Monday, November 24, 2008

Thankful For Family and Sobriety

What are the Pierson’s thankful for this Thanksgiving? In Shades of Darkness, Shades of Grace two key scenes take place over the Thanksgiving weekend. One concerns the difficulty many families experience in bringing everyone together long enough for a family photograph, and the other focuses on mounting concerns that all is not what it seems.

Even with Pamela causing mischief at seemingly every turn, the Pierson’s are thankful for two things – family and sobriety.

There’s no doubt family and the drama that is often part of “family” can make the sanest individual nuts. But it’s the common blood that binds us and makes us understand our willingness to fight to protect loved ones from harm. We may not always like one another, but there is an undeniable connection in family that blood does indeed run thick. But family is also something to be thankful for.

Kay and Paul’s struggles with alcohol are a key subplot of the novel, but so is the quest for sobriety. The devastation of drug abuse shows no prejudice, regardless of sex, age, income, education, class, race, or religion. In 2003, the last year for which figures were available, 21.6 million U.S. adults abused alcohol or were alcohol dependent. Those are staggering numbers and just one of the reasons the Pierson’s, like other Americans, are thankful for the gift of sobriety.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

One Fifth of the Way to a Novel

Okay, this is going to harder than I thought. Today I reached 10,421 words in the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) annual push, but I'm worried. What if I don't have enough story to get me to the end of this? Fifty-thousand words is a lot, and while I initially thought I was okay, um, this is going to be hard.

According the NaNoWriMo e-mail, I will get stuck and/or frustrated about now. By week four, I should feel like yodeling. Right. And originally, I was giddy enough to believe I might actually write more than 50,000 words. Silly me. It's not running out of gas that worries me, but the story sensibly coming to an end well before that 50,000 word finish. And they warn you that some of what you write will, in fact, be crap.

What I'm aiming for is a completed manuscript, from which I can cull ideas for my next book. NaNoWriMo also claims that Stephen King does this, and I'm wondering - does he worry about crap? Probably not.

It would be more than great to commiserate with an author of King's status and success, just to know he gets frustrated, stuck, bored, or all of the above. Or not. Forty thousand words to go, but who's counting?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

43,129 Words To Go!

It's day five of National Novel Writing Month, and I'm 6,871 words into writing a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. Much better than I'd thought, especially after those first two days.

The first e-mail you get upon registering for NaNoWriMo is that you MUST ignore your Inner Editor, that innate urge to spend hours editing your work instead of writng. That led me to post, Someone Please Kill My Inner Editor! by Day 2. I did not think it was even remotely possible for me to complete this process. Now, in day 5 I've written 6,871 words and the story actually is making sense.

I'll be posting exerpts on the NaNoWriMo site in the near future. So there is a story (titled Francis Street), there is a plot, and there is even organization. What worries me more than even procrastinating is (1) the Thanksgiving holiday when we'll be traveling, and (2) running out of story, words, and orgnization WELL BEFORE November 30, 2008.

The plan is to front load my word count (read: write like hell well before November 30) so if I can't write over the holidays I'm still okay. So far the process has been thrilling, scary, exhausting, and frustrating. Twenty-five days and some odd hours to go!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Somebody Please Kill My Inner Editor!

One of the first things writer's are warned about who sign up for National Novel Writing Month is that on your way to your goal of writing a 50,000 word novel by November 30, this is no time to edit. Forget the urge, just write, write, write.

Yesterday, day two of writing, I was about ready to beg somebody, ANYBODY to kill my inner editor. I just could not stop myself. Today, the progress is much better, but this won't be easy. Fifty-thousand words is a lot of words in 30 days, and I have a need to have the story make sense.

What I am finding beneficial is to not write the story in sequence. Think of it as shooting a movie out of sequence, something that happens all the time. When I get stuck (which is a lot) I write one of the scenes that's already formed in my head, no matter where it appears in the story. What I'll need to do, is make sure all the scenes are in the correct order on November 30th.