Tuesday, November 30, 2010

There She Goes!

This is a picture of me, in disguise as a cement truck, roaring down the highway away from NaNoWriMo.

As they have said from the olden days, "Thank God It's Over."

I had thought I was ready and prepped for a NaNo run, and I suppose I was, in the same way one prepares and is ready to put new shingles on the porch roof. I had the skill set, and the discipline. Wow, I needed both of them, because this was the worst NaNo finish yet.

I felt bad the two years I didn't finish; one year because I didn't have a story I really wanted to tell, and the other (last year) because I fell in love with my story and didn't want to spoil it by writing junky word count. This year, I thought I would write a sequel to "Going Hungry" and maybe even wrap up the story.

Forget it. The story was there to be told but because it was NaNo, I put word count above all else. The story advanced about 10k words, and the rest was nitpick fluffy filler. "He said" then "She said" and then they described in excruciating detail every step of their recipes ad nauseum.

Hated it.

In the beginning, for me, back in 2001, NaNoWriMo was a mere 500 and some participants who were leaping off a precipice of uncertainty, attempting to write a novel in 30 days. It was thrilling, exciting, captivating. At my fifth year, it had become piano practice: three hours with a laptop, hammering out two thousand words a session, every day for a month to build and hone a writing habit. This year, at the beginning of November, I think I noted that there were already 160,000 people signed up; and it may be that I am just getting old and crotchety, but the NaNoForums seemed to be populated by the most shallow and clueless gits floating around the cybersphere.

Yes, hated it.

Nevertheless, two days after I validated my 50k words and officially "won," I found myself back with my story "After Life" and tenderly writing a completion to the last chapter I had started. Love the characters, love the story ... love writing, yeah.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Will It Ever Return?

See this coleus? What illuminates it so sweetly is a morning summer sun.

It's winter here now, and the last few mornings have been gray and drizzly. No lovely cool sunshine wake ups now -- this is the season for getting up and throwing wood into the firebox, for wearing slippers, for having to tell the dog to hurry up and get out there and do his doggy thing.

I know that I've grown soft as a Californian. When I was a Pennsylvanian, we occasionally had snow in September, in April, and every day between them there was a possibility of white stuff falling out of the sky. By contrast, here in my winter weather, this morning I kicked off my slippers and went outside barefoot to feed the birds, because it had been raining and I didn't want to get my slippers wet. Such harsh weather!

Wuss that I am, I already miss summer.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Skyline: Dung on the Silver Screen

Now the fact is, Bernie and I have done a review which will appear on Monday in the Piker Press.

The review was negative.

It was not negative enough by a long shot. DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY ON THIS MOVIE. IT TRULY AND FUNDAMENTALLY SUCKS WORSE THAN ANY SY FY (what a stupid way of identifying that network nowadays) MOVIE YOU EVER, EVER SAW.

I try to be sort of polite when we do reviews for the Press, but in this blog, I don't have to. Skyline was THE worst movie I have ever gone to see in a theater. Admitting and yet not excusing myself for the folly of young adulthood, I state for the record that we did go see Jeff Goldblum's version of The Fly, thinking it was going to be an updated version of The Fly, starring Vincent Price, which we had thrilled to in our childhood. Adding sexual banging, vomit and graphic violence to the original, Goldblum's version was repellent and disappointing. Yet it did have a plot, borrowed from a previous version, but it WAS a plot.

Skyline did not have a plot. The story was supposed to be about aliens attacking earth. Killing humans.  And then ...? And why ...? Oh, they craved human brains to "empower" themselves, mmmm, lots of scenes of brains with partial spinal cords attached. WTF?

Skyline did not have a cast. Not of actors, anyway. The people who were supposed to be the focus of the film begin the saga with a hedonistic party which includes more liquor than BevMo, voyeuristic telescopic explorations of high rise neighbors electronically transferred to a BIG big screen TV, and random sex. Unless you're part of the population that craves sex and drug parties, you just had to loathe the shitty ensemble that makes up the cast. Also, they couldn't act their ways out of paper bags.

So, no plot, no acting. What's left?  CGI! In the trailers, it looked very promising. On screen, the motherships looked to have  been cobbled from the scaggy stupid-looking Romulan ship in Star Trek and the gnarly ships from The Matrix, and most of the subsidiary ships looked like extras from the squiddy scenes of The Matrix as well. I swear the alien forces images were stolen from photoclips from Predator and Galaxy Quest, with slime and gore added.

To add 'realism' to the film, there was a puking scene, and a pissing scene. Neither one seemed to add anything to the movie. Those scenes only added to my annoyance.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

NaNoWriMo 2010

Participating in NaNoWriMo is not like climbing up a stony cliff.

It's more like climbing down this stony cliff. At 22k words, I'm about to that dark hole in the middle of the picture. I've felt for handholds to keep on going, I've strung together long, pointless chatterings of words to reach the next crevice where I can stop for the night and say, "You got this far. You can get all the way down."

Once I get down to that gravelly-looking bit that might mark 35 thousand words, I'll be able to slide. The slope is not so dangerous. Handholds abound. 15k is nothing. In fact, I could do that final 15k sitting on a piece of cardboard and just hanging on for dear life.

So I say. We'll see. Tonight, the words came easily, and I enjoyed writing them.

Goal tomorrow: 24k, if not 25.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Why Am I Doing This Again?

Ahh, the stony path I have chosen!

Today is November 8, and I should have 16k words by the time I go to sleep. However, I know I won't. Yesterday I opted to watch NFL football games all day, an activity my pastor finds abhorrent, but one that I look forward to from the day after the Superbowl. (NFL football and the Triple Crown are the only two sports I have any interest at all in watching.) Yet watching the games precluded any chance of making 14k yesterday.

This morning, I put up the Press, and had foolishly left one of the most difficult serial stories to format today. I love the series, the sheer whimsical craziness of it, but whatever word processing program the author uses simply doesn't mesh with mine, and so I cannot automatically add HTML paragraph breaks; what's more, the author uses few commas, which I have to add, and leaves spaces in the wrong parts to I have to correct all of that. It is a measure of how much I love the story that I'm willing to do this.

But that was this morning. I don't write in the mornings, so I'm just using the Press as an excuse, I guess.

I have my formula for word count; I know where the story has to go. But I sure don't want to be doing this.  Am I losing my writing, and just becoming an editor?

And now the Steelers are on TV against the Bengals, which team I have hated since the late seventies -- do you think I'm going to do any serious writing tonight?


Have I mentioned, Tejon, that I am NOT doing this again next year, not even for you?

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Nationally Novelly Writingly This Month

It is National Novel Writing Month.

I'd like to say that I'm extremely enthusiastic about it, but I'm not. This year, the whole thing is about re-establishing a writing habit. I have four novels in my workspace to complete, and for the past year, I've done nothing to get that done. That's just stupid, and lazy.

I've chosen to write a sequel to a past NaNoWinner; possibly between the two, I'll be able to salvage a decent story. It's been hard, though, as Bernie, my beloved husband, has also decided to do NaNo. He let me read his first 600 words.

Wow. I was in tears by the time I finished, and when I tried to read to him the paragraph that had moved me so, I could not get through it without sobbing. He had talked about Time in such a way that I could not help but grieve for the way we as human creatures are forced to apprehend it.

My own story is utterly, completely word count, without a scootch of wisdom or wit. Another soap opera, as lousy as "Transitions" was. All I can do is disengage my intellect and let my words run on into other words. I tell myself that word count is all I'm going for here, and I will do that, I can do that.

But God, I wish I had something better to write.

Tejon, if you should happen across this post, I am NOT doing this again next year.