Thursday, November 12, 2009

Google Wave and the Great American Novel

Hey, look! A blog!

So, the past few days have been fun. Research: Paranormal is currently on a week-long investigation of the Shanley Hotel in Napanoch, NY. We made our way up on Tuesday, stopping for the night in Gettysburg and meeting one of our fans (that's weird to say, we have fans). The next morning, we toured the Jenny Wade house and stopped by the North Carolina monument on the Gettysburg battlefields.

We even broke out some equipment and had an impromptu investigation with the Ghost Box. Nothing really happened, but who knows...

Currently, I'm sitting in the common room of the Shanley, taking a break from my NaNoWriMo novel. I've done considerably well for someone who typically tries to do anything to get out of writing when I can do something else... like cleaning. Especially while I'm on the road. That's nigh impossible to accomplish.

Especially when the distractions keep piling up. Tom, one of my fellow bloggers from the FiveAwesomeBloggers project sent me an invite to Google Wave. I've been playing with that amazing new product when I break from writing. Got a few friends to talk to, and Google still has a few features to work on. For example, Wave will be able to update my blog posts directly to blogspot. It's only available in the developer's sandbox right now, but it looks like it's going to be a lot of fun when it's made public. Until then, I'll just keep writing blogs "the old-fashioned way."

The word count is right now at 11,476. Still a long way off from 50,000, but I am finding it easier to write during my little blurb sessions.

I'll sit down not knowing where I want this story to go, then I start writing, and the words just flow out. The next part of the tale just spills out of my fingers like it truly does want to get out into the world.

Perhaps I've kept all these stories in my head too long, their like a nine-month old child (well, more like 12 or 13 months at this point) ready to be born into the world.

To keep my motivated, I'm re-reading Ray Bradbury's Zen in the Art of Writing. I think he must be a fan of the NaNo process. Earlier, I read this segment from one of his essays:

"What can we writers learn from lizards, lift from birds? In quickness is truth. The faster you blurt, the more swiftly you write, the more honest you are. In hesitation is thought. In delay comes the effort for a style, instead of leaping upon truth which is the only style worth deadfalling or tiger-trapping."

The more I write in the spur of the moment during these novel sessions, the more I see the truth in that statement. If I wrote in the convention of write, then review and write more; I'd never get any writing done. I'm going to continue to write this way after November is done with and my 50,000 word novel sits in the rough upon my laptop.

Bradbury goes on to say that he wrote at least a thousand words a day since the age of twelve.

I'm a few years behind his start date, but that's still an admirable goal for someone who wants to spend their life writing.

Here's hoping that my future labors produce the amazing fruits that his has over the years.

Now, back to writing.

William the Bloody Zen Redd

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The First Days of NaNoWriMo

I have a few words about these first two days of NaNoWriMo, but first I need to say a few things about...


Now, like most of you, I grew up loving Halloween. I used to love getting dressed up, going Trick or Treating around the neighborhood and coming home with a ton of candy that would slowly diminish over the course of the next few weeks (probably quicker than it should have). But, as time went on, the magic went away.

It became a hassle to have to think of some awesome costume to wow the crowd and walk around begging for candy.

Then came college.

College, where the sole theme of Halloween was: "Girls, dress slutty and get drunk while the guys dress like idiots and also get drunk." Unfortunately, this was no fun for me because I don't drink. I was taking the intellectual high ground of "why in God's name would I want to do any of that?"

The last time I really did anything of consequence was when we made a trip to Chapel Hill on Halloween to walk Franklin Street (a yearly tradition of drunken debauchery and costumed shenanigans). Even then I just opted for my Silent Bob "costume" (a trench coat and a backwards hat) and walked around enjoying the madness.

Last year I stayed home editing Five Minutes 'Til on Halloween. Oh, and running to pick up the director of the aforementioned short from the drunk tank at 4 in the morning.

This year, however, has definitely topped even my childhood memories for the Best Halloween EVER!

And here's why:

That's right players at home, Joliet Jake and Elwood Blues made an appearance in Downtown Wilmington this year, and lo did they have a blast.

We hit up a few parties, then went downtown. Most of Front Street was slammed with people, so we went to the Browncoat Pub and Theatre. And there, amongst characters like Betty Boop, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, the Warriors, Penny Lane, She-Ra, Erin the E-Surance girl, Ash Williams, Lady Gaga, the Dude, Silent Bob, a marshmallow covered Ghostbuster, Bubba from Night of the Scarecrow, and a cast of hundreds Jake and Elwood hopped up on stage and performed "Soul Man."

There's video of this momentous event, and I'll post it here as soon as it's uploaded.

Without that costume and my amazing friend J alongside me as Elwood, it never would have happened. Something opened up in me that night, and a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders.

And it was just in time, because Sunday was November 1st; the first day of NaNoWriMo.

For the uninitiated. NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. Every November, thousands of writers throw caution to the wind and attempt to write a 50,000 word novel in a month's time.

Are we crazy? Maybe. Are we determined? Hell Yeah!!

I tried NaNo last year and didn't even start writing. Unmitigated failure? Oh yes. And I don't think I truly recovered. It's why I've had trouble writing (well, it's one of several reasons I've had trouble writing). Maureen Johnson's BEDA (Blog Every Day April) was the start of a long process of getting into the habit of writing. After BEDA, I started slipping. Life got in the way (tired excuse, I know, but what can you do?) and there was no light at the end of the tunnel (will the cliches ever end!?).

But, something seems different. After Saturday night, I have some new drive that's actually keeping me active and on the ball. Am I changed? Did that performance release something that's been lying dormant all this time?

I hope so. I really do.

For the love of Pete, just look how much I wrote in this blog! If I can keep this intensity going all month, I'll have no problem reaching 50,000 words.

As it stands, I'm a little behind on the daily goals, but I haven't really had time to sit down and do nothing but write. Tomorrow will be a writing day, so we'll see how far along I am.

Currently, I'm sitting on 1,253 words (based on averages, I should have something akin to 4,000 words by now). We'll see where things stand tomorrow.

Now, I'm off to bed. So tomorrow I may write!

William the Bloody Changed Redd