I know not everyone’s a believer, but for those of you who are of the faith, here’s wishing you the happiest Thanksgiving you’ll have all year. Personally, I believe there will be some stuffing involved in my life. It may well not involve the kind that goes in the bird, but I most certainly will do my part to get stuffed, and based upon the content of our fridge, I’m not seeing where this will be a problem.
For this week’s blog, I’m serving up three items. We’ll start with the Story of the Week (better known as the “S.O.W.” for you hip kids who dig your abbreviations–even the ones that leave out letters just so it sounds even cooler. The prompt, by the way, was provided by Ramsey Anderson. After that, I’ll update you on my National Novel Writing Month project (or NaNoWriMo for the truly “with it” among you). Finally, I’ll put in a plug for a personal appearance I’ll be making this weekend. So, without further ado (even though I think “adieu” looks much better and is sometimes one of my go-to Wordle choices), let’s get into it.
Can I Have That When You’re Done?
Of all the kids living on “Dumb Ass Drive,” brothers Joey and Johnny had the fewest brain cells—something they proudly demonstrated.
Their latest scam involved cleaning the local movie theater. “The owner’s so dumb,” Joey bragged. “He gives us free tickets for picking up empty popcorn boxes.”
The boys would buy their tickets, clean the theater, earn a free ticket, come back the next week, and do it again.
When they told their dad how they out-smarted the owner, he was confused. Of course, he still had a head injury from his job as a human test dummy for Tasers.
I didn’t put out a post last week. What’s that? You say your entire week felt somehow incomplete but you just couldn’t put your finger on what it was you were missing? I get it. I feel the same way. I will offer no excuses, and if you felt ripped off, just ask and I will gladly refund your payment. The truth is, I’ve been busy, perhaps even obsessed with my first attempt at writing a novel–or any other type of prose that consists of a word total that exceeds 101 words. As previously discussed, my goal has been to write at least 1,500 words a day–every day–during the month of November. If I do that, I will have 45,000 words. Added to the 7,000 words or so I already had, would put me at 52,000 words. As I’m learning, this is still probably too short for a novel, but I wanted to make sure I was setting myself up for success, so I gave myself what I considered to be a challenging but achievable goal.
I’m very happy and proud to report that I have not missed a day since Nov. 1st. Getting up at Zero-Dark-Thirty (that’s military speak for “too damn early”), I’ve been getting up around 5 a.m. every morning, typically putting in two writing sessions, and completing my writing by 9:30 or 10 a.m. on most days. I’ve written anything from a low of 1,520 words to a high of 2,668 words. According to the NaNoWriMo website calculator, I’ll reach my goal of 45,000 by tomorrow–one week ahead of schedule. Since I want to have plenty of words to work with, I’m not stopping at 45K. Why should I? I’m on a roll, and besides–the story is far from over. At this point, I really have no idea how far into the story I am, since I’m modeling it after an unproduced screenplay I wrote. If I stayed completely faithful to the script, I would’ve finished the novel already, but since novels are usually in the 60-80K word range, that wouldn’t work.
Finding ways to stray from the script by “broadening and deepening” the story (as my novel-writing instructor teaches us), has been a source of endless joy for me on this adventure. Letting these scenes really play out and breathe, as well as creating new complications and roadblocks is truly more fun than humans should be allowed to have–at least with their clothes on. I know NaNoWriMo ends at the end of the month, but as long as I’m able to keep to this writing schedule, I see no reason to stop until the first draft is finished. After that? I think I’ll probably just let the story marinate for a bit as I fight the temptation to go back and read what I’ve written. When I do go back, there will no doubt be pages–maybe even entire scenes that drag out, causing me to want to reach deep into the computer screen and strangle whoever took over the keyboard and wrote this drivel. Conversely, I also expect to be at least occasionally surprised by reading something that I actually think works and could be in a real novel. Tucked in between the awful and the amazing writing, I’m expecting to find a lot of average writing that, in time and with a lot of judicious editing, might turn into something worth reading. We’ll see.
For those of you prefer to get your data visually (as opposed to reading about it), I’m including a screen grab from the NaNoWriMo website that tracks my progress. Here’s what it looks like as I near the end. The blue line represents my progress while the grey one depicts the minimum I need to complete my goal.
Nearly all of the writing I’ve done thus far has been done with my laptop as I pedaled my exercise bike, but I’d like to get out and try some writing from some great inspirational spots that the Monterey Peninsula is known for. Here’s one that I hiked to this week. Surprisingly enough, it’s even called Inspiration Point. Hard to recognize me without one of my trademark fedoras, but I needed the bill to keep the sun out of my eyes.
Finally, in celebration of Small Business Saturday (the day after Black Friday, which you may have noticed seems to be stretching out to now include the whole week of Thanksgiving), I’ll be at BookSmart in Morgan Hill this Saturday, Nov. 25th from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Booksmart is at 421 Vineyard Town Center in Morgan Hill and looks suspiciously like this.
If you find yourself anywhere near Morgan Hill, please do stop by and say hi. I’ll be there with several other authors who will all be out there hawking their wares. Is it just me or does that sound like the kind of phrase that could make you lose your appetite? Hey–just askin’…
OK. That’s more than enough for this week. Guess I felt like I owed you a few more items to make up for my absence last week.
Until next time, be yourself–especially since everyone else is already taken!