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This Day in My History

George Washington's
Rules of Civility
and Decent Behaviour

70th:   Reprehend not the imperfections of others, for that belongs to parents, masters, and superiors.

Yesterday's Entries

2000: High Steppin'
 In the Arms of the Angel
2002:  Dubya, Rudy and Jed
2003:  Ghosts


Trace by Patricia Cornwell
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

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All my friends and I have to check out each new dog that comes into the park.

Sheila Videos
"See Sheila Run", "Meet Barkley"
"The Green Monster", "Sheila's Tongue"

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3 November 2004

Well, I'm off and running.  For better or for worse, I have started my novel and have thus far completed 4036 words.

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Pretty daunting to see what a small dent has been made in that 50,000 word count.  But I will keep the bar in the left column so you can track my progress with me.

I thought I had my plot all figured when I first signed up to participate in NaNoWriMo, out but have toyed with it over the month and it just wasn't working.   I could get it just so far in my mind, but how to get it farther just wasn't coming to me.

I considered just starting to write it and see where it led me, but this nagging voice in the back of my head kept popping up with a different plot.   I kept pushing it aside, because I really wanted to go with my first idea, but I finally decided to give my subconscious a chance and when I began to write, it was with idea #2.

The words fairly flew off my fingers and onto the computer screen.  I already knew how I wanted to structure it.  I knew how I wanted to get it from Point A to Point B and beyond.  It was as if all these ideas had been fermenting inside me and once given a chance, they bubbled up out of me effortlessly.

Until Chapter 4.

Yeah--I have three chapters written already, as well as an introduction.   I'll be the newJames Patterson--100 chapters, each a page or two long.  But these are all expository, setting up the "real" story which I won't get to for several more chapters.

But now it's less intuitive.  My subconscious hadn't gone this far before, so now the real work is starting.

I've been reading Ann Lamott's "Bird by Bird," reading it essentially bird-by-bird, since I don't have much time to read these days.  But she talks a lot about her own process of writing, which is so like mine. 

Even when I'm writing a theatre review, I go through the same process, sitting here at the computer, certain that no words are going to come, then getting up to do a zillion other things that I've let go for ages.  This is when the laundry gets folded, the refrigerator gets cleaned out, the dishes get put away, the vacuuming gets done.  It's also when I have late night snacks, mid-afternoon snacks, and food that I don't even realize I've eaten until it's gone.

Then at some point, I come back in here and sit down and begin to pull words out of my head like gum from a child's hair.  Bit by bit, little by little...bird by bird.

Lamott talks about sitting quietly, staring at her screen and visualizing her characters and letting them tell her what they are doing.  I'm probably at that point now.  I knew how to get my characters to Chapter 4, but they are going to have to lead me the rest of the way, because they're starting to take on a life of their own.

Is it a good story?  Hell no!  It's total crap.  I seriously doubt that anybody but myself will ever see it.  But, like the Lamplighter history I needed to write back in 1987, this is something I need to do for me. 

And who knows?  Maybe when I finish it (assuming I do), set it aside for a few weeks, and then go back and re-read it, I won't think it's so bad and perhaps with work I might be willing to publish it on Lulu for everyone to read.

But don't hold your breath.  I will be very surprised if this ever gets to a publisher, vanity or not.

I've never done this before.  I've never written fiction, so this is a whole new area for me.  They say that an author puts something of him/herself into every story, especially new authors.   When Mary wrote her "Girl Clown," her NaNoWriMo project last year, which she published on Lulu, it was the story of a young girl who runs away to join the circus.  Mary was a circus clown during her young years and swears that the book is fiction--but not all of it.  So, of course, the fun is to sort out the real from the fictional.

My own book has that sort of feel to it.  Taking what I know and twisting it to fit some fictional character.  The fun of writing fiction, I am learning, is that, unlike real life, you have total control over the characters, how they react, what they say, where they go, what they do, how other people respond.

Heady power!

You can take that girl who made fun of you in 5th grade and make her go through all sorts of terrible things and enjoy her discomfort, something you were too ladylike to do in real life.

You can have the pet you always wanted, go to all the places you wanted to visit, get your dream job, build a happily ever after for your children, if you choose to have children.  You can be thin or fat, athletic or a couch potato, rich or poor.   You can bring your dead children back to life again.

It's like playing Sims, with words. 

So there's a lot of me in this story, and a lot that's not me.  The further I get into the story, the less there will be of me, and the more there will be of my fictional heroine.

I have an idea where she's headed...I just don't know what happens to her when she gets there, and that is what will keep me writing.  I have certain challenges I want her to face, but until I continue to build her as a real flesh-and-blood character in my mind, I can't know how she will react.

I know how Bev would react, but I don't know how my fictional character will react.  Will she respond the way I would?  Or will she have a mind of her own when it comes to facing the crossroads in her life.

I dunno.

And you may never know, other in the most oblique of terms.   But at least I've made a start and am excited to be on this voyage of discovery.

But first I have to figure out how to get through my first road block:   Chapter 4.

Website of the Day

This may only be of interest to Michael and me, but it's cool!

Even if you've already voted, this is still fun to watch.


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I really miss those pink & greys.


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