Posts Tagged ‘Alternative world’

2013-Winner-Facebook-Cover

I usually don’t toot my own horn, but this month has been an amazing journey for me.  As you know, I started a novel with the intention of forming 50,000 words in 30 days.  That meant writing 1,666 words, at least, for 30 days.  Every day.  No breaks.  1,666 words.

It’s a lot harder than you would think.  And over the course of this last month, I’ve learned a lot about myself personally and as a writer.  See, I can honestly say that now because I feel it.  In the end, on November 27, 2013, I clocked in at 53,441 words.  So, I am a writer.  I realized that I had won, but I still was. or rather am, in awe of it.  I’ve still got the ending to finish, also.  Which means… I am not done.

Yes, That’s right.  I. Am. Not. Done.

But here is the real interesting part.  At the beginning of the month, I was naively proud and cocky that I would succeed.

It’s not that hard to write 1,666 words in a day.  I’ve read blogs where professional writers are clocking in at 3,000 even 5,000 words in a day.  I can puke up a mere 1,666.  I laughed heartily…. HaHA!

Yeah…

Well….

It’s a pretty humbling experience to sit in front of a screen and stare at that blank page.  It’s like standing up to give a speech.  You shake.  You try to picture it in it’s underwear.

You get up and get a drink of water and come back.  Stare some more.

You poise your fingers over the key board the way it was taught in typing class (back when they had typing class).  You take a deep breath.  You close your eyes.  You picture the scene in your head.

And you type.

You keep typing, until typing is the only thing you can do.  Your mind breaks open like a watermelon hitting the pavement from a ten foot drop.  It bursts into a million tiny pieces of imagination.  and you type.  Furiously, until you feel as if your hands won’t ever move again.

Finally in exhaustion, you stop.  Your fingers are cramped and crooked.  You are so very proud of yourself.  You say, “I have written a novel!”

Then you look at the word count.  You stare at it in disbelief.

1,642

Your parched throat constricts.  If you weren’t so dehydrated, you would feel tears drip down from your lashes onto your pallid cheeks.  Your chapped lips form each of the numbers, cracking and bleeding as they do.  One thousand, six hundred forty-two words.

You hang your head, your greasy hair falling around your face.  You look like a girl from those Asian horror movies.  You feel even creepier.  Your mind can’t seem to get around the fact that you haven’t written enough.

“Maybe I should quit.  Just give up.  There is no way I can do this for 30 days.”  You shake your head slowly, defeated.

But your mind has already been opened.  You realize that, while it seems that you’ve just poured your soul out into a bottomless pit.  There is more.   There is more where that came from.  The story has just begun.  You aren’t done.  Your mind has already started thinking and processing what comes next and then after that.

You raise your head and look at that number again.  1,642.    When you had started this day, it was zero.  Now it was much more than that.   So, it wasn’t the exact amount needed.  So what?

Did word count really matter?

To quote an author I admire, Scott Sigler, “It’s all shite anyway.”  Just put it down and worry about the rest later.

So I squared my shoulders, shook the hair out of my eyes, took a long drink of water, and I started again.  Every day.

Halfway through the month, I realized I could type more and faster.  So I prepared for the holiday, ‘cause we all know they ain’t gonna be no typing when your belly is full o’ turkey!

And here I am.  53,441 and still going.  I’m okay with that.  I’m more humble.  But also, much more determined.  If this were easy, there would be a million of us doing it.

Oh wait, have you looked on Amazon lately?  Let me rephrase that.  If it were easy to write well, there would be million of us doing it.

I aim to write and I aim to write well.  Or at least tell the stories that are in my head well.  But that’s for another post.

Now that my first goal has been reached, saying, “I am a writer.”  My next goal will be to say, “I am a published writer.”

By the way, I’ve started a couple of short stories, too.  One is a horror story called “Emil’s Boat.”  I hope to have it published in an anthology I am submitting to.  But, again, that’s for another post.

Hope you join me.  See ya soon, right here.

M.

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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.

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.