Tuesday, November 30, 2004


November is over, and I have a new novel. Wow. Anyone who's interested can download the entire thing here: Bibliomorph.pdf (348kb). Final word count: 50,895. Right now, my main reaction to it all is that I'm glad I'm done. It's been a lot of writing and I was really ready to be finished with it. But unlike banging one's head against a wall, I'm also glad to have done it for reasons besides the fact that I got to stop.

It's pretty darn incredible to stop and think that I have actually written an entire novel. After the first chapter or two I had probably already surpassed the entire fiction output of my life up until that point, but I ended up getting it to 170+ pages. It's not going to be winning any awards or anything, but it's one long coherent story and it still completely boggles my mind that I was able to do that at all.

I'm also going to be reading novels entirely differently now that I have some first-hand experience of what goes into actually writing one. Already I find myself noticing and paying attention to more and different things because of the way I can imagine myself in the author's place. And I like that.

Thanks to everyone who read along and/or encouraged me as I went. It was a little nerve wracking at times to think that people would actually read the stuff I was spewing out, but it also helped me get things done, knowing that someone was waiting for the next installment. And I really appreciated the support and occasional brainstorming assistance. Congratulations also to Andrea, who finished a few days ago, and to Chris, who should finish tonight after he writes the last 7,500 (!) words.

We will now return to our regularly scheduled blogging.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Thankful List

So before Thanksgiving weekend is entirely over, I wanted to put up a brief list of things I'm thankful for. Here are some of the top things in my mind as of 4:23 on a Sunday afternoon in November.
  • Family, both given and chosen, those that could get together for Thanksgiving and those that couldn't.
  • My seven-year-old cousin informing me that I can be a kid for as long as I want.
  • Finally getting to play a little bit of music this weekend, which I haven't done for a long time.
  • Reading most of The Phantom Tollbooth out loud to Miriam, Rebecca, Emily and Jen.
  • Revisiting other fun books that I haven't read in a long time (probably another post on this later).
  • Cartas de una querida amiga en Costa Rica.
  • Continuing Studies classes, so I never have to stop feeling like a student.
  • Completing an entire year as a permanent employee, and still enjoying my job.
  • One way or another, my novel will be done in two days. (Done! Yay!)
  • Having many wonderful things in my life to be thankful for.

Monday, November 22, 2004


Just for fun, I started putting together a NaNoWriMo-themed playlist. These aren't things I listen to while I'm writing -- I've actually been finding silence better for that. But just songs that seem amusingly related somehow. The Mark Graham songs are the ones that got me started on this. So here's my list. Any other suggestions?

  • Mark Graham: Monkey with a Typewriter, Life is Hard When You're Dumb
  • The Beatles: Paperback Writer
  • Elvis Costello: Every Day I Write the Book
  • Sheryl Crow: The Book
  • Moxy Früvous: My Baby Loves a Bunch of Authors
  • Prokofiev: Suggestion Diabolique (whose idea was all this, anyway?)
  • Tom Waits: November, Looks Like I'm Up Shit Creek Again
  • They Might Be Giants: Impossible, No One Knows My Plan, I'm All You Think About (to be sung by the novel), Memo to Human Resources (for the line "I'm busy taking stock of all the things that I've forgot / And making mental notes of just exactly where I lost the plot")

Sunday, November 21, 2004

37,320 / 50,000

One of these days I'll get back to posting something other than NaNoWriMo updates. But "one of these days" will probably be December. I periodically have other things I want to post about, but no extra writing energy to actually do it. In the meantime, yeah, the story's still going on. It seems to be going pretty well sometimes (and less well at other times) and it's pretty cool even to have gotten this far. I just have to keep myself going until the end, and resist the temptation to summarize the rest of the novel in a few paragraphs.

Sunday, November 14, 2004


Writing was a bit of a slog today, but I managed to clear the 25,000 word mark in my novel a full day early. Very cool. Too tired right now to write any more than that.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Ragtime Ball

The thing that struck me most about the Ball last night was how few people I knew there. I mean, I know I graduated two and a half years ago and new students are showing up every year, but still, it was really sinking last night. And it was crowded enough to make it difficult to find the people I did know to dance with them. It was kind of sad.

But there were lots of good things about the dance, too. I did have some nice dances throughout the evening, and I enjoyed the performances. I never quite got used to Tina in a pink dress for Danse Libre, but she did an excellent job nonetheless. I thought Decadance and Swingtime were a lot of fun, too. And Jessica showed up from San Diego, which completely surprised me and almost capsized the dance I was in when I noticed her arriving. It was wonderful to get a few dances with her again.

The set up was a little odd this year. They only had the one room this time, but they put down marley in the outside corridor between the locker rooms and had extra dancing space there. That was really weird. At first I thought they weren't going to have music out there, since the band inside seemed like it would be loud enough to reach, but then they put on recorded music. To me, that was just a horrible mistake. It was far too close to the main room to have separate music going. When I take a break to get some fresh air or a drink or something, I like to keep listening to the band, and not have something else forced on me when I step outside. Of course, I have an extreme pet peeve about overlapping music, so that didn't help. But I guess it helped with the crowding a little bit, to have the extra space.

Anyway, I'm trying for another writing-full weekend here. If I can get another few thousand words in today and tomorrow, I'll hit the halfway point of my novel a day early, which would be really cool. I did a big chunk already this morning, so I just have to keep the ideas flowing.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Inflection and Enunciation

We started working on new monologues in my voice and speech class tonight. Again, we've got about 2-2.5 minutes each, but it's more of a scripted sort of thing this time than the more free-form demos we did before. So people are doing monologues from plays, or reading poems or speeches, etc. I wanted to do something from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, just because I love reading that book out loud. It was tricky finding a good, self-contained portion to do in such a short time frame, though. I was changing my mind up until the last minute and took two choices to show the professor. I did the first choice in class tonight, but then after talking it over, decided to switch to the second one for next time. One of the things she was commenting on for me tonight was variety of inflection, so if I do the scene that has dialogue in it, that will give me more opportunities to play with that. (It's part of the argument between Arthur Dent and Mr. Prosser about knocking his house down to build the bypass.) Another thing to work on for me was enunciation. She had told me to work on enunciating more last week, but now there are also things that I'm over-enunciating. Argh. Mostly things like aspirating the t's in words like "kettle" or "water." So anyway, those are my next challenges.

I'm debating whether or not to take a break from NaNoWriMo tonight. I'm kind of tired out from the last week of noveling, and I don't have a lot of ideas right now. But I'm also kind of nervous about dipping myself 1600 words in the hole. (Well okay, 1300, because I got a small buffer built up this weekend, but still.) I don't have to go anywhere tomorrow night, so maybe I'll just start typing then and get on a roll to catch up. We'll see.

Friday, November 05, 2004

6,956 / 50,000

That's the word count on my novel so far. A little behind schedule, but I've decided I'm mostly going to focus on word count milestones at the end of each weekend. That way I can use the extra weekend time to make up whatever writing I didn't manage during the week. So I've got about 5,000 words planned for the next couple of days.

So far, all this writing has been surprisingly fun. It's a little worrisome during the day when I'm not actually writing, because I don't really know what I'm going to do next. But once I get home and start typing, things start happening. Pretty neat. I just hope it keeps up, though. 'Cause I'm gonna need it.

The thing I find myself wondering about the most right now is pacing. I've never written anything remotely this big, so it's hard to tell whether I'm dragging stuff out too much or whether I'm going to run out of material before I get something that's actually novel-length. I know I started out kind of slower than I meant to -- I wasn't feeling very dramatic on November 1st, so I mostly just did a lot of background info. I think it's been picking up since then. I'll probably have to just reread the whole thing in December though. I'm too much in the middle of it right now to tell.

As for the physical act of writing itself, I've found an interesting way to get myself to be more productive. Sitting at a desk to type something like this just doesn't work for me at all. It's too easy to stand up and pace the room, which makes it hard to type and leads to distractions. Plus, my desk here at home isn't terribly ergonomic. But I've got a laptop! This is wonderful. I can just unplug it from anything and make myself cozy on the futon, sitting up with pillows and blankets and a cup of tea, and then type right on my lap. It's more comfortable for my body and it puts my hands in a better position. Being underneath my computer makes me less inclined to get up without a pressing reason. And only having a trackpad mouse (which I don't care for much) means I'm less likely to waste time checking email or surfing the web. It's easier to just type. So that's all pretty good.

Anyway, I'm heading off to Friday Night Waltz pretty soon, having managed to squeeze out another thousand words since I got home from work. Then it will be a weekend of typing.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004


Everybody go vote today!

Find your polling place (from Google).

Blog the Vote (from Blogger).

U.S. Inspires World With Attempt At Democratic Election (from The Onion)