Leaving on a Jet Plane

Scrubs. Big Hats. UV-ray protected running jacket. Shorts. Clip-on shades. Tiny computer. Camisoles. Condiments. 100% cotton shirts. Pens. Paper. Books. Swimsuits. Sweats. What do all of these have in common? All of it has to be stuffed into duffle bags over the weekend because as of Monday the 29th’s evening, I am flitting away to the British Virgin Islands for a sailing trip extravaganza. My sister, dad, aunt and uncle are coming too. (My mom would join but she doesn’t like the out-at-sea rocking motion common on sailboats. I don’t blame her, it is woozy at times.) It’s a rather long vacation – I’m not getting back until early (and by early I mean 2-freakin-30 in the morning) Saturday the 10th – but it will be fun too. But because of this trip, I will be missing the first two November Friday blogposts. I hope the next two weeks are lovely for you all.

A few weeks ago I realized this sailing trip would be at the very beginning of NaNoWriMo and I was unsure if I could juggle being involved with the sailing trip and handwriting at least 1,667 words per day. I still decided that I would go for NaNo anyway and accepted the fact that the first 9 days would be off word-count wise. A few days ago, though, we bought a tiny computer to bring with us in order to store photos and, just like that, *poof* my dilemma with hand-writing every word disappeared. I could type on the minicomputer and be done with the 1,667 words sooner than previously expected. Perfect! Of course it all swings on the inspiration of that particular day, of course, some days the words come gushing out, other days it’s barely a dribble… which brings me to my next point…

Yet NaNoWriMo is less than a week away and I honestly thought I’d be more prepared than this. I thought I’d have my entire plotline planned out, all the characters fully formed, the secondary characters kind-of rounded out, the little world they’re living in completed. Last week I even blogged about how I’m going to use this time to actually plan things this time around and how it wasn’t my usual MO. I thought I’d be more prepared. But I’m not.
And at first, I was kind-of freaking out about it. I kept thinking, Oh my goodness, how am I ever going to put a 50,000 word novel together without a fully-formed plan? The thought would randomly pop into my head: at the groceries picking up fruit, at work while filing timesheets, jerking me out of a dream at 2am. It would stalk my movements and spring at exactly the wrong moment – most notably while I was in the midst of a conversation, making me lose my train of thought and diverging me into writer-speak. Even now it niggles me… How am I going to put a 50,000 word novel together without a fully-formed plan?

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to let this ‘less-than-perfect-plan’ prevent me from doing it and I look forward to learning more about my characters and world as I write inside it, but I do have a question to pose for all of you.

If your plotline peters out mid-stride, what do you do about it?

Warm regards,
Kellie

P.s. – Just for the record, a friend of mine asked this same question and I replied with ‘add a dragon!’ but that can’t really work for my novel as it’s not a fantastical realm. Although, thinking about it, a dragon could be any number of things…regardless…

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Ahhhh!!!

It’s official.

I’ve decided to do NaNoWriMo!

Thus far, I’ve been to one meeting and formulated a semblance of a plot, half of the characters, and even two tiny little cities they can live in. I’ve told my family about it. I even have a group of writing friends to share the frenzy with. I’m on my way to becoming one of ‘those crazy NaNo writers’ I’ve heard so much about.

I also got one of my close “non-writer” friends so intrigued about it she’s going to do it too! Of course, originally she thought I said NaNoRhino and so she came to the meeting with me expecting to hear about the charging creatures…. But at least she has an image to include in her story.

It’s kind of exciting, this NaNoWriMo thing, yeah it’s just a writing challenge and yeah nothing bad will actually happen to me if I don’t complete it, but it’s exciting… just doing it… being a part of a group just doing it.

A friend of mine asked what I would be most afraid of catching me up, writing wise. I didn’t have an answer right then. I didn’t know what would catch me up when I started to write, would it be the characters? Would it be the interactions of plot-lines? Would it be the world?

Then I realized – the one thing that would stop me in my tracks – me.

I don’t have a solid plot lined out just yet, I don’t have an image of every character, and I don’t have a whole world imagined yet. Now don’t get me wrong, usually I’m a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of gal, my short stories and poems (and even the beginning of my novel) didn’t have a outline, but for this thing, but this NaNo thing? This write 1,6667 words a day or fall behind deal? This lets write for 30 whole days event? There’s no time to second-guess, there’s no time to sit and mull over a character or rework a twist. There’s only time to write.

So my weekend and this upcoming week is going to be spent outlining the plot and solidifying the characters, really getting a good idea of what I’m going to write about and how I want my characters to act. I’d suggest you do the same. Because, after all, after that, it’s just writing… a lot of writing…

Warm regards,
Kellie

The NaNo (In)Decision

So for those of you who don’t know NaNoWriMo is happening next month. NaNoWriMo – or National Novel Writing Month – is an event where writers attempt to pen 50,000 words in 30 days. An entire novel written – beginning, middle, end, full-formed characters, details, and worlds all – in one month, no cheats, no thinking, people just write to write. It is fun and intense and very soon. Or so I’ve been told. I’ve known a few people who’ve lived through it and told the tale of craziness. I’ve wanted to try it out for a few years now and last year I was getting really serious but then I wasn’t able to do it because of a prior vacation. So I swore I’d do it ‘next year’, as in 2012, as in this upcoming November which starts in less than 20 days.

But, as fate would have it, I’m actually going on vacation again in the beginning of next month. Because of this shindig, I’d miss nine – NINE – whole days of writing (which calculates into roughly 15,000 words that I would be behind in the daily chart of craziness I devised). I am planning on bringing a notebook but, let’s face it, even if I did write in the notebook daily and even if I did manage to write 1,666+ words per day I’d still have to take a day (or two) to transcribe all those words onto the computer and still write enough words to make quota for those particular days as well. (Did that make sense? I feel like I’m rambling today, but it might be because I’m sick and, so, not up to my usual par. Regardless…)

Why, oh cruel world, are you against me? I jest, of course. I’m looking forward to this little vacation of mine but it’s just bad luck that it clashes with the NaNoWriMo event.
So now I’m faced with a decision.

Should I or shouldn’t I?

I wanted to take this opportunity to really go out of my comfort zone, to write something I’m not usually writing, to possibly jump into the sub-categories of fantasy and sci-fi I haven’t yet explored and see what I pull out of my hat. (I have never, for example, tried my hand at historical fantasy, steampunk, apocalyptic , magic realism, superhero, dark fantasy or romance. Heck I could even use this time to work on the novella series I wanted to write. Or write some Literature instead.) I wanted to try something different. I wanted to try this NaNo craziness out.

But do I have enough time to do this? Will I be able to write enough to complete this goal? Will I be able to make up for the ‘lost days’? Will I be able to juggle everything?
I haven’t the slightest idea.

So I ask you, oh great blogosphere, what would you do?

Warm regards,
Kellie

Lines in the Sand

Last night I was eating a frozen strawberry Popsicle and a thought skittered through my mind. How in the known world did we get so biased?

It’s amazing how much bias there is in the world today, how much snob, how many questions there are concerning what is good and what is bad, what should be knocked down or revered. Even in the writing world there is tension between genres, between Literature and literature, between the simple hobbyist and world-renown author. It’s an interesting world we must sift through, but may I suggest we do not sift through it at all, rather plunge through unhindered by judgment, by biased opinions, by these distinctions of “high” and “low” writing.

Who says the writer who pens fanfiction is somehow less important than the author with published works attached to his name? Who determined that the writers who pen erotica and romance novels are somehow less Literary then the ones who write fiction?

They are, after all, merely distinctions. Someone, somewhere, decided to gouge a line in the sand concerning Literature and ‘everything else’ and somehow, someway, we let him. It’s silly once you think about it. A fanfiction author does not write works any less than a Literature author, and the works of romance are not somehow smaller than the works of non-fiction.

It is all one thing. Every person who puts pen to paper or fingers to keyboard, whether it is poetry, erotica, sci-fi, Literature, memoirs, journals or articles, does the same thing: writes. These people take time out of their busy schedules, ignoring the pulls of society, family and friends, and sit down (or stand, if you have one of those handy treadmill desks) and write.

And yet somehow, in our society, we deem Romance novelist as ‘less’ than Literature. We suggest that fanfic is not as extraordinary as ‘the real thing.’ We are biased. Might I suggest that we are also – almost – too biased? Writers write, and we should support everyone who does, regardless of age, gender, genre, or style. It’s all the same process, all the same hours, all the same dedication, and, in my humble opinion, all writing deserves some sort of clap on the back.

This is not to suggest that every work that was ever written is actually good – far from it actually (Fifty Shades, anyone?) but every writer should get something for their efforts. A smile, if anything, a note from a fan perhaps, even a simple ‘you did it’ will do. I might not think Fifty Shades is good, but I applaud E.L. James for having the dedication to pen the series.

So before you dismiss the erotica writers as lower than average, before you scoff at the sci-fi authors as writing ‘genre’, before you laugh at any form of writing and say ‘I can do that,’ remember this: you did not spend hours working on this one piece, you did not agonize over the characters, re-format the prose, and decide to center the poetry, someone else did. And that deserves at least a little credit.

Am I on the right track here – what do you think about the biased notions surrounding certain writers?

Warm regards,
Kellie