Monday, November 30, 2009

Get off me now, I'm done

It was tough there for a spell, but I am now two for two in the NaNoWriMo department. I finished up Sunday night with just over 50,000 words. Sure, I could have written more today, but I am so toasted you can probably smell it from there.

The good news is that once I got around the roadblock, I ended up not hating the story after all. Considering where I was a week ago, I call that a rousing success.

The next decision is whether to partake of the CreateSpace coupon code for a free proof copy. That would give me through June to edit the thing. Sounds like plenty of time, but I've never edited anything longer than a blog post, and it's a little intimidating.

All in all, November has been a month full of Very Important and Memorable Events, but I'm ready to move on now, thanks. I'm eager to think about something other than wedding-ing and novel-ing.

(Did I mention we're getting a Wii for Christmas?? Wheeeee!)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I'm a donkey on the edge

As I just whined to Evil Twin, I came this close to abandoning NaNoWriMo last night. Why would I choose to bail out with only a week left?

For one, I got cocky this time (I know, you're surprised) and didn't spend hardly any time thinking about my plot. Last year I lucked out, falling into a storyline with a fair amount of action, and it was pretty easy to follow it to the end. This year, about 30K in, I had to toss in one of the moldiest old plot devices of all time just to stop my character from sitting on the couch weeping and eating Thai take-out. Then I discovered it's really hard to work on something I know is lame. Surprise!

Also, as you know, Mr. B is also NaNo-ing this year. Truth is, his story is more interesting than mine and that makes me pout.

It all boiled down to a bruised ego, which decided to explode right around bedtime. Mr. B fulfilled his husbandly duties admirably by talking me into backing away from the delete key and even got me to agree to forge ahead.

So, in the true spirit of NaNoWriMo, I'm going to step back and try to plot out a story arc that will get me through to the end without too much humiliation. Maybe I should have stuck with the WoW concept after all.

Oh well. No guts, no glory; no blood, no band-aid.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Could you do me a favor?

A while back I was pondering various story arcs for my upcoming NaNo project. I had a couple of characters and a basic premise, but wasn't sure exactly where to take them*.

At one point I decided my main character, a middle aged woman**, would be intrigued by the Mr. T Night Elf Mohawk commercials and get sucked into playing World of Warcraft. That would be cool because it would distract her from her goal and seriously upset the other character.

(Not that Mr. B and I have any personal experience with that sort of thing. Nope, none whatsoever.)

In the name of research, I thought I should install the free trial of WoW so I could document the experience of a noob with authority. Mr. B was completely supportive and very generously offered to help, but we had to wait for a couple of nights when Young Son was not around since there is not enough Nickelodeon in the world to distract a ten year old boy from those sorts of graphics. They can smell them, you know. So on a non-Young-Son weekend, with Mr. B at my side, I downloaded and installed the game and went about setting up a character.

It was pretty fun, especially with Mr. B there to fill me in on the important details as I stumbled along. See, even though I fly my geek flag with pride, I never got into the whole role playing game thing because of my pesky short attention span. Wasting time thrashing around trying to figure things out is just way too frustrating. Don't sit there watching me flail, just tell me how to freaking do it already! But with the assistance of my highly experienced guide, it was a downright pleasant experience.

Even with Mr. B acting as my personal cheat code, I noticed warning signs early on, as soon as my character took to the streets... er, forests. I had to approach people with exclamation points over their head, and they would tell me a little story then task me with collecting a million venom sacs or sparkly flowers or pelts, which I would have to run around and deliver to characters with questions marks over their heads, who would invariably give me another list of stuff to find. Once I figured out how to walk and turn around, it seemed a little repetitive.

Sure, there was some sweet swag to be had - I was especially thrilled when I got some rad chain mail pants, only to discover I couldn't wear metal - and looting the corpses of the spiders and wildcats was entertaining, but around day three when I found myself running up the same damned ramp to the top floor of the same damned treehouse to hand over some venom sacs, only to be told I had to run to the next village and deliver some other shit there, well, I hit the wall.

That's when it all became clear. I realized the game consisted mainly of doing fucking chores, and as a veteran mom, wife, and general admin chief of the household, the last thing I want to do in my spare time is play a game that consists of being tasked with a never-ending shopping list, even if I do get to slay various creatures with spells and swords and look exceptionally fabulous doing so. It was a tough call, though; my boobs and thighs were incredible.

Mr. B tried to explain that as one progressed in the game, the errand-running quotient decreased, hunt-and-fetch being replaced by more complicated, interesting problems to solve.

Ummmm, no thanks. I have plenty of complicated, interesting problems to solve.

And that was the end of that. From that night on, my Night Elf (or whatever the hell I was) languished, untouched. The free trial expired. My NaNo character had to settle for an addiction to romance novels.

As for games, screw the MMOPRGs. Just leave me to my Freecell and Spider Solitaire and I'll be happy. I'll just have to make do with my own boobs and thighs.

* Despite the past tense, three weeks in that's still pretty much the case.

** OK, so I write what I know. Sue me.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Guys and Gals

Mr. B and I are still slogging through our individual NaNoWriMo projects. Evil Twin is one of a very few people allowed to read our unedited crap work, mainly because she is on the Other Coast and we don't have to see her face as she tells us how well we're doing.

We did, however, see her face in Las Vegas last week for the wedding. I didn't want to put her on the spot by asking what she thought, but she did volunteer that she was enjoying reading both projects. She especially appreciated our different styles; in fact, that difference brought a particular email forward to mind.

I knew exactly the one she was thinking of. It took awhile to find it, but as I never throw anything out, it was just a matter of time.

Here it is, just as I received it from the Ex almost exactly two years ago.

This came from an English professor at the University of Colorado*, from an actual class assignment.

The professor told his class one day: "Today we will experiment with a new form called the tandem story. The process is simple. Each person will pair off with the person sitting to his or her immediate right or left. As homework tonight, one of you will write the first paragraph of a short story. You will e-mail your partner that paragraph and send another copy to me. The partner will read the first paragraph, and then add another paragraph to the story and send it back, also sending another copy to me. The first person will then add a third paragraph, and so on, back-and-forth."

"Remember to re-read what has been written each time in order to keep the story coherent. There is to be absolutely NO talking outside of the e-mails, and anything you wish to say must be written in the e-mail. The story is over when both agree a conclusion has been reached."

The following was actually turned in by two of his English students: Rebecca and Gary.


(First paragraph by Rebecca)
At first, Laurie couldn't decide which kind of tea she wanted. The chamomile, which used to be her favorite for lazy evenings at home, now reminded her too much of Carl, who once said, in happier times, that he liked chamomile. But she felt she must now, at all costs, keep her mind off Carl. His possessiveness was suffocating, and if she thought about him too much her asthma started acting up again. So chamomile was out of the question.

(Second paragraph by Gary )
Meanwhile, Advance Sergeant Carl Harris, leader of the attack squadron now in orbit over Skylon 4, had more important things to think about than the neuroses of an air-headed asthmatic bimbo named Laurie with whom he had spent one sweaty night over a year ago. "A.S. Harris to Geostation 17," he said, into his transgalactic communicator. "Polar orbit established. No sign of resistance so far." But before he could sign off, a bluish particle beam flashed out of nowhere and blasted a hole through his ship's cargo bay. The jolt from the direct hit sent him flying out of his seat and across the cockpit.

He bumped his head and died almost immediately, but not before he felt one last pang of regret for psychically brutalizing the one woman who had ever had feelings for him. Soon afterwards, Earth stopped its pointless hostilities towards the peaceful farmers of Skylon 4. "Congress Passes Law Permanently Abolishing War and Space Travel", Laurie read in her newspaper one morning. The news simultaneously excited her and bored her. She stared out the window, dreaming of her youth, when the days had passed unhurriedly and carefree, with no newspaper to read, no television to distract her from her sense of innocent wonder at all the beautiful things around her. "Why must one lose one's innocence to become a woman?" she pondered wistfully.

Little did she know, but she had less than 10 seconds to live. Thousands of miles above the city, the Anudrian mothership launched the first of its lithium fusion missiles. The dimwitted wimpy peaceniks who pushed the Unilateral Aerospace Disarmament Treaty through the Congress had left Earth a defenseless target for the hostile alien empires who were determined to destroy the human race. Within two hours after the passage of the treaty, the Anudrian ships were on course for Earth, carrying enough firepower to pulverize the entire planet. With no one to stop them, they swiftly initiated their diabolical plan. The lithium fusion missile entered the atmosphere unimpeded. The President, in his top-secret mobile submarine headquarters on the ocean floor off the coast of Guam, felt the inconceivably massive explosion, which vaporized poor, stupid Laurie.

This is absurd. I refuse to continue this mockery of literature. My writing partner is a violent, chauvinistic semi-literate adolescent.

Yeah? Well, my writing partner is a self-centered tedious neurotic whose attempts at writing are the literary equivalent of Valium. "Oh, shall I have chamomile tea? Or shall I have some other sort of F--KING TEA??? Oh no, what am I to do? I'm such an air headed bimbo who reads too many Danielle Steele novels!"




In your dreams, Ho. Go drink some tea.

A+ - I really liked this one!

You know what? Evil Twin was right. Mr. B and I had talked about working on a joint project someday. Suddenly, I'm thinking not so much...

* Call me irresponsible, but I didn't verify the veracity of this claim. If it's fake, I don't want to know. La-la-laaaa I can't hear youuuuu!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

It's official

What's a wedding without a crappy cell phone portrait?


Friday, November 6, 2009

Initial conditions

Chatting with Sister today:
S: "What did you decide about the name thing?"

L: "Oh, I'm just going with Mr. B's. I was tired last week and decided that writing out both last names was just too much hassle. Besides, if I stick with his name, my initials will be E.A.T. How can I pass that up?"

S: "That's priceless! Too bad you're not a medical examiner."

L: "Why?"

S: "Then you'd be E.A.T., M.E."

Oh yeah.

In 48 hours I'll be en route to Las Vegas. I'll be out all next week, but will probably poke my head in here to post something for you.

In the meantime, have fun with it!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

More pre-wedding porn

The wedding goodness just keeps on a'coming. I've added a few new pix to the slideshow on the left for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!

As for NaNoWriMo, there's a good chance I'll break 10K today... if I can think of something to write about. But no pressure, right?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Running in place

Five days till we catch a plane... huff, huff week till the wedding... gasp ...NaNoWriMo in full swing... cough, cough ...who said this was a good idea? I should kick their ass.

Broke 6000 today. Not quite the wild ride I experienced last year, but it's coming along. Three days down, twenty-seven to go....