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NaNoWriMo Week 1

Week 1 is over.

I haven’t written as much as I expected to write at this point, but Very Sick Children have taken up residence in my house, so I’ve chosen to spend more of my spare time taking care of them (which, in the case of 2-year-old Joshua, has meant holding his fussy little self a lot).

However, the last few days I did something I probably should have done BEFORE I started this crazy shindig: I outlined! I honestly didn’t do much outlining in my writing endeavors before, and usually got high grades for my work. But writing a novel is a whole different animal than regurgitating lectured material back to a teacher. First of all, the scope and sheer size of this thing (50k words in a month?) is insane. My Senior Project was 25 pages long (about 10k words) and I had an entire summer to write it. And still barely got it in on time (this is mostly due to the fact that I HATED my senior project which was LONGER than my actual text: “The Second Nun’s Tale” from Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales.” And no, I don’t ever want to read Chaucer again, thankyouverymuch).

Anyways, spending precious hours outlining this weekend gave me a very nice, clear road map to how SPECIFICALLY I was going to get my character from point A to point B. And something magical (or really obvious) happened when I outlined: I found A Plot Hole. Oh yes. And I wasn’t sure what to do about the Plot Hole, but I was very tired (I woke up with Very Sick Joshua at 3 and started outlining at 3:30). So instead of sitting there in front of my notebook and trying to force the Plot Hole to fix itself, I went back to sleep. Lo and behold, my subconscious very kindly took over for me, and while I slept, I dreamed up the perfect Plot Hole Patch and woke up with the sunrise very rested and cheerful that I knew how to fix my little problem!

So, although my word count currently stands at 7,000 and I was supposed to crack the 10k mark yesterday, I’m not too worried. Time with Very Sick Kids is always time well spent, and time spent with a real paper and pen to outline the story was VERY well spent.

I do have to say that my handsome husband, Anthony, has been very awesome about me sneaking away from him and the children for 15 minute spurts to type away. He even helped me name a character that popped up yesterday and discuss the intricacies of a sticky plot point I’m considering. What a guy!

And now, for your little teaser. The opening paragraph to this work of art I’m crafting.

It’s bad enough that the world fell apart last year, but the fact that my iPod died and I’m in the middle of a god-forsaken forest, miles from my charger does not make the situation any better. So now I’m staring down the rest of the afternoon of mind-numbing work with no source of entertainment whatsoever. Awesome. Maggie fail. 


Should Everything Be Done in Moderation?

After my 900+ word post yesterday, I’m gonna keep this one short and sweet.

To answer this question: no. Not EVERYTHING should be done in moderation. Some things, like eating or drinking adult beverages or playing Plants vs. Zombies SHOULD be done in moderation (these happen to be the things I’m currently struggling with… well, except the adult beverages. Being as I’m knocked up and all, but I almost tackled my husband for opening a Stella after dinner last night. Mmmm.).

Anyways, here’s my short list of things that should NOT be done in moderation.

  1. Reading. Fiction, non-fiction, newspapers, blogs… it’s good for your brain, it’s great for expanding your horizons. Don’t ever stop reading.
  2. Loving. Love is one of those amazing things that pays huge dividends, usually when you MOST need it.
  3. Singing. My husband *might* beg to differ on this one (he reminds me that our lives are NOT actually a musical), but signing can be the best way to express my soul. Even if it’s the tuneless humming that’s the result of sleepless nights soothing a sick child, I feel better when I’m creating music.
So there you go. Things to do in excess. How would YOU answer this question?

Creating Space for My Creative Self

I know I’ve said it before, and here I am saying it again. But seriously, the only way I’m going to ever BE a writer is if I actually practice sitting down and, well, WRITING! I’ve got the greatest (and cutest!) excuses in the world to not do it, but it’s important to ME and *I’M* the only one who can make it happen. So I’m joining this insane challenge, and will be blogging a post a day. This is to gear up for the even more insane National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo, with the goal of writing a 50,000 word novel between the dates of November 1st and 30th. I found out about NaNoWriMo last year, was totally inspired, and I want to do it this year.

All this to say, expect more from me in October, folks, but don’t feel obligated to read everything I post. Most of it will probably be drivel, but that’s kind of the point of writing exercises. Get the crap out so that by November, I’ll only have amazing material to put into my novel. =)

“Outlander” – A Review

***This is an ADULT novel! It has a. whole. lot. of. sex. The majority of it is “married” sex, but there are also scenes of sexual assaults, which could be incredibly disturbing to an unsuspecting reader. So this is most certainly an adult novel, and I figured I’d give you fair warning.***

Music to read to:

World War II is over, and combat nurse Claire Randall and her veteran husband, Frank, journey to Inverness, Scotland for a second honeymoon. The War interrupted their budding marriage and altered both of them as war does, but they are trying to reconnect with one another. While Claire searches for herbs and local remedies to help cure her possible infertility, Frank studies his family history with a vicar, researching interesting facts about his infamous ancestor, Black Jack Randall.

Out for a walk by herself one afternoon, Claire visits a hill of standing stones where she and Frank once watched a neopagan sunrise ritual. But when she touches one of the stones, she suddenly finds herself falling down the hill in the dark of night and the world has changed completely. When she stops at the bottom of the hill, she runs into Frank… or so she thinks. Kilted men on horseback rescue her from attempted rape by the familiar-looking man, who is actually Black Jack Randall. Before long, Claire realizes that she has somehow fallen back in time to 1743, and she is immediately taken far up to the highlands with the Scottish cattle rustlers before she can return to the standing stones and her way back to her own time.

Throughout the story, Claire tries to keep her secret while both looking for a way to get back to her own time, and slowly falling in love with the highlanders who take her in. She’s given an occupation as a healer, and uses her modern knowledge to help the people around her, all the while trying to conceal her true identity and protect the people she has become a part of from historical events that she knows are on the horizon. When she is compelled to marry the handsome Jamie Frasier or be turned over to the authorities (and the evil Jack Randall), Claire finds herself entangled in a complicated web of love, adventure, and terrifying knowledge of the future.

What I loved about this book:

Rule breakers

There has to be a law out there, somewhere, stating that young children should not be allowed to get up before 6 AM on a Saturday morning. Mornings are my creative time, when I usually get my best writing done.

Sadly, my children have no respect for time decrees such as the 6 AM rule and always sabotage my attempts to luxuriate in bed with my laptop on the weekends. Promptly at 5:57 this morning, the baby starting “talking” (ma-ma-ma-MAAAA-ma-ma), the three-year-old climbed in bed asking for me to paint her fingernails, and the five-year-old wanted a schedule of the day’s events, and for that schedule to include a trip to the mall, the park, and the Wild West.

What I WISH they'd do more of...

What I WISH they'd do more of...

As I lay there, playing dead, wishing this would be the day when they would morph into those kids who play quietly in the other room, I had a revelation:

No freaking wonder I haven’t been able to write much lately.

I’m raising hyperactive, imaginative humans. And that takes a lot more creativity than any of my side projects. Because, really, in light of these incredible bundles of energy, my story is way down on the list of priorities.

So popping out of bed and enthusiastically mixing chocolate milk and cream cheesing bagels, I’m OK with just letting my need to write the next great work of fiction sleep in for a while. I’ve got a lot of life to manage.

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