Thursday, December 29, 2011


Hmmm... aren't resolutions just wonderful? They're the pinnacle of the race, the epitome of potential, and it's all down-hill from here. The New Year is fast approaching, and I'm pondering resolutions and why we make them... or why we love to break them. Because most resolutions will never be kept. It's part of our human nature, I guess. We love to dream big, to have hope for a bright future full of all the things we wish we could do with our lives, and we love to believe we will accomplish all our goals! And let's face it... if you make a list of resolutions this New Year's Eve and you manage to keep all of them, did you really dream big enough?

Here's the thing, somehow, this past year, I did manage to keep all my resolutions. Ha! I only made three... and there's something satisfying and yet so small about that. While I know I learned something and grew from the process, I can't help but wonder what else I could have done if I had just decided that I wanted to reach for a higher goal?

This year I want to dream big and fail big. It's no fun, really, failing... but the journey counts more than the destination, right? So I'm going to make some wacky big resolutions and then take the leap! Won't you join me?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Anime and writing

I seriously cannot
get enough Who!
I've been considering story structure and character development for the past few weeks now... partially in a poorly disguised attempt to avoid editing my NaNovel. Sigh... anyhow, I am currently reading "The Plot Whisperer" by Martha Alderson... the book that Awesome Bess gave me for "winning" a blog contest that she hosted. It's a great book! I love Alderson's thoughts on the Universal Story, and on character development being personal as well as fictional... the character on the page can and will reveal a lot about your own strengths and weaknesses. Reading about that, though, I realize that I have a lot of work to do to get this story to a happy place. But the Plot Whisperer is helping me to be less afraid of the work that needs to be done, so I guess that's something.

Belle  and Sebastian (circa 1981)
In a slightly related way, I've been considering the plot and characters in the anime series "Princess Tutu". I stumbled upon this little gem when I started working on my quilt the other week. I needed something to distract me from the drone of the sewing machine, so first I watched Season 2 of Doctor Who (just after the Doctor regenerates from Christopher Eccleston to David Tennant... Oh man I love Doctor Who!)... and then, just as I was getting ready to begin Season 3, Princess Tutu caught my eye. I've always loved anime, everything I've seen, at least. That's not much, when you think about it... but Belle and Sebastian is what started it all. I recently watched (and read) Howl's Moving Castle, as well, and really enjoyed that fanciful story.

Princess Tutu
Princess Tutu is whimsical, rollicking, a bit overly-dramatic (but hey, it's anime) and has the added benefit (for me) of an exterior narrator or two and plot sketches between episodes. I liked the structure and the themes, mostly... I was a little at a loss as to why some of the whimsy existed... I mean, I know, by nature whimsy is not supposed to have a reason, but... this was a little overboard... but, nevertheless, I could not stop watching! It was captivating (again, for me... Noah thought I was crazy). The ending kind of threw me a little, so if any of you out there have seen it and can offer me some insight, I would be grateful!

Howl's Moving Castle
Still, it gave me lots to think about with regard to my characters and their growth into full fledged characters... ones that people will connect with and root for... or despise... I want my characters to incite emotion, but right now I think that they are dull, lifeless... I have a rewrite to do... and I have to stop putting it off!

My mother will be here for a few days starting Friday... but the new goal is to, as soon as she leaves, really dive into the process of transforming the copy that I have into the story that I want to tell.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


Well, stuck can be a good thing, too, I guess. I finished my NaNo goals and then took a good long break... but now I'm afraid to get back to working on the project. I know I need to, I know I can do it...

but I had found something else to distract me. A quilt. I am in the process of making my first quilt! It's really cool... I'm using a pattern and have been sewing madly for days now. It's been fun and I'm coming up with ideas for new quilt patterns... and I'm hoping that my mom will help me finish this quilt off when she comes to visit next week for Christmas.

But then my sewing machine stopped working today. It's stuck. I've taken off the cover and oiled as many parts as I can reach, and it's still stuck... I'm 4 strips away from being finished with the quilt! Sigh. Hopefully Noah can help me when he gets home, but I was really hoping to wrap that up today!

The thing is, having a stuck sewing machine may force me to get down to editing. I need that push back towards my novel, so that I can refine it... make it into something worth showing to someone else.

Monday, December 5, 2011

50,000 words does not a novel make

So, it's December 5th... I haven't posted in over a week. To be honest, I think I just needed a break from forcing words out of my fingertips and into being. And so I took it. I wish I could tell you that during the last week I read more books and began creative projects... but really I spent most of my time staring out into cyberspace, trying to make sense of the whole last month by reading what others are saying about their experience of NaNoWriMo.

And so now I'm here, a few days into December... and what do I have to show for it? I have more than 200 pages of text and a strong idea... but it's not a manuscript yet. I know what needs to come next. I know I need to sit down with Scrivener and put these scenes into some kind of logical order... and then I know I need to go through the draft with a discerning eye, re-writing portions, cutting portions, adding transitions and/or filler...

I think I'm just still in shock that I actually got this far with it. Ha. That the baby idea I had... years... ago now has become something much bigger than I expected.

Truth is I love the editing process. I just need to gather my wits about me and dive in! And so that's what this next month will be about. I have many fun things to do on the weekends and my mother is coming up for the holiday at the end of the month, but in between then I promise you that I'm going to knuckle down and make something out of this jumbled heap of ideas. As Erin Morgenstern, NaNo participant and author of The Night Circus put it "There's a spinning-straw-into-gold analogy here, in which NaNoWriMo is about filling the room with straw. The spinning would be revising. Had I more time to compose this, I would work that analogy in better, but the I think clumsiness illustrates my point." (from The Marvels and Messes of a Month of Writing).

I'm off to yoga now for some wit gathering... and then I'll be here... spinning my straw into gold.