Saturday, November 27, 2010

NaNoWriMo: My story

I had already mentioned that my story was going to be based on Swallows and Amazons.  This book, and the 11 books that came after it, are very dear to my heart.  And since I did not want to do NaNoWriMo, did not want to write fiction at all, I thought it would be easier to start with a story and some characters that someone else had created.  I am not sure it turned out to be easier, though, for a few reasons.

The original stories took place in the 1930s in England's Lake District.  The main characters - John, Susan, Titty, and Roger Walker, and Nancy and Peggy Blackett, ranged in age from about 7 to about 12.  I moved the story to 1960, when the Swallows and Amazons have been through the war, married, and had children.

The main story started out like this:  The 6 children, now grown, converge at the holiday cottage at which their adventures began.  Captain Flint, uncle to the Amazons and friend to all, has died while traveling. They are called there by their parents, not for a funeral, but to come together to pay tribute to the dead man.  (Nancy and Peggy's mother is Captain Flint's sister and lives on the lake.  Captain Flint had lived in a houseboat there. The Walker children's parents have bought the holiday cottage and retired there.)   While there, they fix up the old boats they sailed in 30 years before, send their kids on adventures similar to those they had enjoyed in their youth, and generally have a fine time. They all realize how much they have missed the place, and all manage to find a way to come and live there.

It sounds dippy, I know.   But it gets dippier.

I ended up bringing Captain  Flint back to life, because as I was typing up the scene in which his nieces and friends are mourning his death while standing on the deck of his houseboat, I had the uncontrollable urge for him to appear.  Not supernaturally.  He rows up to his boat in a dinghy and appears just as they fire off the cannon as a salute to him.   Hey, I needed the several thousand words to tell the story about his "death" and return.  But more than that - Captain Flint had to return, dramatically.  Now I understand what writers mean when they say their story line or a character surprises them.

I also added in a sullen teen to give me a conflict point and some drama.  It is set in 1960, after all. There's got to be a rebel.  This is Titty's 15-year-old daughter, who treats everyone shabbily and wants nothing but to go home, until her actions put her little sister in peril.  Melodrama, yes.  I found that melodrama is so easy to write! 

What was not to easy to write were the details I needed to make the story come alive.  All along I kept thinking "I need to learn more about that" and "wish I had time to research that."   When the objective is to slap down 50,000 words in 30 days, and still have some semblance of a family/home life, research isn't really part of the picture.   So if I want to carry on, there are some topics I need to study.

The original books had a lot of sailing in them. But I don't know anything about sailing. I remember a lot of the words, but I can't really write about it properly.  So most of my action takes place on land, which is fine, but is not in keeping with the original story.  I suppose I could do a little studying and learn - and understand - enough vocabulary that I could fix that.  

My main characters came of age in England during World War II.  So the war has to figure in the story, even though it's set several years after.  I had to know what they did during the war years.  For example, what could a young woman living in the lake district do to support the war effort without leaving home?  Was there any military action in that part of England or was it remote enough that the was wouldn't be visible?  A quick google showed me that there is plenty to say about the war in that area.  .

Two characters, Nancy and Titty, had to be involved in codes and codebreaking.  That was obvious to me based on what I  knew of them from the original stories.  I wondered what that would be, though.  The seminarian told me about the German Enigma machine and code-breaking work at Bletchely Park in England.  This was perfect for my characters - many if not most of the workers there were women - but it really needed more research to do it right.  So that part of my story is a little blurry right now. 

So, what do I have now?  50,000+ words of a very rough draft of a melodramatic, overly-sentimental novel with little historical detail. 

What will I do with it?   For now I'm going to set it aside.  I've finished what I set out to do this month.  I loved doing it, most of the time.  But, I'm not finished forever, I don't think.  I have a few books from the library on the Enigma machine and the codebreaking efforts.   I'm going to finish reading Arthur Ransome and Captain Flint's Trunk, which tells the story of the real people and places on which the original stories were based.  I don't think that will really help me with the story but it's a fun read.  It's already given me some insecurity over my characters:  I found out that the real-life Roger, who in my story was a ship's engineer who lost an arm in the war, actually became a doctor.  But I think I'll get over that.  It is fiction, after all.

It's possible, even likely, that I'll never get back to the story, though.  I have other things to focus on  now. This month of writing has left my house and our homeschool a little disorganized. 

Even if nothing ever comes of it, it was so worth the time and effort.  It was a wild month, fun and frustrating at the same time.   Looking forward to next year!

Friday, November 26, 2010

NaNoWriMo: the end (but not really)

Well, we did it.  The three of us completed our novels today, validated our word counts on the NaNoWriMo site, and were declared winners.  We have prizes to claim - a web badge which only I can use, the kids being blog-less, certificates of completion, and later on, a coupon for a free proof copy of the novel.  (I think the kids get those, not me.  The "young writers program" is slightly different from the adult.)

The work is not finished, though.  There is a lot of editing to do.  James in particular has so many typos.  When I look over his open office file, I see so many red lines!  But there is other editing to do too.  The stories are in rough draft form now. The object of this project was not to end up with a perfect novel after 30 days.

I hope the kids' enthusiasm for their stories lingers.  I don't want the editing process to be a burden.  It will be up to me to keep it from becoming one.  I think we'll take a little break for a few days and then print them out, chapter by chapter.   We'll work on them slowly.

Then there's my story.  Mine needs a lot of work!  Not for typos, so much, though I have plenty.  It's a pretty disjointed story right now.  Chapters are out of place, I think. There are a lot of holes in it.  Continuity is poor; I know that in one case I said a book belonged to one person, then later said it belonged to someone else.  I have one episode that has two endings!  And I like them both.  Well, not really like but can't seem to choose between them yet.

I guess I never did say what my story is about, except that it's based on Swallows and Amazons, our favorite family read-aloud of all time.  But I need to go watch an episode of "Green Acres" with my kids now so I'll save my story synopsis for a little later.  I don't know if I'll be able to revive this blog after our 27 days of writing, but at least I can come back and write that.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Who are you thanking this Thanksgiving?

People often talk about the things they are thankful for.  Most of us have plenty for which we can give thanks.

But to whom are you giving thanks?   Who gave you all these wonderful things for which you are thankful?

God?  Mother Nature? Gaia?  Fate?

Just curious.

Update:  I should answer my own question, shouldn't I?   You won't be surprised to read that I thank our sovereign God for all the great gifts in my life - including those that may not always look like gifts.

Update 2:  If you can't answer the question "to whom are you giving thanks" but you feel thankful today anyway... maybe you need to spend some time thinking about that. 

Thanksgiving, NaNoWriMo, and sick kids

Yeah.  One kid is sick, one is threatening to get sick.   I haven't written more than 500 words in the last 3 days.  Yesterday was the first day I wrote nothing.  Not one word!  I should have at least gone in and typed a sentence.  That big red blot on yesterday bothers me.  There is one on today, too, though there shouldn't be yet.  It's only 9:20 am!  I can still write today!  Why did NaNo give me a red mark for today already?

The sickness may just be allergies.  Or a reoccurrence of last year's sinus infection. Maybe nothing communicable. Or it could be a cold.  In any case, we told our Thanksgiving guests to go elsewhere.  This is one of the nice things about having a church:  I told my friend/pastor's wife I was concerned about having sickness in the house.  Our guests were to be a pregnant woman, a 4-year-old, and two PhD students heading into finals.  Do we want to expose them to sickness?  Uh, no.  So my friend says "wait and see if it gets better. If not, call me and I'll take them."   It didn't, so I did, last night.  They will be just as happy at her house; even more so:  no one will be coughing on their pumpkin pie.

(This reminds me of a post I have brewing about Christians who shun the church.  Maybe I'll get back to that in December. Of course friends and family can have the same benefits but this sort of thing is part of what the church is for.)

Actually, having the guests out of the picture does simplify my life.  I have to admit that.  The house wasn't getting as clean as I wanted it to.  The food timetable doesn't have to be as perfect.  I am a bit of a Thanksgiving perfectionist.  I grew up with a Dad who liked his hot food hot so I still get nervous when the turkey waits a minute longer than it should.  

And, we'll have more time to get caught up on NaNo.  That isn't the priority; we'd manage with or without the guests.  We will all win, unless something goes horribly wrong at the last minute.   Still, I'd like to finish with a bang, not a whimper.  A congested, coughing whimper.

Happy Thanksgiving!  Thanks for stopping by, if you came here via google on NaNoWriMo (or any other search, for that matter).  Thanks to those of you who've been around and are sticking with me this month. I know this is boring to non-NaNoers. And I know I haven't been visiting or commenting on your blogs!  But I'll be back.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Meet Maria

I've known Maria for about two years now, I think, but when she started blogging I realized that I hardly knew her at all.  Our talk has always been in the context of Girl Scout or homeschooling or art class.   I am delighted to meet the Maria who writes Be Not Afraid.  I think you will like her too.

NaNoWriMo: Panic sets in

There are seven days left in NaNoWriMo.   We are all close to our goals. 

But none of us have written more than a few words in the last two or three days.  One child is sick. I have a cut on a fingertip that makes typing painful and slow. And Thanksgiving is the day after tomorrow!  We have lost our momentum and it is not fun right now.  This is when we need it to be fun!

The thing that would make it fun is to have a cafe writing session.  We haven't done that yet and it would pump up the kids' enthusiasm.  They want so much to take their little  Danas into Starbucks or Panera Bread and look like writers.  (I will have to make do with pad and paper.)   We haven't had the time for it yet, and I'm not sure when to fit it in.

While the calendar says there are seven days left, I don't feel like there are. Wait!  The calendar says there are eight days left, since the deadline is 11:59 pm on November 30.  The NaNoWriMo site says seven days.  We actually plan to validate our word counts on Sunday. There are a couple of reasons I don't want to wait till Tuesday to do it.  One is the three-hour orthodontist appointment, wherein Eleanor will get her headgear, on Monday afternoon.  Nothing like an aching head and teeth to take away the fun of writing a book.  There's also my irrational fear of waiting till the last minute and having a sudden computer problem.   It could happen.  It probably won't, but my brain doesn't process probabilities well.  If there is a slight chance of something happening it, I want to plan for and avoid it.  So Sunday is our day. 

Which means our cafe writing session has to be... tomorrow.

Yes, I know we have Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in there.  But what Friday is it?  No, I'm not going Black Friday shopping but half the county is and they need parking spaces too.  I've been thinking about our cafe options and all are either in shopping center/strip mall lots with... stores.  Or, they are in picturesque neighborhoods with... shops.  Shops.  And few parking spaces.  Saturday is usually pretty crazy too, in my experience.

(Why do I call some stores and some shops?  Barnes and Noble and Macy's are stores.  No Bare Walls (an art shop) and A Touch of the Old Country are shops.  Right?)

So tomorrow, on my biggest cooking day of the year, I will be taking a couple of hours to spend with my kids in a cafe writing our novels. We'll eat muffins and consume hot drinks and write, and it'll be festive and fun.  We'll get our word counts up and I will try not to think of the three corn casserole that I should be baking at that moment, or the bread I should be ripping up for stuffing.

(Why not today, you ask?  Today is already full.)

Yeah, we'll pull it off.  It'll be nerve-wracking for me.  I don't like cramming my days full of action.  But it'll be fun too.  Fun. That's what we need right now!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

NaNoWriMo: The view from the middle

We're a little over halfway through NaNoWriMo, and well over halfway through our stories.   We're still finding this to be a great project and very worthwhile, even though it is taking up a lot of our time and other things are being ignored.  It's only for a month, right?

Eleanor had a slight word-count crisis the other day.  She told met that she is confident that she can write 10,000 words, but is not sure her current story needs that many.  So I cut her some slack and we adjusted her goal down to 6,000.  Or is it 8,000?  Anyway, I think we were overzealous at the beginning and don't feel too guilty about revising her goal downward.    I am still not sure of the overall plot of her story but it involves an evil Vice President of the United States, the outlawing of homeschooling, and a prison break.   It's funny and her main character is a twelve-year-old girl.

James is on track to meet his 10,000 word goal, but as Eleanor pointed out, "If he needs more words he can just add in another air strike or something."  His story is of the futuristic dystopian science-fictiony sort.  I hesitate to say "genre."  There are lots of explosions. 

My story coming along.  I'm finding it hard to keep writing more words, though, and I feel the need for more research.  Now and then I hit google to add a detail or get a general date for an event and find there is a ton of realistic history I could add, if I only had time to research it.  The seminarian gave me a book and has sent me some websites with information that would really add to the story, but I don't feel I can spare the time to look at it and use it.  I need to get my word count up. Thanksgiving looms and I am the cook, so I have to plan at least two days of not writing next week. But if/when revision time comes along, I can add those details later.

I still haven't told many people about our participation in NaNo.  Yesterday I imagined myself telling one friend but as the conversation played out in my head I realized that she would find the idea preposterous and would tell me so.  Anyone to whom I might complain about sleep deprivation, etc., would tell me to just go ahead and quit.  After all, what do we get out of this?    It's hard to explain that it's worth the sleep deprivation and the lousy meals just to do it. 

I'm very thankful that the seminarian is on board with this.  He is delighted that we're doing it and sees its value.  His opinion is the only one that matters, right?

I already hope we do it next year!

Friday, November 12, 2010

NaNoWriMo: FAQ

Not the official NaNoWriMo FAQ, but my own:  the questions I get asked most frequently.

1.  Do you really have time for this?  

No, no I don't.  My house is falling apart, meals are terrible, there is clean laundry but it is all over the family room couch rather than folded away in drawers.

2. Will you get a prize? How do you win? Do the people who run NaNoWriMo read it and judge it?

There is no prize.  Well, maybe a certificate. The kids get bound proof copies of their books which is very cool.  The prize is the satisfaction that comes with doing something hard and different.  Everyone who completes their novel wins, so it's noncompetitive.  Well, I guess we are competing against ourselves and time!  No one reads it.  We submit it only for word-count purposes.

3.  Isn't this sort of a stupid way to write a novel?  

(I have never been asked this question directly.  But I've read the question many times in other venues and I know a few people who are likely to be thinking it but don't want to ask me.)

It probably is.  I've never thought about the best way to write a novel because I never wanted to write one.  As I've said before, I'm not doing this because I want to, but because my children want me to.   I think if I was going to write a novel "the right way," I'd do a lot of planning and research and outlining ahead of time.  Then I'd write it in a leisurely, linear sort of way.   Now I'm sort of planning as I go, jumping around from episode to episode, and adding in lots of detail as I go.  It's great fun, but I don't know if it's the best way to write a novel.

But I would never actually sit down to write a novel; most people won't, even those who think they would like to.  This is just a format for people to sit down and write it. It's not meant to be a polished, finished novel at the end of the 30 days.

4.  Will you try to get your novel published?

Not at the level of quality it's going to be on November 30, that's for sure!  I don't have any desire to do that now, but I have learned that it's best not to make unequivocal statements about the future so I can't say yes or no with any certainty.

5. Will you write more fiction after this?

I am enjoying this process and can envision going on with it to make this story better (whether good enough for publishing I really couldn't say).   I could see doing more research into the subject.  My story takes place in England after WWII, but I have a lot of backstory going about my characters during the war.  I'm trying to do some research as I go along, but it takes up too much time from actual writing right now. So I think I'd like to go on with it to make it historically accurate.  If I was interested in fiction, I guess it would be historical fiction.  So, who knows?

6.  What is your story about?  

I have to feed my family and then get back to writing now so I'll answer that one later.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Willfully using the wrong word

I haven't spent much time cruising around the blogosphere the last couple of weeks but I am not so far out of it that I haven't read about calls to boycott Amazon for selling some objectionable material.  I find it disappointing, though not surprising, that Amazon would choose to carry a book advocating for deviant and illegal behavior.

But I'm really annoyed that they are hiding behind First Amendment rights and censorship to defend their selling of the book.  I've seen some of the correspondence between Amazon and complaining customers wherein Amazon says that it would be censorship if they refused to carry the book. 

People get this wrong all the time, but Amazon  knows better.  It would not be censorship if they declined to carry a particular book.  It would be a business decision.

If Amazon chose not to carry the book - and surely there are many, many books they decline to stock - they would not be preventing the author from selling the book elsewhere.   The author could peddle the book to any number of other outlets, set up a website to sell it directly, or sell it on street corners.

But Amazon is choosing to call it censorship because our reflex response is "Oh, yeah, censorship is bad!  Of course Amazon can't censor the book."  

If the government banned the publication and sale of the book, that would be censorship.  If the bookseller declines to sell the book, it's a business decision. Sorry for being repetitive but people just don't seem to get this.

I bet if I self-published my NaNoWriMo novel and submitted it to Amazon, they would decline to sell it.  It would probably be the right business decision for them.  It wouldn't be censorship.

So can we stop crying censorship all the time?  Please?

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

A single homeschool moment that beautifully illustrates our days

Eleanor, who is supposed to be doing math:  "Mom!  You know how you get brain lock sometimes?  I totally just got brain lock and can't remember a fact."

Mom:  "Yeah.  Yeah, I get brain lock all the time. What is your missing fact?"  [I'm thinking it's a math fact.]

Eleanor:  "I can't remember where Plimouth Plantation is."

Mom:  "Uh, why do you need to know that right now?  Aren't you supposed to be doing math?"  [Wondering if she is supposed to figure out the area of Plymouth Rock or something.]

Eleanor:  "Yeah, I am [supposed to be doing math] but it just popped into my head and I just have to know where it is right now."

Monday, November 08, 2010

NaNoWriMo: Things I am learning

1. Fiction is harder than it looks.

2. 1667 words each day is a lot.  Really, a lot.

3. If this blog wasn't dead before November, it sure is now.

4.  I have glanced at the blogs in my reader but have barely clicked on any and certainly have left no comments, because my online time is best spent slapping down dialog.

5.  My kids are having a blast.  James came home from a big scout weekend full of outlandish ideas for his story and can't wait to get writing this morning; Eleanor says she loves the time we spend together, silently working on our stories and occasionally reading bits aloud. She wishes Daddy could do it too. 

6. I'm tired of pretending my kids don't have names, and figure that none of the handful of people who read here are going to start stalking them just because I call them by name.

7. Typing skill improves the more one types.   Spelling skill improves the more words one spells.  Who knew?

8. I am really, really glad we are doing this.

9.  I thought I could make this into a Top Ten but can't.   Another meme opportunity  lost. If you have an idea for #10, let me know.

Added: Oh, here is number 10:  Menu planning?  What's that?   I am truly thankful for a freezer full of meat and a family that enjoys eating same.  And pasta!

Update:  linked to Top Ten Tuesday!

Saturday, November 06, 2010

NaNoWriMo: Naysayers and cheerleaders

Last night I was procrastinating needing some inspiration so I spent a little time on the NaNoWriMo site cruising the forums.  There I came across what appeared to me to be an unnecessarily nasty Salon opinion piece,  Better yet, DON'T write that novel.   It was really a rant about the time-wasting, foolish folks who have the audacity to try to write a novel in a month.  The arguments were not very convincing to me:  I am not planning on submitting the fruits of my month of labor to a publisher, nor are my children (though they do ponder occasionally the joy of someday seeing a novel published - and that is a bad thing because...?).  I won't be nagging friends and loved ones to read it; in fact I don't expect anyone to read it, ever.  We still read books; apparently many people believe NaNoWriMo participants spend all their time writing crummy novels and never, ever read.

That forum thread lead me to the antidote, 12 reasons to ignore the naysyers: DO NaNoWriMo.

Reading the comments on both pieces could take the better part of a day, which is time better spent writing.  One comment on the Salon piece really made me laugh.  The commenter was agreeing with the author's premise that NaNoWriMo is a waste of time, because one year some friends of hers did it and thus were unavailable to socialize with her during November.  Poor neglected one, eh?  I love people who make everything all about them.

In any case, I will carry on.  I haven't done a bit of writing today, preferring to work on a wall quilt side by side with my daughter, rake leaves, supervise cookie baking, and other homey sorts of things.  I also received in the mail today a book I'd been wanting for a while and finally had reason to buy:  Arthur Ransome & Captain Flint's Trunk, which is all about the real people and locations behind Swallows and Amazons.   Surely this will help with the needed inspiration!

Saturday morning journal

What I want to do today:

  • write 1600 words for NaNoWriMo.
  • finish sewing a small quilt wall hanging in fall colors and get it on the wall before fall is over.
  • watch a Jane Austen movie with my girl (my boy is away camping.)
  • figure out how to get spaces between these bullet points so it's not all squished up.

What I need to do today:

  • go to a going-away party for someone who doesn't want a going-away party, and to which I don't want to go.
  • bake chocolate chip cookies and prepare snacks for church fellowship time tomorrow.
  • fold and put away the huge pile of laundry that is on my couch.

What about you? Look, here is Mr. Linky again!

Thursday, November 04, 2010

NaNoWriMo: Uh oh.

I did almost no writing today.  I'm not sure how badly I missed the daily goal of 1667 words because I never did record my ending count last night.  As of this minute my total is 8826.

But, I knew there would be days like this so I purposely got ahead of my required daily word count.  I should still be able to get to 12,500 words by Sunday night, which will be the end of the first week. 

At least, I hope so.  Saturday night could be a long one...

Kids are doing fine on their stories. My boy is going camping this weekend so he may end up behind by Sunday night. But he'll pick up again next week.  My girl is cruising along and is probably close to 30% done already.

We haven't been doing a good job keeping up our daily record-keeping.  This was supposed to have a graphing project attached to it.  Tomorrow we'll do it.  Yeah, we will.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Miscellaneous election ramblings

This bit from Commentary cracked me up last night:

From GOP tech-meister Patrick Ruffini: “The racist teabaggers have elected Marco Rubio, and Susana Martinez, and Tim Scott, and Nikki Haley, and Bill Flores, and Allen West, and…”
While liberals scream "racist" at everyone who disagrees with them, conservatives are going about their business, electing the people they believe are competent, and trying to build the color-blind society everyone says they want.


I lived in California when Jerry Brown was governor.  I don't remember much about him - I wasn't really paying attention then - but I am pretty sure he was governor the year I got an IOU instead of a check for my state tax refund.

But I wonder about feminists who complain about the lack of women in high office.  I bet there are a few in California (insert snort of derision here).  They had a chance to elect a competent woman governor last night.  Why didn't they?

My email to my new Republican governor this morning:  "Congratulations.  Now call Chris Christie."  I bet I won't be the only one.  I'd love to see some of what's going on in NJ happen over here.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

NaNoWriMo: End of Day Two

6,399 words.

That's mine; I don't know the kids'. They took their keyboards to bed with them and wrote as long as I'd let them.

Here are some words that are music to a mother's ear: "I am having so much fun writing this! My book is getting exciting and I can't stop writing!"

That was my nonwriting boy talking. Now I doubt I will like his novel; it's a science fiction story set sometime in the future. There are weapons and weird things like body-function monitors embedded in the spinal cord. Or something like that.

The point is, he's enjoying the process of writing. So that helps me to carry on.

NaNoWriMo: Why I am doing this

A few people have asked me why I am doing NaNoWriMo when I have said:

1.  I really have no desire to write fiction.  Never have.

2.  I don't have time in my day to write $1600+ words of fiction!

So to borrow a trite phrase:

It's for the children.

My children.    

When I asked them if they were interested in doing this project for our homeschool, they were enthusiastic about it. The girl has always enjoyed writing; her participation was a no-brainer.  The boy has not.  He has always struggled to write anything: fiction, nonfiction, a thank you note, a sentence.  But he wanted to try this. He got excited about this.

They were up for it.  And they wanted me to do it too.

So what was I supposed to say?

"No, I don't want to write a story.  I don't write fiction."    Now they can understand that preference. My boy doesn't write stories either.  But, um, what do you write, Mom?  Other than grocery lists and blog posts and comments?  Huh?   If you want me to try it, why can't you try it too?

"I don't have time."  Right.  We don't either, Mom. Of course they know that my word count is a lot bigger than theirs. And they know I don't have as much free time in my day as they do.  But still.  I'm asking them to sacrifice free time for something I want them to do. 

How about this, which might be just as valid as my other reasons:   "I don't think I can do it and I don't want to embarrass myself by trying."  Huh.  OK, Mom, got it.  We don't think we can do it either. Why bother trying then?

So I could not say no.  Last night as I cleaned the kitchen after neglecting it all day I wondered if it was worth it.  I asked the seminarian if he thought it was a good use of my time.  After all, it's not like the time he spends reading and studying.  There is a purpose to his.  My purpose is a little hard to see.  I'll get a certificate that says I wrote a crummy novel.  The kids may get paperback copies of theirs - I am still a little unclear on that.  But he agreed it was worth it.  Even after frozen fish fillets for dinner.  (From Aldi, and actually pretty good and cheap too.) 

Now if you are a mom whose kids are doing this and you are not, don't think I'm pointing my finger at you.  Your kids are not mine; I'm living my life and you are living yours.  So there is no criticism here.  I'd rather not be doing this.  And yet I am so glad I said yes.  And that they said yes.

But ask me again at the end of week two. 

Monday, November 01, 2010

NaNoWriMo: End of Day One

It was a great day.  Fun, exhilarating, exhausting, frustrating, boring.  No, not really boring.

We did spend a lot of time writing today.  And reading to each other, and trying to get on to the NaNoWriMo website, which is apparently not up to the task right now.  We assume things will get better soon.

We made up charts of our required words per day and week, and then exceeded today's goal.  I had told the kids they should at least do two day's worth of writing, more if they could manage it. They did.   My word counter (on the sidebar) is not correct as of this moment; maybe it's not even showing right now. I couldn't get on to the site to update it.  As of now, and I think I am done for the night, I have 3380 words.  That means 46,620 to go.  In 29 days.  My girl wrote 953 out of 8,000; the boy 680 out of 10,000.  (Kids can pick their own goals; adults required to write 50,000.) 

Mostly what I've written so far is banal dialog.  I'm trying to put more description in; after all, the story is set in England's Lake District so I ought to be able to find a few things to say about that.   But not yet.

I'm learning a lot but am too tired of typing to say much right now.  I will say that I found it amazingly easy to lapse into cliches and trite phrases.  They just slip right off the fingers.  Now I understand why so many books are so bad.  Mine included.

Tomorrow we have to add back in some of our regular activities.  It'll be interesting to see how the kids' spirits hold up.  Mine too.

NaNoWriMo: Day One

It hasn't actually started yet because the kids are still asleep.  But here is our plan for the day:

- A hearty breakfast of oatmeal and cheater's cinnamon buns (made with biscuit rather than yeast dough).

- Bible study time, because we can't throw everything away today.  But that is the only schoolish thing we will do. 

- Gather by the computer to write our first sentences.  The kids get the cute, fun, Dana keyboards and I get the desktop.  We will start off together, then most likely the kids will find cozy writing nooks of their own.  That's how things tend to go, anyway.

- A festive lunch.  Of what, I don't know yet.  I may run out for a frozen pizza.

- I'm sure they'll want to update their word counts frequently.  You can see mine on the sidebar. The kids are signed up with the Young Writer's Program which doesn't have a widget for the blog.   Too bad, and something I'll suggest for next year.

- We'll be making lots of tea.  And since we can't write all day I'll do some reading aloud, we'll go for a few walks to stretch our legs, and I'm sure someone will be asking for a little x-box time.

I'll update again at the end of the day!