Monday, October 31, 2011

NaNo Lite?

Call it cheating. Call it NaNo Lite. First I came up with an idea for a new NaNo novel. Then another idea. Wrote ~500 words to test it out and wondered where the heck I could go with it. Actually, both ideas are probably okay, but they don't catch my fancy right now. My mystery in progress, Confession, deserves finishing. So this morning I spent working on plot points and looking for a satisfactory ending (none yet).

My goal for November is to write about 500 words per day, every day. The 15K won't be enough to finish a draft, but they should give me a good head of steam. Yes, yes, it's probably too modest, but I have never been one to write long bursts in a single sitting. The best thing NaNo can do for me is to get me back into the habit of daily fiction writing.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Desert stargazing

Last week I wrote this blog entry on my iPad and didn't get around to posting it. Here it is now:

Monument commemorating Geronimo's surrender
to the US Army in nearby Skeleton Canyon in 1886
This evening we are sitting outside our RV and waiting for the stars to show themselves. The sky is still pink over one of the several mountain ranges, I think the Chiricahuas. A partial cloud cover is blowing to the east, promising a starry night. Behind us about thirty yards, a gaggle of geese cluck quietly by a small pond that seems to be made for them. We are at Rusty's RV Ranch in Rodeo, New Mexico for our second of three nights--maybe four if we decide we can't bear to leave. The owner of the park says her place is starting to attract astronomers because of the complete lack of light pollution. Last night we saw the Milky Way directly above us, and we cranes our necks in awe. Tonight we are out again with our lawn chairs. It is 7:21 p.m. At the extreme western edge of the Mountain Time Zone, and the sky still shows the faintest tinge of pink over the mountains. A few stars are beginning to emerge, although I can't identify them. Picking out Mercury and Mars are usually the best I can do.  Last night the moon didn't appear--while we watched, anyway--and tonight looks like it will be the same, a good night for stargazing.

Going my own way

I'm not sure what the NaNoWriMo rules are, though it should be simple to check. A lady in my fiction group is participating and told me I must--must--start a new novel, because that is what someone at NNWM says. Nice person that she is, the gal can be a little bossy. My first reaction was that I am retired and no one tells me what to do anymore. But then I went home and diddled around with a few ideas, even to the point of writing about 500 words of a new story that might or might not pan out. Did I break some bloody rule by starting before November 1? The fact is that I already have an NIP that runs about 39,000 words so far. I consulted the oracle pictured below, who was no help. So I'm just going to continue working on the novel I've already started, and if NaNo or my bossy friend wants to strip off my epaulets, so be it.

This li'l guy lives in the Chiricahua Desert Museum in Rodeo,
New Mexico. He turns out to be not much of an oracle.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

So. I just signed up for NaNoWriMo, despite my having always shied away from it in the past. Frankly, it's darned intimidating. Years ago, I wrote about 35,000 words on my current novel and have barely touched it since. On the one hand, I've never written lots of words in short bursts. On the other, my novel will never be done at this rate. Recently I sat down to work on it and wrote only one line, for goodness' sake. The current word count is 36,800, or about half the length of my first three novels.

It's not clear if NaNoWriMo is right for me, but November will be a good month to glue my butt to the chair and crank out the rest of the first draft. Was it the great Lawrence Block who wrote that the best guideline for getting writing done was "ass in chair"? It was either him or someone else--how's that for narrowing it down? It will be okay to write a crappy first draft, by the way. At least for me, second drafts are much easier because there is something to work with. It's getting past the terror of the blank page, because words I can see are easier to fix that words I can't see. And waiting one more year won't work, because 2012 will be busy in other ways. I'll always be able to fit revisions.

Have you participated in NaNoWriMo? How well has it worked for you?

Friday, October 07, 2011

Party time at the El Paso Writers' League!

There are big doin's at the El Paso Writers' League tomorrow. Every year we have a writing contest for members, and for the last three years we've published an anthology of the winning entries. So tomorrow the 8th we're having a big whoop-de-doo Launch Party with the winners reading their entries from the book. Yesterday I ordered a sheet cake from Sam's--they call it a photo cake--with the likeness of the cover on it. It makes me a little nervous, though, since the bakery lady said they'd never actually done one before. I'll swing by Sam's and pick it up on my way to the meeting in El Paso.

Here is the cover of this year's Border Tapestry, designed by member Maritza Jáuregui:

In addition to bringing the cake (please God, don't let me drop it), I'm bringing the 100 copies of Border Tapestry for distribution to members at the meeting. I've been editor and co-editor for the first three issues and am turning over the whole project to Sulta Bonner next year. Such fun!