Monthly Archives: November 2010

NaNoWriMo Day 28: Done

It’s over, she exclaimed, with both a sigh of relief and a double fist pump of triumph. It may be the worst first draft ever created in the history of the planet, but it’s finished and I’m going to bury it for at least a month before I touch it.

He shot her a quizzical look.

If I look at it now, she said by way of explanation, I’ll just drag the whole mess to the trash and delete it. I think there is actually a pretty decent story in there but it’s going to take a lot of work to polish it up into anything even remotely presentable to the outside world.

And with that, she closed down Scrivener and headed out for a long-overdue run.


NaNoWriMo Day 26: 43,534 words

It’s coming down to the wire now, close but not yet close enough to think my plot lines will converge and provide a decent first draft and 50,000 words. I’ve got things hanging out all over and am still being surprised by the twists and turns of my ever-growing cast. My loose ends are bedeviling me, but consistency isn’t the point of a first draft. Getting the story written down and hoping it has “good bones” at the end of the month is the goal.

Today’s excerpt:

The escape didn’t work quite the way Susie and her support team had planned it. The ideal outcome had been to spirit mother and child out through a series of handoffs, from laundry basket to stairwells to little-used hallways, with badged employees providing access at each point, then out into the parking lot to a waiting van, and from there to freedom. Susie had trusted the few coworkers involved in the scheme, all of them sympathetic to the child whose life would never be even close to normal if she remained a captive at The Institute. But one of those co-workers must have turned against the rest, Susie thought, as loud alarms sounded and the emergency lighting activated, signaling a code red in terms that no one could miss. Mayree and Hazel ran for their lives, following their latest guide across the parking lot.


NaNoWriMo Day 25: 41,875 words

It was a day of constant writing, off and on between skype with the family in SoCal, dog-sitting across town, and a session with a Dungeness crab for dinner. I was feeling so worried about being way behind on my word count so I sat down this morning and actually plotted out where my characters were and how they were related to each other. Yes, I was surprised by a few things that seemed quite obvious as I did that, the clarity helping me see where the threads should go from here. Then I set to work writing, writing, writing. Set an all-time World Record for me in NaNoWriMo: 7400 words in one day! Now I’m all caught up (at least till midnight, when another day starts) and can enjoy a momentary victory as I slowly uncurl my fingers from their locked-at-the-keyboard position.

Today’s excerpt:

Ray saw the lab technician look at him and he tried not to panic but he could feel it rising up from his gut into his throat, threatening to choke him. He looked around to see if he could find a way out but the guards were clearly blocking the two doors in and out of the room. The only move left was a desperate one but he’d take it, he thought, because he just might survive to live another day. He screwed up his courage, tensed his muscles, and mentally counted down from 10. When he hit zero, he pushed off from the chair and flew across the room before anyone, least of all the guards, could react. He was through the plate glass window seconds later, the glass crashing outward in the explosion.

Had Ray been a smarter man, he would have led the collision with his shoulder, but instead, he went head-first through the window, giving him a head injury that killed him before he hit the ground. Using the shoulder, he might have survived the fall but he hadn’t thought it through, panic had been the driving factor in his rash, and ultimately, fatal decision.

NaNoWriMo Day 23: 33475 words

A big writing day after 8PM, which is when I finally get to escape the details of work and try to escape into some kind of plot. I’ve been big on dialog today. Lots of word count in dialog 🙂  Here’s a rough (read: unedited) bit from today’s writing:

As the days stretched into weeks, the aides took to the Irishman, feeding him meals on the side when he came in from a late night at work looking hungry. He appreciated that, but even more, he knew they were paying more attention to Rose, combing her hair, moving her limbs back and forth in the relentless daily physical therapy, and, as he liked to put it, treating Rose like a real person.

So are you her brother or her lover, one of the sassier aides asked him after the first week.

Neither, he said, but for the love of God, don’t tell the case workers that. They wouldn’t talk to me for a second if if they knew the truth.

Honey, those case workers don’t like talking to anybody but the doctors and the insurance companies, and I think they don’t even like that much human contact. The aide laughed at her own joke as she gently rolled Rose onto one side then the other, changing the sheets beneath her.

I hear you, Daniel replied. They don’t seem like they like their job very much at all.

They worked in companionable silence after the bed-making was finished, Daniel on Rose’s left and the aide on her right, following the PT’s instructions on stretching out Rose’s tendons to make sure things still worked when she woke up.

Everyone else says “if” she wakes up, Daniel said, half-aloud. I think I’m the only one that says “when she wakes up.”

NaNoWriMo Day 20: 27,500 words

Got a late start today, not sitting down to write until after 9PM or so. Busy day, working on my gift sale stuff, brunch with a friend, watching and listening to the thunderstorm and cloudburst, and generally doing anything BUT writing. Got a few hundred words in, then the magic of Facebook pitched in, and my sprint buddy, Kristi, suggested some late-night sprinting, so from 11 till midnight, we wrote in tandem, using gmail chat as our medium of communication. That got my word count up so that I ended with 2400 for the day. Not enough to clear out my entire 7K technical debt, but I got it down to 5.8K. Not that I’m obsessed with that or anything, but winning NaNoWriMo *is* all about the numbers.

Today’s excerpt:

The maintenance guy running the cars through their morning check heard the sound of wrenching metal and crashing somethings and hit the big red stop button next to his right hand. He heard people screaming as he ran through the tunnel to get a full view of the roller-coaster and he knew them that it was bad, very bad. His eyes started running the track as he came out into daylight, up, down, around, over, until he found the place where the set of cars had derailed. He stopped breathing for a moment, unable to process what he was seeing. The cars had left the track at the worst possible point, the one that every maintenance shift checked twice as much as the rest of the track because it was so close to the boardwalk, where thousands of people passed on any given summer’s day. It was winter now, the crowds thinned down to the serious runners or daily walkers with the occasional skateboarding crew thrown in now and then, so not as many people would have been on the boardwalk but from the screams, he had the awful feeling that someone had been in the wrong place at exactly the wrong time.

NaNoWriMo Day 18: 25,100 words

A few days late, but I’m at the halfway point of the word count war. Woo-hoo! In the middle of yet another crazy-long, stressed-out workday, I decided to go in a completely different direction and wrote about a new character, a writer frustrated with her plot and story (hmm, wonder where I got that idea).

I realized after about a page that this writer was an integral part of the plot. My first plot, and all the writing from Day 1 till now, is really just a subplot of this character. Who knew? I sure didn’t, not till just today. And that, my friends, is why NaNoWriMo is such fun amid the stress and the challenge: because I never know what will come out when I start writing.

Today’s excerpt:

Maybe I need some fresh air. Maybe I need a run, she thought, feeling guilty that she wasn’t already back in the chair, pulled up to the desk, hunched over the keyboard. She had so little time to write these days, her telecommuting job as a sales manager taking up most of her waking hours. Hell, she hadn’t even finished unpacking and she had moved into that house almost a year ago. Except for her daily run and the occasional walk to catch the sunset on the water, she didn’t venture out much. She still didn’t know the names of the few neighbors on her little street although she waved at them if they passed her driveway while she was pulling weeds or something like that. She wasn’t unfriendly, exactly, she was just reserved, as she put it to herself more than once as she wondered why she didn’t know more people. And she was really concentrating on being a writer and that took discipline and focus, so she didn’t have time to just idly chat with people or spend time learning their names, their kids’ names, and even the names of the dogs.

And speaking of writing, shouldn’t you be doing that? Her conscience jolted her back to reality from the daydreaming state was becoming so proficient at. It was hard some days, and this was one of them, to keep focused on her story. Honestly, she wasn’t sure this story was worth all the work but it was hers and she was determined not to quit in the middle just because she had been struck with a serious case of writer’s block.

NaNoWriMo Day 14: 20,030 words

Woo-hoo, made it over the 20K mark! Tomorrow marks the halfway point of the 50K exercise time-wise, and for me, I’ll still be behind the curve but making steady progress anyways. Most creative writing place today? In the parking garage at the start of the half-marathon, waiting for the race start. I had to be at the garage by 5:15 AM before the streets closed at the start area, but the race itself wouldn’t begin till 7AM. So I tucked the laptop in my bag and got about 800 words done between bathroom runs and last-minute carbs and water loading.

Today’s excerpt:

What is it? Speak up, it’s just the two of us, the old man said quietly. He had felt from the very first meeting that this young man had potential. He certainly showed more intelligence than most, and that was a start, the old man told himself. Not often you meet anyone who wants to read these books or even pay attention to something other than one of those blasted sim programs. So he waited patiently while the young man next to him sorted out his thoughts.

The sun shone through the green leaves, and the man enjoyed the idea of warmth and spring even though he knew the leaves were not real and the light was generated by a field high above them. He liked the idea that perhaps they were just two men on a bench in a park in the middle of a city enjoying a moment together, kindred souls united by a love of reading. Perhaps they also shared a love of truth, but that had not yet been established. He would have to be patient and see where things went.