Thursday, November 24, 2005


Just a quick entry to say that "The Tower Away" (a working title I came up with a couple of nights ago) has passed the 50,000-word mark, making my first shot at winning NaNoWriMo a success! Now to finish it. Family, keep asking me about it. Please. I need accountability. Desperately.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

NaNoWriMo home stretch

I'm in the home stretch of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). I'm at 47,600 words tonight, after slamming out 7,300 words in about three hours. That's some fast writing there, ladies and gents. I rule. My story is quite weak, but I sure can type fast. Anyway, I should be done with it tomorrow sometime, and will keep on keeping on with this story afterward. I may "win" NaNoWriMo at 50,000 words, but my story is quite a long way from finished. I'd say it's on course for 200,000 words (oh my God, that's like 800 pages. Dream on, dude.). Any eaves-reading family members: KEEP ASKING ME HOW MY NOVEL IS COMING ALONG OR I'LL DROP IT LIKE A BAD HABIT AND GO BACK TO VIDEO GAMES AND OTHER...ER, BAD HABITS!! My lazy ass needs accountability or I shall founder.

I was seriously nervous about putting out 200 pages in 30 days, but I see it is possible, and not even overly difficult. It breaks down to 1,667 words a day, which really isn't much. I can do that in about an hour if I turn off the internal editor and just go with the flow. The only problem with going by the seat of my pants is that I just sort of float around and create characters that I don't have any idea what to do with. The book that the founder of NaNoWriMo wrote is called "No Plot? No Problem!" for a reason. I have no real discernable storyline here. Well, that's not exactly true now. A few days ago, I took a couple of nights off from churning out the tripe and sat down to actually try to hack out a story arc of some kind. It's more like a slight slant, a bit of a curve, a tease of a wriggle, than it is an "arc" right now, but it's under construction. Tonight, I realized a great way to get some story going: start a war! Hey, if Bush can do it, I can, too! I just made up some enemies for my protagonists and bingo! Instant drama, and it boosts the economy too, right George?

Anyway, slight jabs at my boss and commander-in-chief aside, I'm quite proud of my accomplishments with the book. Anyone wondering when it may be available for me to share with you, I would say about 365 days from the day I finish the first draft. When will I finish the first draft? Well, I'd say there's a strong possiblity I never will, if ya want some brutal honesty. But, if I keep this up, I'd say by March or so (of 2006, not 2017, as you may suspect) I will have the first draft banged out in all its bondoed, slapdash, horseshit glory. So, I will tentatively say that in March 2007 you will be able to request from me an unwieldy, huge version of a second-(third-? seventh-?)rate fantasy novel written by someone you know. That will be the only "novel" thing about this unoriginal crap-heap: that you know the author. Ha!

Enough self-hatred. It's late and I'm tired. Off I go to bed, and to awaken... to victory!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Thinking of Gramps

Tonight I gave Alex a couple of gifts: my old dog breed book, which is heavy on the photos (bought back in my singles days when I considered getting a puppy instead of -- ahem -- kids), and a small car that came free with a pack of eight AA batteries. The car is the type that you press down on and pull back a short distance, then let go and it goes rolling off at half the speed of sound. Alex was, of course, captivated with it, but had a little trouble getting it to work on its own. When I told him, "You can do it!" he leveled his gaze at me, held up the corresponding number of fingers, and said very seriously, "Papa. I'm only three years old." I laughed about that one for quite a while.

I also finally, months after buying them, felt it was time to put up my photo collages I got made after Gramps passed away. I have two collages, which are excellent and focus on photos of me and Gramps together over the years. The other two are just blown-up photos of me as a baby and him holding me. I made up a small paper with a small tribute to him:

October 29, 1917 -
June 12, 2005

There is a big empty place
In my heart where you once were.
Please don't feel bad, Gramps,
If sometimes I can't cry.

I love you
I miss you
I'll see you again one day

- Naters

He always called me Naters. Nater from Decatur, County Seat of Wise. I never knew what it meant -- still don't, I suppose -- but I heard it a million times. I shed one tear as I hung them. I have a hell of a time crying over Gramps. Part of my mind has not accepted that he is gone; it still tells me that he's just over at home on Hunn Road. Or off to Hawaii with Granny again. Or down at Jeff's at the football draft. But not gone. How can he be gone?

Tough night. I try to dedicate my writing to him, mentally I mean, but I'm afraid I'll just be the fourth generation of Gomer that does not take advantage of his gift. Gramps' father was a poet and songwriter, he himself was a stellar poet, my Dad is a very talented writer, and I have the gift, too. "A Bronx Tale" is one of my favorite movies, and one I would've never expected Gramps to like, but he did. A line in it says, "There's nothing in the world so sad as wasted talent." God, please don't let me be just that.

I'm slogging away at my NaNoWriMo novel; 35,000 words and going strong. I had hit a point where I could almost hear potential readers saying, "So what? Who cares? Why am I reading this?" so I shook up the tale and took it in a totally different direction. I can always rewrite and fix it up later. The goal is finishing it. As the famous writer Nate Gomer (ha! that's me! Get it?) once said about writing and re-writing, "It's hard to make a shoe from scratch, but easy to polish it to a high shine." What I mean there is, the first draft is the hard part, the part that's like six months in the dentist's chair. The re-writing is the part I enjoy, taking that rough material that's brimming with that elusive element called "potential" and honing into something salvageable. Who knows -- maybe something great, or at least something one could read without having to suppress dry heaves.

Gramps, I so miss you. Half of me wants to go with you, because I don't know how this world and all the people in it can go on living their regular way when you're not in it, too. I told Jeff outside the hospital, minutes after you left us, that I felt like stepping into the middle of the street and stopping all the cars until they acknowledged that the planet had lost a great, great man. How I squandered those precious hours I could have spent being with you, scooting up next to your recliner so you could hear me, telling you those dull stories of my everyday life that would thrill you. How I'm sorry that I let the days and weeks and months and years roll by, allowing a 40-minute trip to be just as effective a barrier to visiting you and Granny as a separation of several thousand miles. How I'd like to hear you chuckle, sneeze and swear at it, belch while patting your belly, blow your nose into your hanky, or break into a loud, spontaneous laugh.

I love you and miss you, Gramps.

I'm glad I've got this stupid fucking blog to write to, otherwise I would never spend the time to write this stuff out.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Starting National Novel Writing Month (and a blog)

Hi, everyone. So this is blogging, huh? Hmm. I thought it would be nicer in here, with smarter decor. Oh well. Welcome to any family members who may have stumbled over here. I already feel like a sixth-grade girl for doing this, so no snickering.

I'm halfway into the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) time frame of 1-30 Nov. I just passed 30,000 words last night, so I'm about 5,000 ahead of where I need to be. Which is good, because I get very little writing done during the work-week, so I have to make up for it on the weekends. For those so paralyzed with boredom that they'd be interested to know, I had a dream a few weeks before NaNoWriMo in which I saw a tall, white, crystalline structure, sort of like a tower, surrounded at the base by trees that extended up to its halfway point like long-fingered hands. From this vision, I decided I was going to wing a novel once November came around.

As it turns out, the novel is a fantasy, sort of surprising considering I can count the number of fantasy novels I've read on one hand (1...2...3! Yep, Lord of the Rings is about it!). It's working out good, though, and I've made a lot of characters who are wandering around, exploring this new world, doing good and bad to one another, and basically writing their own story. That, I find, is the most rewarding part of the book: that I went in (intentionally) with no idea what the plot would be. It helped the beginning fly out fast, and since the speed was so high I found myself not self-editing, self-criticizing, or trying to get the words perfect, like I normally do. "Don't get it right, get it written," as the old writer's axiom goes.

Who knew that quantity would lead to quality? I've heard the concept before, that writing more leads to stronger writing, but I was never a believer. But after cranking it out for the past two weeks, I'm a convert. This is the best-flowing and most imaginatively open stuff I've ever written. And all because I write too fast to let the nagging doubts seep in and take hold ("What are you doing writing fantasy? No one will buy this cornball place!"... "You're no novelist, Mr. Short Attention Span -- go back to video games and the occasional short story!", etc.).

I would post an excerpt or two, but... nah. It's still first draft stuff, which is rough no matter how much potential may (or may not) be seen, and is always embarrassing. Plus, as I go further, I make notes to myself about things I need to go back and change or remove later, so it would just be confusing. But hey, ask me in about a year when I have it all finalized! :)

I think this is an adequate first entry. Irina, Alex, and Daniel are doing well. She and I are going to be getting back to our Body-for-Life diet here this week. I had lost 30 lbs in 4 mos, but after one and a half months off, I've gained 10-15 of it back. * Sigh * I'm an idiot.

I'll check in again at another time. Or I could just be one of those guys who makes one entry for the novelty and never returns again. Who can say?