Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Reading and Writing

I'm attempting to write 1000 words per day. It isn't quite as cumbersome as NaNoWriMo's 1667 words per day. I can easily fit 1000 into my 3 hour evenings, and I might even have some extra time to finally use my Rosetta Stone and teach myself Russian. (Leo Tolstoy here I come!)

So far, I have about 1500 words. My cousins will be here in about a half an hour to make Christmas snowflakes, so that gives me just enough time for 500 more words - unless I allow Battlestar Galactica to completely distract me. I write better with noise! But Starbuck is pretty much my best friend, and it's the episode where she crash lands on that moon! The next few episodes are some of my favorites. She reconfigures that Cylon and makes it fly for her! Everyone thinks she's dead, but she isn't!


Someone passed along this e-mail at work. I guess a bunch of authors and editors are partaking in this big Twitter hashtag - Santa's Book Bag - where they'll choose one book for each day from December 1 to December 24. It can be one of their own or a colleagues. It's a way to promote their books and to remind people that books make good presents too! (Although if you were at Christmas in my house about 13 years ago, the time my brother took one look at the packaging, exclaimed 'stinking book' and threw it, you wouldn't think so. He's a book friend now though.)

Anyway. Again.

I think I'm going to do that. I'm not promoting anything except reading for the greater good. I might even start before December 1. Depends.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Couple Things

Well, one thing that NaNoWriMo did was make me want to write, even if I ended up not wanting to write what I was writing in the time allotted.

And one thing depression did was give my brain an idea, and I think it's a pretty good one!

So! Not all things are bad!

Also - it's completely original and does not rely on anyone's or pieces of anyone's life to tell it.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

0 Words

If you haven't already guessed, I've completely abandoned NaNoWriMo. Because I'm weak, I guess.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

1,110 Words, 8,557 Total

I've been so tired lately. I went to bed at 10 last night, slept the night through, and still slept on the train. On the way in and on the way home.

I may have picked up a writing buddy. She's 13 and her enthusiasm for NaNoWriMo reminds me of my enthusiasm for writing when I was her age. I should attempt to resurrect some of those old half finished "manuscripts" of mine. Trouble was, back then I thought I was the next R.L. Stine and only wrote about troubled girls who put their fluffy white cats through meat grinders and made delicious hamburgers and stole their mother's boyfriends. Damn, that story was so good.

Monday, November 9, 2009

400 Words, 7,467 Total

7:30 - Ack! I believe the NaNoWriMo website is down! The horror!

Another, Ack! My grammar! It's atrocious. Not editing is killing me, but I guess it keeps me moving forward instead of focusing on the behind parts.

8:09 - I'm procrastinating like a mother. Still haven't written anything yet. MUST WRITE.

8:16 - Plugged in and ready to go. I really wish that my keyboard keys glew (glew? glowed?) in the dark.

9:04 - 394 words and I'm fading fast. Going to take a short break, drink some water. Take a shower and then start Chapter Two.

9:35 - I can't think how to begin the second chapter. What do I want to happen? I have this chapter and perhaps one more before Mark leaves everything behind. I wanted to make it at least to the first week's goal of words before I switched gears and sent Mark on his way. That would be about 12,000 words in.

So what to do? So far, his father's come home (to live) and Mark's mother never told him. It's been over a year since the day his father was kicked out, but Mark still isn't talking to him, so this is a pretty huge deal. Mark's mother tries to rationalize his decision in a terrible "make up" conversation with her son and Mark leaves, waking up at 4am in his car at the beach and in trouble with the security guards.

What happens next? I thought about starting the chapter at the therapist. Or do I have him staying at his aunt's house? Or do I have him at home, not really talking to his mom, nor his dad and ... this sounds terrible. I think I'm going to start the chapter at the therapist. With a combination of that last one.

The most fun bits to write so far have been the description of the LIRR and my description Ocean Parkway. I'm sure this will never get published, but I think it's important. To capture things as they are. Paint the place you live as it is so it's never forgotten.

I have to put this down for the night.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

2,855 Words, 7,067 Total

I got some serious writing done at the boyfriend's this afternoon. Posted a new excerpt on the NaNoWriMo site:

For the first time since beginning to take the train in and out of the city, I prayed for a track condition or the striking of an unauthorized person on the track. Anything to delay the train, spend two, three, maybe four hours on the train instead of one. Everyone would grumble and curse and yell that they needed to pick up their kids or they needed to get home to dinner or they spent 3,000 dollars a year on this bullshit! And I would smile knowingly at them, shake my head as though I shared their pain. We would be united in our unification, our hatred of the LIRR, except inside I’d have erupted in tumultuous applause for the worn track or the unauthorized person who died just so I wouldn’t have to get home on time.

As always, the Long Island Railroad proved to be completely unreliable and pulled into Deer Park station at exactly 6:55. Walking to my car, I started to panic. Full blown panic. I am normally a runner – one of the people that gets up at Wyandanch and stands at the door, impatiently tapping my leg, waiting for the train to pull into the Deer Park station and the doors to open so that I can burst forth, entering the race of the other 5 or 6 runners that throw themselves down the platform stairs and across the parking lot to their cars. But I couldn’t run. I couldn’t even get out of my seat and nearly missed the Deer Park stop.

I walked slowly to the car and got in. And sat there. Part of me wanted to run home and defend her. Tell him to get the fuck out. Maybe I would push him. But another part, the part that kept the hand that held my keys frozen to my side instead of inserting them, igniting them and peeling away – that part wanted to never go home again. That part wanted to go to sleep and just forget about it.

Just reviewing The Beach on Shelfari and adding Raven. Then, back to writing for at least the next half hour.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

1,336 Words - 4,212 Total

Moving along and desperately trying use my life without using my life. It's a good lesson in creativity. To dare yourself to stray away from the real story and turn it into something different, while also making sure that the emotions you wanted to carry through are there. I think I succeeded with today's bit of writing. I was also able to go back and change some of the old stuff, even though I know we aren't supposed to be editing, I think it gave me peace of mind and a better direction.

Watching some 30Rock right now while I straighten my hair, doing dinner and wine with the boyfriend and the parents, and then back to writing until my eyes close on themselves. Can I write 7000 more words before the end of tomorrow?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Day 3 - 484 Words - 2,876 Total

Hit a bit of a snag yesterday and most of today, so I didn't get started until pretty late. I feel as though I keep making a thousand excuses. Probably because I do. Anyway, since the Google Document thing didn't work because it uploaded incorrectly, I'm switching to a keychain USB to carry with me wherever I go. So I can work on it at work - like I wanted to do today. And then when I go to the boyfriend's, I can work on his laptop while he plays poker! It's a WIN WIN.

Man I love WIN WINS.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Young to Publishing Seminar

It was better than what I expected and worse than what I expected all at the same time. On the one hand, there was no hobnobbing with the publishing elite. I handed out none of my fabulous personal business cards made especially for the occasion. There were only tons of people just like me - assistants, whether editorial, marketing or publicity. I know that someday, they (and hopefully I) will be among the elite, but it's still strange trying to suck up to and hand your incredibly dorky business cards to one of your peers. But on the other hand, I learned a lot. A lot about how publishing works, how many of these "elite" started and, to my great relief, how many of them dove in head first feeling as though they had no clue what they were doing.

Though every single speaker/panel was eye-opening and wonderful, there were two sessions in particular that left me in awe of this giant profession that I've chosen for myself. I can only hope that one day I'll have changed and shaped the industry in the ways that they have. The first was opening keynote speaker, Morgan Entrekin, President and Publisher of Grove Atlantic. The second was Closing Keynote Speaker Kate Medina, Associate Publisher, Executive Editorial Director and Executive Vice President of Random House along with bestselling author, Anna Quindlen.

Morgan Entrekin took the time to speak to us plainly about his entire journey. He started judging manuscripts with Yes, No, Maybe and moved up from there. The greatest and most awe-inducing points of his story was his discovery and promotion of Brett Easton Ellis and how he became Kurt Vonnegut's editor. Brett Easton Ellis! KURT VONNEGUT!! These authors and publishers will never cease being celebrities to me. Could I someday discover a writer as unique and influential as Ellis and have the courage and strength to promote what I believe in? I can only hope.

The evening ended with Kate Medina and Anna Quindlen talking about the dynamics of their relationship as editor and author. Kate spoke of her editing process and Anna of her writing process, and for someone who can't decide if she wants to discover the next great novel or write it, both women had so much to say that I listened to with much awe and attention. Not to mention these were two women who made themselves into something great - a great editor and a great writer so that young wanna-be girls like me can aspire to that same greatness.

I tell everyone I'm going to be a big deal someday. And sometimes I think think, seriously? You? But listening to everyone speak today made me feel like I am on the right path and I really am going to be a big deal someday.

In conclusion, here's some important stuff from the seminar. Words of advice, etc:
  • Always have the courage of your convictions.
  • Follow your instincts and your passions.
  • Understand all facets of publishing. Most importantly, the economics of it.
  • Experience the international publishing community and learn another language. Most international publishers can speak at least 3 and it brings something extra to the table.
  • READ!
  • Get a good mentor.
  • It's okay to say you don't like a book.
  • Right now is a really good, albeit scary, time to be in publishing.
  • No matter what you do all day, the only thing that matters is that you deliver your book to the consumer when s/he wants it, where s/he wants it and how s/he wants it. Meet the consumers' needs.
  • In 1975, people had 8 different media choices - television having just come on the scene in a biggish way. Today, there are over 20. How do we compete?
  • [SEARCH] has changed the way we gather information completely over the past 10 years.
  • When marketing a book, make it simple for the consumer to talk about and share how great they think the book is.
  • We all do this for that I NAILED IT feeling.
I know I do.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Day 2 - 904 Words - 2,392 Total

8:30 - And about to start writing. I have a half hour before I have to start preparing for tomorrow. I was invited to attend the AAP's Young to Publishing conference tomorrow and need to straighten the hair and do the nails and turn myself into a true professional that doesn't show up for work in frumpy clothes and sneakers. 3 minutes gone! Blog procrastinating. Let's go!

8:40 - Boyfriend called and interrupted process.

9:04 - Phone call ended. Devoting another 10 minutes before beautifying process begins.

9:15 - 420 words and taking a break. Will continue when beautifying process is complete. One of the guys upstairs is talking outside my window again, and he's lucky I'm in a good mood. That's all I'm saying.

Oh, also, before I go. I think I found some sort of direction for my story. It opens with the line I mentioned yesterday and the character discusses his childhood depression, loneliness - etc. His "suicide" isn't really a calculated suicide and has more to do with a child's desire to slip away, disappear. He talks about this with a bit of childhood innocence, a bit of humor. Anyway, the story really starts at his second suicide, a death he fakes to escape his life and start over. There's this mother son thing going on in the first part, and so I think I'll have him watch his own funeral and react to his mother's pain.


10:18 - starting again, slowly, with wet nails. But it's a fab dark eggplant-y color. Very professional.

10:48 - I am so tired and can't continue. After sitting up way past midnight last night, I don't think I can hack it again tonight. But I am glad I have some sort of maybe direction.

This was fun!

Oh - I'm something like 3000 words behind, but need to have something like 11,500 words by the end of the week. I'm going to put it on Google Documents so that I can work during my lunch breaks. Seeing as how I only have a few hours at home to myself, that may be the only way to reach my goals realistically and without killing myself.

Here's the excerpt I posted to my NaNoWriMo page:

There were other things too.

The time Eric bet me I couldn’t knock that nest of baby birds out of the tree with the rock he had in his hand. Not wanting him to know that I really didn’t want to knock the nest of baby birds out of the tree, I took the rock from his hand and hoped that the smirk on my face matched his. Heavy, hard and cold. It pressed against my fingertips and I twirled it slowly, watching my target. There was a shrill cry from the tree and I could see at least 2 little heads reaching up towards their anticipated lunch. If their mother came home just now, maybe she’d eye Eric and I and know what we were up to. Maybe she’d swoop down and poke out Eric’s eyeballs, giving me enough time to drop the rock and run for it. She’d leave Eric bleeding on the lawn and fly after me, but I’d be too fast for her.

Eric looked at me. “Scared, Mark?”


I twirled the rock one more time, drew my arm back and threw. My aim was perfection and the nest exploded, sticks, mud, thread and tiny baby birds bursting up into the air. Then it all came down and their tiny bodies hit the ground hard. Bounced once. And all was still.

“Cool,” Eric shouted, running to inspect the chaos.

I followed more slowly and quietly contemplated the murder I’d just committed.

There was the time I called Donny a nigger because I’d heard the word on TV and I was pretty sure I’d applied it correctly, but also wasn’t quite sure how much damage the word would do. He told his mom and then his mom came to my house and told my mom. My mom said she’d never teach her son that word, which was true because she hadn’t. And Donny’s mom said maybe she should have taught me not to say it. And my mom said that you never know what kids hear and she was sure I was sorry, which I was sorry that my mom was getting yelled at but I wasn’t sorry I called Donny a name because he had stolen my backpack. Donny’s mom answered very rudely and my mom asked her to leave. Then Donny stole the stick and that was the last I saw of him.

There was the time I told mom everything about myself. Everything I was and everything I feared that I was. And she took me in her arms and told me it would never matter to her, but her eyes looked so sad and scared.

Nov 2 - 1,488 words - 1,488 total

I got it going, which is nice. But it still reads like a short story and doesn't have much direction. It starts:

I was 9, the first time I tried to kill myself.

I meant to get to 1,667, but I'm tired and it's already incredibly late. I can make up the extra words on the weekend. If my computer weren't so bulky, I could carry it with me through the day. Oh well.

I do really want to do this.

Monday, November 2, 2009

I think I'm going to do this: National Novel Writing Month, or as it's more lovingly known in the sphere: NaNoWriMo.

Basically, the point is to write a 50,000 word novel by midnight on November 30 - completely giving yourself away to 'literary abandon'. That's 1,667 words a day and I'm already one day behind! Luckily, how much you write is the aim - not what you write. The point is not creating a work of pure genius, but sitting down and writing. Just writing. Commitment is the point.

I got 159 words done at work today. Just to get myself started. 1,508 left for tonight, plus yesterday's 1,667.
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