Monday, November 19, 2018

I Warned You

Yup, I did. I warned you last week that you probably weren’t going to get any posts out of me other than Monday, and I was right.

I was kind of struggling with the words last week, falling a little more behind each day. Okay, on Tuesday I fell behind by a lot – only did 763 words, but I made up for it with words to spare on Wednesday and Thursday. But then Friday, which is always a bad writing day for me, I only managed 749 words.

And then I started coming down with a cold – stuffed nose, sore throat, the whole nine yards.


So, seeing as I had no where to go, I declared Saturday a pajama day and spent pretty much the entire day curled up in my chair alternating dozing, writing, and popping cold pills. I don’t know if it was the cold, the cold pills, or the fact that I was in my pajamas, but I was really tired that day, so it was a pleasant surprise when I added up the words at the end of the day and found I’d written a whopping 2,943!

Sunday I was still sick from the cold, but I sucked it up and got dressed for the day. I still spent most of the day in my cuddle chair, but I also did laundry and made the regular big Sunday dinner for the daughter, son-in-law, and grandbaby.

Normally on Sunday nights I watch Supergirl (which I like), followed by Charmed (which I can take or leave) but last night they ran the newest Tarzan (the one with Alexander Skarsgard) movie after Supergirl. I’m a big time Tarzan fan, so I opted to watch the movie instead of Charmed and kept on writing.

When I finally came up for air I had a total of 3,362 for the day giving me a grand total of 6,205 words for the weekend. Not bad, if I do say so myself. :-D

That means, that even if I only write my allotted 1,667 words today I’ll still only be 647 words behind. And if I just happen to write 2,314 words today I’ll be all caught up. Be still my heart.

So . . . how’s your NaNo novel coming?

Monday, November 12, 2018

Is It Over Yet?

A funny thing happened when I was working on my NaNo . . . I fell right out of love with my story. I liked the characters, I liked the idea, but it was becoming way too complicated and I really needed to just sit down and figure out where it was going. But this is NaNo, and I don’t have time for things like that. So…

At the end of October I sent a couple of friends a list of synopses (and yes, that is the correct spelling for the plural of synopsis – I looked it up) of ideas I had for NaNo. They were all stories I intend to write eventually, I just couldn’t decide which one to use. They ended up picking the same idea, but I chose to ignore their sage advice.

I went with a different one because I knew more about the general story, I had a couple of pages of notes, and I’d even named the characters. Ironically, I’m finding it easier to write the new one (that my friends picked) because I came into it with no idea of what I was doing. I had about a dozen lines outlining the plot – boy is a bit of an asshat and is disfigured in an accident, boy goes off alone, boy meets girl, boy and girl must part, boy and girl get together again in the end.

But while the writing is coming easier, I’m still struggling (mainly with distractions). Including the words I need for today I’m about 4,000 words behind, 9,000 if you count the words from the original story (which do count because they were written for NaNo). I would like to use only the words from the new story, like I did the other year when I switched stories, but we’ll have to see how fast I write.

I went to another write-in up in Peterborough, this one at the same café where my writing group used to meet, but although I wrote about 1,000 words I think I’ll give the rest of the café write-ins a pass. The atmosphere just seemed a little off and I didn’t enjoy it as much as I did the library.

Once again I skipped Friday’s post and unless I can get myself organized better I’m probably going to skip both the Wednesday and the Friday posts this week. Writing blog posts is a tad time consuming, and I need that time for my NaNo novel. Sad, but true.

So . . . how’s your NaNo novel coming?

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

National Novel Writing Month

There’s no date on this poem, so I’m not sure when exactly I wrote it, but it has to be at least a couple of years ago. Anyway, given I’m knee deep in my NaNo novel, I thought this was rather appropriate for today’s post.


This is not for the faint of heart
A novel, written in thirty days
November first is when we start.

Just thirty days to do your part
The writing comes in such a haze
This is not for the faint of heart.

Writing itself is quite an art
E’en when done in such a blaze
November first is when we start.

Winning this sets us apart
Writing without hope of praise
This is not for the faint of heart .

Some will not finish what they start
Others have their secret ways
November first is when we start.

What wisdom is there to impart
A secret, key, a magic phrase
This is not for the faint of heart
November first is when we start.

Villanelle form

Monday, November 5, 2018

It’s NaNoing Time!

Words achieved: 5814
Where I should be: 8335
Words + or - : - 2521

I missed my Friday post. Whoops. What can I say, I was busy writing. At least I was for most of November so far. Yesterday I kind of fell off the wagon, which was a little ironic because I’ve been using the crappy weather as my excuse for not getting any writing done and yesterday was beautiful outside. But rather than take advantage of that gorgeous weather and go out and actually do something, I was huddled in my chair with a migraine on top of sinus pain and an allergic attack and a wonky stomach.

And I’m no longer sure the idea I chose for NaNo is the one I want to work on.

Sucks to me be, doesn’t it? LOL

The changing my mind thing is not new. I take heart in the fact that I did that once before, only I was 10,000 words and 1 week into NaNo when I changed my mind. And I still managed to win with the new story – I didn’t even need a boost from the original 10,000 words, which would have been perfectly acceptable because any words written during NaNo count.

Of course I was much younger then. ;-)

I finally sucked it up and went to one of the NaNo write-ins in Peterborough, and I’m glad I did. The new library up there is beautiful and the room they gave us to use was big and bright and airy. I met up with a great bunch of people and if at times we did more talking than writing it was because we were all so enthusiastic.

So yeah, even though it’s a pain in the butt to have to drive to Peterborough two or three times a week (I still have my speculative fiction class on Tuesdays), I’ll be going to more of these write-ins. Maybe I’ll even get a decent chunk of writing in.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Happy All Hallows Eve!

From ghoulies and ghosties
And long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night,
Good Lord, deliver us!

It’s that time of year when the veil between worlds is at its thinnest, and who better to help us celebrate than the father of horror himself, Edgar Allan Poe?

Believe it or not, when I was first introduced to Poe, it was as a poet. Imagine my surprise, and pleasure, when I discovered he wrote prose as well. The Raven is probably Poe’s best known poem, and what poem could be more appropriate to share on Halloween?

The Raven

by Edgar Allan Poe

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
"'Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door-
Only this, and nothing more."

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow;- vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow- sorrow for the lost Lenore-
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore-
Nameless here for evermore.

And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me- filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating,
"'Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door-
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door;-
This it is, and nothing more."

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
"Sir," said I, "or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you"- here I opened wide the door;-
Darkness there, and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, "Lenore?"
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, "Lenore!"-
Merely this, and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
"Surely," said I, "surely that is something at my window lattice:
Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore-
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;-
'Tis the wind and nothing more!"

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore;
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door-
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door-
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore.
"Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou," I said, "art sure no craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore-
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning- little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door-
Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
With such name as "Nevermore."

But the Raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered- not a feather then he fluttered-
Till I scarcely more than muttered, "Other friends have flown before-
On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before."
Then the bird said, "Nevermore."

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
"Doubtless," said I, "what it utters is its only stock and store,
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore-
Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore
Of 'Never- nevermore'."

But the Raven still beguiling all my fancy into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and door;
Then upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore-
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking "Nevermore."

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o'er,
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o'er,
She shall press, ah, nevermore!

Then methought the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose footfalls tinkled on the tufted floor.
"Wretch," I cried, "thy God hath lent thee- by these angels he hath sent thee
Respite- respite and nepenthe, from thy memories of Lenore!
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil! -
Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted-
On this home by Horror haunted- tell me truly, I implore-
Is there- is there balm in Gilead?- tell me- tell me, I implore!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us- by that God we both adore-
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore-
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore."
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

"Be that word our sign in parting, bird or fiend," I shrieked, upstarting-
"Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken!- quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted- nevermore!

I really wanted to share a video of Vincent Price reading this poem, but I couldn’t find one with decent audio quality. I’m sure you’ll agree though, James Earl Jones makes a wonderful substitute.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen

No words in the last couple of weeks, so it follows there’s no wordage report.

I think you should know, this is not an isolated incident. This sort of thing happens to me every year about this time. The words seem to dry up in the month of October and I can only assume it’s my brain preparing itself for NaNoWriMo. You know, saving up the words for November.

It’s just so weird – September was such a good month writing-wise. I was establishing good writing habits, making progress on not one but two WIPs, getting some editing done, and then along comes October and . . . nothing.

And of course it doesn’t help that instead of beautiful autumn days where it’s crisp and cold, yet bright and sunny, we’ve had an unnaturally long series of grey, dismal, gloomy days. Sometimes with drizzle, sometimes with high winds. And if that’s not enough to depress a weather driven person (like me) I don’t know what is.

However . . . after a really bad end to last week I indulged in some shopping therapy on Saturday which seems to have revived my spirits somewhat. I have actually decided on my idea for NaNoWriMo this year. I sent a selection of five synopses for potential NaNo novels to a couple of writing buddies, but before I heard back from them I started getting ideas for one of them. And ironically, my friends both picked the same idea and it is not the one I’m going with. LOL

Seeing as NaNo starts at midnight on October 31, it’s pretty safe to say I’ll have words to report next Monday. Maybe even an excerpt to share on Friday. AND I already have a poem picked out for Wednesday from an author who’s better known for his prose than his poetry.

Wait a minute, what’s that? You’ve never heard of NaNoWriMo? You must be new to the blog. It stands for National Novel Writing Month. The best way to describe it is as writers from around the world joining together (figuratively, not literally) to write 50,000 words during the month of November.

It’s free to join and the prize is 50,000 (or more) words you wouldn’t have had otherwise. If you’d like more information and/or to sign up, click on this LINK. And if you do sign up, look me up on their site and add me as a buddy! You won't regret it, I promise. It's the most fun a writer can have.

Writers . . . start your lap tops!

Monday, October 15, 2018

The Double-edged Sword of Nostalgia

It's okay to look back at the past. Just don't stare.
~ Benjamin Dover

2 hours 43 minutes

Words from sprints:
Magic II – 0
Wandering Wizards – 1,189

Untimed words:
Wandering Wizards – 411

Total New words:
Magic II – 0
Wandering Wizards – 1,600

Once again my week started out strong writing-wise, and petered out by Friday. I was hoping to catch up a bit on the weekend, but . . .

Saturday I poured myself a cup of coffee and settled in for a long haul of editing and writing to make up for slacking off towards the end of the week. In the course of procrastinating before I actually got started, I decided to check out the files on a couple of USB sticks that were sitting on my desk. I may have been looking for something specific, like an idea for this year’s NaNo, but more likely I was just procrastinating.

At any rate, I stumbled across a few files that were encrypted – e-journals I kept in the early 90s. The problem is, they were written in WordPerfect (one of the early versions at that) and password protected. I haven’t used WordPerfect in…well, probably not since those files were created.

Apparently two of the files weren’t encrypted because at some point I was able to convert them to MS Word. And there went the rest of my Saturday – rereading those two files. One was from 1991/92 and the other was 1994.

It was pretty trippy, walking down memory lane. And interesting to see what’s changed and what hasn’t. Surprising in places too. While I’d like to say I was hit with a wave of nostalgia for the “good ole days” I really wasn’t. As Henry Wadsword Longfellow once said, “Let the dead Past bury its dead!”

So, I’ll leave the mystery of those encrypted files for another day – that nebulous day in the future when I have lots of time to spare for things like that. Instead I’ll turn my focus to the job ahead, mainly getting as much progress made on Wandering Wizards as possible.

And just to add a little extra spice to my writing life, I’ve signed up for the Speculative Fiction course again – all new workshops.

Last time I posted my in-class work on Fridays, but I think I’ll wait and see the results before I suspend my current 30 Weeks series. Like I said, these are all new workshops and a couple of them are going to be . . . challenging, to say the least.

So no more time for nostalgia, time to look forward.