Quote of the Moment

"It's never wrong to hope, Byx," said my mother. "Unless the truth says otherwise."
- from Endling #1: The Last, by Katherine Applegate

Monday, November 29, 2010

Lumbering Across the Finish Line

With 24 hours, 20 minutes, and 229 words to spare...

What am I talking about?  See the sidebar, under NaNoWriMo 2010. (If you're too lazy to look, I can't help you...)

I have to say, this year was a tough one.  Not only was life generally cruddy and annoying this November, but this year's story rolled along like a wheelbarrow full of cement on a field of mud.  The characters never really gelled.  Storylines flared only to gutter out out mid-scene.  The world was an embarrassingly slapdash conglomeration of inconsistent details and illogical rules.  It didn't so much end as lumber to an ungainly, wheezing halt at a point where I could slap on some semblance of an end-cap.  If I ever talk myself into a second draft, I expect everything but the name to change beyond the point of recognition... and right now I'm fighting a reflexive urge to burn the sucker onto a DVD, back over it a few times, then light it on fire just to watch the miserable, recalcitrant monstrosity go up in flames.

But at least I finished it.  And a full day ahead of the deadline.

Go, me...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Frozen Feathers

Guess what the weather's been like around here...

It started with plunging temperatures over the weekend, then on Sunday night the flakes started falling. This morning, we had five and a half inches of the white stuff, give or take a bit. Fortunately, we never got the winds that were predicted (though some areas weren't so lucky.) The local roads are a mess (hills and ice being a bad combination), so tomorrow might be interesting when I have to get to work.

That'll teach us to procrastinate on buying snow tires...

Monday, November 15, 2010

It was a Dark and Stormy Night

No, really, it was...

Well, the winds have picked up out there, and the power's been blipping with alarming regularity. Fortunately, I have a UPS. And, into that UPS, I currently have the Little Black Critter, plugged in but charged and ready if the power goes. I also have a flashlight/lantern around my neck... just in case.

With all these precautions, the power should hold.

The cliche title is intended to evoke thoughts of terrible novels... speaking of which, I finally edged over the halfway mark in this year's NaNoWriMo effort not one hour past. I'd hoped to be further ahead by now, but this weekend kinda sucked, long before the threat to household power became a real and valid excuse for procrastination.

Friday started out bad when I went to the car to leave for work. While wiping off wind-deposited Douglas Fir needles (nasty little things - they seem to get everywhere they shouldn't be), I noticed a crack in my windshield. This was no little thing. This was longer than my hand.

I think I would've noticed it if it had been there before. In all likelihood, I had a very minor and undetectable crack for some time, and our recent dip into freezing overnight temperatures (brief as it was) caused it to catastrophically expand.

Well, I thought, at least I have windshield replacement on my insurance.

And trying to ignore the omen, I set off for work.

At work, we were nearly half an hour late starting due to the Big Crane being snarky. During the downtime, people started talking about insurance and accidents. Kinda weird, as I'd just been thinking about that very same thing... but we finally got to work, and though an off start tends to throw the whole day out of kilter, somehow we got through the load.

Off to the grocery store, then to home... but not quite. See, backing out of my parking space, I saw someone else backing out. I stopped. They didn't.

No damage to my end, but they claimed damage on theirs. And they insisted I instigated the whole thing. (As they were copying my insurance info, a bystander came by and handed me his business card - a witness supporting my statement that I was stationary, and they were not.)

So much for ignoring omens...

I went home and got to play phone tag with the insurance company on two counts: one on the parking lot incident, and one on the windshield replacement. It was more than enough to make me want to bash teleprompters and their stock questions to which I've already provided answers with a suitably large and spiky object.

Needless to say, between that and a stubborn coughing cold, this weekend was hardly my most productive writing period...

But, today, I got my windshield replaced. It almost didn't happen due to the weather - the guy had to check a mobile app from the Weather Channel to confirm no rain, because the wind was bad enough he couldn't set up a tent - but it got done faster (and earlier) than expected... and it really was covered. And I got the call from the insurance company about the accident. Seems that having a witness may have paid off; suddenly the other party decided playing insurance chicken would be too big of a headache, and backed off on pushing a claim. Since no parties wanted money, they decided to deem the thing a wash... and, theoretically, it won't affect my insurance rates. (Since insurance companies are all about money, and they spent none, I'm hoping the guy on the phone was right.)

Thus elated, I managed to get back on the proverbial horse and get back into the NaNo race.

Which is why I was so happy to reach the halfway mark that I risked logging on for a celebratory blog post.

Even though it really is a dark and stormy night.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Rolling Back to Go Forward

Not just for clocks anymore...

So, as you might have noticed, I'm up to my proverbial neck in NaNoWriMo 2010. I'm also somewhat ahead of the bare minimum word-count-per-day requirements for finishing by November 30th.

At least, I was.

When I started this year's effort, I had a far less concrete idea of my story than I did last year. I had a vaguely amusing idea, a couple thoughts that might be fun to visit along the way, and something that might resemble an opening. That was it. A few nights into writing, unfortunately, it started going off the rails. The steam started leaking out through the many gaps in the pipes. Though I was pounding away producing words, I just didn't feel I was actually producing any story.

I was already past 10,000 words, but I didn't think I could hit another 10, let alone 40k.

So, I did the only thing I could do, if I wanted to have a rough draft worth finishing.

I ripped the guts out of the sucker and went back to try again.

This time, things are falling into place much nicer. I'm getting more invested in the characters and their world. I'm seeing possibilities and plotlines opening up as I go. I may have lost two days of forward momentum with this rollback, but it was entirely worth the effort.

With any luck, by tomorrow I'll be back up to where I was, and beyond... thanks, in no small part, to that extra hour I'll have to work with.