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NECA makes Jareth fig (March 2007)

NECA makes Jareth fig (March 2007) published on No Comments on NECA makes Jareth fig (March 2007)

A Jareth action fig, sculpted by NECA, debuts in March 2007. I saw the news here. Maybe this will compensate for the canceled Palisades 12″; I’ve heard that NECA sculpts are very detailed and realistic. I still wanted a 1:6 mass-produced Jareth, though. No pictures yet, but I’ll post ’em when I have ’em.

1-word “H” shows

1-word “H” shows published on 3 Comments on 1-word “H” shows

I found a great site for some free TV:

Over there I’ve been watching many hours of two shows. One is House, which is, of course, about a brilliant asshole doctor, medical mysteries and his untermensch staff. This show really tries to be a medical show or some sort of procedural [like Law & Order in the hospital] or even a drama, but it really is a comedy at base. The stock plot — dramatic falling ill, weird symptoms, doubting co-workers, brilliant deductions by House, diagnoses + fascinating/revealing/icky revelations about the sufferers involved — are so fixed that I don’t notice them, although I do like to see what weird disease cocktail the writers think up next. Plot aside, the show basically consists of House proving what a genius he is and making fun of other people. Since he’s always completely vindicated, despite his momentary hang-ups, his triumphant conclusions are never in doubt, so I just go along for the ride, laughing mostly at the character’s ruthlessness and arrogance. Laurie’s long resume as a comic actor serves him well here, as his expressions add hilarious nuances to his condescending remarks. So basically House is an hour of a magnificent bastard making faces. Being a sucker for magnificent bastards, especially when they make faces, I really enjoy this show.

The other show that I’ve caught up on is Heroes. Like a comic book in TV form, it tracks the slowly interlocking story of a bunch of adolescents and post-adolescents who have superpowers. This show leaves me emotionally unegaged [except for the story involving the cheerleader, realistically and engaging played by Hayden Panetierre, and her evil dad] and the creators can’t really create strong female characters. However, I really enjoy the leisurely way in which the stories unfold, then slowly interlock. The show’s structure, suspense and clean use of comic tropes pulls me in. Although they could do without the pretentious beginning and ending narration.  

I also tried watching some Smallville season 6, but so far it’s a big fat turd without much soapiness to make for enjoyably slumworthy viewing. There’s also some Gilmore Girls up there, for those interested. AND LOTS OF SOUTH PARK!

Now I just have to find me some Supernatural [available on, but in French dub] and, of course, BTVS! 

EDIT: You can find the latest eps of some primetime NBC shows on their Web site: . Beware, though — there’s nothing beyond the latest ep, and each ep appears in 5 chunks of 8 minutes. I do have more success loading NBC shows than I do with ABC shows, though.

Some day-after thoughts

Some day-after thoughts published on No Comments on Some day-after thoughts

First off, my NaNo word count total is greater than 50474. It’s closer to 51272. Would you believe that I forgot to count a whole day’s production in my final tally? Anyhow, NaNo won’t let me update my word count, now that I’ve won, so I’m just making that note here.

Secondly, I gave my opus a cursory read-through (all 110, single-spaced, 12-point pages of it) this morning. So far the characters seem consistent, engaging and well differentiated, each with distinctive voices (very important when most of the story is just them talking). The overall setting (Boston area) comes through clearly, although I need to work on the setting of specific scenes. (I tend to get caught up in the dialog to the neglect of the setting.) The tone, for the most part, is consistent; though the story starts out light and comic, then moves toward a more thoughtful middle, Sarah’s melodramatic, sarcastic, slightly pedantic and wry voice remains the same throughout, which gives the tone some continuity. Despite its small focus on two or three people, it feels like a busy active novel, not overstuffed, but realistically populated with primary, secondary and tertiary players. (All that work on the backstories of bit players in Sarah’s life pays off, I guess!)

In summary, I’m proud of myself for having reached the NaNo goal. I’m also proud of myself for producing a substantive, compelling part of a story that I still like and want to write, even though I’ve been eating, breathing and sleeping it for the past three and a half weeks. In other words, NaNo helped me gain a lot of ground on a promising project, one that I think could actually go somewhere [maybe to a publishing house].

Yippee! I made it!

Yippee! I made it! published on 3 Comments on Yippee! I made it!

My final word count for the NaNo project is 50474. I’m very proud of me. I’m also very tired. We now return to our regularly scheduled lives, thank GAWD.

Those of you that have given me encouragement, especially damsel_ophelia, twigling, brennil, donals_girl and Rampant Bicycle, I salute your persistent compliments. Far more than any coffee (pictured in the miniature winner’s certificate), the accolades from you guys motivated me, giving me a great incentive to work as hard as I could on this project. Thank you very much! Also thank you to Jareth, Frank, Jennifer and my new computer.

Updates on Sarah, Milly and the hordes will continue because the story is only about half over. Updates, however, will appear on a much less INSANE schedule, spaced out over months, rather than days. For the next few days in November, I’m not writing any fiction at all because I’m freeeeeeeee. I will enjoy a vacation from my cacoethes scribendi until I need to cough up season 9 of Love Has Fangs. [Oh yeahhhhh…you remember that, doncha?]

Distance to the finish line narrows…

Distance to the finish line narrows… published on 2 Comments on Distance to the finish line narrows…

Official NaNo counter say 47396, which means 2604 words to go.

I’m at a momentous point in my story. I’ve just finished writing a first draft of the most emotionally charged scene [climax?] in which Sarah and Milly have some sexual action, then break off when Milly makes her not-so-disastrous revelation.

The sexual scene between Sarah and Milly works out pretty well, if I do say so myself. Sexually charged scenes are always difficult for me to write, which means that I often shear off before the characters get too close physically. However, sex scenes can also reveal a lot about the characters because they are in a moment of great intimacy, so sexual actions can be extremely effective tools for character development. That said, the trick is to write sex convincingly.

A 10-year-old article in the Associated Writing Programs Chronicle (May/Summer 1996), entitled “A Sex Scene is Not a Sex Manual and Other Basic Principles,” by Elizabeth Benedict, forms my guide for writing good sex scenes. This is her list of general principles, quoted verbatim.

1. A sex scene is not a sex manual.

2. A good sex scene does not have to be about good sex.

3. It’s okay — really! — to be sexually aroused by your own writing.

4. Your fear is your best friend.

5. Sex is nice but character is destiny.

6. Only your characters know for sure (what to call it).

7. Take your cues from your characters.

8. Your characters must want and want intensely.

9. A good sex scene is always about sex and something else.

10. Hire a decorator.

Let’s go through these, shall we? 1. It’s a sex scene, not a manual! Instead of enumerating every action, position and technique, the author should selectively use details to create tone, mood, setting and appropriate insight into the characters.

2. Not necessarily about good sex. A good sex scene is, in another phrase, a scene that is good that is also about sex. It could be a rape scene of trauma, anger and bitterness for the victim and confused rage for the perps, but it could still be a good sex scene if written well.

3. Okay to be aroused. Okay, if the point of a good sex scene is to give the reader a sense of what the characters are feeling, and the characters are feeling turned on, your own arousal may be a good clue that your sex scene is effectively transmitting the characters’ feelings!

4. Fear = best friend. Go in the direction you’re afraid to. You will most likely discover something more powerful than you intended.

5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 are basically all the same point: It’s not just a scene about sex in the abstract that you are writing. Instead, you are writing about characters, specific individuals, doing sexual things. Your idea of how sex should go, or what you want in sex, does not apply; the characters’ ideas should run the show (number 5). You should write using sexual terms consistent with the viewpoints of your characters (number 6). Your characters should be driven by intense desires, sexual and otherwise (number 7). Your characters usually have other things on their mind besides just sex, so their ulterior motives will affect how they express themselves sexually (number 9). Number 7 is just a summary.

As for 10, that just reminds you that your sex scene is occurring somewhere, in a particular setting. Even if it is outer space or a featureless plain, this setting must be specified because it affects and directs the characters’ sexual actions to a certain extent.

Looking back over the sex scene that I wrote, I’d say it’s not bad for a first draft. It’s not a detailed itemization of activities, but a more stylized attempt at prose poetry. It’s not necessarily about good sex; in fact, it’s just about aborted foreplay, but it’s still (hopefully) interesting and exciting, maybe even stimulating. I’m not really sure about my fear being my best friend…does that mean that Sarah should see Milly naked? As for 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9, both Sarah and Milly clearly run on more than just sexual desire, and their personalities definitely direct the action and the terminology.

Things to improve on: Put in more about what’s going through Sarah’s mind, desire-wise? Think if I want to push the action further… Weave in more references to the setting, especially the mirrors and the hanging dolls….

I’m on the home stretch…

I’m on the home stretch… published on 1 Comment on I’m on the home stretch…

According to the NaNo counter, I have 46475/50000, or 92.95%. I have only 3525 words left. At the rate I am going, that’s one day’s work if I push myself to the point of hemorrhaging, but three days’ work at the absolute maximum if I take it leisurely.

Finally, I’m in the midst of miserable Milly revealing her secret, which is not so miserable, to surprised Sarah. Sarah is puzzled; Milly is convinced that she’s loathsome. Both of them have a lot to learn. I am nowhere near done with this!

NaNo counter says…

NaNo counter says… published on No Comments on NaNo counter says…

…that I’m currently on an even 45000. I wanted to get more than 1989 words written today by this point, but I had to stop for a few hours and do some research. Sarah was telling Milly one of her stories from her Latin-teaching days. Thus I had to research Caesar’s Gallic Wars, Vercingetorix’ rebellion and Celtic/Gallic mythology so I could create a halfway convincing tale for Sarah to tell.

Okay, back to the keyboard… With the research-laden portion of this scene done, I should move a bit more rapidly.

The official NaNo counter…

The official NaNo counter… published on No Comments on The official NaNo counter…

…says that I have 42900/50000, which is 85.8%. With only 7100 words left, I feel as if I am easily coasting down a hill, speeding faster and faster past significant numerical milestones. With each day, I approach closer to the end of the project. I also find it very easy to hit my minimum word count, even to supersede it.  I am motivated not only by exciting scenes that are fun and easy to write, but also by a gigantic desire to hit 50000 words and be done with this project FOREVER. I think the desire to get it out of my life [NaNo, not the novel] provides a stronger inducement than the actual story itself. :p

I’m gonna go write some more, at least making it a nice round 43000….

Today’s productivity

Today’s productivity published on No Comments on Today’s productivity

I have done 2001 words so far today, for a total of 41039/50000, or 82.08%. Right now that leaves me 6 days of 1494 a day to hit the 50000 mark.

Right now Sarah and Milly are having a tea party as a prelude to the Monkey Wrench scene. Speaking as a doll collector, I must say that Milly’s apartment, with a range of dolls from all sizes, countries and purposes, is pretty damn cool. Since I really want to write this scene, it flows more easily from my fingers than scenes that I don’t want to write so much. I have overcome the T-giving lethargy, much to my relief.

I will try cranking out some more words later today so that I can get ahead. I wonder if I could even [gasp!] finish NaNo a day early or so.

Automatic word counters confuse me.

Automatic word counters confuse me. published on 1 Comment on Automatic word counters confuse me.

I’ve been doing my word counting inconsistently. At first I put each day’s output in a separate file, then added the days’ totals up as I went along. But I have also been keeping one continuous document of every day’s output sequentially. Sometimes I have drawn from that for my word counting.

Most recently I’ve been adding a single day’s numbers to my running total, NOT using the continuous document. Just for the heck of it, I decided to paste everything I’ve written so far into the continuous document and check the word count of that.

I thought I had written 36296.

Open Office’s word counter says 38156.

Word’s word counter says 37719.

NaNo’s official word counter says 37716. Amusingly enough, the NaNo Web site says that the official word counter errs on the generous side.

Anyway, going with NaNo’s conservative estimate, I’ve written 1420 more words than I originally calculated. That brings me effortlessly to 37716/50000, or 75.4% complete.

Let me repeat that so that you can grasp the import of this. I’m over 3/4 of the way done [with the NaNo word count — not addressing the entire novel here]! I’m also ahead of schedule because I have 8 writing days (11/23, 11/24, 11/25, 11/26, 11/27, 11/28, 11/29, 11/30) left, or over 1/4 of the time.

I’m not going to write any more tonight because I really don’t have any motivation. I had to force myself to do job-related work and NaNo-related work today. I have lost much of my concentration due to the excitement and interruption of a day off which is kind of in the middle of the week. I will therefore rest my brain until tomorrow, when I may have more energy to tackle challenging and climactic scenes.

Have a happy T-giving, if you celebrate it.


YAY! published on No Comments on YAY!

At 593 words for today already (it being a slow day at work), I have currently hit 35321, or 70.64%! 14679 words to do, at 1631 per day [including today] until the end. I must write as much as I can today before Thanksgiving tomorrow.

EDIT, 1:03 PM: So today’s goal is 593 + 1631 = 2224. I’m at 1479 now, which means just 745 more to go. Sarah and Jasmira, finally reconciling after their fight, have returned to their usual snarky banter. On Jasmira’s end, the conflict with her boyfriend Devon deepens. Though Sarah and Jasmira are getting along, soon all hell will break loose in Sarah’s life with the dreaded Monkey Wrench Scene! Why yes, I do enjoy making my characters suffer.

Special thanks to damsel_ophelia, donals_girl and LoreMistress for frequent cheerleading as I draw nearer to my goal. A simple comment adds a lot to my motivation.

EDIT, 2:56 PM: I’m at 1935 now. I need to post these updates because I am really not very motivated right now. My goal is to write at least 289 more words today and then even more so I can maybe take a day off for Thanksgiving.

Today’s totals

Today’s totals published on 1 Comment on Today’s totals

I’m not sure how much time I’ll have this evening, so I’m posting latest stats. I’ve done 1906 today, which brings me up to 34361/50000, or 68.72%. I’m so close to 35,000 (639 words) that I can taste it, but I hit a natural scene break. If I do have more time today, I will definitely hit 35,000, which will leave me with 15,000 left, at an utterly manageable 1,667 words per day till the end of the month.

EDIT, 6:17 PM: 2273!!! 272 to go to 35000! …I ended up leaving 2273 as my total for the day. That means a current word total of 34728, or 69.46%.

Ph34r my l33t skillz.

Ph34r my l33t skillz. published on 1 Comment on Ph34r my l33t skillz.

My l33t skillz brought me 2262 words today! My total is currently 32455/50000, or 64.91%. The jury is out about whether I will reach the NaNo goal. A lot depends on my word production during Turkey Day festivities. But I feel satisfied with my progress and, most of all, with the amount of work that I have gotten done on Sarah’s novel, word limit or no.

The story feels like it’s around halfway done, maybe a little less. I have 1.5, maybe 2, more scenes before I get to the CLIMAX…or the Monkey Wrench in Sarah’s Happiness. So I’m moving along at a steady clip. I think my word counts are going up because I really look forward to writing the Monkey Wrench scene.

Words so far today

Words so far today published on 2 Comments on Words so far today

2166 so far today, for 30193/50000, or 60.39%! Sarah and Milly’s first date, partly in summary, partly not, took much longer than I anticipated. They are now done and firmly within infatuation, if they weren’t before.

I may make it to 50000 after all! I’ve been increasingly hopeful as my word counts have increased, but I’m still not sure. Anyway, I have made substantive progress on my story, and I think I’ll write a bit more, since I have the time, just to see how far I can go.

Goal: 1000 more words! I can do it!

EDIT, 8:30 PM: VICTORY DANCE!! I did a total of 3252 today, or 31279/50000, for a final percentage of 62.56%!!


Whoopee! published on 1 Comment on Whoopee!

I did 1661 today, for a total of 23260/50000, or 46.52%!

Today the NaNo project concludes its 15th day, so I have officially passed the halfway mark in terms of time. I should pass the halfway mark (25000 words) later this week.

I finally got a thread for Sarah and Milly’s second conversation. Milly’s taking it into some unexpected and surprisingly personal depths…not gushy and overinformative, because she’s a refined lady, but definitely heartfelt.

Word count pisses me off.

Word count pisses me off. published on No Comments on Word count pisses me off.

I did 1318 today, for a total of 21599/50000, or 43.2%.

I also ran into my first block [still no idea for Sarah and Milly’s second conversation or first date], so I felt rather resentful to the story for the first time. My block frustrates me because I need some planning time, but I only have enough time to write, not plan. While I have the questions lurking in the back of my mind, their lack of answer pisses me off because I need answers now. Then I skipped out of the chronological order to start a scene where Sarah asks her boss for more work.

Exactly two weeks into NaNoWriMo, I feel accomplished, but also tired. I can’t wait until the project ends, and I can go back to doing other things besides writing.

Two days’ worth of updates.

Two days’ worth of updates. published on No Comments on Two days’ worth of updates.

I did 1218 yesterday and 1221 today, but my word counter is all messed up, so I should be at 20281/50000, or 40.56%. While daily word limits do give me finite goals, I don’t work best with such arbitrary limits. I work better when I follow the flow and breaks of the story, e.g., stopping to rest at the end of scenes, chapters or climactic points, rather than when I reach a certain word limit. Anyway, I’m not really keen on word limits, so, when this project is over, I will probably retain a low minimum [~500 words a day, you lazy bastard!], but not maximums.

I’m at 20000+ words, but I’m nowhere near 40% done with the story. In fact, when I look at my outline, I’m just about 20%, maybe 25%, of the way through. Either my story is a big one, or 50000 is a small novel.

Sarah is gearing up to talk to Milly for the second time in prep for a third and juicier conversation. I’m trying to figure out what they are going to say to each other….

A surprisingly productive day

A surprisingly productive day published on 2 Comments on A surprisingly productive day

I did 1513 words today, for 17842/50000, which is 35.68%.

Sarah is talking to two of her friends who live in the same building, so we have an expose on her squalid garrett and her eccentric friends. Everyone in the story is eccentric, which, interestingly enough, makes it more realistic.

And another low night

And another low night published on No Comments on And another low night

Good thing I wrote a lot during lunch because I’m busy tonight so I will not have time to write. I accomplished 1262 words today, which brings me to a total of 16329/50000, which is 32.6%.

Sarah is walking home, which means engrossing and depressing description of her small, expensive apartment and apartment building. Conversation with her non-Milly friend and the non-Milly friend’s boyfriend later about, of course, Milly. Everyone except Sarah appears to be paired off in this story [well, except her boss, but he’s too obnoxious to rate a significant other]. Sarah should find this nauseating…

A low night

A low night published on 2 Comments on A low night

Only 1245 words today. That’s 15067/50000 total, or 30.13%. I would like to spend more time writing tonight because Sarah is talking to a secondary character who, unexpectedly, developed a personality and a plot-futhering purpose, but I have two overdue book reviews, so I will work on them now and maybe do more intensive writing this weekend [hahahah!].


Success! published on No Comments on Success!

1331 words total today!

That’s 13822/50000 done, or 27.64%. I’m consistently beating my 1200 goal!

I’m still working on the scene at Sarah’s work where she basically mopes. It did contain just a lot of dumped information about the company, but I added a narrative hook in the beginning where she argues with her boss about the menial and tedious job she’s doing. I think her boss is overdone in his flamboyant annoyingness. However, it’s just a rough draft and therefore a chance for me to express my own frustration with any past bosses, so there. :p

November 7th totals

November 7th totals published on No Comments on November 7th totals

1395 words total today!

I have a total of 12491/50000 done, or 24.98%.

My new goal seems to be working well. “How about upping the stakes?” as Jareth would say. I’ll try 1200 as a goal for a while longer, through Friday. Then I think I’ll increase the daily goal to 1450 or so.

I’m just coasting right now on material largely developed before NaNoWriMo starting: description of Sarah’s workplace and coworkers. Since she spends a lot of time there, I need some sketches of more than just the queer coworkers. Plus she’s brooding, which is a good excuse for her to wander around and procrastinate…

Thoughts on current draft

Thoughts on current draft published on 1 Comment on Thoughts on current draft

I took a leisurely amount of time yesterday to read everything I had written so far. Despite earlier misgivings, I discovered that Sarah did NOT come across as critical and negative as assumed. While whiny, melodramatic and pessimistic, she balances these traits with a very dry sense of humor, keen pyschological observations and an appreciation for beautiful details.

I also worried about the style of this story. Unlike everything else I’ve ever written, this story digresses. As narrator, Sarah is constantly telling stories aside from the main one. Her digressions may be just a sentence long, but they usually run for paragraphs or even pages. I feared that her speechifying would kill the forward momentum of the plot.

Not so. In fact, Sarah’s stories seem to work to positive effect. Because she interprets even the simplest lines of dialog, you get a clear idea of how her mind works, what she desires and what her social world is like, though she is interacting with only a few characters. All of her stories contribute to the development of the cast and the situation so, in my view at least, they make her more sympathetic and more interesting.

Today’s totals

Today’s totals published on 1 Comment on Today’s totals

I’m at 9765 words, which is 19.5% done. It’s also 150 ahead of schedule.

I’m very ambivalent about the project right now. Almost 2000 words a day takes up almost all of my time. Writing becomes a chore that I resent, rather than an exhilarating project that challenges me. Well, meeting exigent word limits challenges me, but my excitement and creativity suffer greatly.

I am seriously considering dropping my word limit to something more attainable, but still challenging, like 1200 words or so, for the month of November. I clearly won’t hit 50000 words, but I will participate in the mind-altering fun of NaNo, but without self-flagellation.

Any opinions?

November 4th totals

November 4th totals published on No Comments on November 4th totals

Doll meet and movie yesterday interfered with my word count. Darn fun…taking me away from the business of writing! I have discovered that 1923 words a day leaves me little time to do anything else besides eat, sleep, work and exercise. 1000 words a day is much more feasible, a saner alternative for me if I want to sustain my dedication as a writer and not burn out.

Yesterday I did 1547 words, which left me 376 words short of the day’s goal. However, since I’ve written a few extra words over the past few days — 137 to be exact — I’m really at 1684 for day 4, which leaves me only 239 words in the hole.

7453/50000 = 14.9% completed.

Sarah’s on the verge of meeting Milly, while the story hasn’t decided whether it is a romance or a Bildungsroman…or both. Whatever it is, it appears too sarcastic and leisurely to be chick lit.

EDIT: Now I’m out of the hole…added some description of why Sarah moved to Boston [to get away from the family!!]. 220 words so far counting toward today’s quota. 1703 to go!

Lunch-time writing

Lunch-time writing published on No Comments on Lunch-time writing

Hooray! 476 words during lunch today. 1447 to go until I reach today’s goal.

Clearly my lunch-time productivity is bottoming out. However, I don’t care that much. The whole point of writing during lunch is to break up my blocks of writing time. Instead of getting home and pounding on the computer for 4 solid hours, I do 1 hour of writing at work and lessen the time spent before the screen at home.

Now it’s time for Sarah and Jasmira’s conversation…the first of the novel, so it should set the tone, illustrating their closeness and sympathy, as well as their constant competition and difficulty in truly understanding the other.

It’ll be a snap!! :p

Today’s accomplishments

Today’s accomplishments published on No Comments on Today’s accomplishments

Okay, 2010 words completed today. That’s a total of 3981 so far out of 50000, or 7.92% completed!

Sarah finally got on the phone with Jasmira, her twin sister, and Devon, her sister’s boyfriend. We finally are getting into the meat of the story, like Sarah’s loneliness, Sarah’s constant comparisons between herself and Jasmira and, of course, her own wishes for a significant other.

All my verbosity is finally paying off…getting a better idea of characters, setting and such in action. Maybe, after I do that, the events will happen quicker.

Argle bargle nargle ZOUSE!!!

EDIT: My word counter and NaNo’s are in disagreement by some 50 words, so I’ll just be sticking with mine for now and checking NaNo’s every 7 days.

In which I inch toward my goal

In which I inch toward my goal published on No Comments on In which I inch toward my goal

669 words during lunch. 1254 to go for today!

Ladies and gentlemen, Sarah has left the building. Thank GAWD…took long enough. I fail to see how this story is going to get ANYWHERE in 50000 words, but I think I am just suffering from beginner’s myopia.

Off to crack my neck…


Youpi!… published on 2 Comments on Youpi!…

That is, of course, French for “yippee.” I reached today’s goal. I did 1971 words. 48029 to go! And I’m ahead of schedule!

For the record…my goal took about three single-spaced pages in 11-point Times New Roman. it also took me about 3 to 3.5 hours, including some time staaaaaaaaring at the computer screen.

Thanks to batchix and the Loremistress for early encouragement. I will keep you in mind as a reader, LM, once this atrocious draft gets banged into more acceptable shape.

Note to self: NOTHING HAPPENS in 1971 words. It’s been about 10 minutes and Sarah is still leaving work. Of course she’s saying bye to coworkers, but still…she digresses a lot. Darn loquacious erudite narrator…

780 words during lunch

780 words during lunch published on 3 Comments on 780 words during lunch

Forthwith the NaNoWriMo minutiae! Got out all my documents [character sketches, Sarah’s local calendar, list of plot events], then realized that 2 of the docs [calendar and plot] didn’t open on Word because they are Open Office, which is foreign to Word, even though OO nicely opens Word files. How annoying.

Undaunted, I pushed on to…stare at the blank screen. After dwelling with Sarah, Milly, Jasmira, Devon and everyone for over a year, I’ve grown to know them intimately. But how should I start writing, actually inscribing, about them? How can I commit these full-rounded characters to a fixed form on paper that will limit their glorious multi-dimensionality?

Answer: Just write, you perfectionist. You’re making a rough draft. You can clean it up later. The point is to take advantage of this contest and its deadline, forcing yourself to finish the story that you have so painstakingly planned.

During my lunch break, I wrote, stared, fumbled. Still getting a feel for my characters in action, I made Sarah sound like a prickly bitch… There’s a fine edge between sarcastically humorous and crabby. Unfortunately, I’m not sure where it is so I trip over it frequently.

780/1923 words done for today. 1143 more to go.

Soon I will get into my groove, and the words will come much easier. Starting off is always a challenge.

Who’s reading this drivel???

My neck and shoulders continue to hurt. [Pain started yesterday, even before I starting banging on the keys.] Let this be a reminder to stretch frequently, contort myself away from the computer and drink lots of water while resting les yeux.

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