Friday, November 30, 2007

LisaWriMo: I Won!

I officially won NaNoWriMo by writing my 50,000th word at 5:01 pm yesterday! *Happy dance!* Even more exciting though was that at 8:43 this morning, I finished my novel. *Happy Dance! Happy Dance! Happy Dance!* My final word count is 51,200 though I'm sure that will be altered with the quantity of editing the story requires. Lots of people have asked me "So, what's it about?" And it's a simple question with a not so simple answer. When I mention that it's about a girl working in research lab they assume it's based on real life experiences. Maybe it is a little but it's also entirely fiction. I like what author Katherine Patterson said,
"Thus, in a real sense, I am constantly writing autobiography but I have to turn it into fiction to give it credibility."

Some characters started off as patterns of people I know but many of them took on their own unique personalities throughout the story and ended up looking nowhere close to who I imagined them as. In a few scenes I found myself unintentionally paying homage to authors I admire - towards the end I found I had written shades of Edward Cullen and Boo Radley into two of my players. I borrowed some names from old friends, and have since reconnected with a few while offering my thanks (you rock, Tonya). Most of them are common enough to never be traced back to individuals but one of my challenges was creating believable names for the cast - though Clarissa and Pablo really had to be Clarissa and Pablo. And I butchered science. I didn't intend to, and I feel a little bad about doing so, but it made for a much more exciting story. That's why it's fiction, right? I'll be curious to see if the minor flubs are caught or if it's only through close technical knowledge that things appear ridiculously fake. I'm still pretty genre-less. I classified myself as Mainstream Fiction because there was no listing for Scificklysterymance (that's sci-fi meets chick-lit meets mystery meets romance. It's no coincidence that that describes my reading tastes too.

But the bottom line is - it's done! I finished! I wrote a novel! I won! As part of the NaNo celebration, once I validated my word count I got a pdf file of a winner's certificate. I like the description they give on it (emphases theirs):
This literary honor is bestowed but once a year upon the bravest, most dedicated, and GIFTED of writers who have achieved their creative potential in ONE absurdly challenging month. The bearer of this certificate shall forever occupy a revered place in the firmament of HIGH-VELOCITY NOVELISTS, and his or her work shall stand as an INSPIRING testament to what can happen when one courageous writer triumphs over the naysaying and self-critical voices that stymie the flow of ART AND MERRIMENT in the universe. Congratulations, novelist. The Office of Letters and Light salutes you.

Of course, I almost wish I had been able to read that piece of encouragement before I started. "absurdly challenging month...."; "Revered place in the firmament...."; "stymie the flow of art and merriment...."; those are some great noveling words... I might have to keep them in mind for November '08!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

LisaWriMo: Progress Tracking

Here's a Word Count Widget if anyone wants to track my progress to the end. Sorry I didn't get it up here sooner!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

LisaWriMo: Almost finished!!! (...Sort of?)

As of this morning my word count stands at 47,441. On Monday I broke my record for a single day's word count with 2634 words. On Tuesday I broke Monday's record by plugging out 2990 words. (I almost wish I had written 10 more just to have a 3K day.) It's highly likely that I'm going to hit the coveted 50,000 tonight or tomorrow morning...but you'll notice that I'm not claiming to finish tonight or tomorrow morning. I'm going to revel in the success of "winning" NaNoWriMo very soon but an even bigger joy will be completing my novel - which will likely take an extra couple thousand words above the 50K mark. It would be awesome to complete the story by November 30th but I don't want to rush the ending too much. I posted another excerpt - there are several now if anyone's interested - but even cooler to read is the latest author pep talk by young adult and sci-fi writer Garth Nix. The full text isn't available online yet but as I did with the supremely awesome Neil Gaiman, here's my favorite highlight from the pep talk of Mr. Nix:

"...remember that being published is not a necessary validation or a path everyone wants to take with their work. Writing---and finishing---a novel is a great thing in itself, whether or not the book is published or becomes widely-read or not.

"Finally, I think it’s always best to write the story that is currently strongest inside you, the one that won’t go away, regardless of its genre or marketability. If you are true to your inner vision, believe in the reality of your story and write the book you want, you will bring it to life."

It really answered my inner doubts about whether or not my story had any "readability" and also acts as a nice little answer to those who want me to seek editors and publishers immediately. I might not be a great writer. I might not even be a good writer. But I have a story to tell and I think I've done a pretty fair job at bringing that story to life.

Stay tuned for copious amounts of celebration and a plethora of joyous salutations when I hit the big 50K!

Monday, November 26, 2007

LisaWriMo: The Final Countdown

I have written - I have HAND-written - over 42,000 words. That puts me a mere 8000 words shy of the goal. That's 84% done. *Insert squeals of delight.* For those of you that stuck with me through my "I-hate-my-novel" and excessive use of rubbish and it's synonyms in describing my writing phase, I thank you profusely. This is the downhill stretch and yet it's also the climactic rush that's providing some of the most dramatic and fun to write material so far. Wish me luck on the home stretch!

Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions, feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you only you can let it in
No one else, no one else can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open

...Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

LisaWriMo: Overdue Update

I figure I'm well overdue for an update on here. I'm over 30,000 words into my novel. I know that should seem like I'm on the home stretch but I still feel like I'm heading "into" instead of out of this project. The last few days have been especially daunting - I dropped below the daily minimums for the first time all month - but after a few marathon writing sessions I'm back on pace to make it 50K in the next ten days. Thanks to all who have been wishing me well - from the encouraging friends to the emailed pep talks from famous authors that NaNoWriMo provides - I really couldn't persevere without my cheering team! I actually had an "I hate my novel" moment this weekend and a perfectly timed email arrived from Neil Gaiman - many know he's one of my favorite authors and you can read his appropriately suited for the moment words in their entirety here. My favorite part was:
You're in the middle, a little past the half-way point. The glamour has faded, the magic has gone.... You don't know why you started your novel, you no longer remember why you imagined that anyone would want to read it, and you're pretty sure that even if you finish it it won't have been worth the time or energy and every time you stop long enough to compare it to the thing that you had in your head when you began---a glittering, brilliant, wonderful novel, in which every word spits fire and burns, a book as good or better than the best book you ever read---it falls so painfully short that you're pretty sure that it would be a mercy simply to delete the whole thing.

Welcome to the club.

That's how novels get written.

I'm still on the fence as to how much sharing of my work will be done. More on that to be discussed later, I'm sure. Until then I'm over 60% done... here's to pushing through to the end!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

LisaWriMo: First Milestone!

I hit 10,000 words on my novel this morning!

I sort of promised not to refer to it as my really crappy novel. I guess it's not entirely rubbish.... Sorry I haven't had more blogging time lately. Anyone craving lisa writing can follow the link above to my latest Novel Excerpt.

But in other news Pace Bus Services that were sure to be eliminated on November 4th are miraculously still running. The new threat is to eliminate them on January 1st, 2008. In the past month, many of you heard my passionate ranting on why many suburbs *coughcoughnapervillecoughcough* would be shooting themselves in the proverbial foot if these cuts were allowed. (And 400 extra drivers are supposed to park... ...WHERE?!?!) My new rant involves how annoying and distasteful I find the political pandering and scare tactics involved with approving budgets.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

LisaWriMo: Hit the ground Running!

Okay well NaNoWriMo started today and though I wasn't in the group that began at midnight, I was scribbling away on the train this morning. I'm up to 1,053 words (goal is around 2000/day) so I'm feeling like that's a good start. Check in HERE throughout the month to see my progress. You'll find my current word count and you can also get a brief (*very brief*) excerpt of my writing that I'll try to update every day or so. Thanks to all who wished me luck, I really appreciate the encouragement. And super awesome thanks to my Official Writing Buddies - Laura (Starzgirl), Katy (kasjer2911), and Emily (Nekonezumi) - you guys rock my world!!!