight words were written in the early am. Then I went to bed and slept on the plot. I figured I'd be awak all night with plots lines running through my head, but I zonked.

Can't get on to the NaNoWriMo site right now, so I'm hoping to update my little calendar later today.

I've been through three cd's - Phil Vassar, Sugarland and Toby Keith, a bottle of Crystal Light and a small bowl of pretzels.

Log on and give me a shout of encouragement.