Monday, November 02, 2009

NaNoWriMo Update, such as it is, and What I'm Reading

I've been working on a book review that's a real head-banger (hard to decide what to say because there's so much to talk about!!) and because I had no focus whatsoever, today, I decided to toddle over to see if New Orleans Chris had posted anything about his NaNoWriMo progress. Sure enough, Chris is chugging right along. I had a super first day of Nano, in spite of the fact that I've always been nervous about the story I chose to work on -- which I've been mulling for something on the order of 4 or 5 years -- but I started late and still managed to crank out over 5,000 words.

This morning . . . ugh. I suspected something was wrong around 4,000 words, yesterday, so I was kind of hesitant when some of my Twitter buddies congratulated me on my first-day word count. At 6,000 I knew it was a dead end but tried to zig when I probably should have zagged in order to fix things. At 6,400, I stopped.

My beloved, half-blind kitty has been in an outdoorsy mood, so I abandoned the computer and spent most of the afternoon on the porch with her. On the porch, I broke open A Novel Idea: Best Advice on Writing Inspirational Fiction (<----link to, for a change of pace). Okay, let me just say this, first: If you are trying to write a novel of any kind at all, this book will be helpful. Inspiration is the theme, but there's some fantastic writing advice that has already helped me and which applies to all genres; it's just excellent, general information. I don't know if it'll save my fat Nano butt from doom, but we'll see.

While I'm not calling my story "inspirational," it definitely has some Christian elements and I've fretted so much because it's almost a burden being handed a story like this in a dream. It has built-in conflict -- huge, ridiculous, wonderful conflict -- and I have the option to make my heroine completely miserable, push her to the brink, nearly ruin her life and then . . . pull her back. That's good, right?

The problem, I discovered from reading the first chapter (by Angela Hunt) is that I didn't begin my story in media res, "in the middle of the action". I was nowhere near the inciting incident (not the big disaster, but the story starter); I was way back in the build-up to the inciting incident, which needs to be presumed rather than written because it is too freaking boring to read.

So, like Chris on his first day, I was thinking #Nanofail. At the regular time (only darker - stupid Daylight Savings Time), my husband walked in the door and he said, "You can't quit," when I told him That was it. I blew it. I replied that I can do anything I darn well please because it's my choice and he said, "You. Can. Not. Stop." Well, huh. Not sure where that came from, but I've spent the evening reading and snoozing and pondering. We'll see what happens, tomorrow.


You'd think I'd slow down on my reading because of Nano, but no . . . I've actually picked up and started several books. I finished Pretties and started The Knife of Never Letting Go. I'm not sure what I think of The Knife of Never Letting Go, at this point, except that I think hearing a dog's thoughts can be pretty hilarious.

Of course, I started A Novel Idea -- the promo material says, "All of the proceeds go to Media Associates International, an international organization whose goal is to help fledging (I presume they mean "fledgling") writers and publishers produce Christian literature that is culturally relevant." Cool.

I've also read the intro and first chapter of The Church of Facebook by Jesse Rice and I am loving this book even more than I'd imagined. The author is a psychologist and he begins the book with a discussion about connectivity -- why people and monkeys and other critters need each other -- by describing an experiment with baby monkeys and a wire-monkey mother versus a soft, fake mother. Fascinating stuff. I only stopped after the first chapter because I'm in a group that is going to discuss the book and I don't want to move beyond the discussion points.

Hubby has made a salad from How to Roast a Lamb: New Greek Classic Cooking by Michael Psilakis and neither of us liked the dressing but the salad was so good that I asked for seconds. And, I am not a big salad eater; it's that good - with roasted almonds and dried fruit, mmm. This is truly a stunning book, by the way, with pictures of not only the recipes but everyday life in Greece.

And, I'm reading a book in PDF, which is very unusual for me, but I chatted with the author and his book sounded so fantastic that I told him I'm willing to make an exception: How to Lower Your Cholesterol With French Gourmet Cooking by Alain Braux (<-----Amazon link that does not benefit me because I'm too lazy).

My husband sat down to read part of it off the screen. He is by far the pickiest person I've ever met, when it comes to cookbooks so it was surprising, to say the least, when he said, "I'm sold." Whoa. He read aloud (another thing he never does) Alain's opinion on fresh-caught versus farm-raised salmon, an opinion with which we already strongly agreed.

The recipes look fabulous at a glance and what little I've read of the text has been pretty amazing. We'll try some recipes, soon, and report back to you.

All right. I've gotten my babble fix over with. I guess I'll be up early to give Nano a second attempt, tomorrow. Cross your fingers, say your prayers and send positive thoughts, please!!!

Happy Writing to those who are also Nanoing and Happy Reading to everyone else!!

Bookfool, not particularly jazzed but willing to give it a second go


  1. You. Will. Not. Give. Up.!!!!!!! Do you hear me Nancy?? No giving up allowed!!! If you have to do like me and just delete everything and start over, then so be it, but pleeeeeeeeease don't give up. You can do it! The reason I'm begging you not to give up is because I read your synopsis and thought to myself "wow that sounds amazing!!" You have one hell of a story there, stick with it. It'll come to you and with that wonderful book, you'll have a masterpiece :)

    That "How to Roast a Lamb" book sounds amazing and I'm adding it to my wishlist right now just based on the cover alone! Seriously, my mouth is watering over here just looking at that picture! It evokes some of my favorite flavors.'ll have to let me know if you cook anything else from it.

    Love you Nancy! Hope the writing goes better for you tomorrow!

  2. Your hub is right. You. Can. Not. Stop. "You must do the thing you think you cannot do." I may either be a big blowhard here or exactly what you need but I have a few choice words for you. Writing a novel (not like I've even had the guts to try but this isn't about me. phfuhth) is not like knitting a blanket where you miss a stitch and have to pull the whole darn thing into a mess of string. it certainly isn't like a cake where the alchemy mixes once baked and becomes something else entirely. It's more like one of those fancy cake disasters that may have crashed when you tried to move it but you can still salvage the pieces. Turn around, come at it from a different angle. Stop and write background that may not even be in the story itself! You're still writing then. Get in one of your characters head and write a 'day in the life' of a boring day just because. what did they do? then spin it from a different view. I know you write amazing and I know you can do it. I may not know all of you (who really does?) but I know enough of your HEART to see that this is important and you must get on the path and walk. or write. whatever. Kick your nano butt! I believe in you! Why else have I been reading your blog and connecting and sharing? purpose and design, baby. little things add up to amazing stuff. Put your doubt in a paper bag and put it aside and write like you know it's over there and you don't care. Besides, the goal is word count. You can salvage and rearrange later. Don't judge it now! not yet! keep going! Know that I am channeling all my positive thoughts and sending them reverse over the jetstream to where you live. I'll send by carrier pigeon if I have to. (so kitty can have a snack that way?) Now go get to work. love ya! - Care

  3. I'm with your hubby - don't give up so soon!

  4. Chris, Care and Kathy,

    Thanks for the cheerleading (or bullying -- actually, I'm not sure which it is). Okay, I'll keep working on it. :)

  5. Care said, "Stop and write background that may not even be in the story itself! You're still writing then." And "the goal is word count." She's right. What you've already written counts, even if it never ends up in your finished novel (but don't throw away anything yet). Just keep slugging away.

    When you take a writing break, highlight and copy your paragraph above about "our" book into part "1 ~ CONNECTION" of our discussion board. I post something, you post something -- voila! -- discussion happens!

  6. Good luck! I just kept writing whether it made sense or not.:) I could always go back afterwards and fix it. :) I never had a problem starting, it was stopping. lol

    I wish I could do it this year but things are crazy! Maybe next year.

    I had a salad made with dried cranberries, chopped apples and lettuce that i fell in love with. So I know what you mean by salads.

  7. Bonnie,

    Yep, Care made a great point. I've only written two paragraghs, though, thanks to a migraine and a doctor appointment (back spasms, ouch).

    How do I get to that FB group? I don't see a link in my sidebar.


    I used to have trouble stopping, but my writing has become a little more spare than it used to be, so . . . not so much, anymore. :)

    I figured you wouldn't do Nano this year, with a new baby to take care of. How is he doing?

    That salad is awesome. I need to ask if I can post it.

  8. Let me just say, ANYONE willing to even try Nano has all my respect, good thoughts, and wishes for sanity. Seriously, it would probably kill me. And I need salad recipes. This low sodium thing I'm doing now sucks. Bring the lettuce.

  9. Andiloo,

    You've done Nano, haven't you? I think you've hit on an important consideration: My sanity may be at risk, here. LOL I'm working on it, though. I decided to take Care's advice and just keeping what I've got. I can always cut out the background material, later on.

    You're going low-sodium? Ewww, I hate that! Salt is joy. I'll ask about posting recipes, as soon as I find out who to ask. The great thing about that salad is that it doesn't really need the dressing. It's that good.

  10. Bullying and add me to the list. No quitting!

    Daylight Saving Time is over. This is the real time. I wish they'd leave it alone in the spring. I love it being nice and dark at night. Not that my wishes will be respected by God or physics in the summer when the days get longer anyway.

  11. I tried to do NaNo one year and failed around day 5 I think! haha...

    You can do it! We'll be rooting for you so keep us posted.

  12. Can you tell me the name of the salad? I'd like to give it a try, too.

    Good luck with NaaNoWriMo. I wish my husband had time to give it a try. I'll tell him about the writing book, though.

  13. Carrie,

    Well, I'd expect a little bullying out of you. This isn't the first time. LOL

    Okay, regular time sucks, then. I liked the long summer evenings in Michigan. We have a fairly early nightfall in the summer, by comparison with the other places I've lived. I don't mind it, since there's no way we're going to go outside and sit around where the mosquitoes can chomp on us in the summer, anyway, but in the winter I want daylight for as long as possible!!! It's already dark by the time huzzybuns gets home. That is so wrong.

    God and physics are not eager to bend.


    I've "won" Nano twice, but it's been a while. I'm still chugging. However, I stopped to go to the doctor for back spasms and I discovered that writing and muscle relaxants absolutely do not mix.

    Thanks for rooting for me. :)


    "Dried Fruit Salad with Thyme-Honey Vinaigrette". Yummo. It's pretty, too. I'm just eating it dry. The dried fruit is sweet enough that it's more like eating dessert than a salad. Toasted almonds give it a nice crunch. We had to substitute mozzarella cheese for "manouri". I have no idea what that kind of cheese tastes like; it's not something I've even seen, before.

    Maybe Rod can join in on Nano, next year? That would be great!

  14. Thanks, Nancy. I'll let you know when we've tried it. Sounds delicious! I love almonds in my salads. We use a lot of almonds or sunflower seeds in salads and pecans in chicken salad. Mmmmmm.

    I'll mention NaNoWriMo to my hubby. :)

  15. Les,

    Me, too. Love a little crunchy nutty flavor in a salad. We use pine nuts a lot, too. Do you have a good chicken salad recipe? I need one.

    Yep, tell that husband about Nano. He'd probably whip past all of us and we'd just feel the breeze as he went past.

  16. If I knew that NaNo would have had so many awesome badges this year I might have participated, but I am chugging down to a slower pace and doing an imitation challenge called IndieWriMo that requires 30K. Last year was a hustle, when I slept through the first 15 days and had to manage all in the last half.

  17. Good luck to you with Nano! I just learned about it from Care & Softdrink and did a little soul searching to see if I had it in me! I'm lacking inspiration @ the moment (for myself) but as I read about others in Blogland I'm inspired by you & look forward to hearing about your success! :). Good luck, & although new to following all of you, I'm cheering for ya!

  18. I love reading posts by those who have committed to Nano! Keep at it, Nancy!

    Since we are having to watch my husband's cholesterol closely, many thanks for the title. I'm going to look for it...even if I'm probably too lazy to do French Gourmet!

  19. Harry,

    You'll have to tell me more about IndieWriMo, when this is all over. I don't have much time to think, right now, although it looks like I'm going to end up having to hustle toward the end, like you did last year, simply because I've got so many errands that keep piling up on my little head. The badges are definitely cool. I've got the t-shirt with that red emblem and it's one of my new favorite shirts (the other new favorite has a peace sign made of leaves).


    I'm a little lacking in inspiration, myself. Most of what I write is kind of slapstick and awfully silly. This year, I'm tackling something serious and I feel like it's very draining. I might still set this one aside and start over with a new story, but I'm not giving up on Nano completely. Thanks for cheering me on! :)


    Thanks for the encouragement. You probably won't see a whole lot of posting from me, but we'll see. It just depends on whether or not I really get into my story and can't tear myself away (which isn't happening, right now).

    We have to watch my husband's cholesterol, too. He was threatened with statin drugs and we said, "Nope, we'll work on diet and exercise, instead." Statins are kind of scary. I'll let you know if the recipes are too complex. Hopefully "French Gourmet" doesn't always mean "exhausting, complex recipes." We'll see. :)

  20. I wish it was nice enough here to read outside!

    Good luck with the writing. :)

  21. I completely agree! Do. Not. Give. Up!!!
    I will be here cheering on you guys while you're writing!
    I'm at 200+ words right now (and no, I didn't forget an 0 *sigh*), but I refuse to give up. We're all in this together, and I'll cheer you to 50k!

  22. Kelly,

    Well, you have the rest of the year! Our winter is probably a bit like your summer - very pleasant, not to hot or cold. We're driven indoors by the heat for many, many months. We're still having a little trouble with mosquitoes, so I guess we haven't had a good enough cold snap to kill them off, yet.

    Thank you!

  23. Kathrin,

    Thanks. If you're not a buddy of mine at Nano, look for "nancytoes" and friend me. I'll cheer you on, too. You still have plenty of time. :)

  24. You write just too many things in a post.. and i m often wondering what i must really comment on!

    First.. no giving up! you have to do it!
    That book sounds really good. but i m not going to write anytime :)

    That's some nice cookbooks you have wow!

    And just please dnt give up ;)

  25. Nancy. You can not give up. After all that cheering you gave me the other day, how dare you even SUGGEST the thought of giving up. You have no excuses, except for poor half-blind Miss Spooky and the swimming teen. Oh, and the constantly traveling husband. But still, you have the time and I LOVE YOUR STORY IDEA and I WANT TO READ IT. So you have to finish. Because I said so.

  26. Veens,

    Sorry. I do catch-all posts, sometimes, because I don't want to write 5 different posts (they'd all end up a lot longer if I did).

    Thank you! So far, so good. I've got 10,006 words. I decided to just keep the background junk. I can always take it out later.

    Both cookbooks are marvelous. My husband made a big old container of the Greek salad, so I'm still nibbling. Yummo.

    Not giving up, even though the story sucks, I promise. :)


    It could be I'm a much better cheerleader and editor than writer. LOL Okay, gosh. I'm feeling the love, here. Half-blind kitty's pupil reacted to light, today!!! There's still hope! The teen is being problematic. Husband's away. Sigh.

    I've been working on my story and I'm already at 10K, so . . . well, the story honestly sucks but I'll keep going. This is a hard one to write because it goes against my grain; I'm used to writing comedy and this storyline is so serious!! Thank you for wanting to read it. Maybe someday it'll be decent. One has to start somewhere, I suppose. :)

  27. I wish I had one of those T shirts, but ordering and then waiting for trans-continental shipping. Salty.

    Anyway if you are interested then sure no prob. I can tell you later on. It's basically NaNo for lazy or busy with real life writers. I am in a nutty spurt of activity, so I chose Indie.

  28. Harry,

    Makes sense to me. Overseas shipping can be pretty pricey, too.

    When you're done, feel free to come back and tell me more. I'm just curious. :)

  29. Hey dnt say sorry.. I was joking.. i love reading the tid-bits you add to the post.. it seems to make it so much more Personal.. :)

    love to read them...

    Proud of you ... keep going :)

  30. Veens,

    Aw, thanks. I'm so tired, this week, I'm probably not getting jokes. LOL I need a caffeine IV.

  31. Nancy, I finally got the chance to add you!

    You're doing awesome!!! :-)

  32. Oh, yay! Do I have you added as a buddy? If not, let me know your user name, so I can add you back.

    Thanks! I haven't written a word, today, unless you count the 800 or so words I wrote at 3am (couldn't sleep). I'm just about to get started. Hopefully, I won't be up all night! LOL

  33. Nancy, you've already added me, I think (I'm Kathrin P.)

    And I would definitely count the 800 words you wrote earlier today. I mean, anything past 12am counts for the new day - whether you go to sleep afterwards or not!

  34. Kathrin,

    Okay, yes, I see you. I have over 20 buddies, thanks to Twitter, so the list is a bit long!

    I already did count those 800 words in the wee hours. I'm kind of compulsive about updating my word count, when I'm writing. I like to watch the little bars go up! :)

  35. Nah, nothing fancy. I just mix together some diced cooked chicken with some mayo, tarragon and pecan chips. I usually throw it in a pita. Yummy!

  36. Les,

    Guess what? The cholesterol health/cookbook I'm reading (How to Lower Your Cholesterol with French Gourmet Cooking) has a fantastic chicken salad recipe that David made, today! I'll probably post that one in my review, when I've finished the book. At this point, David is calling it "THE best cookbook EVER" and I agree.

  37. Sounds like I'll have to look for that cookbook. Rod's cholesterol is high and he's on statins. I'll be anxious to read your review and get that recipe. Maybe your hubby could post a little "testimonial" (about the recipes) in your review. Just food for thought. ;)

  38. Les,

    David was threatened with statins and I told him absolutely by no means was he to start taking statins until he'd attempted to get his cholesterol down via diet and exercise. It worked, but he hasn't been checked in a while and we've been in a recipe rut.

    I think you can only get the cookbook through Amazon. It's wonderful. Only part of the book is recipes (the rest is interesting, though - he talks a bit about his life in France, nutrition, how he changed his own diet and brought his cholesterol down, etc.) and there are no photos, but the recipes are clear and easy and very, very good. I never thought I'd like a book with recipes without photos, but this one is so great. There's even a pumpkin cheesecake recipe -- something I've been looking for! Squeee!

  39. Keep up the NANO work! You can do it! I have to get back into a writing groove with my novel as well. I've taken too many days off already!

  40. Serena,

    It's easy to take off when your story isn't thrilling you. I found I was taking off too much time because I wasn't writing the right one for a Nano experience. Now, my butt's glued to the chair and, actually, it's a little numb. I think I might have to quit for a few minutes to get my blood circulating. LOL Good luck with your story!


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