Friday, November 17, 2006

I posted an excerpt of my NaNovel on my profile... in case anyone is interested. Comments welcome!

(PS - I'm a little upset that most of my punctuation marks aren't showing in the page, mainly because that passage is full of them, to create dramatic pauses. Lots of them. But whatreyagonna do?

Thursday, November 16, 2006

25,005 words!!!

I hit the halfway mark - finally! (One day late from the minimum, who knows how many days late from my goal...)

I might post an except from today's writing on my NaNo profile. Dunno yet.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Musings on muses...

Being sick this week, my brain has been slightly idea-devoid (I sit down at my keyboard and all I can think of is "myheadhurtsmyheadhurtsmyheadhurts...IwannathrowupIwannathrowup... makes it hard to come up with riveting story ideas).

Tuesday morning I got to school, late, and feeling sick. I'm sure you can imagine my joy when I realized this is American Education Week, and Tuesday was the day parents were invited to our grade level's classes to "Spread the News" (read the newspaper with their kids). Whopee! Yea, that was me being uber-excited. My day started splendidly, as you can see.

However... when I went to the office later that morning (after the parents had left, to get some headache medicine), I saw one of our lovelies sitting in the principal's office with his arm in a sling. Slowly, my achy brain started piecing a story together... one of my students telling me the principal had asked him to go see her that morning because he had witnessed "something" that had happened the day before after school... my kids talking about someone breaking someone else's arm (which I really REALLY wanted to ask them about, but being the teacher I can't engage in or even allow that kind of gossip - I couldn't even eavesdrop...)

Guess what happened to my character that morning, when the class sat down to NaNoWrite? He shows up at the bus stop with his arm in a sling. He'd gone to detention the afternoon before (sohe'd missed the bus home, causing my main character some distress because she didn't get to see her crush after school), and now I knew why he'd gone to detention. I also must admit three students of mine have made it into the story so far. I don't know if they could recognize themselves (I hope not, I don't want to have to pay for likeness rights) but they're there...

When I moved from teaching high school to teaching third grade I thought about the loss of material I was going to suffer - my main genre being young adult - but now that I'm in sixth grade, even though I'm still at an elementary campus, I feel like I'm back in the game. My surrent position has helped me a lot with this novel so far - I'm following my MC from her parents' divorce in early elementary school through college (or post college, we'll see how our word count goes); I've written her in fourth grade and now she's in seventh, so I'm drawing on my kids a lot to imagine the dialogue, diction, etc.

As I reflected on how much of my job seeps into my writing, I thought about my muse (creatures which, ironically, we studied recently when we read The Illiad). Do I have one? Is she female, like the original muses were? Or have muses become more PC since the times of Homer - we have male and female writers now, so do we have male and female muses? Or are they still female, because girls are more creative (or something)? I think I should have a muse icon of some sort... some symbol for my muse. (Then again, that might enter sacrilegious territory, so manybe not...)

If I have a muse, I think I'd have to file a complaint. I don' think my muse, if I have one, has done much for me. My characters are my muses - they take the story and flip it upside down, making me write the weirdest stuff sometimes. I'm not an outliner, I'm a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pantser, and my characters have been known to do some wacky stuff. Sometimes I plan otu what's going to happen - broad strokes, general gameplan - but then I sit down to write and stuff starts happening that I never planned for or thought of... like Mike. Today, he wrote himself a crush on Jenn, my MC. Who knew?!

But I'm going with it. I like it. Because Debs decided to have a crush on Mike too, and that could be ugly for all three of them. (Don't worry, it's not going to be Senior Year all over again - wow, but that's some nice forshadowing... or flashback-forshadowing, since SY happens later but it's written first... yes, slightly confusing... - because Jenn's going to go for bad-guy Jake, the one who got in a fight.)

So, to wrap this up... so I can get to actual writing... if I do have a muse out there, he or she - werf - should IM me or something, so we can have a talk. If not, I'm letting my characters take over. Again.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Writing woes - what's in a name?

I make a big deal about names. I think it's just another great way to procrastinate (like this - I am 3,000 words short of my goal for tonight, so instead of writing on my novel, I'm blogging).

I usually take forever to come up with character names, and it killed me when I had to change my main character's name in my first novel (the one that is still not finished...) "Kay" - short for "Katherine (Katie) Scarlett," because her mom's obsessed with Gone With The Wind - was too blah, not memorable enough for a MC. I didn't want to change her name to "Scarlett," because that seemed too... I guess I didn't think her mom would go ahead and name her "Scarlett," it was too much, but my writer's group convinced me it was okay. Now I love it, and I think it made the character bolder.

My first NaNo novel had a character named "Mark," a name I kind of grabbed out of nowhere, and then decided needed to change. I can't remember why, but "Mark" had to become "Brad" after quite a bit of writing. I was too lazy to "Edit/Replace" one by one (besides, this was November! There is no time to waste in November!) so I used Word's trusty "Replace All" feature.

Word to the wise - never use "Replace All." Because Word doesn't bother to check if the letters "Mark" are capitalized, nor does it particularly care whether or not the letters are standing alone or if they are surrounded by other letters - wherever it finds "m-a-r-k" it will type "b-r-a-d."

Result: when you take your novel to your writer's critique group, suddenly you will find odd words such as "reBrads" and "reBradable" in your novel. And if you're lucky enough to be part of a witty writer's critique group, as I was, they will never let you live those "reBrads" down.

The point of this post? I need the name of a fictional junior high. If you have a suggestion, please comment!

And so it begins...

Here I am, starting a blogger account again. Hmm. We'll see how this goes.
I'm doing NaNoWriMo again this year, so I guess it's a good thing I'm starting this blog in November, when I'll be looking for things to do when my characters decide to sit on their bums and not inspire me.
Wish me luck!