Archive for October, 2013

It’s almost time to start the race.  The NaNoWriMo race.  I’ve been perusing some writing blogs I follow and they all seem to have opinions of the process.  Whether good or bad, they have opinions.  Some have experienced it and others haven’t.

However, the event is affecting many individuals.  That’s amazing to me.  Until a few weeks ago, I’d never heard of it.  That doesn’t say much, but, it just seems that even if you don’t like the idea, it’s still something you’ve put thought into writing a blog post about.  That’s powerful.

I am going to write a novel in 30 days.  Let me rephrase that.  I am going to write a rough draft novel in 30 days.  I don’t expect it to be perfect or publishable.  I will just have a pile of words, thrown together in some form of flow that I can then go back and edit, polish, and otherwise hack to death. Sort of like a cord of wood, piled in my driveway.  I’ll have to split and stack it later, but it’s got to get off the trailer and into a pile near my porch.

But it’s still a pile of words, which is more than I have now.  The story needs to be written.  It’s in my head and until I am able to get it out, it will sit there, festering and niggling me.

I hate niggling.  I really hate niggling.

One blogster (is that even a word?  it is now.) wrote that they hated this part.  The fun part was putting the words together and making a beautiful story.  Another one said they loved this part, just blithely using the creative process to build a world that is chaotic and wonderfully insane.

Either way, I am going to do it:

  1. because I can.
  2. because I want to.
  3. because it just needs to be done.

T-minus two days.  The adventure begins.  The players will belly up to their keyboards, Ipads, legal pads, or whatever and wait for the gun to go off at 12:01 am on November 1, 2013.  The race to 50,000 words will begin.  Even if we don’t win, all of us are part of something big.  Something that is talked about for awhile throughout the blogging universe.  Good or bad, it’s going to happen.

Wish me luck or don’t.  I’ll see you on the other side.  I’ll be the one with the cord of words in my driveway, near my porch, ready to be split and stacked.

M.

I realized, after reading my last post, that I am nervous. When I get nervous, I tend to fall back on old behaviors, like shutting down my creative side and writing as a robot.  I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced this.  Perhaps it’s writers block to some.  I don’t know.  But, the creative juices are blocked, like a hardened artery full of plaque just a few days away from a myocardial infarction.  I will call it “writer’s coronary artery disease” or wCAD for short.

Writer’s CAD is brought on by three factors.  These factors are writer’s angina, emotional stress, and cold weather.

  1. Writer’s angina – intermittent chest pain that often has squeezing or pressure-like quality.  Yes, I have that.  I’ve got to write 50,000 words in 30 days with no experience or idea of what I am doing or how I’m going to do it.  Let the squeezing begin!
  2. Emotional stress – We all know what that means.  But just in case you don’t, that’s the emotion that comes when you are looking at a blank page and your stomach tightens up, the bile lodges in the back of your throat, and your eyes dry up like the Nevada Alkali Flats. Check.
  3. Cold Weather –  It’s November.  For me, that means cold weather.  If I were in Australia, it would be a different case, but I’m not.  I am in Idaho, USA.  That makes a difference.  The cold is leaching into my bones as I type.  Its brittle freeze beginning an ache in my arthritic knees.  My finger joints feel like knots in tree limbs, immovable and creaking.

Yup, I surely have writers CAD.

Because it’s not an actual diagnosis from a real doctor, I can self medicate.  I have a couple of ideas, but I am really looking for more.

What are your ideas to help with writers CAD?   Copious amounts of alcohol don’t work for me, so that one is out.   Do you have any other creative releases or idea?

Let me know in the comments below.

Shall we journey down the dark road of NaNoWriMo together?  Why yes, yes, I think we shall.  Take my hand, little one.  There is nothing to be afraid of …

I’ll.  Be.  Right. Here.

M.
Scared Dog

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2013-Participant-Vertical-BannerWell, friends, it’s T-minus eight days until the start of NaNoWriMo.

My progress page link is http://nanowrimo.org/participants/marlieharris

I’m pretty excited, scared, and thinking, “What the hell did I get myself into?” But I’m also determined.

We’ll see where this goes.

I am going to blog about this process.   So check back here often.

If any of you have ever tried this, I could use some pointers. Do you have any good ideas on how to reach a word count of around 1,666 words per day for thirty days?
Ready….GO!

M

P.S. feel free to share this if you want. I can use all the help I can get!

I’m excited to announce that I’ve taken on the challenge of the National Novel Writing Month, aka nanowrimo, to write a novel in thirty days.  The novel has to be at least 50,000 words and not pre-written.  I start on November 1 and stop, obviously, on November 30.  The novel I’ll be writing isn’t the one I’ve already started.  I’ve decided to set that heavier topic aside for a bit (one month to be exact) and work on something a little lighter and perhaps more fun!  I’ve titled the novel, “Dancing with Dragons”.  Go to the following website to see more about it.

http://nanowrimo.org/participants/marlieharris

I will post here about my progress and also post on my Facebook page.  If I’ve done the calculations right, it will mean writing at least 1,667 words per day, every day, for thirty days.  Every day.  For thirty days.

If you have words of encouragement, that would be amazing!

I have already prepped my office to be ready for this.  However, music for a month’s worth of listening might be a little short.  What music do you listen to when you write?  What kind of music do you listen to when you do anything?  I’m up for pretty much any adventure in music.  Let’s discuss it!

M.

Of course a horse is a horse, unless it’s a horse named “Ed”, the talking horse.  I remember that show in re-runs.  I’m old, but not THAT old.  The show was about a talking horse who helped is buddy and various and sundry others.  That’s not really why I picked today’s post.  But then, you know me, I’m thinking one thing and typing another.  If you don’t know that, well, you will soon.  My fingers have a tendency to type what they want, not what my mind tells them.  Thank goodness for backspace buttons.

Back to a horse.  More specifically, writing about a horse.  In my story, the main character comes across a horse in a field.  She’s very tame, yet, not.  She has a mind of her own.  Now as a writer, you are told, “Write what you know.”  If you don’t know about horses, then, how do you write about them?  I’m lucky, I grew up on a ranch.  There were lots of horses, cows, dogs, pigs, chickens, and some things I’m afraid to name.  My uncle thought of himself as a sort of animal husbandry expert, even though he had never passed the eighth grade.  He was a very smart man, don’t get me wrong.  He just wasn’t very intelligent by today’s standards or yesterday’s standards.  He never let that get him down or keep him from trying.

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But I digress.  I have experience in horses. Even though I have experience, there is a niggling idea in my head regarding this special pony.  She is probably not very beautiful in a sense that she doesn’t really look sleek and healthy.  She is very healthy, yet she might not necessarily look like it.  She’s a diamond in the rough, just like our main character.  She has a strength, intelligence and tenacity that isn’t necessarily seen at first glance.

So how does one write to describe this type of horse?  Well, my first thought was to look on the internet (isn’t that everyone’s first thought?).  I could find pictures of horses and describe something from there.  That’s how I came upon the above picture.  Nah, my special horse isn’t like that.  That’s too flashy.

Then there was another one…..

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Well, number one, it’s a male.  That’s okay, I can describe this photo and change the gender.  But it’s a little too cocky for our special horse.  She needs to be confident, but in an understated way.  And number too, again, too flashy.  She needs to be a diamond in the rough sort of horse.

Then I found these…

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Now we are getting somewhere.  I  think we can make this work, don’t you? My uncle would be proud.  I have effectively “blended” breeds and created a horse of my own.  What shall we call it?  Breed Marlie?

“Hi, yes, that’s my horse.  The breed?  why it’s a Marlie, of course.  Very rare.  Only one in existence that I know of,” I smile demurely, “Thank you, yes, she is beautiful, isn’t she?  In an understated, intelligent, diamond in the rough sort of way.”

That’s what I love about writing.  I can create whatever I want and no one can tell me it’s wrong.  This is my world, if you don’t like it, go build your own.  But I would never turn you away, my friend.  You are special, in an intelligent, understated, diamond in the rough sort of way.  Come on in, I’ve got a place for you right here.

M.

P.S.  If you liked this post, use the buttons below to say so. I encourage you to follow me on this blog, Facebook, and Google+.  I always enjoy making new friends.  Take care, M.

P.P.S. All images are the property of their respective owners, I do not lay any claim of ownership to them.

How many times have you been watching a movie and had the insane urge to scream at the screen, “Don’t open that door!  The bad guy/monster/ghost/boogie man is behind there!”  And then the blonde/brunette/redhead disposable actor does it anyway, then they get killed, and you say, “I told you so…”  We feel all superior in our knowledge that we’d never do something like that if we were ever in that situation.  I know how you feel.  I said the same thing.

Notice that I used the past tense.  I don’t say that anymore.  Let me tell you a story of why I don’t.

The year was 1980, I was 14 going on 15 and my brother and I had decided to see a Friday night movie.  The only movie playing in the small Wyoming town we lived in named Pinedale was a horror b-movie classic called “Prophecy, The Monster Movie“.  It turned out to be a bad take on what happens when there is too much mercury in the water.  A giant trout jumps out of the water of a beautiful backwoods lake, the animals all go crazy, but the worst part was the bear/pig/skinless monster thing that is a female looking to protect her family of monsters.  Talia Shire and Armand Assante don’t make it any better.  But to a fourteen year old’s limited exposure to horror, it was terrorizing.  The movie wasn’t particularly gory by today’s standards, however, I had to leave the theater and peek through the curtain to finish the movie.  It scared me more than I’d ever been scared before.  The ride home with my brother in the back of the little red Toyota pickup was cold, silent, and watchful.  We both knew at any minute that monster would come through the back window and kill us all.  Needless to say, nightmares ensued for a few days.

But that’s not the real change, no my friends, I still made the same comments as I grew older and watched more horror movies.  With false bravado I would say, “Don’t open that door!”

A couple of years passed and we’d moved from a ranch in Pinedale, Wyo. to a ranch in Jackson Hole, Wyo.  I had been driving for two years.  I was sixteen and as all sixteen years old who drive, I was very cocky and sure of myself.  It was a mid-winter night.  Jackson in mid-winter in 1982 was bitter cold, frosty, and deep in snow.  The snow was piled high on the banks of the road going into the ranch.  It wasn’t too late, close to midnight.  My brother and I were coming home from watching a horror movie that was even more forgettable than the one in 1980.  We were reminiscing about that time in Pinedale, when that movie had scared us so bad.  I drove down the packed snow road through the ranch in the same little red Toyota pickup.  The snow plows had piled the snow high enough on the banks that the darkness coupled with the dim head lights created a sense of driving through a tunnel.  The only true clear vision of what was ahead of me was the packed snowy road and the sides rising up like frozen stalagmites around a cave.   Dimly I saw  the outlines of forest trees passing by just past the banks.  Perhaps I was going a little too fast for the conditions, perhaps.  But, we were discussing the funny way we were so afraid back then and how we weren’t afraid of it now.  I haughtily made the comment that if I’d been the one driving the truck when the monster burst out from the brush in the dark, I would never have stopped like Talia Shire did.  No, I would have just hit the gas and run that damned monster over.  We both agreed that would be the case.

Within seconds, at the very edge of the dim headlights, a huge, dark figure burst from the side of the snowbank into the middle of the road.  It’s gigantic burly head swung in our direction and dangerously glowing red eyes gazed malevolently at us.  I saw the bear/pig skinless female monster roaring with grotesquely crooked teeth, ready to rip out our throats.

What did I do?  What would you do?  I gripped the steering wheel tightly and slammed on my brakes.  I slammed those brakes hard.  So hard that we went into a slide, slowly gliding closer to the evil monster thing.  We were helpless now, I had no control of the truck and I was going to die.  I just knew it.  I glanced at my brother.  His hands were braced against the dashboard and his eyes were bulging out in fear.  Our little red Toyota pickup slid closer.  The monster became clearer as we slid closer and came to a gentle stop probably 15 feet from it.  I had just done what I’d sworn I would never do.  I had stopped.  Now we were dead, just like in the movies.  I blinked rapidly still seeing the monster for a second raising it’s wrinkled pig/bear head to roar at us.

Then my vision cleared and I saw what was truly there.

The biggest male elk I’d ever encountered was huffing energetically in front of us.  His nostrils were blowing steam puffs into the cold.  He stood tall and broad-shouldered in front of us, regally daring us to come closer and taste the death of his antlers.  We didn’t take the bait, so he shook his massive head, turned and leaped up the other side of the snow bank back into the darkness.  The little red Toyota pickup, my brother, and I just sat there.

The silence was only broken by the warm idle of that little red Toyota pickup.  I looked at my brother, back at the empty road, then back at my brother.  He looked at me.  We burst out laughing.  Probably a little too hysterically and with huge relief.  We couldn’t help it.  We laughed for at least three minutes.  I shifted into first gear and slowly drove the mile and half home.  Neither of us said a word on that drive.  I parked in the driveway.  We both got out of the little red Toyota pickup.  We went inside and went to bed.

We didn’t talk about it again until after many years had passed.

But that’s a different story.  The point of this one is that I decided at that moment to never say “Don’t open that door..” again.  Ever.  I’d learned my lesson.  Art does have a basis in reality and horror can make you do things you wouldn’t ever think of doing if you were just watching it.  Like an outsider looking into a movie safe and warm in your chair.

Hence the basis of my novels.  What would happen if you put a normal person into a horrific situation.  Would they always do the wrong thing?  Or would they act with the same detached insight we have in our haughty chairs?

Let’s go on this path together and find out.  Will you join me?

M.