Monday, November 15, 2010

NaNoWriMo and the Suicide Note

Today I'm halfway through NaNoWriMo and I'm NOT halfway through my word count. Characters are prickly. My plot is more windy than a mountain road. And then there was the suicide note inside my netbook.

I ran to Barnes and Noble Cafe since there are portraits of Kipling, Steinbeck, Eliot and Whitman. Surrounded by all those authors, how could I not be inspired, right? I ordered my oatmeal raisin cookie and Diet Pepsi (don't even think about commenting) and snatched up a table.

That's when I found it. The suicide note. Right inside my netbook, laying on the keyboard. The small, yellow handwritten note: "I know I'll never replace Belle in your life so I won't even try. I know your heart belongs to Belle. When she is healed and returns to you, I'll just end our relationship forever."

I would have called 911. After all, shouldn't someone be saved? Then it hit me. I was the one who wrote the note. Oh, and that's supposed to make me feel better?! It didn't help that Elvis' Hunka Hunka Burning Love was blasting through the PA system in the Cafe. It was immediately followed by, "I'm caught in a trap, I can't walk out, because I love you too much baby..."

Ok, I know I really needed to call the cops but I had things to do. I still had two bites of cookie left and my diet pepsi was only half gone. Not to mention I had to write a blog. SInce I'm pretty new to this  blogging thing I'm not sure whether I could write blogs in jail so I disengaged the "emergency 911" status on my phone and sat back in the seat.

People were beginning to stare because they could not see the humor in my suicide note. Particularly when I sputtered through tears of laughter, "It's a suicide note!"

After the manager and a couple of workers came to my table to see if they needed to call the guys in the white coats, I showed them the note. I resisted the urge to get an endless supply of oatmeal raisins and my sudsy soda by promising to not kill myself in their store. Umm... but that's a different story. File that one away for when I'm really, really hungry.

The funny, hysterical note was from me. This morning I was prepared to ship my netbook temporarily to a friend whose computer is sickly. I thought I was being comical and knew they'd get a kick out of the note. At the last minute we didn't ship it so I decided to take it to lunch.

The joke was on me. That's soooo like my NaNoWriMo characters. Always playing tricks. Hopefully, they'll let me back into Barnes and Noble at some point. No NaNo word count in B&N for me today!

Write on,

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Day ten of NaNoWriMo. Frankly, I'm ecstatic that I have over 13,000 words down on electronic paper. Behind the mark a bit but hey, it's only words right?The day started with the voices in my head taking an oath of silence. Seriously? On day ten?

You know how we hate silence and feel the need to fill it with something. Oh, I know. Editing! Ya know, I really didn't like the way the dialog flowed in scene three. And really, that plot twist should come in Act two or the story will arc to soon. Oh, and I'm telling way more than showing. Where's my red pencil?

Today, not even half way through NaNo, I had the irresistible urge to go back and edit. Change this. Rewrite that. It was all-consuming. Three times today I drafted an email to my writing partners and asked, "are you sure I'm not supposed to edit? Won't that eventually harm my baby?" And, three times I looked at my reflection in my computer monitor, took a deep breath and said, "Reebs, it's NaNoWriMo, not your publisher. Delete the emails and give it a rest."

I've learned so much about me over these last ten days. I'd like to share a few.

1) One, I could easily NOT write any day of the week. It's easy for me to say, "not tonight honey, I have a headache." My word count cowers in the corner, totally rejected.

2) I also learned I'm a much better story teller than story show-er. Why'd they put that in the rules of novel writing anyway?! Oh I know! I could make my hero a story teller! Umm... that would be NO! Oh well, I'll have a lot of fun in rewrites, which brings me to the final thing.

3) I realized that NaNoWriMo is forcing me to keep my story moving forward. I'll finish my "telling"-albeit with intermittent really bad dialog- and have a great working foundation upon which to build a great story.

If you're a fellow WriMo, please step away from the editing. You'll be glad you did!

Remember the words of one of my favorite authors, Terri Blackstock:

Don't get it right. Get it written!

Write on,

Monday, November 8, 2010


No more blank screen. Lots of words on the page. 12,000+ after 7 days! Not bad... well, at least the word count is where it should be.

I've had a blast, keeping that number in my head while I pound the keys of my own NaNoWriMo work in progress. I realized a couple of things:

1) It helps to just get it out of my head and onto the paper. Terri Blackstock was absolutely right when she said, "don't get it right, get it written!"

2) As I write, I think of all kinds of ideas that will enhance what I thought was a great plot.

3) It's hard to resist the urge to go back and edit. But after seven days of not allowing myself to go backward, I think I've gotten the hang of it.

If you haven't signed up for NaNoWriMo, consider it. It's a lot of fun. I'm met a lot of people. Very supportive folks who, like me, are watching those word counts and creating an exciting first draft.

Act one is in the history books.

The plot thickens.....

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


That's what my computer screamed at me yesterday morning. You know, November 1st, the beginning of NaNoWriMo. I'd prepared. Studied. Prayed and even had a great story in my head.

I packed up my laptop and headed to Panera. Hemingway, Dickens, Hitchcock all wrote from Panera, right? I bought my bagel, filled my cup with Diet Pepsi, sat at my netbook and... and... umm...

Who even knew computers could talk?! Actually yell... and laugh, mock and otherwise taunt me. Blank computer screens have to be the worst form of torture for a writer. Worse than forcing a Texas gal to eat sushi or wear a cocktail dress.

I would have given up, chunked my computer in the river and gone back to bed but I heard a voice inside me. Terri Blackstock, best selling author was shouting, "Don't get it right. Get It Written!"

Oh yeah, that's right! My first draft is allowed to royally suck lemons. 2239 words came yesterday to start my NaNoWriMo word count. Not too bad for the first day jitters.

Day one of NaNoWriMo is now history. So is my blank screen paranoia. I'll never go back to my first time again. My first day is gone. Today is a new day. I must write today while it is, well, today.

More words... meaningful words all strung together in a way it makes readers want to read them. That's writing!

Courageously I sit at my computer screen and wait for the voices inside my head to dictate what I write. Day 2 is here!