Tuesday, November 30, 2010

An Excerpt in the Editing Stage

My Winner Certificate

I haven't named my novel yet.  For now, I'm the author of NaNoWriMo 2010.

Below is an excerpt from my NaNoWriMo 2010 novel.  Scene setup:  Rogelio is a mentally challenged man and Maria is his sister.  Their neighbors, Billy and Monica, are unable to have children of their own. 
“What are you doing?” screamed Maria.  “Who is that!”
“Just go, Maria.  Hurry up and go!” yelled Rogelio.
“Who's baby is that?” asked Maria.  “What the hell’s going on?”
“Just get us home,” Rogelio growled through gritted teeth.  Maria cowered.  Rogelio was a big man.  For the first time, she was afraid of him.  She stomped on the accelerator and the tires of her red Pinto squealed as she tore out of the parking lot.
“Mommy, Mommy, I want my mommy,” Cassie sobbed.
Rogelio turned his attention to the little girl on his lap.  He relaxed.  “Don’t cry,” he said softly.  “I won’t hurt you.”  Cassie turned and looked into Rogelio’s face.  His big brown eyes were warm and friendly and his voice calmed her.  She stopped crying.
“I don’t know what you think you’re doing, but we’re gonna be in jail before the day’s over.  The cops will be looking for her, you know,” Maria said.  “I bet they'll think this was my idea, but it damned well wasn’t.”  Three blocks from the grocery store, Maria turned in the driveway and parked in the attached garage.  Rogelio reached up and pushed a button.  The garage door closed.
Maria jerked the car door open.  Her vomit splattered on the cement floor.  “Damn.  This is nuts.”  She pressed her forehead to the steering wheel.  Her body trembled.  She forced her head back and stared at Rogelio.  “Talk to me.  Tell me why this little girl is here in our car.  You went in the store for milk and bread.  I know you’re stupid, but this is crazy.”
Rogelio shrank from Maria’s harsh words.  “She’s pretty, isn’t she?” he said.  “I got her for Billy and Monica.”

(Every single time I take a peek at this excerpt, I change something.  Nothing major, but I delete or change a word or two.  It's hard to know when to stop!  I'll probably keep revising until I don't know how to write it better.  To edit the entire novel, I suspect I'll be at it for a long, long time).   

Sunday, November 28, 2010

That's All She Wrote

Badge #1
Yesterday at 4:13PM, I finished my novel.  I wrapped up my story 880 words beyond the original goal of 50,000 words established by Chris Baty, founder of NaNoWriMo.  Wearing a smile of relief and glee, I submitted it to NaNoWriMo for word count verification and was declared a winner. 

I was urged to step forward and receive my share of winner's goodies.  My first recognition came in the form of a video created by the NaNoWriMo organization.  I started it up and sat back in my chair.  Said chair is a mere skeleton of its former self, worn and frayed beyond description.  I never sat back when I wrote during the last 30 days.  I was always poised on the edge of my seat, alert and ready to capture my story as it evolved, a story devoid of preplanning.  Needless to say, the leather seat now wears the residue of countless applications of butt glue.  
Badge #2

The winner's video included a motley crew, some wearing hats with horns (depicting fearless warriors?).  The entire congregation of eight stood all aglow in two rows with a leader who congratulated me, followed by nine seconds of nonstop applause.  I got enthused, psyched up for the celebration, primed for all sorts of praise and glory on a grand scale.  Wrong.  'Twas only a nine second video.
Badge #3

I looked around and hoped for a bit more for my investment of 50,000+ words.  Sure enough, I was bombarded with a grand assortment of badges for unabashed self-promotion on my blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc.  Now we're getting there, I thought.  This is more like it!  (See 'em along the left side of this page).  I couldn't decide which one was most flattering, so I took one of each.
Badge #4

Throughout the year, I'll use them all to keep my glorious (and not so glorious) memories of November 2010 alive.   

Don't run off quite yet.  My goody bag has one more item deep inside.  Hold on and slide down to the bottom of this post with me.  Watch out for rope burns!

Badge #5

Badge #6
Badge #7
Certificate (suitable for enlarging)
Lastly, The Office of Letters and Lights created a winner's certificate appropriate for framing or presenting in any flambuoyant way I choose.  I scrambled on my fingertips and grabbed one of those too.  I'm considering having four wall-sized enlargements made so I can wallpaper my entire writing room. 

For now, that's all she wrote.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Coming Up For Air

What can I say?  I've been buried under a growing pile of words for weeks now.  Last Sunday, I managed to pop in here to deliver a new post but since then I've been very, very busy, indeed.  I've been working real hard to get ahead of schedule on my word count for NaNoWriMo.  I've accomplished that and came up for a breath of fresh air this morning.

Why am I so concerned with getting ahead?  Lon and I are expecting company on Thanksgiving Day, again on Friday morning and again on Saturday.  My four brothers, two coming from Michigan, two sister-in-laws, my niece, my son, husband and I will be eating, drinking and generally living it up very soon and for a period of three days.

That's why I've been writing my ass off.  Heh, heh.  I've written 41,914 words as of half an hour ago.  Thus, I have the rest of today and nine more days to write a little over 8,000 more words in order to reach the finish line at 50,000 by midnight on November 30th.  The only day I don't plan to write at all is Thanksgiving Day, so I venture to say, I've got it made in the shade.

It's been quite a ride to this point.  I've been hell-bent on my goal, irritable occasionally (just ask Lon and my coworkers), extremely efficient with my time and constantly keyed up.  It's hard to say whether it's been fun or not.  Honestly, it's been many things including:

1.  Exhilarating
2.  Intimidating
3.  Insane
4.  Exhausting
5.  Enlightening
6.  Challenging
7.  Humbling
8.  Rewarding

For now, there you have it.  Four positive, three negative and one that's both.  Yikes!  Does that mean I'll be doing this again next November?

God help me!

(Dang it!  I always like to include at least one picture when I post to my blog but for some reason my Add Image option isn't cooperating.  Picture this if you would:  My workspace is a sorrier site than it was as pictured in my last post!!!      

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Brain Strain, NaNoWriMo Style

Usually, I keep a rather neat table when I'm at my laptop.  Not so much, this month.  Since I'm working on a 50,000 word novel, started on November 1st and to be completed on or before midnight on November 30th, my desk is a mess.  In case you haven't heard, November is National Novel Writing Month. 

My mess is made up of some important stuff. Since I'm jumping around constantly between characters and settings in my novel, I have a notebook with short summaries of each "chapter."  That way I can easily find exactly where I left each scenario when I want to pick it up and move forward again.  It's easier than scrolling up through pages and pages to find what I want.

Also, I have a sheet of paper with the names of all the characters and their relationships to the main characters.  Sometimes I can't for the life of me recall the name I gave someone.  All I have to do is look at my reference sheet and voila, there it is.

Scraps of paper clutter my table as well.  The scribbling on them is essential for a variety of reasons.

I know, I know, there are probably programs at Staples that have all this organized for writers.  Someday, maybe.  For now, I'd rather do it my way.  I have to do it my way and understand that before I can begin to visualize it any other way.

I'm enjoying my latest adventure in writing and, by golly, after a period of stressing and straining, I have an idea of where I'm going and where I'll end up.  That's comforting considering I started with only this prompt:

A little girl is kidnapped in a grocery store.

On day 14 of this NaNoWriMo challenge, my total word count to date is 28,379.  Am I bragging or am I complaining?  Neither, my friend.  I'm just telling it like it is.

P.S.  I think I just lied.  Forgive me but, I'm pleased as can be.        

Thursday, November 11, 2010

My Skinny Scale

My old bathroom scale bit the dust.  I climbed on board it one day last week.  It choked and sputtered and refused to show me any numbers at all.  That wasn't so bad.  I spent a few days reveling in the fact that I was weightless, light as air.

I eventually had to face reality.  I went shopping for a new scale.  Isn't it sleek?  I love it.  It sets a fine example with its slim and trim appearance.  I don't have a place for it in the bathroom so I keep it on a hard flat surface (a ceramic tile) which I slide under the chest of drawers in the bedroom when I'm not using it.

I must say that being weightless was lovely, but all good things must come to an end.  You know, like chocolates that go to our behinds.  

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

All for $2.64!

The only time I buy anything at Staples is when I find it on the clearance shelves.  
Everything pictured in this post was clearance priced at 50 cents.  

Each cover creator packet includes a notebook and instructions and materials necessary to design a unique cover for it.  I bought one composition notebook and two spiral notebooks, each only 50 cents.    
 All of these heavy-duty folders in this cool assortment of awesome brown patterns were in one package.  Guess how much I paid for all twelve folders.  That's right, 50 cents.

Scrolling down, what do you think of these lovely 8 1/2 by 11 receptacles for storing my special papers?  I personally love them.  If I could figure out how to wear them, I most certainly would.  The patterns and colors are 'oh-so' fashionable, don't you think?  The package of twelve, yup, only 50 cents.  

Hanging on to my lovely finds for dear life, I lined up at the cash register.  Within a few minutes, I was strolling out the automatic doors with my sack of goodies and a grand total of $2.64 on my debit card.

It's great fun being a cheapskate!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Gaining a Fortune, One Penny at a Time

Within the last few weeks, I've come upon more than the usual number of coins lying on the pavement in parking lots.  Since I tend to look down more frequently than around when walking to and from my truck, I find such treasures quite regularly.  I normally don't experience major excitement anymore, although recent chance encounters have given me reason to brag.

A shiny Canadian penny glittered on the black top between my truck and door of the office where I'm employed one day last week.  I snatched it from its dangerous location due to circumstances unbeknownst to me and relocated it to the depths of my pocket.  You may admire it if you'll kindly scroll back up.  

The most remarkable find which occurred this past Tuesday is the nickel which I've also displayed at the top of this post.  I can't help but feel that things are looking up.  I'm hopeful that in the days to come, my fortune will continue to grow in perhaps greater leaps and bounds.

I fear I'm taking quite a risk in revealing my recent financial gain, yet with all the negativity we swim amongst every day, I am compelled to emit a ray of sunshine by my aforementioned disclosure.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Trick-or-Treaters Go Green

A friend of mine, her husband and son came to our house on Sunday evening, Halloween, donned in bright green costumes.  Tim is a tall man so in his Jolly Green Giant costume he was amazingly authentic.  Stephanie was Mrs. Jolly Green Giant and the little guy, Jake, was the cutest pea pod I've ever seen. 

Jake's costume was purchased for him by his grandma but Stephanie created Tim's and her own.  I was honestly over joyed when I saw them at our door.  Other than the totally green family's visit, our Halloween evening was rather quiet.  Many of the families in our neighborhood have children who've grown up and moved away.  We're lucky if our doorbell rings a dozen times on Halloween evening .  For several years now, I buy candy that Lon and I like so any remaining won't be left in the pantry to harden and eventually be thrown out.

My personal favorite candy treat is fun-size Three Musketeers.  What's yours?


Monday, November 1, 2010

Flip-Flopping Into NaNoWriNo

The final hours before I began writing my NaNoWriMo novel were torturous for me.  I was torn between writing what I presented in my last post and writing something totally alienated from myself.  At work this morning, I peeked at websites that offered plot ideas.  Just before I headed home at lunch time for my first official NaNoWriMo writing session, I came across an idea that appealed to me.  The following is an excerpt from page one of what I wrote today:
Mama!  Mama!
When Laura looked back at Cassie, all she saw was the back of a man's jacket as he hurried toward the door.  The baby seat on the grocery cart was empty.
"Mama!  Cassie's voice was muffled this time.  She already
sounded so far away and out of reach that Laura felt her heart sinking to depths she never knew existed.

Good grief!  Since I made it through the awful stress of several hours of plot indecision, I know I can make it through the next 30 days of writing.  I'm exhausted at this time, but will be invigorated again tomorrow as I venture into totally new writing territory.

(Please excuse the double spacing that kicked in a few lines ago.  I don't have a clue why the line spacing changed.  It certainly wasn't my idea).