Just checking out this widget thingy to see if it updates.

Writing is back on track for NaNo. I had a quilting retreat over the weekend, and while I was able to write (and even catch up!) on Friday, it took attention away from my creative classes (also: never leave your husband in charge of the children, especially if they have complicated plans for the evening!)

I made a conscious decision on Saturday to focus on my (paid for) classes, and actually really got into the groove with sewing – I ended up working on class projects until midnight, damn my word count!

The worst part about Friday was the scattered writing sent my plot into a direction that really messed up the story. It took me a while to get my groove back after that mess.

Caught up a bit on Sunday, and should be caught up again by the end of the day today.

Found a couple of good writing books while out with my son yesterday. One is Fire Up Your Writing Brain by Susan Reynolds. I love me some brain research, and tying it to writing? Sold.

Expanding Vocabulary

Working on NaNo again this year, I couldn’t remember a word for the wind in pine trees…sirissing? Shirshiring? I typed “define surussing” and BAM:

su·sur·ra·tion

(so͞o′sə-rā′shən) also su·sur·rus (so͝o-sûr′əs, -sŭr′-)

n.

A soft, whispering or rustling sound; a murmur.

[Middle English susurracioun, from Late Latin susurrātiō, susurrātiōn-, from Latin susurrātus, past participle ofsusurrāre, to whisper, from susurrus, whisper, ultimately of imitative origin.]

su·sur′rant (so͝o-sûr′ənt, -sŭr′-), su·sur′rous (-sûr′əs, -sŭr′-) adj.
Okay, back to writing. Needed to update this blog, but this doesn’t count toward my word totals for the day, so, BYE.

30-dayJournalProject

*Something* has to get me going…and this is free!

It started July 1st, so I’m playing catch-up with the program. Like I do with everything blog-wise right now!

I plan on using this site (Write Already) to post my journalling progress…if/when I make any.

Crafty/sewing/quilty stuff is still here: MichiganDenise

The Sometimes Site

Yeah, it’s been a while. Since this account is linked to blogs I’m following for quilting and crafts, I’m going to redirect you here for now: MichiganDenise

I will keep this blog for entries on writing, but that might be a while…

I have not been writing in a long time. My main concern right now is getting in shape, so I spend all my morning energy on that. I started a rowing class this month, and LOVE it. Now to get my regular diet on track, and start losing weight.

I won’t bore you with that here – or create yet another site. Just know I want to get back to regular writing, but I need to focus my energy elsewhere for a little while longer.

First Wall

When you hit a wall, do some research! When I originally thought up my current novel idea (about 14 years ago, as a script idea…nothing ever written, actually), I asked on a fiction forum about the best way to rob a bank in England (yeah, like that’s not going to ring some alarm bells…well, on a fiction forum, it didn’t!). I was told at the time (around 1996…pre-Wikipedia) that a better place for an amateur to hit would be a post office, where retired state workers picked up their pensions…in cash. (Perhaps I should have checked up on the guy who answered that for me…hmm…)

Now, apparently, that has gone over to electronic bank transfers, “leading to a loss of revenue for Post Office branches and many closures.” (Wiki-wiki-wiki…yeah, I went there).

Umm…so, now what (for my protagonist)? I had decided to set it in modern-day, but I might go back 12 or 15 years and keep it staged in a era where my original idea could actually take place.

However, in researching the Royal Mail, I came across more of my old fascination: a now-defunct and abandon mail rail system in London, recently invaded by an urban exploration team called the London Consolidation Crew. My story may take a whole different direction…if I ever stop reading up on this stuff.Image

It’s the curse of coming from the touchstone of Ruin Porn…an unhealthy fascination with (literal) underground/invasive/abandoned urban scene/activity. Doesn’t mean I’m heading to London anytime soon…or even Detroit. But my word count for today will suffer.

That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

NaNoWriMo ver. 2.0.12

Off and running! Thanks for stopping by the blog. If you came over from NaNo, be sure to follow me here at WordPress. Previous posts are a bit old…I am working on a completely different novel at the moment (as required). If you just stumbled upon me randomly, first of all, ouch — watch where you are going, please! Follow me anyway and be sure to check out my NaNo progress as CreativeExile. Thanks!

Day Thirteen: duhn duhn DUHN

Well, it finally happened. I’m hitting a wall. My word count has dropped and I’m struggling to get anything down on the page. But, you know what? I’m delighted. I thought my first two weeks were going a bit *too* well. And while I struggle now, I still get writing done, I still discover things about my characters, and details of my evolving plot. I understand  the theory of new project excitement, leading to boredom, leading to starting a new project (I am a crafter, as well, and have many “UFOs”). I get bogged down in wanting to do research rightnow, but I resist.

My writing book  companion this week has been The Architecture of the Novel, by Jane Vandenburgh. Her very first chapters spoke to exactly what I am accomplishing: getting to know my story by writing. it. I very nervously went on to her chapter on plot, but it continues to speak to the Seat Of Pants In Seat Of Chair logic I believe in.

One research path I followed this week (after my writing session) was Ruin Porn. This post has one thing to say, and while I may not agree with everything in it (History is a Bitch, in my opinion, and there’s not much you can do to stop the march of time. Rail at the government, rail at corporate policy, but get a new model of success for urban areas. One that doesn’t involve R.P.’s polar but equal opposite, Hope Porn), it does give me new things to think about and new blogs to explore on the subject of urban renewal for my beloved hometown.

After I finish writing for the day.

Day Eight: word counts.

Here’s my M.O. Wait until the house is empty and I’ve taken a shower (I get my best ideas while shampooing. What’s up with that?) Get my iPod Touch going with some inspirational music (downloaded Charleston Chasers, Vol. 1 this morning…perfect!) Light a candle (didn’t do that today…had enough of candles after a 9-hour power outtage last night). Launch into the next scene. Write for about 5-10 minutes, then suddenly need to move. Today it was doing my youngest’s laundry (he put on his last clean pair of pants this morning). While moving, think about where I want/need to go next in my writing.

I’m working on a novel, BTW. One that’s been in my head about 20 years. In 2008, after a wonderful creative break at a luxury scrapbooking getaway called Creative Escape ❤ — on the plane ride home, actually…soon after I fell ill with a week-long head cold, if that had anything to do with my creative state on the plane, and I think it did! — I had a breakthrough in theme and character for this long overworked idea, and things started to slide into place. I had a two year-old, however, so I could only work on it in bits and pieces. But it was never far from my mind.

I try to keep track of my writing time each day, and I’m average 45 minutes to an hour (once I subtract my breaks for movement). Like I mentioned in Day Six, I wish I could write longer, but my youngest’s schedule must prevail. Today I added up not only what I’ve written in the past 9 days (Monday-Friday last week, and Monday-Thursday this week, so far: 7,500 words) but also what I wrote in a jag after our 2010 Florida vacation (see the first entry for this blog: April 2010), and I have a total of 12,000 words so far. That’s pretty amazing, considering I did 10,000 (which — sadly — I am mostly throwing out) when I worked on this novel for NaNo in 2005, and back then I typed it all in. Handwriting is considerably slower, but I prefer it.

One more morning writing session and I will take a break for the weekend. I may start typing up my work so far — I only did day one to see what a handwritten page equals in actual word count (about 200 per page…less than I thought).

Day Six: get. out. of. the. house.

That’s my attitude in the morning. To my kids (adding, “get. on. the. bus!”) as well as my husband. Hubs left early for tennis practice (yes, some days he leaves at 6 a.m. to play tennis…because it’s free at that time) and I did a happy dance before the kids came down for breakfast. Whoo-hoo! I almost have the house to myself! Don’t let the door…you know.

I started writing at 8:30a. and finished up just before 10a. It wasn’t non-stop, but all told I wrote for a full hour today. It went a lot smoother than yesterday, probably because I still had my coffee buzz on. I get the Jelly Roll Morton station on Pandora and let it fly. Six pages later, I had the scene I’ve been holding off writing for a while, because I just didn’t know the specifics of the situation. Until I hit flow state and it just came to me, rolling off the screen of my mind like watching a movie.

Now I’m realistic, I know this is a first draft and I’ll probably re-write this scene at least three times before I get it right, but I was happy to hit flow and get through it.

Days like today, I wish I could write longer, but the reality of a half-day elementary school child has to enter my conscience by 10a or I could be in trouble with said child (he does *not* like it when I’m late at pick up).

I wanted to keep yesterday’s entry short, so I didn’t write what I had notes on for Monday, but here it is: I went to Borders on Sunday. I think it was the last day of their “Last 3 Days” promotion going on. Prices were at 90% off, but the shelves were mostly empty. There was an indoor cherry-picker there working on disconnecting the light fixtures in the center of the store. The children’s section was completely empty. My usual “first haunts” — the craft and writing sections — had computer books propped up face-forward on the shelves.

It really hit home, that my home-away-from-home would soon be gone. I took dd with me, and she later told me (while I was putting her to bed) that she “needed a moment” just thinking about it. She was crying. I felt bad I ever took her there that day, but I told her it helped make Borders’ closing a reality for me.

I worked at 2 Borders stores, one near Detroit and one out near the legendary Store #1 when I moved west just before getting married. It was part-time in addition to my new full-time job at the publishing house. The publisher actually bragged that he had “stolen” me away from Borders (he always was a bit of a dork).

I fell in love with Borders long before I worked there; in 1989 I was recently returned from a trip to Ireland, where I was overwhelmed by the “European”-style super-bookstore layout, and delighted to find a new bookstore of my dreams right here in Novi, MI — the first Borders I ever went in to.

Borders folks, bookstore geeks in general, are my kind of people, and I am sad that so many old friends are losing their livelihood in a job that can’t be replaced. Good luck to all of them.

Day Five: in and out of flow

That’s right…there’s no Day Four. Don’t look for it. I was blindsided by my Monthly Migraine (TMI?) over the weekend, and flattened by 5 days of taking care of a sick child.

I *did* write on Friday, the “yooesh” (the “usual”…iCarly fans, anyone?). More importantly, I typed up what I wrote on Day One and got an accurate word count for The Yooesh…I’m averaging about 212 handwritten words on a page of college-ruled notepaper. Less than what I get on a typewritten, 1.5-lined page (250). So I decided to write 5 pages per day. Today I actually got in six, but it was pure quantity, not quality.

I’m expanding a scene I’ve written before — my protagonist’s first visit to a new apartment — but somehow managed to completely flip the building around and bring in new, confusing details that I’m not sure I’ll be keeping. After half a page, I stood up to walk around…it was not going right and I needed a break already, after just 5 minutes of writing! I read what I’d written previously on this scene, and realized I did not put in as much detail as I thought, so I let go and let the writing flow.

I had a note from last Friday for the blog: “saved knitting stuff = saved writing books.” I was going to talk about one of my favorite handicrafts and how I learned in 1992 (the time my story takes place, BTW) but then put all my new hobby purchases (needles, enough Rowan yarn for a complicated sweater, patterns, etc.) away for 12 years. At one point the whole box was in my garage (not the best place to store wool!) for about 6 of those years. Yikes.

Same thing, although more off and on and never in the garage, with my writing books. I have a small (3-shelf) bookshelf packed with various titles on writing, creativity, journaling, etc. The one I tried working with before, The Weekend Novelist, has disappeared; a bummer, since my most recent favorite writing book, Chapter After Chapter, recommends working with it. That’s the only missing book from my collection that seems to have been given away at some point…probably because I tried the process, and didn’t get a novel out of it.

The only thing that got a novel out of me — albeit a very short one! — was National Novel Writing Month. I “won” only one year out of 3 tries, and that is my “under the bed” novel — I have no desire to edit or work with it *at all.* It did teach me that I could do it…1,670 words a day for 30 days…and it got a lot of junk out of my head about what a novel “could” or “should” be (it was not the novel I’m working on now…I worked on this story the first year I did NaNo…and discovered a fantastic new character, but only got in 10,000 words instead of the 50,000 I needed…I was cheating anyway, working on “old” material).

So far I have not dreaded sitting down at my desk, not even on Friday, when the ghost of my migraine was trying to get in my head. I did write for well over an hour today and got in 2 extra pages, so I have reason to look forward to tomorrow. Again.