And various thoughts on books, protagonist immunity, and red thumbdrives
Writing Status: …unblocked?
I sort of hesitate to say this, but my slump from last week seems to have gone away. I am typing furiously again. And have no idea what I’m doing. But that doesn’t matter at this moment. I’m just slapping words on the page in every which direction they fit to see if they like it there.
Can you tell I have a monstrous adventure editing my stories?
I have been trying to organize myself this week…pasting every part of my work-in-progress in a clean, new document, untweaking the tangles in the timeline, making sure all the chapters have headings, finding chapters I’d forgotten almost entirely…and the work-in-progress has jumped to over 396,000 words. With headings and contents and everything.
Less thinking about that, the better.
Also got a giant red thumbdrive to finally back up all my work on so I can stop having mini panic attacks for storing literally everything in one place.
That scares me just typing that.
…I have a cold.
Nothing unusual there! It’s the season, I stay too busy, yes, I had a wise mother who warned me I should have worn a thicker sweater when going outside with the Vikings to play over the weekend…
…um…yeah, my life is strange…(clears throat and hides behind mug of tea).
So in addition to lamenting the lack of tissues in my home, drinking tea from a gigantic green mug (far too much tea! I can’t seem to stop with this cold), and wishing I had a little cozy-warm dragon on my shoulder…I have been reminiscing over the lack of characters in books with colds.
I read a lot, but I could only think of one! Plenty of characters come to mind–
Kvothe, The Name of the Wind, gets horribly sick from staying outside in the snow of Tarbean,
Colin, The Secret Garden, an invalid,
Same author, different book, Mr. Tom Carrisford and Captain Crewe, A Little Princess,
Oliver, Oliver Twist, he was sick often enough regardless of being shot if I remember correctly,
everyone in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes who suddenly was stricken with “brain fever,”
various characters in my ill-organized scribblings,
None of these get common colds. It’s always something more dramatic (fever, bullet, death, anemia, revolt of magic system), and usually just clearly a device of plot.
The one exception?
Conn from Sarah Prineas’ The Magic Thief series. An ordinary, miserable, inconvenient cold smack in the middle of the adventure.
So kudos to Sarah Prineas for being willing to render her characters uncomfortable for the sake of reality. As if we didn’t love her books enough already.
Off with me to go throw tissues at one of my protagonists for being too snarky again.
My mom believed in books. So early memories I have are of a gigantic library with shelves taller than I was, pulling off the books I could reach and looking at the covers. And a room that seemed the size of a children’s amphitheater where story time happened.
Sometimes I think in the time since then I looked for that room in other places without realizing I did.
My librarians also knew read-aloud time. We’re talking Munschworks and the like. “The Paper Bag Princess,” Aesop’s Fables. These librarians checked out of the “quiet in the library” rule at the door of the reading room. They were the most involved actors and actressess, terrifying, dramatic, ever so happy. They did all the voices, gruff, timid, good-natured, beautiful. You should have heard a librarian do the voices of a lion and a rabbit with a stuffy nose. Playing the crowd. And showing you all the colored pictures, of course.
And when we were done, all the little Hobbit-sized folk trouped out again, back into the library itself. Some fast. Some slow. Some in more of a trickling way, unwilling to leave the hard wooden benches polished and scuffed to perfection from years of little Velcro-shoes and grubby hands. Waiting to see if there would be another story, waiting in the shadowed wings.
Sometimes there would be one. Sometimes you only got one.
But we’d go out too, eventually. Back into the library itself, with our parents telling us to “shh” now like draping us in a medieval cowl woven of silent, quiet, shh. Into the sanctum of books. The special place from which stories and dreams came. Perhaps noise would wake them up. They never felt to me as if they were the least bit sleepy.
Also yellow. That library always makes me think of bright colors. Too bright, if you ask anyone with a grain of taste. Green, blue, yellow. Echoes. They were happy colors. I liked them.
I still have my bright yellow library card from that first library, even though that was years ago and I’ve moved miles and miles away since. Those books never saw me as a grown-up. If books remember, they must think of me as a little girl still, bouncing down the rows, strangely missing for so very long. The card still has my ugly little chicken-scratch child scrawl of a name that I was so proud to write.
I carry it in my wallet all the time. You know. Just in case someone stops me on the street and asks who I am and where it is I come from. So I can pull it out and say I came from there.
So it’s been a couple days since my review of The Marvelwood Magicians by Diane Zahler went online. And today I stumbled across this:
Diane Zahler found the review.
I am freaking out a little bit.
Besides the fact that this is Diane Zahler, the book’s author…you don’t really need to know how long that review has been sitting on my computer, almost entirely complete, waiting for some mythic “Final Editing Perfection” as I wondered if it was worthy of sending out into the world.
Apparently the answer is yes.
So if you’re still listening, O Esteemed Diane Zahler,
It was supposed to be a short story. I think that’s what it still is, but right now it feels like a gibbering pile of goo.
(excuse me while I put my head down on my keyboard and take a few deep breaths. All better now.)
Confession: I still get nervous at this part. Submitting stories. Even if nervous isn’t the right word, and I’ve spent a lot of time the last few weeks picking apart what is the right word. For everything.
I can’t help it.
There’s just something inside of me that hurts when I let go of a story. Even if it is ready.
Which, frankly, this one is not. It needs at least 3 months of revisions, but the beautiful part is that I have a deadline, so I can’t quibble over details anymore.
Beautiful and ugly, I think I go through the same stages every time I submit a story.
Avoid (finishing) it until the deadline actually is standing in front of me tapping its foot.
Make finishing touches.
Read story in completed form (again).
Re-read story (again).
Decide I hate every word I’ve written and love every word I’ve written so I can’t possibly delete anything (and if I read this one more time I will likely scream).
Wait 3-6 months for results.
Almost forget about the story.
Decide it was total garbage and do not expect positive results.
(Sometimes) get positive results.
Squeal like a banshee terrorizing the neighborhood in sheer delight (yup, every time).
Instantly begin analyzing what it was I did right and strategizing my next story.
Repeat from beginning (indefinitely).
Maybe you wonder why I do this.
I like to think of it as an adventure. Sometimes heroes in stories do scary things. Impulsive things. Pigheaded things.
Because they know, good or bad, on the other side of that choice, there’s going to be something interesting. Maybe it’ll be terrible. Maybe it’ll be beautiful. But whatever it is, it will be something. Something worth seeing.
Certainly better than sitting quietly and staying home.
So since it’s almost 2020 (Happy New Year, everybody!) and most normal people are forming resolutions, I thought I’d make a little list of writing habits that are frankly terrible ideas and should probably be resolved.
Right. About that.
The idea comes from the fabulous children’s book author Diane Zahler, who left a post “I Resolve Not To” on her blog in 2013.
(Diane. If you are listening, please give us more fairytales. With dragons, if possible. I’d love to see you write dragons.)
Anyway, here goes.
I have no specific writing time. I’ve hinted at this one before. I’m somewhat baffled by the people who say “Write every day at the same time. Clear your desk. Light a candle.” Undoubtedly it’s a good idea…but performing artist/university schedule makes that literally impossible. Also not a big fan of scented candles…sorry.
I work on several stories at once. Not as bad about this as I used to be, but still results in a blank stare sometimes when people ask “What’s your work in progress?” As if there’s only one. Imagine a snarl of at least five balls of yarn a cat has knotted together and you’ll be closer to the truth.
Peak writing time is 11:00 p.m.-2:00 a.m.Do not try this at home. It’s very unhealthy and makes your eyes feel like sand has been flung in them. I know this one sort of goes against my “no specific writing time,” but it’s also one of the few times I know I can safely steal away in a quiet house and write. And the other plus is my little inner editor is very well-scheduled and checks out for the day at 10:45. So after that, everything sounds like a good idea. Werewolves in 1900 London? Giant spiders? Living ink blobs? Why not? Type away.
I listen to music while I write. In itself, not a bad habit. Sometimes it’s inspiring. But remember I’m a musician–my tastes can get a little bit snobbish. And when I can’t find anything to match the mood of what I’m writing and spend far too much time browsing for it…that’s a very bad habit indeed.
I do not explain my magic systems enough. This is probably the greatest personal flaw in my writing. I workshopped a story set in Japan once–consensus was “We love the prose, can really see your descriptions…but we have absolutely no idea what’s going on.”
I edit as I go. I know! Number one rule of writers is to write now, edit later. But I can’t help myself. Things change and grow as I write and I have to go back and fix the beginning to reflect that. I am also what one of my past instructors would have called a “mindless copyeditor.” I just can’t ignore a typo. Ever.
I am a shameless (okay, mostly shameless) word thief. If I read something I like (or hate), my mind’s already turning over how I can adapt it for my purposes (or rewrite it the way I feel it should be written). I can see threads of my favorite books in plenty of my writing.
I write different pieces of the same story in different places–notebooks, journals, multiple computer documents…and then I can’t find any of them later. I can remember writing them…there was something gooey I had to get on paper…where’d it go? Under the couch? In the fridge? Usually I give up and write it over again. And find it shortly afterward…
I don’t back up my work nearly enough. Personal nightmare fuel here in a life of scattered thumbdrives. But when I do back it up, I get confused about which version is the latest one and then wind up losing new work because I can’t find it…
Despite being warned, I still sometimes have drinks around my laptop. That scares me just typing that. I know, I live dangerously.
I lose track of ink pens the way some girls lose hairpins. But then, I’ve never been good at keeping track of hairpins either, so…
Fantasy or die. I am a genre writer to the core. Do not speak to me of suburban literary fiction. If I were forced to write half as many dramatic scenes in an ordinary kitchen as there are in print–arrgh! No.
Okay…so I probably should fix at least a few of these. Anything sound familiar, writers out there?
The funny thing is, I’m not uncomfortable with all of these. I’m probably not going to stop writing at night (even though I really should), and I certainly can’t see myself writing without at least some elements of fantasy. I’m going to keep scribbling things everywhere because I can’t help myself when I’m “in the moment.”
They might be bad writing methods, but they haven’t stopped me from writing yet.
I’ve never actually played an electric violin before this weekend.
Nor did I actually know I was going to be doing so until the Friday before.
It happened something like this.
A week ago, I was asked to play the solo electric violin part (on my regular violin, please note) with two student performers, just to give them a little more confidence for the year-end Christmas concert. They would be able to hear me, since I would be wedged between them onstage, but that was about it. The audience would be listening to them.
Then I realized I had exactly a week and one day to learn the music…
…during university finals week.
Okay. That’s fine. At this point in the year, everything starts to sound like it’s not a bad idea. I can do this.
I would not be perfectly honest if I said I had the piece flawlessly ready for performance by the next Friday for pre-concert rehearsal. But considering I had one week to learn it…I didn’t think it was half bad. Besides, what did I have to worry about? I was pretty much just a human metronome for the two electric soloists.
That Friday, something along the lines of this:
“Hey, do you want to play that part on my electric?”
(slight pause). Well, yes, actually, I would. If you were sure you wouldn’t mind. That would be…really, really fun.
Of course now I was a smidge nervous. There’s no way to hide mistakes on an electric instrument. At least not any that I’ve been made aware of.
So I crammed a little more practice in and hoped for the best.
I didn’t actually try the electric instrument out until warm-ups the day of the concert. I’d tuned one of them, so I was prepared for the weight difference (still somewhat baffled how much heavier electrics are), but…
…okay, I was a little nervous about it.
Every instrument is built a little bit different. The size. The weight. The shape. The height of the bridge, tension of the strings–you get the idea.
But it wasn’t so bad. The piece wasn’t too complicated. Everything felt fine. I was given a very brief crash course on the amp, and away we went.
I did not zone out during the concert and miss the cue to get onstage.
I did not trip over the electric cords in my full-length dress and fall flat on my face (this is usually Concern No. 1 without the extra extension cords coiled under my shoes. It is safe to say I did not wear high heels).
I did not forget to flip both switches to turn the sound on.
I did not forget to flip both said switches off before removing cord so the audience wasn’t blasted with a loud popping noise (I knew this one without being told).
And I did not get horribly nervous and have my fingers/brain lock up and mutually forget all the notes (always a slender possibility with any performer in any performance).
And on the other hand…
We played well.
It actually was pretty fun.
People seemed to like it.
The student performers seemed happy, and the director was pleased pink with her concert as a whole (this is without argument the most important thing).
It wasn’t a flawless performance, either. But we weren’t playing for a particularly judgy crowd. And with TSO pieces and a group that’s just in it to make some good music, you really can’t go wrong.
If there’s one thing that competes with my love of books, it’s my violin. And this week turned out to be more of a violin week than a book week.
After writing this post, I’m not sure how much sense it’s going to make to anyone who doesn’t play. Just take it like reading a fantasy story–music, like magic, is sometimes hard to translate.
Strings were starting to sound old this week, so I had to get new ones right before a performance. As in like five days before? For non-string players, understand this can be stressful.
Performance was already stressful. I wasn’t keen on changing strings.
But I did, and they sounded fine. Stayed in tune pretty well. I changed my E string last of all.
I’ve had a Pirastro E string nestled in my case for a while, looking up at me from its little envelope. Waiting. I don’t usually get Pirastro strings (because starving artists…gorgeous strings can get pricey), but this one had come with a pack of my usual brand. I’d been saving it for a special occasion. Can’t really say what or why, but apparently the day had come.
I opened the little paper envelope. Took the string out of the inner paper envelope (you know it’s special if it gets two all to itself). Tuned it up to the right pitch.
No, not quite. Not the right word. Not like a bell or an ordinary string. It just sang out, like a sweet girl’s voice echoing over high hills, getting softer as it faded, but still beautiful, still there, still…
It still squeaks at times like any other E string I’ve had. But that soaring sound…
Performance today. I was playing Libesfreud, a beautiful piece. But I must have been concentrating harder than I realized (really did want those opening thirds in tune and to nail the timing with the rubato) because of the question after I finished–
“…can she smile?”
Apparently I must have forgotten that.
In case you were wondering, I can smile. And I did. But it actually was quite touching to listen to three string players talk over themselves about
“It was good…”
“….so good, the phrasing”
“But your face…” etc.
So apparently I played well but looked like a dead fish.
The audiobook is officially released! Today! Like four hours ago!
(please excuse superfluous exclamation points. The BookmarkedOne may be somewhat excited at seeing a 4-6 month project finally come to fruition. Erratic Cheshire cat grinning is also to be expected. And it is also less than a week after the end of NaNoWriMo and all the sleeplessness associated therein. So. Y’know. Patience is appreciated).
So since I’m somewhat biased as far as reviewing the book, and as I confess I’m not exactly a veteran to the audiobook field yet, I’d still love to have someone give it an honest listen and review. Spreading the word would be fantastic and feedback would be even better.
Please Note: Have promo codes; will give free audiobooks to willing and honest reviewers.
Free book, guys! What’s not to like? Anybody?
This is probably enough late-night half-edited blog rambling for me. I may look at this tomorrow and wonder why I didn’t make a more posh book announcement and groan over the vast informality of it all…
But book is out and word is out. And tonight I’ll be happy with that.
If you’re interested in having a copy of Tabitha for yourself, you can find it here: Tabitha Sparks Book 1
So in between working on NaNoWriMo (I’m still alive after 18,000 words in 6 days! Ha!), here is the promised blog post about Grand Bookish Adventure no. 2: Dragonfest Renaissance faire. Even though it’s been a couple weeks since it happened.
As word of explanation, I am a strolling player at the festivals–wander around, wear cool clothes, and play music (this is actually my job description. Simplified, of course. Don’t be too jealous). If you want to come to Dragonfest sometime, feel free to poke around on the website. And if you like this little adventure, I’m having another performance mid-November, so keep your eye on the blog.
Otherwise, here’s the story!
If you missed my ranting about how awesome Dragonfest and Renaissance faires are in general…Life off the Page. It sometimes happens.
Anyway, some of you may remember I was hoping in terror it wouldn’t rain. Because the violin does not get wet.
And yes, I went anyway.
Probably not the most logical of my logicless decisions in the last week and a half (please note, most of this was written before NaNo–but the point stands).
And some little droplets of water got on the violin I take to faires.
(Sound of Strolling Player internally dead. Not dying. Dead.)
(Feel free to imagine here whatever wet squelching sound, dry banshee wailings or aghast poetry you like)
Of course I wiped them off as soon as I saw them and was as careful as I could be. And for those of you holding your breath, when I scrutinized it later, the worst damage appeared to be light smudges on the high-gloss varnish. Similar smudges have appeared before because my hands typically sweat rivers when I play. So. Probably no lasting damage.
Didn’t help other musicians were quietly judging me by politely commenting how surprised they were I had come.
Can’t blame them. I’d be judging me too.
Let’s none of us tell my concertmasters/former or current teachers/professors/friends/employers/anyone remotely related to my music career who knows anything about music anything about this, okay?
Cloaks are wonderful things, do you know that? You can hide an entire violin and bow underneath it when you feel the first raindrop on your nose and run for cover.
I spent most of the day doing that and playing for people under the various tents I’d taken up residence in. No one seemed to mind. In a way, you can make more sales if everyone is forced into your booth to get out of the rain. And you suddenly have free entertainment.
Everyone was super sweet about tipping me too. I know a lot of performers station themselves in one place and put out a jar/hat/open case. Not that I blame them; faire life full time can be expensive. But it’s not my style. I like to wander, browse booths, visit the Queen, walk as I play…no copper beggar’s cup. I am a mummer, not a beggar. No offense.
But people tipped me anyway just because they liked me playing. There’s one man who sells swords (ah, beautiful swords.) that tips me every year. A pirate asked if I knew the tune Katyusha, and after hearing Maria Lazareva’s version…well, that was a very good suggestion, indeed. He tipped with coins. I appreciated the authenticity but found them very difficult to put into my belt pouches one handed.
He wasn’t the only one to request music. Two boys early in the day wanted to try my violin, and yes, I did let them.
One reason for this– a story my mother never tires of telling. When I was a wee little girl myself going to the faires, I met a lady who played violin with a little band. Even that young, my genetic must play violin had already kicked into gear. Short attention span or not, I think I would have stayed planted in front of her all day long. Despite all the other magic of the faire.
She asked if I wanted to hold it.
Her violin. If I wanted to hold her violin.
Yes. Yes, I did.
She showed me how to hold it and play a note. And I can’t say I’ve ever completely forgotten her, or the violin that was easily three or four sizes too big for me.
So when two young lads came up and asked if they could play, I said yes.
I began to reconsider after they’d done it two or three times each during the day. Despite the happy faire memories, there is a darker, jealous side to musicians.
I have never heard it said better than Kvothe in The Name of the Wind.
Asking a musician to play his instrument is roughly the equivalent of asking a man if you can kiss his wife.
As best I can remember it. Don’t have a copy yet and can’t find the quote anywhere. Bother.
While he uses stronger terms than I would…he isn’t wrong. If I hand you my instrument, you can either conclude it isn’t my Precious, that I trust you very much, that I am watching your every move, or I am partially-brain dead or have no other options before the world goes up in smoke.
I was watching their every move.
I imagine watching them play was rather like skydiving. No, I’ve never done it. But it has that sensation of standing on the edge of a cliff with nothing under you.
From a few words and the way they clutched and crunched the bow, I soon learned they were both 2Cellos fans. Unusual, but approvable. Also explained their horrible form.
Don’t think I’m being cruel. Everyone has horrible form when they first pick it up. If they don’t…I suspect wizardry or the mythic Inherent Talent which I have yet to come across in full glory.
Eventually, I agreed to learn Thunderstruck for them by next year. Since they didn’t know how to play it themselves. And why not? I like 2Cellos. Maybe more than I should.
Between performing, I stopped by Lady Jillian’s booth and bought my very own LillaRose hair clasp, which I’d been meaning to do since the first Dragonfest. It has a dragonfly with Celtic knotwork designs. I am very satisfied. Next time I’ll buy one of the gaudy ones with trailing beads to wear to symphony performances.
There were also gentlemen who made me a bit too amused at the prospect of using the clasps to pin back their beards.
Yup, that’s still funny. I think they were pleased to have entertained me.
Also stumbled across a booth selling rings while I was there…so I bought one of stone and one of wood. I was thinking of Kvothe again, of course, with his rings of bone and fire and blood. They’re both a bit big for me, but most rings are. I have small hands. I don’t know why I picked the black stone ring. They had orange and jade-green and a brownish color…somehow I just felt like the black one.
Speaking of Kvothe, I did run into J. Christopher Wilson again, writer of Wards of Iasos. We have had a few tentative book discussions since Dragonfest Year 1.
I read Iasos. He reads George R.R. Martin. I therefore had no compunction in recommending The Name of the Wind. Well, very little anyway. If Game of Thrones is half of what I’ve heard as far as content…he’ll be fine.
My recommendation was somewhat solidified by a woman who appeared behind me while we were talking. As soon as she heard Rothfuss, she firmly seconded my opinion.
Then apologized for interrupting. A true bookworm, I presume.
Actually, as soon as she said Mr. Wilson should read the Rothfuss, her head swiveled to me and she said:
“Are you Kvothe?”
I burst out laughing. She shook her head and mumbled no, guess not.
I couldn’t help thinking–should I be offended? Flattered? I know where she got the idea, wandering minstrel just happening to recommend that book to someone.
Should I have been offended at the comparison to a blade-tongued musician who lies freely and spends far too much time noticing the appearance of young women?
And is also very handsome with bright red hair and one of the best musicians ever penned?
Am I okay with that?
Apparently I am okay with that.
Maybe. Sort of. Not like I’d go around telling people that. More like “Oh. I guess I’m Kvothe to you now. Okay.” I guess there are worse names. Maybe. Ish.
I should have said “One family,” the way all Ruh do, but I was too surprised to think of it in time. Anyway.
Whoever you were Bookish Lady of Dragonfest–you made my day. A deep curtsy to you and your library.
Of course, that’s saying a lot. Most of the day was fantastic (minus the rain).
There was a booth full of wooden wands where the carver said to “Feel free to swish and flick.” I was tempted, but holding my violin at the moment. They were about the prettiest wands I’d seen around.
The jousts were, as usual, very good. The final joust of the day a little girl in full armor came to watch. Of course one of the knights chose her as his Lady. I love that they choose little girls so often–you know it makes their entire year. Especially this little girl getting her yellow rose.
We actually had an unhorsing. The knight stayed still so long I actually started to hold my breath, worrying he’d gotten hurt. Then he bounced up light as you please and threw his arms in the air for applause.
He got it. You have to know that hurt. He also took two more passes in the lists at least.
We have amazing knights.
New steel fighting group The Order of the Red Boar this year. They are…intense. Very intense. To the point I hope they don’t actually decapitate each other. Historical martial arts groups are graceful, one hand disengaged, foil flicking like the tail of a cat. The Red Boar, with their broadswords and fury, well, they’re more like tipsy Vikings who grabbed the sword instead of the hammer. Expect much shouting, falling, and slamming.
They also invited me as resident musician…it is a highly tempting offer. And slightly flattering.
And for the last event of the day…you are now reading the narration of a minstrel who has officially played in the Rat Puck.
Somehow I missed mentioning this game before in my description of the faires. Not sure how.
The Rat Puck is a game I’ve never actually heard of outside of the Hartville faire. One of my distinctive early faire memories involves a woman and baby (both in garb) standing on one side of the road, gentlemen rat pucking on the other.
And when they pucked it in her direction, she belted out if they would be so kind to keep their rat on their side of the road.
Never blamed her for that, but after playing it and almost being whacked and whacking others with flying rats…woo, she was right.
The rules are simple. Everyone gets a hollow bamboo pole with an end chiseled to look like the mouth of a recorder (delicate rules regarding pole width I don’t fully gather). You are also bequeathed with a color coded felt “plague rat.” And it is your duty to wedge stick under rat and fling it halfway across the faire shouting “Cheese!” and hoping to be the first to get it to its wooden circle.
It’s rather like a bizarre game of golf.
Not sure why we shout “Cheese.” Apparently affects the accuracy of rat puck. Kind of cheese does not matter. Adding other food words to cheese does.
Not going to question that.
How did I do? Badly.
But it was all in fun, and I didn’t really care. I’d wanted to play the game for years, but thought it was gentlemen only (and I wasn’t there/didn’t have the nerve to ask/was probably smaller than the poles at that time). Whenever one of the seasoned players made a bad puck, they howled “Shame, shame, you are a shame to the clan” at each other. It was…highly amusing.
Also pucked rats over the main road that bisects the faire. At that point we were pucking rats toward people, even thought the faire was almost over.
Nobody got hit (that time), but I did hear about it afterwards.
One of Queen E.’s ladies had offered to hold my violin while I played, and when I hurried back to the court area, the Queen herself was holding it very carefully, like you would delicately rest a bare sword across the palms of your hands.
So undying respect to the Queen and her court. They understand a musician’s fierce-toothed possessiveness and how to handle an instrument properly.
So in the midst of working on posts chronicling book review/symphony trip/Dragonfest 2019/fall book haul…I am faced with a dilemma.
It’s almost time for National November Novel Writing Month. The madness where a passel of questionably sane writers gather together, bonded by the singular desire to complete one novel in 30 days.
And a question.
Should I do it?
Last year was my first go. Something in my brain said “Hey! You’re busier than you’ve ever been in your life (quite literally), why not add one more thing?”
I did it. And I sort of loved it. 50,000 words, several weekends of staying up until 2:00 in the morning, and a lot of Thomas Bergersen’s “Into Darkness” on loop later, I had the better part of a novel. To call it complete would disgrace my inner editor. To call it a waste would be a lie.
I think it was April that I started getting emails again to write a little each day. I can’t remember if it was during NaNo or then that loved ones began expressing concerns that I was fostering something of an addiction.
Well, they’re not wrong. And I did express symptoms–incoherent speech, deep distraction, withdrawal from social interactions, suddenly heightened emotional state. Also wasn’t getting much rest, which wasn’t helping my case. I have never earned the “looking-after-your-health” badge on the NaNo site. In case you couldn’t tell. Sometimes I just look at it and laugh. Sure, sure, people do that. Right? Two of you? Three of you?
So most people that know me well are softly counseling me to step back. Rest. Rejuvenate.
They’re not wrong. It’d be nice to relax. Take some time off work stuff. Read. Sleep. Let my gaming kin know I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth. Blog more often. Not feel over-stressed about upcoming gigs/final exams and the like.
It’s a solid argument.
So why am I still wavering?
Because I miss writing. A lot. And I have a project in mind.
So if there are any WriMos out there who can help shove me over the edge into doing this or back into the field of sanity, talk to me. Tell me if Tales from the Legendarium should be done next month, or if it should wait a while. I don’t usually ask for advice…but I could use some words of wisdom.
And to all of you forging ahead without looking back, may your files auto-save, may your computer battery never die, may your inspiration be endless and your stamina last you until December 1st, 12:01 A.M. May you write the best thing to flow from your mind to date, utterly free of cliche. May you succeed and survive.
Stock up on your caffeine. Especially the dark chocolate. You’re going to need it.