Saturday, October 31, 2009

NaNoWriMo (Or, Why I'm Crazy)

In a little more than three hours, the clock will pass midnight, and it will be November.

November, the month where I will stuff myself with turkey, swear to do my Christmas shopping early (but fail to actually do it), and write an entire novel in 30 days.

That last bit is part of National Novel Writing Month, more commonly known among the dorkiest of us as NaNoWriMo. The goal is to write 50,000 words by the end of November. That's 50,000 words that's you've never written before, 50,000 words of totally new material. People around the world participate in this crazy period of literary abandon. In Tampa alone, more than 650 people are registered on the forums. I even attended a picnic with some fellow NaNo participants last weekend - and it was totally awesome (and way dorky).

I am so excited about this month I can hardly stand it. For the next month, the majority of my posts will be about my NaNo. My one words will be from my main character's point of view, I'll post updates as I go, and I'll complain about how I can't believe I'm doing this.

The thing is, whenever I tell people in real life about my participation in NaNo, I get a bit of the crazy eye. People look at me like I don't know what I'm getting myself into, or like this is some kind of crazy even that only NERDS participate in. But I love NaNo because I am getting so much support. There are people in Tampa doing write-ins, where we'll meet for a few hours just to write. Several women in my online book club are taking part, and we've been posting about it for weeks. I feel like, if I don't complete my 50,000 words, I won't just be letting myself down, but I'll be disappointing the people I've been talking NaNo with all along. I know I could write my novel over several months, like a normal person, but I think this is more fun. When I'm done, I'll start my revisions.

So, what's my novel about? Hm...rather than give you a whole synopsis, I'll leave you with this, leaving you in AWESOME SUSPENSE. It's future dystopian. Here's the working title (in the form of the SUPER DORKY banner I made for my book club and NaNo forums, which is why it has the username on it), and the first line (this doesn't count as writing it, since I've had it in my head for days).

My death list has six names on it today.

One word: clip

Again, I tried to complete the one word without using the given word. So far these are making for pretty lame writings (case in point: today's total FAIL). Starting tomorrow, with NaNoWriMo, I think I'm going to write all of my One Word posts from my main character's POV...should be fun!

I saw a great blooper reel last night. Watching celebrities mess up is one of the best experiences. So many people hold them up to a higher standard, but really they are just people like us. The blooper reel proves that they are flawed.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Retropost: June 22, 1998

One of my new favorite authors, Megan McCafferty, used to do this very cool thing on her Web site where she posted old entries from her journal, or things that she wrote when she was growing up. I thought it would be fun if I totally just...stole that idea. Her execution is much better because she just scans things in; but never fear, I've left my awesome misspellings and extraneous exclamation points in for your enjoyment! (Yes, it is safe to assume that any misspellings and/0r grammatical errors in this post are a result of my 13-year-old self.) So here's my first retropost! Mine won't be nearly as frequent as hers are, but I promise they will be much more unintentionally hilarious. Also, Megan McCafferty doesn't insert the witty commentary that I have included in bold, which I felt was necessary to draw your attention to my more amazing thoughts. Mostly this is because Megan McCafferty's 13-year-old self was a much better writer than mine.

Source: My Australian Adventure journal

Monday, June 22, 1998

Dear Journal,

WE'RE HERE!!! After 4 looooooooomg flights, we finnally made it. It is all so beautiful here! But, I suppose I should tell you about the plane ride first...

We boarded the plane at around 2:30 PM Orlando time. After a smooth (are you reading that mom?) [As if I would ever let my mom read my journal.] flight, we have a nice bumpy landing in MIAMI airport at around 3:30. After going through several baggage checks and waiting about an hour, we board the plane that will take us to Los Angelas. [Note to self: Never let your children visit a place that they can't spell.] This flight is REALLY nice because I have two seats all to myself, next to the window, no less.

As we pass over the Rocky Mountain range, I listen to channel 2 (the "Grease" soundtrack) as I sigh and take in the gorgeous scenery. You can see the snow on the top of bright blue and grey mountains, and it's all very breathtaking. [Wow. Way to describe those mountains. You hold nothing back.]

Well, soon you can see the lights of L.A. and the plane has another bumpy landing.
And now...THE BIG ONE!! [L.O.L.] The flight (14 hours!!) across the Pacific from L.A. to Sydney. It turns out to be a very nice, smooth flight, and I get 5 hours of sleep. We land at the Sydney airport at 6:30 AM Austrailian [See: Note to self.] time and board our flight to Cairns at 8:15. Another 2 hours and 45 min. and we are there! No more planes until we leave...

After going through customs, we meet our guide for the next 18 days. When we pull out of the airport, there are these huge tree covered mountains in front of us. It is so beautiful. [Again, my ability to describe the scenery is incredible. I really should send this to National Geographic.]

We get to see more of the spectacular view on our short bus ride over to the Pier marketplace, a small shopping center. I should have bought something there...[I have no idea why I thought this was worth noting. Was I really going to beat myself up 10 years later for not buying something in an Australian strip mall? Answer: YES.]

Anyway, an hour later we meet back on the bus and had an extremly scenic [I don't know how to spell.] and even more bumpy hour long bus ride. During that time each person went up and told about themselves. I am really looking forward to learning more about them.

Like I said before, the bus ride was very scencic, with the Great Barrier Reef on one side and gorgeous mountains on the other. It was very awe inspiring. [My brain is exploding from all the awesome.]

Our guide is pretty cool. This should be a great trip.

When we arrived at the resort, we were assigned our roomates and sent up. The resort is just lovely, with lots of pools and water, and very cozy rooms.

We had 3 hours to goof around before dinner, so I went and explored the grounds with a girl named Lisa. She showed me these beautiful purple flowers that floated on top of lily pads.

After taking in the sights, I took a nice, long, much-needed shower and got ready for dinner. Of course, I was an hour early getting down there [The idea that I would ever say "of course I was early" is so laughable.] so I sat around and talked with a few people.

Then we had dinner. I had this delicous spinich [hehe!] flavored pasta with tomato sauce and vegetables. I hope all Australian food is as good as that.

Dinner is over and we have one more hour before we have to be in our room for the night. But I'm so tired, I think I'll just go to bed now... [This is the fourth time I used the ellipsis in this entry. Even today, I still harbor a love for this form of punctuation, although I have sworn to only use its powers for good.]

T.T.F.N. [Which, of course, is 13-year-old for Ta Ta For Now. I was so cool.]

Thursday, October 29, 2009

One word (3 times): Scissors

(I didn't like my first attempt at today, so I tried again. Then, I wanted to see if I could write something without actually using the word they give you as a prompt. Often, my first impulse is to lead with the given word, but I try to avoid that. Inevitably, though, the word creeps up. I think I avoided it yesterday with "shoes," but today's word was trickier. Here are my three attempts!)

I need a haircut so badly. My hair is wild and untamed, and falls ungracefully into my eyes. But I can't afford anything these days. So I lift the scissors to my head and start to chop. I've never done this before...I hope it comes out OK!

Julie cut carefully along the lines of the page. As she chopped, she watched the tiny pieces of paper curl into small tendrils behind the blades of her scissors. Hannah's birthday was around the corner, and this year she needed to make a statement with her gift.

He cut the box open, slowly, carefully. Once he reached the end of the tape, he lifted the sides of the cardboard open and reached inside. He pushed aside the layers of Styrofoam peanuts and newspaper to reveal the best gift he had ever received. Finally, his parents had listened to him, and gotten him exactly what he wanted.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009 Shoes is an awesome site. Basically, you go there and they give you one word to write about, and exactly 60 seconds to write about it. You just start typing immediately and whatever comes out is what you're stuck with. It's great! I do it pretty much daily. I'll probably post my results every day, even if they suck (yesterday's result, with the prompt "microphone," was pretty bad. Fortunately, this blog didn't exist yesterday! Hooray for avoiding embarrassment!) Here's today's:

She slipped her feet into the soft leather of her worn, brown flats. She never wore them with socks, and they smelled terrible. Sour and dirty. She got a weird kind of joy in wearing them everywhere she went and taking them off, then laughing to herself as everyone around her asked, "What is that SMELL??!" It was one of few joys she had left.

Did you visit (I bet you did.) Why don't you post your response here! Or if you thought my 60 seconds today was especially awesome (or especially crappy), feel free to tell me so.

All the stuff you shouldn't read.

Getting ready for NaNoWriMo 2009, I realized that I don't write nearly as much as I should. OK, I write about insurance and bars for work, but I don't write that earth-shattering fiction that I should be practicing if I'm going to one day break out of my cubicle and make my mark on the literary world.

Instead of keeping all of my wonderful prose to myself, I thought I could post some of it on the Internet...of course! Here on my blog, you'll find my answers to random writing prompts, musings about life during NaNo, and other fun things. Every once in awhile, I'm going to put out a call for suggestions, in which you, dear reader, get to make up the story. Then I'll write whatever you suggest, and you can read it for yourself.

Hopefully I stick with this better than that whole marathon-training thing. (Seeing as this blog doesn't require me to be sweating in 98 degree weather, stare at my Jello-like fatty arms, or miss episodes of LOST, I think we're OK.)
Copyright 2009

See Heather Write
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