NaNoWriMo 2010

Way back in the day, in 2007, I wrote an entry called “The Creative Explosion Begins” which was a note about National Novel Writing Month and an interview with JD Glass.

Well. National Novel Writing Month is on its way. Again. And this year, I’m going for the gold. For those of you who aren’t familiar with nanowrimo (which is starting to be something of a shock as nanowrimo gets bigger and bigger every year), let me catch you up. Nanowrimo is for those writers who like to think of themselves as good writers, but when they do write, they worry about the quality of the work. They’re convinced that they can write the next great american novel, but whenever they look at their work they get upset because, well, it’s just not living up to what they want it to be. It’s just not good enough. So nanowrimo takes the whole “my writing isn’t good enough” and turns it on its head. Ego and the Internal Editor are told to take a month off. (or in some circles, are told off in an entirely different way).

November becomes a challenge not to write the next great american novel, but to write A novel. A 50,000 word novel, to be precise.

I’ve tried nanowrimo a few times and haven’t won quite yet. This year I plan on winning. 50,000? I’m going to do it. It’ll be a challenge, considering my life doesn’t have much in the way of solid footing at the moment, but I have a computer, I have my characters, and I have 30 days ahead of me to make this happen.

The synopsis for this year’s story:

Is one gig enough to change someone’s life?

When Emily Moore catches an acoustic show by a local singer/songwriter, Lynn Casey, she’s hooked. Not just on the music. Emily decides to see whether her skills in the field of dating and romancing cute girls will transcend to catch Lynn Casey’s attention.
When the two do end up together, decisions are made, maps are checked and soon they’re on the road for a summer on-the-road adventure. Lynn’s determined to get her name known and Emily-well, she’s just out for the adventure.
In a trip fraught with bad motels, bar gigs, and late night gay bar parties, the biggest question is: will the two endure the road together?

Should be a fun story. And if it sounds like a story you’d be interested in reading, don’t be afraid to email me (rebelgrrrl.theblog@gmail.com) and ask me how I’m doing. If you’re interested in being a nanowrimo writing buddy and exchanging stories, I’d be awesome with that too!

Sometimes I wish I was an outline writer. I think writing a novel for nanowrimo would be much easier if I had an “Okay, at this point event A happens. At that point, event B happens. And oh, right there, character a meets her arch nemesis” and so on. But that’s not how I write.

My process thus far includes characters and a vague idea of potential situations that they can get into. Which, as vague as it is, is really kind of exciting. I can basically take my characters anywhere at this point, and see where the story goes from there.

Plus, in an effort to make sure that I’ll have something, I’ve made potential writing prompts for my story. For example, I have cards that include situations such as: emotional breakdowns, overnight camping, venue managers that are complete assholes, bad gigs, and broken down vehicles. I’m looking forward to using these situations…they’re just not ordered. And where Lynn and Emily will come out in the end…who knows? It’s so up to them at this point.

Some other things I’m going to do to ensure that I make 50k this year:

1)WRITE. Sounds like a little, but I’m so good at procrastinating and so good at putting things off! The daily goal for finishing nanowrimo is 1667, and I plan on attempting to keep up with that.

2)Go to write-in’s. For those who don’t know, nanowrimo is more than you and your computer and the nanowrimo website. For any given city, you’re going to have a lot of people participating in nanowrimo, which inherently gives way to the nanowrimo communities nationwide. Yesterday I went to the SLC nanowrimo kick-off party and had an amazing time and met some pretty rad people. The slc wrimos are a pretty interesting crew. Back in 2007 I was part of nanowrimo:elsewhere crew who met down in the comic bookstore, Dragon’s Keep, in Provo. It was amazing. We had some awesome local authors (brandon sanderson graced our presence!) who visited us and talked about their process.

3)lots of coffee. And possibly lots of chocolate as rewards.

So that’s a little bit of MY process. What about yours? What do you do to keep yourself writing? and for those of you who have participated, what has kept you going?

For those of us participating in nanowrimo madness: Happy noveling! Good luck on your fictional adventures! 🙂

Something very scary happened yesterday. And no, it wasn’t actually the VP debate. I actually wasn’t around to watch it. I blame my writing group for encouraging romance (provided it’s good, of course), I blame the fact that outside of “I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone,” I’ve been having trouble finding awesome independent grrrl-type characters in fiction. Let’s face it, I don’t want to read about someone super stuffy and I don’t want to read about someone super sophisticated. Oh yeah, and if the book is entirely about searching for Mr. Right–I’m outta there. Part of the blame also must go to the UTA, the public transportation system here, for forcing me to ride by THEIR schedule and not mine.

I picked up a book by Luna books–which for those of you not in the know, Luna is a part of the infamous publisher Harlequin, notorious for steamy scenes and stories lacking substance–disclaimer: I could be wrong. I’ve never ever read one of these books. till now. sort of… A few months ago I found a book that looked interesting by Luna books but didn’t buy it, and went home to look up more info on the publisher. At the time, I didn’t know anything about Luna and assumed it was an independent sort of fantasy publisher. When I found out it was a part of Harlequin…..well I ask you romance-book-haters….what would you do?

Yeah. I freaked out at the fact that I had been about to purchase something from Harlequin. And just last night another member of the writing group and myself were totally trashing romance covers. It was fun and I almost brought up Luna as a “did you know…?” kind of fact.

So, my writing group ended and I perused the stacks, finding my way to the fantasy section. I’ve been looking for a good urban fantasy that *does not* center around the girl falls in love with evil but hot and sexy vampire who has potential for a twisted relationship. Most urban fantasy these days seems to be vampire oriented. I guess it’s easier to have vampires walking around than faeries (yay! Holly Black!) and Gods (yes, B-I know I need to read American Gods, I promise to get there. shame on me.) and that kind of mythological sort. So I sort of gave up on good urban fantasy novels with stong female protagonists who happen to kick-ass, take names, be funny, ridiculously relatable, and just all around cool people.

Then… I found C.E. Murphy. The book I’d been looking at a couple months ago– and would’ve bought if it hadn’t been the second in a series was also by her, funny how things work out that way. In the very first page of Urban Shaman, the main character jumped out at me, her voice was that vibrant and real. Pages later you learn that she’s got spiky hair, not that boring short, long, medium-length kinda hair, she’s got spikes. yeah! Oh, and she’s a mechanic. And she’s tough. And single and totally independent. And witty. And intelligent. And…well, pretty much a new favorite character. Thus far the book has been irresistable. At work today my mantra seemed to be, “I want to go read!”, and it was very sad that I had to work instead.

Oh, and for a Harlequin-based publisher, there’s strikingly little romance. Currently I’m on p 176/177 out of 344 and there’s no real whisper yet of the romance. So there’s none of that overblown craptacular romance I was kind of afraid I’d find. So, Yay!

So I guess the point of this blog: Not all Harlequin is bad for you. &–go read some CE Murphey. It’ll be good for you. By the way, it seems Murphy also writes for comics and she was in fact at one of those awesome sounding events known as ComicCon not too long ago…i.e. this year. Very, very cool.

OFFSIDE RANT: So, this is an observation of many displayed fiction books, be they romance or just general fiction….has anyone else noticed and gotten annoyed by the fact that covers these days seem to be of random parts of the body–the favorite being the torso? I’m slightly irked and I wonder when the trend will end. because it needs to. What happened to *real* cover art? Just a body part shouldn’t count. Seriously.

F-R-U-S-T-R-A-T-I-O-N

With tonight being officially (more or less) over, there are exactly THIRTY TWO days until November–aka National Novel Writing Month.

I’m excited, because of how close I got last November (which technically by pro nanowrimo writers isn’t that close), and borderline frustration. I seem to be wavering between random periods of extreme creativity and then extreme apathy/lethargy/etc. And right now I’m in the apathetic, hitting-my-wrists-against-the-brick-wall-of-writers-block mode.

Which is ridiculous. Here I am with the best writers group a grrrl could ask for (seriously, it’s like the godmother of writing groups has smiled upon me!) and I’m still a lazy writer! or just a not-very-good-at-writing fiction writer.

So, anyway. Yay for the fact that November is almost here! Soon I will be able to massacre that inner voice that keeps saying “No nothing you do is good enough!” and bury it 12 feet deep (b/c 6 feet just won’t cut it.)

and in addition to being a “yay” post–I’ve got some good stuff coming up plus a brand new myspace: myspace.com/rebelgrrrl_theblog 🙂

VI. Hot Topic

Hot Topic

9.25.2007

I don’t know what the vice principal discovered, if anything, but Farrington was gone today. After class, Carmen told me that the school hadn’t fired him, but he was under continuing investigation.

Other than that, the day went by as usual, except for it seemed way slower than usual. (by the way, it doesn’t help when the sub for Farrington was just like the “Clear Eyes” guy with a monotone voice the matched the enthusiasm of a snail.

But hey, you gotta deal with the crap before you can get to the good stuff, right? (well, that’s what people like to say…)

After school I met up with Carmen and Kim at their lockers. Kim was still acting pretty distant towards me, but at least I wasn’t getting pushed away by her.

Carmen, on the other hand, was happy to see me. She invited me to go with them to Kim’s house. I glanced at Kim to see what she was thinking but could get nothing out of her expressionless blue-gray eyes.

So I agreed. I mean, come on, I had nothing better to do. And since Kim didn’t seem to care either way…I’d be happy to join.

Kim lived just a few blocks away from the school, so we walked. Her house doesn’t look all that different from my house (that’s the nature of the modern beast, it seems) but it was a nice 2-story house. Kim almost looked out of place with her baggy black jeans and fashionably torn Sylvester the cat T-shirt. Her room was almost even more astonishing. Where I had a ridiculous amount of posters covering my walls (if it were up to me, there would be no free space on my walls. and that includes the ceiling), but Kim’s walls were empty except for a single Joan Jett poster by her bookshelf.

“No posters? Pictures?” I couldn’t help but to ask her.

She glanced at me and shook her head. “I have some, but I don’t want to put them up. After all, I’ll just have to take them down when I move out.”

Oh.

So that was her reason.

She sat on her bed and picked up an acoustic guitar which had been resting on a stand (right next to a stand holding an electric guitar) and started playing some notes.

“You play?”

“Yep.”

Carmen was grinning at me and then back at Kim, I wondered if she was okay.

“Just for fun?”

“Not just,” she answered, a few notes played in a discernible melody. “I’m in a band.”

I stared for a moment, completely taken aback. She hadn’t mentioned anything in the coffee shop when that one guy was ranting on about his band. If I had been in a band with him there, I probably would’ve engaged in a verbal battle of the bands. But then, she’s Kim and I’m not.

She glanced at me, her guitar forgotten for a moment and asked, “what about you?”

“Me?” I shrugged. “I don’t play. but in Chapel Hill I was obsessed with the local music scene. There were a lot of good bands and my idea of a good time was definitely going to shows. and I was friends with a bunch of bands.”

“Cool. Look, Carmen, Hot Topic can have a groupie,” Kim said, grinning mischievously.

“Hey, I was never anyone’s groupie–wait, your band name is Hot Topic?”

she nodded.

cool.

At that point Carmen decided to point her zine out to me since Kim, as co-editor, had all the back issues. They were amazing pieces of work-each thought out and perfect in their own independently published imperfections. The subjects ranged from movies to sex and dating.

I don’t know what to make of these girls. I thought in Chapel Hill I’d seen everything there is to see and now here I am in a small town in Ohio and there are two girls here who surpass anyone I’ve ever met in Chapel Hill.

Anyway, after showing off her zine, Carmen took out a notebook and sat on the bed and told me to sit down too.

“Time to brainstorm!”

She was getting ready to work on the next issue of her zine and she wanted me to be involved. so we came up with ideas. we were definitely going to include a piece on the creep Farrington, though we couldn’t decide whether to name him or not, so we figured we’d come to that problem later and a gig review of Hot Topic, since they were playing a gig at Cafe Bourbon St.-a small rock venue in Columbus on Saturday. Carmen made me promise to write that one, since I’d add a new view to the band.

I agreed. It wasn’t until I glanced at the clock and realized that my parents would be wondering where I’d been that I finally left.

Carmen of course hugged me warmly-she was really nice!-and I even got a good bye from Kim. And she invited me to see them rehearse sometime. The practiced at the drummer’s house which was a bit farther away, but if I let her know, I could definitely get a ride.

All in all, amazing.

and I must have some good karma.

fin,

Rosalyn

*****(note: hopefully by now you know that this is part of the continuing series published every wednesday tentatively known as Riot Grrrl Diaries–get it? like Princess Diaries?–which follows the adventures of high school grrrl, Rosalyn. Read the first part here, the second part here, the third part here, the fourth part here, and the fifth part here.

Enjoy & leave comments if you like what you’re reading.

**EDIT: comments have been disabled on this entry due to the ridiculous amount of spam comments)

V. Walk This World (with me)

part V.

09.21.07-Friday

I’m sitting here in my last class of the day–english–and I can’t focus. I just want out. I heard from Carmen since Tuesday–I haven’t even seen her. I hope she hasn’t gotten in trouble. Farrington is still teaching, but yesterday the vice principal came in and watched the class. He behaved (surprise, surprise), giving the vp nothing to suspect. I wanted to ask her right then what happened to Carmen, but I kept my mouth shut. Kim still hasn’t talked to me, so I’m guessing that either Carmen hasn’t mentioned my involvement in the sharpie incident or Kim just doesn’t care. Hard to tell.

Today is the day. Seekers after school. (no wonder I can’t concentrate.) Find out what happened to Carmen and maybe meet Kim and some other people. Really, anyone who hangs out with Kim and Carmen must be pretty cool, right?

Finally. Class is over…I’m off.

~Rosalyn

9.21-

It’s official. I no longer miss Chapel Hill. I don’t miss the school, the people, the teachers, I don’t miss any of it. I feel more at home here than I could’ve imagined. When I got to Seekers and ordered a cappuccino, Carmen found me, so I didn’t even have to make awkward attempts at bringing myself into a group discussion. She actually got to Seekers shortly after I did, and we got a chance to talk about what happened. she’s not in trouble, but she is taking a stand of sorts. She had a very angry discussion with the principal and said that if action isn’t taken she’s going to transfer schools. Her mom, who she lives with, called the school the next day and said the same thing, and gave the school a week to figure out what’s going on (and to do something). Carmen told me to talk to the principal myself and tell other girls to do the same thing, because enough is enough. The barista handed her the mocha she’d ordered and she glanced at me, adding that she did want to stay in the school.

Her eyes are a gorgeous color- dark deep pools of liquid brown with a few tiny flecks of green dancing through them. I looked away from her eyes before replying that I’d definitely talk to the principal, and school wouldn’t be the same without her. I looked at the Seekers mug and felt a tiny pang-this was no Open Eye Cafe…

With our drinks in hand we headed over to a corner where there were a few mismatched sofas and recliners and a coffee table between them. Kim was already there, her legs casually resting on the coffee table as she flipped through a CD pamphlet. Though there were plenty of other seats, a recliner was occupied by two people-a guy with shaggy blonde hair and the beginnings of a beard and a girl with shoulder length red hair who kept playing with his beard and telling him it was time to shave. Carmen introduced me to them-Daniel (the guy) and Shane (the girl).

Kim glanced at me and then back at Carmen and said, “thank god you’re here, these two are driving me crazy.”

Daniel is a senior at Lincoln, which explains why I’ve never really seen him, and Shane lives in Columbus and goes to one of the many high schools there, but she grew up with Carmen and Kim and–as she said–old habits die hard.

Kim wasn’t openly warm to me, but she wasn’t totally cold either. Shane was really nice to me-she asked me way too many questions-and Daniel was pretty oblivious to most of the gathering. When I couldn’t stand it anymore I turned to him and asked him what he was thinking about.

“Oh,” he said, “my band. that’s all I ever think about.”

Shane rolled her eyes and said, “he seriously thinks he’s in the best band ever.” the look in her eyes suggested that she probably thought it was a pretty good band too.

At that point Carmen started digging through her Blackheart Records tote bag until she found some magazines and a pair of scissors. she handed a magazine to Kim who began flipping through it.

I wondered what they were doing with old issues of Cosmo and Ladies Houskeeping, but Carmen explained as she handed me one.

“I write a zine.”

“A zine?” somehow Carmen seems to have the power to reduce me to stupidity…and I’ve only known her less than a week.

She grinned, her eyes sparkled, and she explained, “It’s like a mini-magazine that I write and publish on my own…I like taking letters out of magazines and pictures, sometimes, to illustrate my zine…” she handed me a small booklet made of computer paper that she’d stapled together and written on. “That’s my outline for this issue.”

Each of the 12 pages was scribbled on with ideas for stories and illustrated with light drawings.

“Wow,” I said, at a loss for words.

She grinned. “I’ll bring you a copy of my last zine.”

I asked a few more questions–like, who reads it? (she brings it to the independent bookstores in Columbus and makes a trip up to Yellow Springs to drop a few off at the Wire, an independent/radical leaning bookstore) and she trades with other people who make zines. How long had she been doing this? (since she started jr high school and discovered Sleater-Kinney–of course, she added, that didn’t mean her issues were always out on a set schedule…sometimes it took 6-9 months before the next issue came out, it always depended on what was going on.)

She made me give her my phone number and promised she would call me so she could show me a finished zine. I complied while Kim watched our exchange, probably wondering what planet I’d come from.

Before I knew it, it was time to go home, so I made my goodbyes and almost danced as I walked out. I wonder when Carmen will call me? I wonder what Kim thought about me, she didn’t say much to me, she directed her comments mainly toward the three she knew without completely excluding me. I’m going to go now, and look up some stuff on zines, since they sound pretty cool.

fin,
Rosalyn

(note: hopefully by now you know that this is part of the continuing series tentatively known as Riot Grrrl Diaries–get it? like Princess Diaries?–which follows the adventures of high school grrrl, Rosalyn. Read the first part here, the second part here, the third part here and the fourth part here. Enjoy & leave comments if you like what you’re reading. -) and stay tuned for part VI, coming next Wednesday!)

IV. Double Dare Ya

(note: this is part of the continuing series tentatively known as Riot Grrrl Diaries–get it? like Princess Diaries?–which follows the adventures of high school grrrl, Rosalyn. Read the first part here, the second part here and the third part here. Enjoy & leave comments if you like what you’re reading. 🙂

doubledareyaIV. Double Dare Ya

So you’ll never, ever in a billion years guess what happened today. Seriously. It’s way beyond the scope of imagination. So you know how I’ve got Algebra every Tuesday/Thursday w/ the creep Farrington, right? well, before that class I’ve got gym (and no, gym isn’t the exciting part). There’s a girl in my gym class who’s also in Algebra with me. When we were dressing out today & she finished she took a sharpie out of her locker and turned to me (her locker’s next to mine) and asked if I’d do her a favor. I said, sure, why not?

She handed me the marker and asked me to write on her. She likes wearing form fitting tops that often show a bit of cleavage making her one of the perv’s favorite students to harass. Today wasn’t much different, her top had a deep cut that was just modest enough to pass the school standards, but didn’t leave too much to the imagination. Like an idiot, I asked, “Write on you?”and she answered yeah and pointed to her chest.

“I wanna get Farrington in trouble,” she said, grinning wickedly. I quickly saw what she was up to. “You’re not afraid you’ll get in trouble?”

“Oh believe me,” she answered, “He’ll be in more trouble. Now, write…fuck off asshole here,” she said pointing. “I’d do it, but then it would be backwards and no good.” she glanced at me and said, “You will do it right?”

ha, how could I pass up such an opportunity? Why hadn’t this idea been thought of before? and used? I took the silver sharpie and began to write. Writing on a woman’s skin is hard enough, but when you’re trying to write over her breasts and in such a way that isn’t too obvious but will be when she leans over–well, it’s an interesting experience. The silver showed up brilliantly against her dark chocolate skin. When I finished I handed the marker back to her. She took it and put it back in her locker & shut it with a snap. “Thanks.” I grinned and told her I-as contributor to this plot-wanted to know everything that happened to her and the outcome of our plan. She grinned at me and nodded. “See you in class,” she said, and dashed out of the locker room.

It seemed like an eternity before Farrington started his lecturing and wandering the room in Algebra. By then I was wondering if he’d even ask Carmen to pick up his pen. What if he didn’t? Would we have to try this again? What if he did and he didn’t say anything?

He stayed true to his creepy wanna-be-authorative- self and in the middle of lecturing ‘dropped’ his pen in front of Carmen. He asked her to pick it up and she nodded. “Of course, Mr. Farrington,” in a voice that reeked of sarcasm.

He didn’t seem to hear it. I watched him as he watched her bend down, his eyes focused on her chest. I watched the change of expression go from pseudo-studious/appreciative (gah what a creep) to slowly horrified.

“What.Is.That….written on your chest?” he asked, emphasizing each word.

Carmen glanced down as if she was surprised and said, “What…I…” acting as if she didn’t even know what to say. I tried not to grin as he told her such language was offensive and completely against school regulations. And sent her to the principal’s office.

As she walked by my desk (hers is a few seats in front of mine) she grinned and dropped a piece of paper on my desk

When she was out of sight and Farrington had gotten over his shock (I wonder if he’d realized what we’d done?) he started lecturing. He didn’t drop his pen again, but his words seemed distracted. I opened the paper to find a sketch of two thumbs up and a phone number. p.s.-the note said, Kim, myself and a few others hang out at the coffee shop every Friday after school. You should come.

I’m saving the note, in case when I come on Friday to the coffee shop (Seeker’s) Carmen asks me what in the world I’m doing there. It’s hard to believe something this crazy can happen.

I can’t wait to find out if Farrington gets in trouble. He needs to, and there’s no reason he shouldn’t…we’ve got the proof that he’s perverted-and if extreme measures had to be taken to prove it, well that’s the way things work, right?

III. Kool Thing

koolthing

Thursday, September 13

 

So, I move into a new town and I get a creepy teacher. Is that the way the world works?

Seriously though. How is it that you can have a teacher so obviously creepy yet he’s allowed to keep teaching? How do parents and the rest of the faculty miss it? if I didn’t already hate math related subjects, I would now. How Mr. Farrington isn’t fired is beyond me. It’s like—here I am copying notes from the board and he’s walking down the aisles ‘explaining’ stuff when he’ll oh-so-accidentally drop his pen by a girl wearing a not-so-conservative top—and ask her to pick up the pen for him.

He doesn’t even bother to hide the fact that his eyes are following her shirt as she bends down. God. I feel gross just writing this. he hasn’t tried that on me yet, mostly since I stick with T-shirts.

Somehow, he gets away with this major act of creepiness—for the most part.

There’s one girl in the class who gives him trouble whenever she’s there.

Kim.

Even in Chapel Hill where the kids already deemed themselves ‘liberals’ and acted older than they actually were, I’d never seen anyone quite like Kim.

She’s tall and extremely self assured. She’s got the kind of attitude that says ‘I’m not taking any crap from anyone.”

Today Mr. Creep asked her to pick up his ‘accidently’ dropped pen, she looked him straight in the eyes and said “No.”

Oh.My.God. The classroom was silent—I think everyone was shocked that she had told him no straight to his face. I sure was.

She was sent to the principals office for—in his words—not respecting authority or listening to the teacher.

Yeah. because he’s such a model example of authority.

That’s the only class I have with Kim. The rest of my classes are pretty boring. Same old preps. Goths. Emos. They really don’t change from place to place, despite their “we’re really not all the same. We have personalities!” pleas. Sure. They have personalities…as much personality as their stereotype allows them. Some people willingly stick themselves in a box and are happy with it. whatever. Woohoo for them.

But Kim is definitely different. I’d like to talk to her, but I don’t see a conversation happening. I mean, what would I say? “So, did you finish you’re pre-al homework?” “Oh no, I don’t do homework for this class.” “So…how’s the weather?” gah. Somehow I don’t see it happening.

But with her around, Gahanna, Ohio seems at least slightly more interesting.