Sunday, November 29, 2009


Loved hitting the 50,000 mark yesterday. But what I have is not a novel, nor even a draft of one. I've got a skeleton. And now it needs muscle and skin.

Without the structure of NaNoWriMo it would've taken me longer to get to this point -- I wrote when I didn't feel like writing, I kept writing when I didn't think something was working and somehow things emerged that did work. I had dreams and early morning mind-wanderings that helped and probably surfaced because I'd been spending at least a little time every day on this. It's worth it.

I started with half the word count already done, and it was still hard to finish. So hats off to all the NaNoWriMo winners who started from scratch, including those in my local writing group... we're celebrating today.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

50,000 words


Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Passing 44,500 words on NaNoWriMo. Six days, six hours and 45 minutes to go.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Two years, 45 annotations, two short critical papers, three 20-page essays, a teaching practicum, and one 88,000-word novel. Done.

From my last annotation (a three-page paper on one particular aspect of a book), Isabella Bird's Six Months in the Sandwich Islands, written in 1873 (think Jane Austen on a pirate ship):

“Whenever I look up from my writing, I ask, Was there ever such green? Was there ever such sunshine? Was there ever such an atmosphere? Was there ever such an adventure? And Nature – for I have no other companion, and wish for none – answers, ‘No.’”

Monday, November 16, 2009

Getting there

I passed 40,000 words this morning. Most of which, it appears, is either exposition or notes to myself, which I write in all caps so I can find them later. So I'll have a string of dialogue interrupted by YOU MIGHT WANT TO SAY SOMETHING ABOUT THUS-AND-SUCH HERE or MAYBE YOU WANT TO MOVE THIS PART UP. I'm pretty sure I'll hit the 50,000 mark by the end of the month but how much of it is actual novel, I don't know.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Montage: Evergreen state

Headed back to the Olympic Peninsula in February for graduation. Been on my mind.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


NaNoWriMo going well... started with about 25,000 words, now I'm at 34,500. I anticipate I'll finish this Half-Nano (sounds like a tiny coffee drink or an ice-skating move for a preschool class) but I have to take a break from it today. (Oh, right... I still have a packet of work to send to my adviser...)

Dad has reassessed his workload and set a new deadline of March 1 to finish his novel. I know he'll do it -- he's a project sort of guy. I'm cheering him on.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Fair warning

Sign at the coffee shop where my local writers group meets:

All of us are doing NaNoWriMo; one has completed a draft of her first novel.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Hand Bones: The conclusion

Here's the final chapter of "Hand Bones," again written using 3WW words, which are karma, obey and wither. You can see the first installment here and the second here.

Fury distorted the young man’s face but my eyes could not leave the blood-stained cleaver that was clearly destined to become the means of my destruction. He moved toward me and though I felt every ounce of courage wither inside, my body obeyed a higher instinct and I stumbled backwards.

“Hand bones!” the man shrieked. “I want your hand bones!”

Blood from the young man’s severed limb had drained to the edge of the stained chopping block and dripped into a pool on the concrete floor. Unawares, the young man stepped in his own blood and lost his footing; he flailed in a desperate effort but by some miracle or karma or answered prayer the young man fell hard. He could not stop his fall with his injured arm; he was forced to rely on the appendage that held the cleaver, which for him produced the most unfortunate result. The blade cut through the exposed skin of his neck and suddenly his head was no longer connected to his body. The head rolled once, and as though delivering a final message of terror, the young man’s eyes closed.

I did not trust at that moment that his body would not ambulate and continue pursing me. I forced my toe to nudge his; it moved only in the way it should. I watched his chest expectantly for some sign of respiration; indeed, the chest dropped and I stifled a scream before understanding it was only the young man’s last breath expelling through his severed windpipe. Perhaps it was the fright of my imagination but I would swear an oath that I witnessed a dark shadow leave his body.

The stolen cadavers that stood around me like a flesh forest were a silent audience to the horrid scene as the floor grew dark with the young man’s blood. It entered my thoughts that these unfortunates had witnessed endless mayhem in this dark chamber and I understood that this dead man could not be the only accomplice. How such an operation could be perpetuated was beyond my comprehension, though at that moment the shadow, which indeed was real, settled upon me and I began to desire the taste of the young man’s flesh.

So overwhelming was this desire that I grabbed the severed hand the young man had offered to me and brought it to my mouth, consuming the flesh raw until there was nothing left but bones, delicious hand bones. The act brought only temporary relief. In that moment I understood my new purpose and I stooped over the bloodied remains of the butcher’s apprentice, untied the strings of his apron, and donned the uniform of my new, glorious occupation.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Got unstuck. In that early morning haze one of my characters showed me something about himself that was unexpected and totally right.

Even when I think I know where a story is headed sometimes the characters have other ideas about what's going to happen, where things will end up.

But that's okay. They always tell a better story.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Speed bump

A little bit stuck today. I've got the main story pretty well figured out but I'm having a little trouble progressing on the subplots ... what happens next? How does this relate to what's going on in the larger story? Does it have to relate? Am I making the story too complicated? Or am I ignoring my own advice and thinking too much?

Stop blogging, start writing.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


Dad and I both met our NaNoWriMo word count goal for the day. Twenty-nine days to go.