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2016 NaNoWriMo WinnerI officially reached the 50K mark on Tamlin last night, just in time to claim an official NaNoWriMo win today. The novel itself is not finished, but it actually is getting close. I am in the part of the story that I think of as the Let's All Go to the Underworld! part. It has maybe 10K left in it? (Which probably means more like 15-20K because it's me and I am a champ at underestimating things.)

What is really amazing to me is that I still want to write this story. I think about it all the time. I wish I was writing it now! (I need to decide if I want to go there when I still have Thanksgiving preparation chores to do. Sometimes writing spoils me for anything productive!) When I finish this, it will be the first NaNovel that I actually do finish, sadly enough. The Midhavens novel I was writing needs a complete rewrite (much like Tamlin did) because I've changed my mind so much, and I was writing another fantasy novel that I need to decide if I want to finish or not.

But next up is the prequel to AMC, which was going to be my NaNo project until Tamlin spiraled beyond being a Haunted October story and into firm novel-length territory and demanded two months to write.

I'm going to keep entering my word count till the end of the month so that I can have the data and will ramble at some point in the near future about what I learned from this experience. Because that's what NaNo is to me: a reason to prioritize working on a big project for one full month and the opportunity to learn what works for me and doesn't as a writer. Interestingly, based on word count data, my habits as a writer have changed since the last time I did NaNo, which I suspect is the result of disciplining myself through a humanities MA and Master's thesis. But more on that later.

This is cool too: A couple of weeks ago, I posted offhand to Twitter about doing NaNo and mentioned the writer's club I was starting at my school. A few days later, I was contacted by a journalist from the education website The 74, wanting to interview me for an article she was writing about teachers using NaNoWriMo with students. I checked in with my principal to make sure it was okay to talk to her, and he was thrilled and gave me the green light. Well, the article is online! I'm about halfway through, rambling about tea and the culture of persistence and the importance of giving opportunities to write to kids in disadvantaged communities.


Nov. 12th, 2016 09:16 pm
dawn_felagund: (art not war)
I am power-walking my way through NaNoWriMo. Not quite running! I'm not done yet, and I know there are people who are. But I'm bookin' like an octogenarian mall walker who heard they're giving away free cups of decaf in the food court! (Seriously, I used to work in a mall--those people would run you over!)

Today has been my best day so far with just under 7500 words written. I like the new NaNoWriMo site; it graphs your progress for you, so I do not have to make an Excel graph as in years past.

 photo nanowrimo11122016_zpspiaxlgjk.png

You can tell this was a long weekend: I had two strong days in a row. (My goal for each day this weekend is 5000 words.) You can also see Election Day: The one day I made no progress at all. I was too nervous to write.

The NaNo site estimates me finishing by Friday. I don't need to finish that soon, but I did want to have the bulk of the project finished before my family arrives for Thanksgiving since I can't count on any writing time from that Tuesday through Saturday.

What is interesting is that, in past years, I would have a strong day with a high word count followed by two or three days with more modest progress. This year, my progress much more closely follows my work week. Capping 2000 words is REALLY hard on a school night. In addition to my writing time competing with the work I sometimes bring home, I'm generally exhausted by the time I get to finally sit at my desk. I fell asleep while writing my novel this past Wednesday (because I hadn't slept much or well on Election Day and then had a long workday and resisted taking a nap). So you can see I barely made any progress that day.

It seems now that I can have two days in a row with a high word count: yesterday and today! Will I be able to to 5000 again tomorrow? It will be interesting to see. Based on past study of my NaNo progress, I would have doubted my ability to do over 5000 today. And indeed, I did put off getting started by working on some SWG stuff that has needed doing for a while. But once I began, I was off to the races.

In any case, "Tamlin" definitely has 15,000 more words in it, though probably not much beyond that, which will put it at 75,000 words total, much longer than I expected it to be (but that's always the way with me). I should probably call it Tamlin now; it will definitely be a novel, though on the shorter side of that classification.
Since a picture is worth a thousand words ...

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Blah Blah Blah )
Well, I've survived (again) the first week of NaNoWriMo. And instead of writing, here I am writing about writing because, I find, more than even a great excuse to make mad progress on a single piece, NaNoWriMo has taught me a lot about myself as a writer.

Observations, Graph, and Word Count Below )
As of this afternoon, I was content with the thought that I was going to do another unofficial* NaNoWriMo this year and work on the prequel to AMC. Since this is one of the few stories I'm working on that is completely outlined (versus letting the story write itself, to varying degrees; AMC being the most extreme example of this, as I didn't even know how it would end until it ended), I figured that I could mostly finish it and maybe start posting in the new year.

* "Unofficial" because I have a few chapters written already, so it's not technically a fresh story and not technically eligible for the competition. Last year, I also worked on a work-in-progress for NaNoWriMo, and I got my fair share of encouragement to cheat. But it's not worth it--to me--to violate the spirit of the contest just to get a banner. So I aim to write 50K words like the rest of the NaNuts, but I just don't enter on the site. It's all about the stories anyway, isn't it?

Then, this afternoon, Bobby and I went to see the new fantasy movie The Seeker ... and a plotrabbit straight out of Monty Python and the Holy Grail sunk its big, nasty, pointed teeth right into my upper thigh. For no good reason. (Do you ever see a tiny detail and, suddenly, a whole story explodes forth from it? I'm not even sure that I remember the trigger.) To the degree that I only half paid attention to the first hour of the movie. (It's a family movie, so the plot's not that hard to follow.) Now, it looks like this will be my 2007 NaNoWriMo story.

And yes, just when I swore, "No new novels!" since I have three already in various stages of completion, and just when I swore to finish my Midhavens novel and concentrate on short fiction when writing original stuff, I get an idea for an original novel that I can't even imagine how long it is going to be based on all the ideas whirling in my head right now. Nrgh. And despite all this, I'm damned excited because I haven't had this sort of enthusiasm for a story ... well, since embarking on the Midhavens novel for NaNoWriMo two years ago.

Of course, it could fade, and I could go back to the AMC prequel. I'd be happy with either, but right now, I can't imagine doing that. This story is begging to be written. If it wasn't for Haunted October taking all my time, I'd be fighting not to start it now.

In other NaNews, Bobby will also be scribbling along with me this year. I think he's up to it. In a lot of ways, when the whole family (save the dogs, of course) is doing NaNoWriMo, that makes it easier for all of us. We'll just be eating a lot of mac 'n' cheese and wearing outfits a few times more than usual!

So who else is taking on NaNoWriMo this year? Any clue what you're writing yet? Excited, scared, meh about it? Inquiring minds want to know! :)
Well, today is the halfway point. I'm almost at my quota for the day, and I still have the evening to write, so I hope to add another thousand or two before I drop from exhaustion.

For the Supremely Geeky...Stats and Graph )

And because NaNo is all about the word count, mine at this exact moment is...

I have come to the conclusion that my body hates me. It's sole object in life is to make me as miserable as possible. I suppose that I should not complain. My mind seems to like me a good deal and is fine with letting a dozen or so muses camp out there on a permanent basis. But my body hates me.

Cut for Really Gross (Vomit-Related) TMI and General Griping )

But on a positive note, yesterday was my big day, and the spirits were smiling upon me. Bobby was supposed to have class, then hockey. He opted out of hockey so that we could spend part of the evening together. Then he got word that class was cancelled, so we got to spend all of the evening together.

We have certain Halloween traditions. We always rent a cheesy horror movie (Friday the 13th Part III was this year's pick) and take a walk in the historic district. Ellicott City is one of the most haunted places on the east coast, so what could be better than that? We've never seen anything paranormal, but one day...Bobby even took the camera.

In the Halloween spirit, I wore my Elf-ears and cloak, and for the first time ever, did not get odd looks. It always feels good to know that my wardrobe is most appropriately worn on Halloween!

Bobby's Pumpkin and Dawn's Elf Ears ) was the first day of NaNoWriMo. I went to bed last night, giddy to begin working on my novel again. Which, in the world of State guv'ment work, means one thing: I would be incredibly busy today. I was. I spent the morning running warrants and scanning paperwork into existing files. Then we got an emergency warrant on a sex offender, so I took care of that. Then I ate lunch. Then Johnny moped into my office with an MS Excel dilemma.

Stoopid State! )

Eventually, I did finish my work and get to break out my NaNo story. I have to do 1667 words per day to make the 50,000 goal. Today, I did 2268, so that's 601 over my target--and with only an hour-and-a-half to work!

Tomorrow's another day, and I hope to increase that lead even further.

In big news, it looks like Bobby and I will be getting a golden retriever puppy. One of Bobby's coworkers has two boys he needs to get rid of; they're seven weeks old now, so he's looking for homes for them. He asked Bobby if he wants one. We're discussing it, and we're leaning towards "yes"....

We've even picked out a name for him: Alex. Yes, after Alex Ovechkin. But it's a cute name for a boy-puppy besides (and Bobby flat-out refused my suggestions of "Maglor" or "Elladan." Boo.) I'm trying to remain neutral and logical but gah...a golden retriever puppy. I'm so excited!
I've seen lots of mutterings this week about NaNoWriMo. As some of you know, I will be participating in NaNoWriMo again this year but in an "unofficial" capacity. Since NaNoWriMo doesn't count works-in-progress, and I will be aiming to finish last year's novel, then I'm technically not eligible. I know, I could break the rules, who'd know the difference? But I agree with their mindset that someone starting from scratch has a much harder job than I do, picking up a novel that is well over 50,000 words already. And, really, I "won" last year, got the nifty icon, so what is really important? The icon or finishing the novel?

So my aim is to finish or come very close, which will take at least 50,000 words (since it's me, and I'm rambly). I'd thought of setting myself loftier goals--70K or even 100K--since last year was pretty easy for me, but decided that it matters not how many words I write but that I finish--or at least come close.

Blathering about the NaNoWriMo Story )
Sorry to subject everyone to another tired post. I feel like Eeyore, moping around, going, "Oh, bother...." (Did I spell Eeyore correctly? I've never been much of a Pooh person, despite enduring the mock-nickname "Pooh Bear" for most of my ten years with Bobby.)

Randomness )

The Big 5-0

Nov. 15th, 2005 05:39 am
dawn_felagund: Skeleton embracing young girl (Default)
Well, it's done....

I reached 50K last night on my NaNoWriMo story.

I was determined to have the goal done in just two weeks. Losing Saturday as a writing day hurt, and so I hunkered down yesterday, neglecting a few things at work and taking my laptop to Bobby's hockey game to get it done.


I would cue fireworks or something spectacular, but I'm just too tired.

The current word count is 50,153, which means that I wrote 6,672 words yesterday to meet my goal, a personal best for NaNoWriMo. I've been keeping stats every day and might do some things with these, but not right now. I'm just too tired.

The novel is far from finished, but I won't be working on it today, as I could not email it to myself since the Internet went down late last night at home, right as I popped out the final 400 words that I couldn't finish at the hockey game. That's also why the announcement is coming today and not last night. But since I've met my 50K goal, I will resume work on my other stories too, specifically the Finarfin/Earwen novella and Juno's very late birthday story. Oh, and AMC revisions.

I have a feeling that I have a lot of warrants coming over soon, but a couple hours of running mindless background checks might not be a wholly bad thing.
I had jury duty today. (For those of you who don't live in the good ol' USA and therefore have no need to have knowledge of our judicial process--if anything that slow can be called a "process"--jury duty involves random selection from a list of registered voters and drivers. It is basically considered to be one of the banes of life: a pleasing combination of boring and inconvenient. Oh! But they pay you $10 a day, which makes it very worthwhile to miss a day of work, especially if you don't get paid time off.

(Which, believe me, if I didn't get paid for the day I took for jury duty, I would have been out of the state this week.)

But, I do, so alas, I did my civic duty and went.

It was...interesting.

They kicked things off by showing us a video about jury duty. It was all grand-sounding and called "Your Turn to Serve" and included personal testimonials from jurors, beginning with how inconvenienced they felt and ending with--literally--testaments along the lines of, "This was such a wonderful experience! I can't wait to do it again!" (Seriously, one woman said that.)

I laughed through the whole thing.

I felt really bad about that. Well, not really bad; I felt a miniscule amount of badness because some underpaid bureaucrat (like myself) is probably so freakin' proud of that thing. I was thinking, "Do people actually buy this?" Yes, well, I suppose they do. They've bought worse.

After that, we sat. I finished a Joyce Carol Oates collection of horror stories called The Collector of Hearts (highly recommended to those of you out there who like darkfic), started the Chronicles of Narnia (which I want finished before the movie comes out), and wrote my brainstorm list for Nelyo's first official staff meeting (which means Bobby and me sitting on the couch in our PJs and probably eating some evol snack with a hockey game in the background, chatting about the imminent candy biz.) After two hours went by, the head guy (don't know what his position is actually called) came in and told us that no jury trials were going to be held today, and so we would be excused.

(Likely, I would have been excused anyway. The one trial that might have been a jury trial was a criminal case. I work for a law enforcement agency devoted to locking up parole violators. Really, I don't have much of a "cop mentality"--I'm just a statistician after all--but they don't need to know that this is one matter on which I am fairly unbiased. They see "Warrant Unit" and goodbye....)

So for two-and-a-half hours of work, I made ten dollars (four dollars an hour, yay! less than the legal minimum!) and got to go home early and work on my NaNo story.

Which because I know everyone is waiting with bated breath, is up to *exactly* 34,500 words. You don't need to tell me that I'm a sick person. I know I am.

Mini Rant (cut for verbal badness) )


Nov. 7th, 2005 01:10 pm
dawn_felagund: Skeleton embracing young girl (Default)
I have just eclipsed the NaNoWriMo halfway point and currently stand at 25,179 words.

Excuse me while I do a happy dance....

*happy dance*

The story is addictive to write. It is also very dark, darker than I expected, but since it is about evil sorcery, that doesn't seem too odd and is probably actually a good thing. It is also only at something like outline point 3 out of something like 30 so--go figure--it's also going to be long.

Other random points to mention:

My office is filled with ladybugs. The other day, I counted twenty of them; there are slightly less today, but they're still quite populous. They happen around this time every year and in the spring. I like them though. They're cute.

Anyone willing to do an exorcism on a computer, please let me know. My work comp all but spit pea soup on me today. It first decided not to shut down on Friday (which, being impatient to leave, I did not discover until today). Then it decided that it didn't want to send stuff to the printer any faster than a page every twenty seconds, which makes printing a thirty-page warrant packet an interesting endeavor. It also disagreed with the notion that we should scan warrants into the computer. And so we didn't, and they are sitting in a big pile on the desk.

State comps...grrrr...good only for writing NaNoWriMo novels!

I Live!

Nov. 2nd, 2005 10:30 pm
dawn_felagund: Skeleton embracing young girl (Default)
*crawls out from under rock*

Yes, she lives!

NaNoWriMo is going...well, better than expected. Of course, mad-busy-craziness had to descend on work in honor of the fact that I have a pretty fat non-work-related commitment to do at work. October was unbelievably dead at Ye Olde Warrant Apprehension Unit; November was ushered in with a chunky stack of warrants for Dawn to run, as well as all of the warrant officers deciding to turn in the crap that's been moldering under the seats of their State cars since July.

Yesterday, I hunkered down to work with NaNoWriMo in mind. (Normally, like any good State employee, I am happy to take my time, peppered with frequent breaks, but lately, I'm motivated to work at breakneck speed.) Johnny came in at one to say that he was surprised that I wasn't complaining, and I said, "About what?" to which he replied, "All of the work that was waiting for you."

"Oh, that? I finished that two hours ago."

At noon yesterday, I opened a fresh Word document, poised my hands ASDF-JKL;-perfect on the keyboard (my dad was a nut who insisted that my sister and I learn how to properly type at a young age and used to chide us for looking at the keys), and got really nervous. What if the story didn't work? Normally, I wait for a story to burst out on its own. AMC was began on a day when I had no idea, going into work, that I would be starting a novel-length story that day.

But I got busy on the task and found, after the initial anxiety over making those first words *perfect* that it was just another story. Right now, I am at the heroin-stage of Felak's writing cycle. I think about the story constantly; I have to force myself to do normal things like laundry and skating and work. Even now, I need my fix, and I know that it's in my email, and it's very tempting to stay up half the night working on it. (That's not going to happen, though.)

If anything, NaNoWriMo has been a bit disappointing just because I was expecting it to be...well, a lot harder than it's been. Not that I'm trying to sound cocky or like a braggart, but I should be over 10K by this time tomorrow.

(I'm tempted, actually, to set myself a 100K goal but then think, "Why ruin this relaxing month of novel-writing and nothing else to do?")

To my co-crazywriters, I have loved reading the details of your stories and apologize for not posting more on my own. I cannot share writing with anyone--I don't even show or tell my husband about my stories while they're being written--until it is finished and cleaned and made suitable for the public. I can tell you that it's based on original characters from my RPG; that it's a fantasy story and, like most of my stories, psychology- and character-centric. Which is weird and probably unpublishable but fun as heck to write.

Also, I am reading everyone's LJ and emails but am cutting myself back on commenting. Normally, I have a tendency to get a bit crazy with LJ posting and comments. This month, I'm slowing down a bit, but I am reading your stories and your posts, even if I don't appear very often.

To all my fellow NaNos, good luck in the days to come! To the rest of you, enjoy your relatively sane November. You're much smarter than me. ;)
Stupid f-ing "DPSCS Network" ate my damned LJ entry. And it was all cool and such. You know, it's a good thing that I don't have a lot of real work to do around here. Because as much as they screw up our computers at this pathetic excuse for an agency, I would get nothing done. I can't even open my Internet right now. So I can't check my email or use my LJ, no, but worse (from their perspective, I would think), I can't run CJIS, can't check if offenders are incarcerated, and can't even look at their stupid little "DPSCS Intranet" page. So what can I do? Dunno. I guess if someone calls and wants to know if there are any active warrants on a person, I should just flip a coin. I have a 50% of being correct. Stupid DPSCS....

So I am typing this in WordPad. You know, I didn't even know that thing still existed until I had to write some HTML one time and scared it up. And my LJ entry will probably be less cool, but that's the penalty that's suffered for having to live with the stupid DPSCS network.

Nope, just checked "Intranet" again. Nothing. No stupid, smiling correctional officers like, "I *love* locking people up!" (Actually, if they're anything like my coworkers, they probably do.)

More rambling (and hopefully less griping) with warnings because those Felaks say the darndest things...and they're not always all-age appropriate )

That's said, for those who don't know, I leave for vacation in less than a day. I will be denied access to my Sweet Connection, a.k.a. my email and LJ, until my return next Wednesday. Then, I will acknowledge all comments and emails that you all have given me. I am not being rude, I swear--well, no ruder than usual ;P--but cannot access Internet without a computer.

And unless one washes up on the beach and they have installed Hi-Speed out on the jetty, then prospects look grim indeed.

So, everyone, have a wonderful weekend and start to your next week. I will talk to you on Thursday :)
(Medium) Dawn Felagund (of the Fountain)