Wednesday, November 30, 2005

It's OVER!

Random Stats as I Think of Them
Year Days Spent Writing Average Words Per Day Final Count Most Words Written in One Day Least Words Written in One Day
2004 23 2,176 50,051 5,141 (Day 1) 600 (Day 5)
2005 25 2,014 50,338 5,052 (Day 1) 70 (Day 24)

I hereby solemnly promise that I will post regularly (at least once a day, Mondy through Friday,) have interesting and insightful things to say, and get caught up on my book reviews. If any of this doesn't sound good to you, then you can go read another blog.

At least, until next November (he he.)

NaNo Progress Table

No need to check your calendar. It's not November 30, yet. This is just my way of manipulating the calendar settings to keep this post at the top.

The following is a progress table of where I am, day by day, compared to where I was last year. November 1 fell on a Monday last year, as opposed to this year's Tuesday. Saturdays and Sundays are off by one day.

Following this entry, there will be random posts for your reading pleasure.

Excerpts of this year's NaNo can be found on my profile page, over on the NaNo site.

Daily Word Count
Day 2004 2005
1 5,141 5,052
2 2,410 1,877
3 2,506 2,644
4 1,563 1,448
5 600 0
6 1,245 990
7 0 2,398
8 2,874 2,268
9 1,452 2,412
10 1,535 2,606
11 0 2,445
12 2,687 2,408
13 3,020 826
14 0 4,155
15 3,069 1,034
16 1,877 484
17 748 0
18 2,607 2,901
19 906 2,777
20 863 1,414
21 747 1,970
22 2,965 0
23 2,373 541
24 1,827 70
25 0 1,811
26 0 1,205
27 0 0
28 0 1,335
29 4,960 2,972
30 2,076 0
Total 50,051 50,338

Accumulative Word Count
Day 2004 2005
1 5,141 5,052
2 7,551 6,929
3 10,057 9,573
4 11,620 11,015
5 12,220 11,015
6 13,465 12,011
7 13,465 14,409
8 16,339 16,677
9 17,791 19,089
10 19,326 21,695
11 19,326 24,140
12 22,013 26,548
13 25,033 27,374
14 25,033 31,529
15 28,102 32,563
16 29,979 33,047
17 30,727 33,047
18 33,334 35,948
19 34,240 38,725
20 35,103 40,139
21 35,850 42,109
22 38,815 42,109
23 41,188 42,650
24 43,015 42,720
25 43,015 44,531
26 43,015 46,031
27 43,015 46,031
28 43,015 47,366
29 47,975 50,338
30 50,051 50,338

By the by, this is the post that caused the template change that erased all of the paragraph breaks. I was using the 'enter' key rather than paragraph tags. But to have tables, I didn't want the 'enter' key conversion to line breaks nor did I want to hunt through horizontal lines of code to make it work. Basically, this is better for tables and closer to real coding.

Thoughts, prayers and good wishes are welcome for ensuring that the bottom line is over 50,000.

Monday, November 28, 2005


If I didn't feel like I would be cheating, I would be looking through my NaNo novel for all of the words I can uncontract from their contracted form so I could increase my word count. It would be a gain of 962 words.

Yes, I wasted 10 minutes figuring that out instead of cranking out 300 more words.

Book Review V

Title: Watermelon

Author: Marian Keyes

Genre: Chick Lit

Summary: After being deserted by husband minutes after the birth of their first child, Claire moves back to Dublin to recover in the circle of her family.

What was Good: The internal dialogue was great. Claire's reasons for any action, along with her paranoia had me laughing out loud.

What wasn't: The title. Other than a one-time reference to looking like a watermelon in a particular outfit shortly before she gave birth, I didn't see the revelance.

The Take-Away: As far as first novels go, this one is great. Marian Keyes shares an agent with Holly Lisle, at least, when this book was sold. Russ Galen should be commended for finding such a catch.

Recommendation: Read it and then kiss your husband for not being such a jerk.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Update on NaNo Progress

I've rolled over that crucial (for me) mark of >9,999 words to go. I was really upset that I didn't get more done yesterday. Every word is the mental equivalent of pulling teeth, without any good drugs. But today, when I started to update my table, I realized that I kicked more ass then I thought I did. So it was a good day. It just took me longer to realize it.

I'm seriously thinking about typing my novels instead of long handing them. I get so much more accomplished. I've found a way of carrying a laptop with me. Now I just need to convince Santa that I've been really nice this year.

Oshkosh was challenged by Santa Barbara and LA to see who's region could have the highest average word count per participant last weekend. LA whomped us with <7,000 words per typer on average. We (WI: Elsewhere) had 6,500 on average. Santa Barbara had 6,300. Next year, however, I've promised that we are going to beat LA. One participant had over 17,000 words. I still can't believe it. It was a great way to get word counts up.

Have a great Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 18, 2005

Book Review IV

Title: Dragon Rider

Author: Cornelia Funke

Genre: Fantasy

Summary: As humans plan to flood the valley that is the shelter of the dragons, a brownie girl and dragon sent off to find the Rim of Heaven.

What was Good: A sweet story meant appropriate for 3rd or fourth graders. It introduces the well-known conventions of fantasy in easily understood ways.

What wasn't: Would not hold the attention of most adults. This is not a fantasy novel that appeals to multiple age levels.

The Take-Away: I probably wouldn't have finished this book except I think that my five-year-old will love it in a couple of years.

Recommendation: Read it at bedtime to your child for good dreams.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Book Review III

Title: The Patriots Club

Author: Christopher Reich

Genre: Fiction

Summary: A renegade member of a secret club attempts to impose his agenda on the nation.

What was Good: The idea of a secret club that runs the country is a favorite of conspiracy theorists. Mr. Reich gives this old idea new life with the premise that the club really does serve in the interest of the country and always has.

What wasn't: The girlfriend seems awfully accepting of everything that happens. I know I would have freaked out more. She wasn't believable in a few of the scenes.

The Take-Away: I kept thinking of Grisham's early work.

Recommendation: Read it, then check out more of his titles.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Sick Baby, Part II

Having a good child care provider is completely worth the amount of money spent on them. She has been completely fabulous with the baby this week, while dealing with the aftermath of their own tradegy.

Yesterday when I picked him up, she had been giving him cool baths inbetween ibuprophen. Wiping his runny nose. Cuddling when he didn't want to do anything that involved moving from the couch. Have I mentioned how much I love in home providers? At a center, I would have been called with in minutes and told to pick him up. Her opinion was that I needed to keep my vacation time for the fun days, not the taking care of sick kid days. I know that she loves him as much as we do.

After the fourth full day of this, we both knew it was more than just teething. I decided to take him to the doctor. As it turns out, he has an ear infection. Two doses of antibotics and he is (mostly) back to his normal self. This means he is bossy, asking for Halloween candy, and chasing the dogs around the house.

I decided to keep him home so he could rest. Little did I know how quickly amoxicillian works. Right now he is sleeping with Daddy, in the oldest's bed. It's been awhile since I last heard their voices and giggles, so I'm assuming that they are asleep.

I'm taking advantage of that fact and going to get ahead on my NaNo word count. I'd love to be done by the 29th and think I have a shot at it. Thanks for the well wishes, everyone, for both the baby and the writing.

Book Review II

Title: The Secret Lives of the Sushi Club

Author: Christy Yorke

Genre: Chick Lit

Summary: A member of the Sushi Club violated an unspoken rule and used the initimate details from the lives of club members as fodder for her lastest novel. The four women and family member take a white water rafting trip to pick up the pieces of their destroyed lives.

What was Good: I loved seeing how the varied personalities reacted to and resolved the betrayal. Each woman learned and healed from the experience. The story has depth that is not evident from my summary. Short spoilers, though, I can't point anything specific out.

What wasn't: This sounded like a chick lit novel. Parts of it where. Parts of it were women's lit. Seeing them side by side just didn't work for me.

The Take-Away: I'll probably read Ms Yorke's next novel too. Parts of this were wonderful, but others really left me hanging.

Recommendation: Put it on your list, but not a top-level priority.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Sick Baby

Nothing is worse as a parent then when your child is sick and you can't do a damned thing about it. It's nothing serious, but that is no comfort when he lays his little head against you and says, "Stay."

He is teething and gets new ones in very poorly. Every new tooth has been pure agony. The oldest would get new teeth and we'd never notice until he decided to use your arm for practice.

This one, however, throws up, doesn't eat, runs a low grade fever, gets a runny nose, the works. My heart cracks in two when I drop him off at daycare. That woman is a saint. She know it's his teeth and keeps him even though, technically, she should send him home simply because his temp is high. If you live in Oshkosh and are looking for a inhome childcare provider, I've got a fantastic one for you.

Part of me feels like the bad mommy who doesn't stay home with him. Part of me feels like he is being taken care of as well or better than I would. After all, if he feels better, there's all those kids to play with. And that's so much better than playing with Mommy.

Hope you feel better soon, baby.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Book Review I

Title: The Seventh Tower: The Fall

Author: Garth Nix

Genre: Fantasy

Summary: A boy needs to find a primary sunstone to secure his family's place among the Choosen.

What was Good: The book is intended for a young audience. The fantasy archeotypes are easily identified, but with their own personalities that are not easily recognized from other series.

What wasn't: The first chapter is a scene that actually takes place near the middle of the book. While it throws action at the reader immediately, none of the world's rules are known. It could be confusing to someone unfamiliar with this genre.

The Take-Away: It really is meant for young readers, fourth or fifth grade. The novel is slim (less than 200 pages) and the ending makes you hungry for the next one.

Recommendation: Read it with your child while waiting for the next Potter novel.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Shorts or Novels?

One answer to the short story vs. novel conundrum, via Miss Snark. Remember, the source is part of the answer too.

A while back I considered short stories as a way to get publishing credits. But when I started looking at the markets... Gulp. It was information overload. Trying to fathom which publications would carry weight (yet might realistically still publish my writing) and which were a wash out, started consuming ALL my fret time.

I decided to concentrate on finishing the damn book instead. Recently the idea of writing short stories stirred again. Any suggestions on where to find a concise list of reputable short story markets?

And while we're on the topic of short stories, let me use some fret time to ask IF they do get published what are the chances of selling them as part of an anthology down the line or is new work the buzz for new writers?

There are all sorts of places that publish short fiction. Writer's Market publishes lists of them I think. But, pick up a copy of "Best of -insert category here-" the anthologies published at the end of the year. Best American Short stories, Best crime writing, best sports stories, etc.

Look in the back. There's a list of where the winners were first published, and more important a list of where the top 100 were first published. Yes, there is a preponderance of New Yorker, and Playboy and Esquire, but there are lots of others too. Make a list. Check them out.

Next, go to your local indie book store and find the fiction buyer. Ask her/him what journals are good.

Next, go to your local library. Ask the librarian who buys fiction what s/he reads or looks at or considers a good source.

And don't fret. Write.

This question is one that is fiercely debated in my head and at my critique group.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Nifty Writing Organizer

yWriter is a program written by a NaNo novelist who doubles as a computer programmer.

The program provides a way to organize note, outlines and full chapters, without using Word and in one file. It would be great for someone who likes to have organization in their writing.

I played around with the program for a half day or so. It would work super for my Snowflake Method preference except for two things. I write in multiple locations and can't always download/install a program; I write my best dialogue scenes longhand.

For those unencumbered, however, I'd encourage you to check it out.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Site Problems

The NaNo site is experiencing some problems. They warned us. Even with the fourth server, keeping up seems to be a problem.

Perhaps it is because they are letting us find out our word count on their counters. I've been updating at the end of every session. Multiply that by 60,000+ members and the strain must be audible.

Best wishes that is up and running again soon.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Bookworm Report, October 2005

This weather is just crazy. It's finally starting to feel like fall. I keep waiting to see four horsemen riding across the sky.

Crazy weather didn't stop me from reading this month.

Bookworm Review
Year Pages Books
2001 5,880 15
2002 3,073 9
2003 2,129 5
2004 2,862 8
2005 4,064 11

For the year, I’ve read X books, or X pages, which averages to X books a month, or X pages per month, and an average book length of X pages.

I'm starting NaNo today (in case you had forgotten or something.) Please don't expect regular posts. Any and all writing will be devoted to finishing my 50,000 pile of Crap Work of Wonderful Words. No padding will be allowed until I'm so far behind that I'll never get my nose above ground again.

What you can expect, however, is one of the seven book reviews I've already written (rather than waiting until the last moment like I normally do.) And periodic updates to the lovely progress table that I've made, but not yet posted. (Patience, grasshopper.)

As an extra special treat, I signed up to bring a long piece to my critique group on Dec. 17th. Which means that I have to have it printed by and handed out at the Dec. 3rd meeting. Which means I either need to find the grave site for my barely passable fantasy novel or hope to hell that this year's NaNo is decent enough to show with minimal editing. Of course, it might encourage some of them to take the challenge with me next year. I'm frightfully disappointed that they are not ruining the writing skills by excessives adverbs with me. (Poke, prode.)

Anyway, here's to a cheery November!