NaNoWriMo

Sunday, November 07, 2010

NaNoWriMo 2010

imageScript Mill

Screen Name, a short novel for NaNoWriMo 2010.

Synopsis: Dana finally gets a big break, a studio commissions one of her movie pitches, but she’s already overwhelmed with a staff writing job at a Spanish-language daytime drama. She knows if she doesn’t meet her deadline she’ll never get hired again, but she also can’t abandon the job she has.

She finds her solution online with a “paper writing service” to create her first draft. When the actual script turns out to be better than anything she could have written herself, she decides to track down the talented writer behind the screen name.

Update 11/16/2010: after hitting 25,000 words I decided to change the title to Screen Name, which I think fits better. Though I was also toying with Screen Name/Screen Credit as the full title.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:57 am     NaNoWriMoComments (0)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Fundraising for NaNoWriMo

I’ve never actually talked much about the financing aspect of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). I donate every year (even though I work for them, too), but I’ve never made an appeal on my blogs for others to donate.

DSC04267rFor those of you not familiar with it, NaNoWriMo challenges ordinary mortals to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. No experience necessary! Tens of thousands of writers have not only participated since 1999 but dozens have also been published. The goal isn’t necessarily to get a book out in front of the public, but to start by getting it out of your head. 2007 marks my seventh year participating and will be my seventh novel.

Why do I do it? It’s a great writing exercise. I’m always surprised at what I can come up with when an absurd deadline is put in front of me. I enjoy the socializing on the forums (which I moderate) and I love the thrill of watching other writers find out what they had inside them. I’ve also met some of my best friends through the website. Yes, those crazy internet people ended up being really nice in person!

Here it is ... my appeal:

Please support me in my goal to raise $500 for National Novel Writing Month by November 17th ... that’s the night of our first write-a-thon, called The Night of Writing Dangerously.

You can donate by going to my fundraising page at FirstGiving, which operates as an intermediary to track donations made in my name. The money goes towards the program which is not only the website for adults to tackle that novel they’ve always wanted to write but also the Young Writers Project which creates in-school programs for students to tackle free-writing as part of their curriculum.

For every $5 you donate via my FirstGiving page, I’ll enter you in my Limited Edition Candy Drawing! Just leave a comment here and I’ll hook it up with that drawing.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:59 am     NaNoWriMoComments (3)

Saturday, December 02, 2006

How This Novel Was Different

This year I had no idea. I had confidence that I could craft something as the month went along. I’d never really done that before, I’ve always had rather fully-formed ideas in my head before I sit down to write.

In September I went to Oakland for a staff meeting for NaNoWriMo and in the car from the airport I asked Chris Baty what I should write this year, as I was pretty much stumped. He said, “I should be about candy.”

It sounded like a solid idea.

I came up with the idea for a character who liked all the candy. Really all I knew about her was that she had a normal, low-key job and she liked the kinds of candy that I don’t like, just so people wouldn’t think it was autobiographical.

I came up with an opening line: Natalie woke up with a lollipop stuck in her hair.

That was about it. I went into November with those two things and just went for it.

The plot was slow, not that there wasn’t stuff going on in the novel, none of it had much of an overarching point.

Then I found a groove and started crafting a story that could not only make a worthy novel (I felt) but in my super-human confidence, I’m convinced I’ve created a new genre: Confectionery Fiction.

The reason that I mention all this is that I’ve been writing these novels for six years now. Each novel is different, different styles, different genres and POVs, different plots and characters explored. But they were all stories that were already in me.

The Exchange (‘01) was an idea I’d been trying to figure out a format for earlier that year, but set it aside after about 16 pages of a screenplay. It wasn’t visual so I abandoned it, only to find that it was perfect to explore as a novel.

The Russian Watercolors (‘02) was a great idea I’d been mulling as a screenplay as well, and thought I was never going to get around the screenplay so I should at least write it in novel form. I diverged from my original plot rather early on, but was actually pleased with some of the things I created.

The Saint of Runaways (‘03) was a grand attempt at a feminist thesis sort of novel. It was a play idea I’d been toying with for about 10 years. I wanted to explore the life of an obscure saint that I’d decided was the basis of one of the Grimm’s fairy tales. It didn’t exactly do that, but I was glad I worked on it.

An Alphabetical Order (‘04) was the first novel I went into without a plot but a pretty strong idea of themes. I started with the title and the simple idea of a woman detained by airport security and held for 72 days because of some really contentious argument she gets into. I was so pleased that I was able to get so much out of such a scant idea that I adapted it into an unfinished play.

Heap (‘05) was based on another screenplay idea I’d failed to do anything with for almost ten years. It’s nothing like the movie it would have made and I consider it one of the worst things I’ve ever written.

This year was different because I wrote a novel that I didn’t know I had in me. All the others were there for years. It was really surprising to find ideas that hadn’t been “thought to death” and it gives me hope that I can keep doing this, that I will always have stories to tell if I just look.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:32 am     NaNoWriMoComments (4)

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Novel Update: Writing Day 9

I went candy shopping today. I’ve been participating in National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo) over on Candy Blog, which in addition to the novel writing, the photography assignments, the travel, the forum moderation, the day job and the family commitments, well, I’m a little drained when I sit down.

I needed a little candy recharge for the blog. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got lots of candy in the house, just nothing I feel like writing about at the moment. So off to Walgreen’s in Echo Park. At that point it seemed silly to drive all the way to Hollywood, especially since parking is usually problematic at Sabor y Cultura today because of the Holiday Parade. So I went to the Silverlake Coffee Company.

I sat next to the drink cooler, which people would open and close and it would blow cold air on the back of my neck. I plowed through though and wouldn’t leave until I got at least 6K.

time…...running tally….words…words/minute
1:00 PM…..41,545…......712…...47.47
1:15 PM…..42,049…......504…...33.60
1:30 PM…..42,589…......540…...36.00
1:45 PM…..43,102…......513…...34.20
2:00 PM…..43,716…......614…...40.93
2:15 PM…..44,080…......364…...24.27
2:30 PM…..44,384…......304…...20.27
2:45 PM…..44,773…......389…...25.93
3:00 PM…..45,305…......532…...35.47
3:15 PM…..45,755…......450…...30.00
3:30 PM…..46,333…......578…...38.53
3:48 PM…..47,015…......682…...37.89

The plot is going along. The writing isn’t terribly inspired, but I covered a lot. Natalie recovered from her food poisoning. Gary decided to rally his sisters, who just so happen to have the perfect skills. Fiddy is a paralegal who will help with the legal parts of forming their own company. Rachel is a graphic designer who takes a stab at the wrapper designs and names for the new candy bar line. And eventually Nickie will come back and handle the wholesale accounts for the candy bars. Gary, who works by day as an adhesives technician for a feminine napkin factory will handle the production concerns.

Natalie is pleased as punch and tries to put the whole possible lawsuit behind her by offering to send all the wrappers back to Roger at the ABCandy factory. Gary, of course, thinks that just contacting him was a horrible idea legal-wise. We’ll see.

I need to start tying things up. I think I was planning that the candy would end up being manufactured by Roger in a sub-contracting deal, but I just don’t see that happening right now. I only have 3,000 words and about 10,000 more plot points. This is my usual position around this time of the month.

34.34 words per minute average
6,182 words for session
3 hours

And of course I’ve been forgetting “this day in history” this month:

2001: 42,589
2002: 35,482
2003: 34,512
2004: 35,175
2005: 36,008
2006: 47,015

Wow, I’m WAY ahead of where I have been historically. Which leaves me plenty of room to write another 10K to bring it to a close.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 4:21 pm     NaNoWriMoComments (5)

Saturday, November 25, 2006

This Day in NaNoHistory

More mindless statistics.

Here’s where I’ve been historically on the 25th.

2001: 35,025
2002: 35,482
2003: 34,512
2004: 35,175
2005: 29,714
2006: 34,141

So this year isn’t as bad as last year, well, except that last year the 25th was a Friday, not a Saturday and I still had two more days in the weekend to write.

But otherwise things are remarkably consistent. I’m remarkably consistent.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 4:34 pm     NaNoWriMoComments (0)

Novel Update: Writing Day 8

I’ll probably beat myself up tomorrow, but I just didn’t feel like writing today. I got a little laundry done and gave the dog a much needed bath and didn’t head out for writing until 2:30. I figured earlier this week it would only take 8K each day to get my word count.

It’s not that I can’t or haven’t had 8K or more days. But they’re very tiring, both creatively and bodily. The idea of having three back to back is especially draining. I can manage it on the weekend because I’ve had a full week to build up things in my mind, not just the big picture stuff, but patches of dialogue and images and all that. Though it rarely comes out like I have it in my head, it’s a pretty detailed map. (I just looked it up and found that I had a couple of 8K+ days in ‘04 ... what the hell was I doing?)

time…...running tally….words…words/minute
3:00 PM…..34,661…......520…...34.67
3:15 PM…..35,400…......739…...49.27
3:30 PM…..36,040…......640…...42.67
3:45 PM…..36,388…......348…...23.20
4:00 PM…..36,931…......543…...36.20
4:15 PM…..37,449…......518…...34.53
4:30 PM…..37,967…......518…...34.53
4:45 PM…..38,458…......491…...32.73
5:00 PM…..39,029…......571…...38.07
5:15 PM…..39,619…......590…...39.33
5:30 PM…..40,264…......645…...43.00
5:45 PM…..40,833…......569…...37.93

The good news story-wise is that my characters have stopped fooling around (well, they’re still fooling around, I’m just not devoting any text to it) and Natalie not only made another batch of Splodio bars, she sold half to a friend of Gary’s sister and the other half she’s put up for auction on eBay. At the end of my writing session she gets a rather disheartening voice mail from the guy at the candy factory explaining that he’s having her auction pulled because she’s misrepresenting her candy bars as the real thing. Legal papers will follow when I do the research to figure out what sort of papers she’d get.

Of course Natalie doesn’t take this well and is devastated. Well, that and it seems that her celebratory brunch with Gary has given her food poisoning. She never should have tried the Eggs Benedict. Writing about vomiting doesn’t make me feel so hot either.

34.32 words per minute average
6,692 words for session
3.25 hours

POSTED BY Cybele AT 4:20 pm     NaNoWriMoComments (1)

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Novel Update: Writing Day 6

Today was a stealth writing day. I didn’t announce my writing session on the forums as I usually do. Not so much because I didn’t want company, I just didn’t know how long I would be there or if I would stay.

Back at Sabor y Cultura. It wasn’t that busy before 11 AM but I took my regular table, which was still there this week. Sometimes they move the tables around and I have to swap them out so I can have a larger one that’s a little lower than the others. When I’m sitting there for three hours straight an inch of height can make a difference in ergonomics.

time…...running tally….words…words/minute
11:15 AM…..19,857…......562…...37.47
11:30 AM…..20,345…......488…...32.53
11:45 AM…..20,952…......607…...40.47
12:00 PM…..21,330…......378…...25.20
12:15 PM…..21,743…......413…...27.53
12:30 PM…..22,325…......582…...38.80
12:45 PM…..22,845…......520…...34.67
1:00 PM…...23,349…......504…...33.60
1:15 PM…...23,958…......609…...40.60
1:30 PM…...24,536…......578…...38.53
1:45 PM…...25,088…......552…...36.80
2:00 PM…...25,522…......434…...28.93
2:15 PM…...26,046…......524…...34.93

In the novel world I figured out some plot stuff during the week and had a pretty good sense of what to do today. I always feel better when I have at least the first three thousand words for the session worked out in my head.

I sped through some things in an effort to give myself more story, character development and plot for the rest of the month. Natalie finished the birthday gift for Gary and presented a full dozen on the home-made Splodio bars in the original package to him at his birthday dinner.

They went over great, not only did they win Gary’s full devotion, but his sisters are pretty impressed too. Just for giggles I tried my first sex scene (or start of it) today. Never done one of those before, but I’m a grown woman and it’s about time.

What’s more important is that I know where to go with the next 25K. Or at least I think I do. Tomorrow I’m angling for another 7K to get me close to my weekend goal.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 8:04 pm     NaNoWriMoComments (0)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

A Brief Family Guy Interlude About Noveling

It’s NaNoWriMo HaWaDa (National Novel Writing Month Halfway Day)!

Here’s a little something to keep you typing:

Link to Google Video

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:58 pm     NaNoWriMoComments (0)

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Novel Update: Writing Day 4

Ah, another afternoon out at Sabor y Cultura in Hollywood. Besides the initial 1,700 at the Staff Writing Session, I wonder if this novel will be written entirely there?

time…...running tally….words…words/minute
11:00 AM…...11,035…......672…...44.80
11:15 AM…...11,542…......507…...33.80
11:30 AM…...11,813…......271…...18.07
11:45 AM…...12,307…......494…...32.93
12:00 PM…...12,819…......512…...34.13
12:15 PM…...13,331…......512…...34.13
12:30 PM…...13,877…......546…...36.40
12:45 PM…...13,877…......BREAK
1:00 PM…....13,877…......BREAK
1:15 PM…....14,280…......403…...26.87
1:30 PM…....14,700…......420…...28.00
1:45 PM…....15,330…......630…...42.00
2:00 PM…....15,876…......546…...36.40
2:10 PM…....16,268…......392…...39.20

32.81 words per minute average
5,905 words for session
3.5 hours (including 30 minute break)

Today there wasn’t much plot, but many, many words.

Natalie was woken by her cell phone ringing and the head of production of the Altadena Bernardino Candy Company (ABCco) offering her some help in finding her Splodio stuff. He bids her to come down to the factory to see what he found.

She tours the factory, which never made Splodios, for a 5,000 word passage where she sees the entire production line of the popular ABCco product, Orange Paradise Balls (orange flavored coconut spheres covered in milk chocolate). I have no idea if that’s how such a thing would be manufactured or not, but it sounded good to me!

She left with a case of wrappers from all the old varieties of Splodios and has now resolved to make her own at home, thinking that the list of ingredients on the label should be the same as a recipe. (Little does she know.)

The further I get into this novel the more I wonder if it’s novel worthy material. I’m able to write it just fine and maybe I’m underselling it because it’s not been a particularly difficult novel to wrestle from my brain.

Tomorrow I’m back to Sabor y Cultura to try to get another 6K.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:54 pm     NaNoWriMoComments (0)

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Novel Update: Writing Day 2

Today I wrote at home. I rarely write at home, but The Man went down to Laguna to see his folks so I had the house to myself.

The problem with writing in the house is all the distractions. So made a little challenge for myself that I could go take photos of candy after I got to 4,000 words for the day (tomorrow I have to get 6,000 words to get back on track for the week).

time…...running tally….words…words/minute
1:00 PM…....2,468…......721…...48.07
1:15 PM…....2,890…......422…...28.13
1:30 PM…....3,241…......351…...23.40
1:45 PM…....3,590…......349…...23.27
2:00 PM…....4,042…......452…...30.13

I don’t really care for writing at the dining room table especially with my noisy neighbors, so next time I might try the seclusion of the back room.

The story is crap but I’ve found out that my novel is set in Los Angeles.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:04 pm     NaNoWriMoComments (0)

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Out of the Gate

If nothing else, this year’s novel will be remarkable because of the way it started. I know in the past I’ve stayed up late and started at midnight before, but this was the first time I joined others to wait for the toll of midnight.

Chris Baty invited the NaNoWriMo staff over to the office to start the month off. I was already up in San Francisco, so I could hardly refuse the invite. (Besides, I had candy to get rid of!)

I really have very little clue about what I’m writing, and though it’s a little clearer now that I’ve started, I fully intended to toss out whatever meager words I logged that night.

Here’s the synopsis of what I did:

time…...running tally….words…words/minute
12:15 AM…....525…......525…...35.00
12:30 AM…....1,096….....571…...38.07
12:45 AM…....1,570….....474…...31.60
12:52 AM…....1,747….....177…...25.29

But I’m starting to think that I might keep what I have so far.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 5:00 am     NaNoWriMoComments (0)

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

All Novel’s Eve

I don’t usually start my novel right at midnight. Oh, sure, I have in the past. But I usually toss those words out and start over. (Though I have to admit as a swimmer I never had a false start in all my meets.)

So tonight I have to start because I agreed to go to a midnight write.

Which means I have to know what I’m doing, at least enough for the first thousand words or so.

I’ve been thinking about characters and maybe an arc.

I was thinking if the novel is going to be focused on candy, it should have a character in it that loves every candy I detest.

I was also thinking there should be a quest ... that my main character has to be searching for something or trying to do something. You know, something. I haven’t figured out what it is. I haven’t decided anything past the first sentence and scene.

If that doesn’t work, I guess I can always start over!

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:02 pm     NaNoWriMoComments (5)

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The Titling of a NaNovel

I haven’t decided what to write for NaNoWriMo this year. All I have is a topic. Candy. (It’s about time I wrote a candy novel.)

I thought the whole thing with starting with a title back in ‘04 worked pretty well (that was the year of An Alphabetical Order). I also thought I would work in a different genre this year, as I always do. I’m running out of new POVs, so this one might be 3rd Person Limited.

The current title is:

Limited Liability Chocolate, an LLC

But I’ve been thinking of other titles as well, since I’m going for the Comedy genre. (The LLC novel would be a satire, I believe, somehow involving corporations and chocolate, as the title would imply.)

A new title that I’m mulling over would go something like this:

A Novel That Has Lollipops in It

Of course that breaks my rule about having a title that alphabetically sorts high.

It’s a work in progress.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 4:24 pm     NaNoWriMoComments (6)

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Novel Update (writing day 10)

I took off from work about 30 minutes early and headed over to Sabor y Cultura for my final session.

I had very little clue how I was goign to bring this thing to a close within 5,000 words, but I think part of the lesson of NaNoWriMo is giving up on those plans that one might have at the beginning of the month. I might have though that I was going to write a road trip, a dark comedy about a poor downtrodden fellow who never gets a break.

What I ended up writing is a novel that never quite gets there. I throw a lot of crap at Daniel and he seems to bear it well, but not as well as I thought he would (what do I know?). But that’s okay, it provides drama.

So, what was supposed to be a story of Daniel, who loses his family in a series of terrible tragedies that he seems unable to prevent or mitigate yet he maintains a sort of loose life affirming demeanor. He works as a sort of character/production assistant on a wee-hours-of-the-morning TV show. The morning that he loses his latest apartment in a house fire (and manages to save the landlady from certain death) he ends up getting the assignment that will promote him to the next level. He’s going to be the remote producer for a “road trip” where he is to pick up a family (brother from St. Louis and parents from South Carolina), document their trip and then return them to Pittsburgh for a reunion/re-enactment for a Christmas tree cutting.

What ends up happening is that Daniel hasn’t borne these tragedies as well as I thought he would. He’s much moodier than I’d thought he’d be, but luckily the cameraman I sent him on this trip with also happens to have gotten copious therapy for his traumas during the first Gulf war. He guides Daniel through accepting his inability to move past his inability to change anything. Blah, blah, blah. Anyway, so I abandoned the road trip when they got to St. Louis, had them turn around and come back. Happy ending.

time…...running tally….words…words/minute
6:00 PM…....45,101….......0…....0
6:15 PM…....45,772….....671…...44.73
6:30 PM…....46,427….....655…...43.67
6:45 PM…....47,069….....642…...42.80
7:00 PM…....47,634….....565…...37.67
7:15 PM…....48,224….....590…...39.33
7:30 PM…....48,835….....611…...40.73
7:45 PM…....49,516….....681…...45.40
8:00 PM…....50,137….....621…...41.40
8:15 PM…....50,758….....621…...41.40
8:27 PM…....51,178….....420…...35.00

25 hours 29 minutes of writing
33.47 words per minute average
5,118 words per session
51,178 words total

Anyway, it’s all done. My worst novel to date.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:11 pm     NaNoWriMoComments (3)

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Novel Update (writing day 8)

Since it’s Sunday, I figured Sabor y Cultura was a good bet. Parking is always easier over there on Sundays because there’s no time limit. But I forgot about the Hollywood Christmas Parade. No parking on Hollywood Blvd. today. No matter, I found a spot in their parking lot instead of on the street.

time…...running tally….words…words/minute
1:30 PM…....36,008….......0…....0
1:45 PM…....36,533….....525…...35.00
2:00 PM…....37,175….....642…...42.80
2:15 PM…....37,810….....635…...42.33
2:30 PM…....38,409….....599…...39.93
2:45 PM…....39,026….....617…...41.13
3:00 PM…....39,565….....539…...35.93
3:15 PM…....40,223….....658…...43.87
3:30 PM…....40,778….....555…...37.00
3:45 PM…....41,227….....449…...29.93
4:00 PM…....41,823….....596…...39.73
4:15 PM…....42,374….....551…...36.73
4:30 PM…....42,915….....541…...36.07
4:37 PM…....43,164….....249…...35.57


Session summary:
38.27 words per minute average
7,156 words today
3 hours and 7 minutes

To Date Summary:
21 hours 40 minutes of writing so far
33.15 words per minute average
6,836 words left
3.44 hours of writing left on pace

This date in History:
2004: 42,108
2003: 34,512
2002: 35,482
2001: 42,589

Happily there was no recurrance of food poisoning either, which means a normal length writing session. I still need another long session to finish up my 50K, possibly two to bring the story to a close. I don’t really want to talk about where I’m at with the actual story, but I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how my characters might score some crack for their drug addicted travelmate. Luckily they know as little on the subject as I do and the fumbling around produces thousands of words and a very, very, very long and wordy argument.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:25 pm     NaNoWriMoComments (5)

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Novel Update (writing day 7)

It’s a long weekend and it’s quite a nice feeling to have all the socializing and obligation out of the way and know that the rest of the weekend the tasks at hand are laundry and writing.

I set out for The Silverlake Coffee Company again, because it’s been serving me well. My nerve/muscle spasm problem with my left forearm seems to have dissipated, hopefully because I switched my mouse buttons on my laptop and of course I mouse lefty at work, too. I’m a little troubled by the ergonomics of The Silverlake Coffee Company because of the table height and I might revert to Sabor y Cultura again tomorrow.

I’m still behind targets, and at this point I think I’m going to have to take one evening next week to finish up, as I doubt I will even attempt a 14K day tomorrow. There’s no need for me to finish early this year, as I have no party to plan, just my journey to the homeland of NaNoWriMo, which will be on December 1st.

time…...running tally….words…words/minute
12:45 PM…....29,714….......0…....0.00
01:00 PM…....30,246….....532…...35.47
01:15 PM…....30,758….....512…...34.13
01:30 PM…....31,316….....558…...37.20
01:45 PM…....31,875….....559…...37.27
02:00 PM…....32,366….....491…...32.73
02:15 PM…....32,910….....544…...36.27
02:30 PM…....33,106….....196…...13.07
02:45 PM….....break….......0…....0.00
03:00 PM…....33,780….....674…...44.93
03:15 PM…....34,284….....504…...33.60
03:30 PM…....34,935….....651…...43.40
03:45 PM…....35,407….....472…...31.47
04:00 PM…....36,008….....601…...40.07

Session Summary:
32.28 words per minute average
6,294 words today
3 hours and 15 minutes

To Date Summary:
18 hours and 35 minutes of writing so far
32.29 words per minute average
13,992 words left
7 hours and 15 minutes of writing left on pace

This Date in History:
2004: 35,175
2003: 34,512
2002: 35,482
2001: 40,388

The bulk of the text today took place in the past as I gave an account of how Daniel got the nickname Tragic at college. He leaves tomorrow for St. Louis. I really think he’s going to hit the road. Really.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 5:21 pm     NaNoWriMoComments (0)

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Novel Update (writing day 6)

Since yesterday was reasonably successful, I ran some errands this morning (including going to the mall to get some See’s for a candy swap with a great Candy Blog reader in Israel) and then stopped back over at The Silverlake Coffee Company.

Since it was round lunchtime, I ordered a Turkey and Cranberry sandwich with Swiss cheese and a cup of the organic coffee. They apologized profusely that they needed to make a new pot of the organic and it would be about four minutes. Oh no! Really fresh coffee! How could I aruge with that?

I got down to business. I intended to make two sessions today, but now I’m totally wiped and am in the middle of spot treating one of the upholstered chairs before Thanksgiving company, so today’s tally will have to suffice. I still have next weekend and the most important thing is that I barrelled through the twenties because I really don’t like them much.

At some point I’m going to have to make up for the 5K weekend days with an additional 10K day or something. I’ll figure it out later.

time…...running tally….words…words/minute
01:00 PM…....24,663….......0…....0.00
01:15 PM…....25,108….....445…...29.67
01:30 PM…....25,483….....375…...25.00
01:45 PM…....26,109….....626…...41.73
02:00 PM…....26,622….....513…...34.20
02:15 PM…....27,208….....586…...39.07
02:30 PM…....27,700….....492…...32.80
02:45 PM…....28,408….....708…...47.20
03:00 PM…....28,944….....536…...35.73
03:15 PM…....29,493….....549…...36.60
03:22 PM…....29,714….....221…...14.73


Session summary:
35.57 words per minute average
5,051 words today
2 hours and 22 minutes

To Date Summary:
15 hours and 20 minutes of writing so far
32.30 words per minute average
20,286 words left
10 hours and 30 minutes of writing left on pace

This date in History:
2004: 16,855
2003: 28,857
2002: 30,672
2001: 21,030

I’m so close to getting the show on the road, literally. Maybe next weekend I can get my intrepid group to St. Louis. Or maybe get Hari arrested. Or maybe both.

I have to say that I’m proud of my writing pace this year. I’ve learned to enter my sessions with a full mind and at least a plan for what to do with the characters, some conflicts and unfolding the backstory. I was hoping to bring my novel in at 24 hours of writing time. But I should definitely be able to hit a 28 hour target.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 5:04 pm     NaNoWriMoComments (2)

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Novel Update (writing day 5)

I’m in a serious funk lately. I know it doesn’t have anything to do with anything in particular, but it probably doesn’t help the novel much.

However, in true “write anyway” fashion, I did get something accomplished today (besides my final wrimo radio interview). I might celebrate with a trip to See’s. Or maybe I’ll console myself with a trip to See’s.

Today I decided to steer clear of Sabor y Cultura, even though I don’t think they’re responsible for my upset tummy last week. Instead I stuck to my own neighborhood and gave The Silverlake Coffee Company another try after boycotting them for two years. I was pleased to see that there were happy writing campers there (the tables against the wall were coated with laptopped folks) so I found a little table tucked next to the milk & sugar station across from the espresso machine. They were playing music, but I didn’t mind, as it was The Who’s Tommy (the original band version, not the soundtrack to the Rock Opera or movie version).

I started with a cup of organic coffee and the much heralded Espresso Banana Smoothie, which was thankfully not too sweet. Then later I had a bagel & cream cheese and several ibuprofen and a fill up of coffee.

time…...running tally….words…words/minute
12:08 PM…....19,642….......0…....0.00
12:15 PM…....19,789….....147…...21.00
12:30 PM…....20,231….....442…...29.47
12:45 PM…....20,753….....522…...34.80
01:00 PM…....21,315….....562…...37.47
01:15 PM…....21,686….....371…...24.73
01:30 PM…....22,283….....597…...39.80
01:45 PM…....22,660….....377…...25.13
02:00 PM…....23,015….....355…...23.67
02:15 PM…....23,543….....528…...35.20
02:30 PM…....24,151….....608…...40.53
02:45 PM…....24,663….....512…...34.13

Session summary:
31.78 words per minute average
5,021 words today
2 hours and 38 minutes

To Date Summary:
778 minutes of writing so far
31.70 words per minute average
25,337 words left
13.32 hours of writing left on pace

This date in History:
2004: 16,855
2003: 28,857
2002: 30,672
2001: 21,030

I feel like I should probably have continued writing today, but I’m not that far off-pace and maybe I can get another 6 or 7K tomorrow to get me back on track for the big push next weekend. I still get the feeling that the novel is supposed to be about 75K as I’m a few scant words from the midpoint and still not out of the city for the supposed road-trip that this novel is supposed to be about. But hey, maybe it’s not supposed to be about the road trip at all.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:21 pm     NaNoWriMoComments (1)

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Novel Update (writing day 4)

Today was another day of not much writing getting done. I’m way behind even my modest targets.

My intention was to go over to the Farmers Market for the afternoon, write either at the book store there or at the Farmers Market itself and then catch up with some other food bloggers at 5PM at La Loteria.

Well, things didn’t quite work out. My battery has been acting up, so I needed to plug in but couldn’t find a spot. And my tummy’s still a little unhappy from yesterday, so the smells were not helping.

I ditched the place and headed towards Rocktitlan on Fountain and Wilton in hopes that I could catch a few thousand words there and then head back to my early dinner thing. No such luck. They were closed, perhaps for good?

I then went all the way back to Silverlake and got some nice soothing eggs and toast and sat down to get productive. And I was. For about 45 minutes, until it was pointed out to me that The Coffee Table no longer offers electricity to its patrons. ALL of the outlets inside and on the back patio are inoperative (apparently as a choice, not bad wiring).

So, I packed up, went to Trader Joe’s to get some consolation candy and came home. Probably a good plan as the tummy is still unhappy but I’m sad I’m missing the blogger thing.

Here’s the specs for the current session:
time…...running tally….words…words/minute
2:30 AM…....15,632….......0…....0.00
2:45 AM…....15,955….....323…...21.53
3:00 AM…....16,485….....530…...35.33

This day in history:
2004: 11,862
2003: 14,069
2002: 16,340
2001:  9,371

Maybe I’ll try to write some more now.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:49 pm     NaNoWriMoComments (3)

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Novel Update (writing day 3)

I had high hopes of 6K or 7K today. Plenty of time, lots of thoughts as I’ve had all week to build up a whole session’s worth of writing.

Unfortunately, somwhere along the way I ingested some sort of powerful, um, food poison or something. So the session only lasted two hours or so. But productive ones.

Anyway, the novel is still stuck in Pittsburgh. But I did a lot to get things on the road and I think my MC might get this novel on the road. He leaves “on Saturday” and I know that the novel is on either Wednesday or Thursday.

time…...running tally….words…words/minute
11:15 AM…...11,417….......0…....0.00
11:30 AM…...11,835….....418…...27.87
11:45 AM…...12,283….....448…...29.87
12:00 AM…...12,696….....413…...27.53
12:15 AM…...13,221….....525…...35.00
12:30 AM…...13,759….....538…...35.87
12:45 AM…...14,170….....411…...27.40
01:00 AM…...14,793….....623…...41.53
01:15 AM…...15,254….....461…...30.73
01:30 AM…...15,632….....378…...25.20

Session Summary:
31.22 words per minute
4,215 words in writing session
2 hours and 15 minutes

To Date Summary:
475 minutes of writing so far
32.91 words per minute average
34,368 words left
17.41 hours of writing left on pace

This day in history:
2004: 11,862
2003: 14,069
2002: 16,340
2001: 9,371

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:19 pm     NaNoWriMoComments (1)

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Novel Update (writing day 2)

Today I went back to Sabor y Cultura in Hollywood. Parking was a little easier, as it was Sunday and all street parking is free. It also happens that the little lot behind the building has free spots on Sunday that are available if you ask.

The plot is progressing, though today’s chapter seemed a bit slow and involved a little too much setup. I suppose it’s all stuff that’s relevant to later stuff. I also spent a little time fixing stuff earlier in the novel so that I could insert new stuff. I only added word count, though of course it makes things go slower. This explains my slow start for the first half hour.

I found a better table today, too. The one I was working on yesterday was a little small, wobbled and a little high, which mean that my arms were at an awkward angle. When working hours at a time, ergonomics are kind of important. I had another Mexican mocha. They were out of croissants so I had an unsatisfying slice of Manhattan cheesecake.

time….running tally….words…words/minute
2:00 PM…....6,487….......0…...0.00
2:15 PM…....6,704….....217…..14.47
2:30 PM…....7,027….....323…..21.53
2:45 PM…....7,448….....421…..28.07
3:00 PM…....7,986….....538…..35.87
3:15 PM…....8,690….....704…..46.93
3:30 PM…....9,140….....450…..30.00
3:45 PM…....9,833….....693…..46.20
4:00 PM…...10,196….....363…..24.20
4:15 PM…...10,787….....591…..39.40
4:30 PM…...11,417….....630…..42.00

32.87 words per minute average
4,930 words in writing session
2 hours 30 minutes

At this rate, I’m on track to hit 50K in 19.15 hours more of writing sessions.

On this date in history:

2004: 0
2003: 4,009
2002: 7,988
2001: 4,853

POSTED BY Cybele AT 5:00 pm     NaNoWriMoComments (1)

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Novel Update (writing day 1)

Today I went to Sabor y Cultura. I got there a little before 11 AM and found a nice tiny table along the wall and plugged in.

I had a plain croissant and a large Mexican mocha (spiced hot chocolate with a shot of espresso).

I got a lot accomplished. I started the novel with a bang. Actually, it started with a house fire where my MC (Daniel) loses pretty much everything he owns. I also managed to get my main plot arc started by the 5K mark with my MC (Daniel) being told by his boss that he has to make a Christmas wish come true for an essay contest winner.

time…running tally…words…words/minute
11:15….....560….....560…..37.33
11:30…...1,008….....448…..29.87
11:45…...1,497….....489…..32.60
12:00…...2,070….....573…..38.20
12:15…...2,692….....622…..41.47
(got more coffee)
12:30…...2,909….....217…..14.47
12:45…...3,374….....465…..31.00
01:00…...4,046….....672…..44.80
01:15…...4,605….....559…..37.27
01:30…...5,172….....567…..37.80
01:45…...5,582….....410…..27.33
02:00…...6,233….....651…..43.40
02:10…...6,487….....254…..16.93

190.00 minutes total
34.14 words per minute average

In case you don’t want to take a glance further down the page, this day in history:

2004: 0
2003: 4,009
2002: 7,988
2001: 3,034

So, better than last year, but nowhere near that sophmore slump of the 2002! Tomorrow I’m going to try for about the same. 13,000 a weekend should allow me to cruise into the end of the month in style (who knows, maybe I’ll write an extra long novel this year).

POSTED BY Cybele AT 4:23 pm     NaNoWriMoComments (0)

Friday, November 04, 2005

I Know You Think I Haven’t Started

I know, I’m a bad example.

But I swear I’ll be caught up by the end of the weekend with the writing.

I’m hoping to do 5K tomorrow.

Also, expect some wonkiness with the blog. It’s moving.

You can go ahead and remember this url: http://www.typetive.com/fastfiction. That’s where you’ll find me soon.

Not now. There’s nothing there now. But soon.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:19 pm     NaNoWriMoComments (0)

Sunday, October 30, 2005

NaNoWriMo History Lesson

If you know me, you know that I’ve been obsessively documenting things for years. The whole NaNoWriMo thing fits very well with that. And for those of you just joining the NaNoWriMo program, you’ll find out that I’ve been conducting an experiment for the past two years.

I have this theory that for each of us exist the perfect writing conditions. And if I keep track of my writing, I might actually stumble across the formula by trial and error. To that end, I’ve been tracking my word count while writing in 15 minute increments. In the bigger scheme of things, I’ve been keeping track of my wordcount on a daily level and here’s how I’ve done over the past four years for each day of November:
...........2001…......2002…......2003…......2004
1…......3,032….....1,423….......850….........0
2…......3,034….....3,221….....3,276….........0
3…......3,034….....6,159….....3,276….........0
4…......3,034….....6,159….....3,276….........0
5…......3,034….....7,988….....4,009….........0
6…......4,853….....7,988….....4,009….........0
7…......7,699….....7,988….....4,009…....10,076
8…......7,699…....10,271….....7,031…....10,076
9…......7,699…....11,017…....11,536…....10,076
10….....9,371…....12,604…....11,536…....10,076
11….....9,371…....16,340…....11,536…....11,862
12….....9,371…....16,340…....14,069…....11,862
13….....9,371…....16,340…....14,069…....11,862
14….....9,371…....16,705…....14,069…....16,855
15…....12,096…....20,071…....23,954…....16,855
16…....14,824…....23,726…....27,099…....16,855
17…....16,754…....25,280…....27,099…....16,855
18…....16,754…....30,672…....27,099…....16,855
19…....21,030…....30,672…....28,857…....16,855
20…....25,076…....33,239…....31,733…....26,115
21…....25,076…....33,239…....31,733…....31,161
22…....25,076…....34,891…....31,733…....31,161
23…....25,076…....34,891…....31,733…....31,161
24…....35,025…....35,482…....34,512…....35,175
25…....40,388…....35,482…....34,512…....35,175
26…....42,589…....35,482…....34,512…....35,175
27…....42,589…....35,482…....34,512…....42,108
28…....48,512…....37,277…....38,247…....49,006
29…....50,046…....47,286…....47,330…....50,236
30…....51,426…....56,789…....50,455…....50,236

If nothing else, this chart shows that I never start well, I’m always behind in the middle and I always finish. Beyond that, the only thing that I’ve found has made me write is the desperate pursuit of documenting my obsessive wordcount obsession.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:09 pm     NaNoWriMoComments (1)

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Dreaming on the web

Since starting NaNoWriMo this year, the launch of the new forums brought the usual anxiety.

I awoke early on Sunday morning just to check how the forums were doing (launch didn’t go so well).

Since then I’ve been dreaming in forums.

Yes, my dreams are formatted as forum posts and replies.

Not all my dreams, I’m sure. But my dreams that I’ve remember are definitely oddly confined to a text exchange world.

I don’t know if this means that I’m spending too much time on the forums or if it means that I’m just learning a new language or if the wifi in the house is allowing me to tap into the site in my dreams.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:58 pm     NaNoWriMoCurious NewsComments (0)

Sunday, October 02, 2005

NaNoWriMo - Onward and Upward

I’m sitting here with a cup of coffee. Tepid, I found it in the coffee carafe this morning, leftover from yesterday. I reheated it and have just about finished it.

I got up early this morning mostly because I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t sleep yesterday either and I don’t know if it’s NaNoWriMo or just the fact that I’ve been getting to bed at a decent hour.

The new season of NaNoWriMo was supposed to launch yesterday. Though I was off at a wedding (one of two Lauras getting married this month), I was worried that I was going to miss all the excitement. I’m kind of glad I did.

The new year launched, signups started, the old users re-upped and the flood of virtual exuberance brought the server down. Now I can see all these posts up there on the boards, but I can’t log in, let alone respond. It’s a frustrating position to be in, but I think it’s one I need to experience and learn from. I’m one of those people who has grown up in this increasingly technologically sophisticated age and I do want stuff instantly.

I want to pause live TV, I want to see news as it happens, I want to be able to find anyone, anywhere they might be. Though you’d be suprised to hear that I don’t have a blackberry or sidekick. Instead I just sit at home in front of my keyboard.

Today, instead, I will go out. I need to get dog food, so I’ll also do some shopping at the same plaza. And then, if things are still down on the site, I’ll try to go out and do something else. I’m thinking a trip down to Little Tokyo might be in order - I’m just about out of candy right now.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:43 am     NaNoWriMoComments (0)

Friday, December 10, 2004

Because I Can

Ooh, I’ve been playing with excel again (and maybe a little photoshop).

I mean, if I’ve been keeping copious records of my writing time and results, I may as well do something with it.

The NaNoWriMo 2001-2004 Wordcount Daily Status Chart

I don’t know what this chart tells up. Click on it for fullscreen goodness. I think it says that I consistently finish. And my novels are a different color each year. And I do less writing at the beginning of the month than at the end.

So maybe I can’t figure out how I do it, but at least I can show you how it was done.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 5:30 pm     NaNoWriMoComments (0)

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Something Different Every Year

So here’s the wrap-up I promised.

Every year I want to do something different for National Novel Writing Month.

This year I wanted the NaNoWriMo experience of writing crap. In the sense that I had not idea what I was going to do, I was just going to write. And of course, I did write crap. Probably more crap per paragraph than I’ve written before. I just sat down on November 7th with a scant notion of an idea and just wrote. With no plan and no expectations.

What’s good that came out of it? There’s a good idea there. It’s actually an idea that might make a good play, so I’ll try to work on that.

For those who don’t care to download the PDF (and who can blame you), here’s a brief synopsis of what the story might be:

Maddie Fairfax was born with the unfortunate name of Kendra Gross. Sure, it wasn’t Ima Pigg, but it was bad enough that she thought that it was holding her back. So she changed her name to something less offensive - Rachel Watson. A nice bland name and she became a nice bland girl. Not happy with the bland life she thought long and hard this time and changed her name to Maddie Fairfax.

Maddie Fairfax was a big hit. She became a top residential real estate agent in Los Angeles with her face on bus benches and money in the bank. What she didn’t consider was that this was a new era. She boarded a plane in Las Vegas and when she went to catch her connecting flight, she found that she was no only on the no-fly list, but of such interest that she was immediately taken into custody for questioning.
And she’s held in the basement in an interrogation room for 72 days. She was eventually released, but of course changed slightly from her long isolation on Christmas Day. She heads to her parent’s house, who of course try to get her to go to Washington, DC to testify before the Senate about abuses of power by the Patriot Act. She visits with the Senator and before she starts off on her long drive across the country, she decides to go back home and change her name back to Kendra Gross.

Okay, the plot could use some work. But that’s what I wrote.

Next year I think I’m going to do a bit more work, maybe start over again with a tried and true plot. Maybe an adaptation.

Equally interesting are the stats:

Maddie - 76 instances
Maddie Fairfax - 50 instances
Rachel Watson - 42 instances
Kendra Gross - 29 instances
Los Angeles - 44 instances
Las Vegas - 25 instances
I - 2802 instances
name - 115 instances
and - 1773
alphabet (all forms) - 3 instances

counts
50,236 words
212,839 characters
1,485 paragraphs
4,508 sentences

averages
sentence/paragraph - 3.0
words/sentence - 11.1
characters/word - 4.0

readability
passive sentences - 2%
Flesch Reading Ease - 79.7
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level - 4.8

Finally, amount of time to write: 30.5 hours. No wonder it reads at less than a fifth grade level!

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:01 pm     NaNoWriMoComments (0)

Monday, November 29, 2004

Novel Update (writing day 10)

This evening’s writing session was not really much about writing. After all, I needed a scant 994 words.

What I needed to do was find a way to bring the story to a close. Of course there’s the old standby where everyone dies. Which I’ve used in two different novels before (okay, well in one of them it was absolutely appropriate seeing how it was the story of a martyr). But this one needed to be somehow motivated.

So I motivated my character to stop what she was doing and take a different path.

The session took place in my bed upstairs, since it was close and comfy and away from the distraction of the TV. My brother called in the middle, so that explains the lousy count for that one block.

time…running tally…words…words/minute
7:15…...49,388….....382…..25.47
7:30…...49,409…......21…...1.40
7:45…...49,942….....533…..35.53
7:54…...50,236….....294…..19.60

I’ll have a better wrap up later, but there it is, the final tally.

The whole thing took 30 1/2 hours to complete. One of these days I’m gonna write a better novel in about the same amount of time. Maybe that’s one of these months.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:34 pm     NaNoWriMoComments (0)

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Novel Update (writing day 9)

Eek! So close to 50K, yet so far from the end of the novel. Well, the title “novel” is debatable as well.

I started my day where I started my novel. I started my first day of novel writing three weeks ago at Espresso Mi Cultura.

time…running tally…words…words/minute
11:00…...42,351…....243…...16.20
11:15…...42,570…....219…...14.60
11:30…...42,754…....184…...12.27
11:45…...43,179…....425…...28.33
12:15…...43,658…....479…...31.93
12:30…...44,304…....646…...43.07
12:45…...44,652…....348…...23.20
13:00…...45,123…....471…...31.40

Then I headed down for some mano-a-nano with Russ at Panera near the airport (I always think the sight of landing planes is so cool - the cross Sepulveda Blvd. there at a scant few hundred feet above the road).

time…running tally…words…words/minute
2:30…...45,619…....496…...33.07
2:45…...46,171…....552…...36.80
3:00…...46,623…....452…...30.13
3:45…...47,042…....419…...27.93
4:00…...47,468…....426…...28.40
4:15…...48,011…....543…...36.20
4:30…...48,451…....440…...29.33
4:45…...48,615…....164…...10.93
5:00…...49,006…....391…...26.07

So I’m two days away from the deadline and a scant 1,000 words. I’ll make it, probably sometime tomorrow evening my blue wordcount bar will never even turn green, but go straight to purple on the NaNoWriMo forums.

I have no idea about what to do about the fact that my novel is going nowhere. There is no plot. There’s a story, perhaps, but the themes aren’t heavy enough to carry it. Ah well, it’s another experiment for me.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:38 pm     NaNoWriMoComments (0)

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During November it's all about me writing a novel. Sometimes it's about whalewatching. You know, and then there's other stuff.