Against the Odds

Yes, I am wearing the official Our House NaNoWriMo footwear of victory.


The story about these socks will follow as soon as my eyes no longer feel like they're burning and/or going to fall out.

More of the afterglow coming soon...

Final word count:


With additions/editing/polishing to follow...

And yes, I tip my hat to you, Douglas.

So Long, and thanks for all the fish, indeed!

All three Wrimos in our house exceeded goal...

A huge thanks to Chris Baty and his NaNoWriMo team.

More about that later too. It'll make me cry to write it,and if i cry my eyes are really going to hate me more than they already do.

Sweet dreams, Wrimos everywhere! Another year, another novel!


Holy Random Purple Bar, Batman!

This is not FOOD in bar form! This is bar in purple form!

So I'm on the NaNo forums, like I shouldn't be because Dru is hollering at me that I have to start stitching up these plot holes and Benjamin is begging me to just decide if Annabeth is going to wake up already or put him out of his heartbroken misery and Annabeth is just getting really pissed that she can't seem to drink coffee (or anything else, or eat) while she's stuck in Devastation Falls...

but I'm still on the forums cause, I want to order a nifty new t-shirt and stuff (the store is overwhelmed at the moment with traffic it seems- I pray the servers hold out!) and then, I see it.

I click the "Forums" link and there it is.

A page with a Congratulations Winner! Message on it.

And there's a link to stuff. Like the Winner web badges and stuff.

But...but...but... I didn't validate! I didn't even update my word count today! I was going to soon, but not yet the story isn't done!

It's pretty and now I'm kinda hopin' they won't take it away. Seems that they maybe think I'm in Australia which amuses me highly actually (and I know it's tomorrow there already so people are validating but I'm not and I didn't)

Still...the new winners graphic kicks ass, there's no other way to say it.

My novel last year- my first NaNo written in 10 days was called Fireworks Flowers.

I couldn't be happier that the graphic the year I wrote Hopeful Romantic has fireworks.

It is, in so many ways, so beautiful and fitting after the struggles I've had this year and reminds me of one of my absolute favorite songs of all time, The Night Sky (for WARCHILD) by Keane- which is heartbreakingly gorgeous if you've never heard it get to iTunes and buy it NOW. You'll thank me.

I'm going to play it right now, in fact, while I get out my magical storyteller's needle and thread and start stitching the seams of my story up pretty and tight...

Sing it, Tom...

"And I will be set free from
the people who are trying to bury me
and only fireworks will light the sky at night
for all the world can see..."

With thanks to an Australian DJ in Chile...

No, that's not part of my novel, that's real life folks.

There is a very cool Wrimo called 'thingit' who posted a thread in the All Ages forum on the NaNoWriMo site saying that she was about to go on the air on the only all English radio station in Santiago and talk about NaNo. She wanted stories. So I chimed in with mind and darn if she didn't talk about me on the air!

If that wasn't enough, she's been playing way cool music and giving shout outs to Wrimos and I know as soon as this is over in half an hour and the Wrimos who missed it look up they're really gonna be sorry.

I have to tell ya, thingit, today was a rough one for me and I was wondering if I could finish the story. But your fun show and all of your great energy about NaNo got me back on track (and you played my totally obscure Killers song, AND the rock!)

So, here I am raising my overfilled coffee mug (and trying not to slosh on the keys) to you, Lisa.

I swear, if this book gets published I am thanking you on the dedication page.


Thanks again, Lisa D! NaNoWriMo voice to the world via Santiago Chile and the Internet!!!

Random Artwork...

Today's painting:

Tea Roses and Sympathy acrylic on canvas, 8X10

What's it for anyway...

This NaNo is turning out to be quite a different experience for me from the first.

Maybe it's that people know I'm doing it this year and so there's kind of a 'watching over my shoulder' thing going on.

Maybe it's just that doing it with three writers in the family all at once is too much (someone has to do the dishes after all)

Whatever it is, I'm 200 words shy of 55,000, the story has more loose ends than an unfinished tapestry and I'm unhappy with it, in a huge way now.

What was supposed to be a light humor piece this year has turned into something entirely different. It's either going to have to be cut back down to the bone or it's going to turn into 80,000 words of way too damned depressing to finish.

I don't know.

Maybe doing NaNo, for me, is like falling in love- once you've really done it everything else afterward pales in comparison. Last year's novel, I loved even if at points I thought it was terrible- and this year I still love it. This year I love some of my characters but I think that it's too much to finish given the rest of my month is pretty much shot.

See, I knew I'd better finish it by the 15th. But I didn't. I made word count but I didn't finish the story and that's the problem.

Now I'm not sure I even want to.


No End in Sight


Despite being out of commission for two days due in part to a major migraine, I still made my goal of 50K by midnight Sunday (the 15th). In fact I made it with a couple hours to spare and kept right on going.

Why doesn't my word count say 50K anymore?

Because I am purposely keeping my progress bar blue until the validation begins. No more word count updates for me from here on out.

My buddies are working their tails off, trying to get those little bars to creep up to green from blue. Most of them while working at least one full time job and needing little things that I am used to operating without- such as food and sleep. So I feel bad going all 'green bar' on them in advance (and especially to those folks on the forums who are starting to get bar envy...) so I'm just not doing it. I actually subtracted from my word count today to show my support for them.

I'm still trying to crank words out- but I will stand with my buddies until the 25th and beginning of validation. Hell, I may wait until the 3oth this time and I'll only feel right doing it if my story is done, which it is nowhere near.

Which is why I can't waste a lot of time on this post *laugh*.

I decided though I'm not posting any more updated excerpts on the site. Here's why.

It's one thing to be bummed at yourself if you're behind on your count. Like, way behind.

It's another to offer what is supposed to be 'nice' critiques of your fellow Wrimos work.

But to outright insinuate with a *wink* that someone wrote 'repetitive' dialogue in order to boost their word count- that hurts.

I've never had to boost my word count artificially in my life. If you saw that my entire manuscript never separates "do not" and "is not" as a lot of people do to put their counts up even though NO ONE talks that way...well you'd see that I'm quite chatty when I write dialogue, actually, I do not need nor want artificially inflated counts.

Yeah, it hurts. NaNoWriMo is a matter of honor when it comes to reporting/counting your word count since no one physically goes through to validate. You impugn my word count, you impugn my honor.

So no, I ain't playing anymore.

I'm grateful to all the Wrimos who have been so kind to me about my work. You guys can read more if you want (just pm me there)

But for the others who just want to be mean, know what? It's the seventeenth. You might want to spend more time working on your novel than trying to bring other people's feelings down. It will be, I hope, a lot more satisfying for us both.

Been a rough week and only going to get rougher. So tonight I put on my headphones, cranked up The Grand Finale from Edward Scissorhands, had a good cry and painted this.

It's called Wintersong and it's named after a Sarah McLachlan song I love, inspired by that, and of course the Elfman Scissorhands soundtrack and actually something I wrote last year around Christmastime.

Life goes on.

My kid passed her goal today of 15K words for the Young Writer's Program and also her novel is nowhere near done. This is a kid who said she was afraid she wouldn't write 3000 words under pressure. Now she begs for just another hour to work on her book. Her latest prediction- it's gonna take 20K to tell her story. You go, girl.

I'm so proud.

Now, I've got to get back to Devastation Falls. 2k words tonight or else I won't get any hot chocolate. And I really, really want hot chocolate.

Do you know how bad it's getting? For the first time in my life, I used expired milk in my coffee today and I didn't notice! Of course it was I think (I hope) only 2 days past the 'sell by' date not the 'use by' date. But still, bleeech. I am very picky about this stuff and I can't believe I didn't realize that the 14th had long since come and gone. Of course, since I slept through the 14th that might explain it...

Happy noveling, everyone, and best of luck to my Writing Buddies. You guys rule.

Soon we'll all be sporting fancy green bars. Then pretty purple ones come the end of the month!


Red Square

And I am not talking about the Russians here.

There are nifty little widgets now at the NaNo site that you can use to track your wordcount progress.

I picked out a neat one with a calendar that gives you happy little light green squares on days when you make goal, even neater bright green squares when you do REALLY good on a given day and unhappily, little red squares if you don't make goal on a day (NaNo says goal is 1667 words per day, I believe.)

Well, as of 11:15 EST tonight I managed to crank out a happy 1724 words- in about an hour and a half.

I look at my widget and still I see this:

What the friggin'...

Then I go to the site and it seems that my timezone was incorrectly set due to our going off of daylight savings time last Sunday morning. BAH! Now my nifty little widget will have a red square in it no matter what I do, taunting me the rest of the month.

This I cannot allow. Edna will take it and run far and fast with it.

So forget that.

I'm using the happy little meter that just shows your words from now on. Cause I know sadly there will be days later this month when obligations will keep me from likely writing at all (hence why I tried to get a jump on the novel while I can). And I don't want any more of those freaking little red squares.


If it sounds like I'm having a cow, well I already have one thank you. She's a little 'stress ball' in cow form that I got a couple of years ago when we went to see Spamalot! Which I happen to find highly amusing.

I have a couple of these 'anti stress' (ha) thingies on my desk to toy with when I'm supposed to be writing or am thinking about writing. I'll try to post more of them as we go along. As we stand now, for today here's a little pic of MooMooLatte, stress cow extraordinaire:

She's telling me not to worry about the little messed up widget (which, now that I think about it, sounds like a really great insult to hurl at someone you don't like "You're nothing but a messed up little widget, you! Be gone from my sight!")

Not much done writing wise today granted but lots accomplished that's going to make it easier to write in the days ahead. So it was furthering the NaNo cause.

I didn't get to stop by the write-in (hopefully next time) but I did wear my t-shirt from last year all over town...

Now, I need coffee. Yes, I am aware of the time, you have a point?

It's NaNoWriMo. This is how we roll.

(and believe it or not I haven't had a single cup today so far, too busy, must be why I'm freaked out over one tiny little red square.)

Write onward!


She who will not be silenced.

Maybe Punky Brewster had it right; matching socks are death to creativity. But as you can see, The Kid is having no such footwear related crisis, it seems as she continues along...


I wrote 2000 words today, all utter rubbish.

Trash, refuse, and any other ugly adjective you want to attach to them- all nonsense. And I do hate writing nonsense.

I've got scenes out of sequences, I've got bits of dialogue and pieces of plotline just sticking out here and there like wayward strands of hair (and I need a haircut desperately- I feel like an old English Sheep Dog...Or the Fifth Beatle and believe you me, that look does not work on me.)

I'm not sure how the hell ever to use any of the aforementioned garbage cohesively. I think the ending is far too cluttered now and I'm resisting with all my might not to edit (do not injure not injure angels...I'm trying, Chris...I'm trying...)

I am now suffering from a major case of brain fry.

I am completely distracted.

I think I might have to paint for the rest of the night and have done the rest of it all for today.

I've been posting in the 'say something nice about the excerpt of the person above you' thread in the NaNoWriMo Ate My Soul forum and people are so kind. So very kind, though, that it makes me worry that the excerpt is the best part of the book.

I fear Edna has not only been sighted, but she is loose from her duct-taped throne and she is majorly pissed at me...

Does she not look pissed off to you? She scares me on days like today.

Maybe the problem today is that my socks match.

Though I believe that the distraction goes farther than that.

I shall have to ponder this over more coffee, a cookie or two, or half a box of Twinkies...

I hope your day of NaNo-ing is going better than mine.

In the YWP Department; My kid (Young Writers Program newb) begged to stay up until 2 am writing.

Then this afternoon she had a glorious moment of pure epiphany when she was staring out the window, lost in thought. After a few moments silent (for her a new world's record, usually if she's awake, she's talking) reflection, she just looked up at me and said "I've got it."

"You do?"

"I've GOT IT!!!" She ran to the computer and started clacking away. I didn't dare interrupt.

Half an hour later she says, "The last piece of the story just fell into place, Mom. I know how it's all going to work out now."

It was a beautiful thing to see that moment of inspiration in her eyes. And it's just too adorable to see her hiding out in pajamas and her fuzzy, Muppet-like bathrobe and just writing and dreaming all day (and before you think she's truant, she's privately educated- (the term 'homeschooling' bothers me on many levels but that's another post). She wasn't missing school she was engaging in it. Since they use the YWP in classrooms all over, I feel completely justified letting her focus mostly on her writing during this most sacred month of NaNoWriMo.

Last night she did something so funny.

She, like her mother, is inspired by music when she's writing. So she had her headphones on and she's singing along with a song...

"Yeah.....whoah yeahhhh..."

Then something goes wrong- she hit a wrong key on the computer and lost some text and we hear...


Fortunately the text was recovered or else this story would no longer be funny, but this is not my point. My point is...

She instantly changed from being an innocent, sweet little baby Jonas Brothers fan to being Bernard Black (and yes, I say it wrong, over here it's "Ber-nard" not "Bernerd"...I'm from the Midwestern USA, what do you expect, clear and proper diction? and yes I'm just teasing back those who have teased me...though I didn't mind the teasing in the least.)

In that perfect, comedic instant and it showed she has truly embraced the spirit of what it is to be a Wrimo.

Which is entirely different than being a rhino, which is what someone thought I had said today when I said "Wrimo".

I don't know what it is to be a rhino, exactly. Though I imagine it has its advantages and disadvantages I honestly hope never to get to know one well enough to find out.

They have pointy things protruding from their faces and like to aim them at you. I don't want one to decide he'd like to aim it at me, that doesn't sound at all like a good time.

I'm still debating about going to the official regional write-in...I don't think we have it in us tomorrow to make it been a long week. But next week, just maybe...why am I nervous about this? I don't know. Maybe because deep down, I'm a hermit.

Keep writing all! My goal is a minimum of 5k more words by Sunday night- sharing the computers that will be interesting.

I'd rather say I'd like to have 7k more but I'm hoping for 5k that's not utter trash...

Edna says I don't have a prayer. That just makes me want to get out two mismatched fuzzy striped socks, put one on each foot and say "Nyah."

Crash and burn...




What have I done to my poor eyes?

Today's wordcount- zip.

But I do hope to do something about that before midnight if I can hold my head up long enough...

--hours later--

Okay so I've added a paltry 700 words...there's still an hour before midnight and I did get a nap in for the sake of the eyes...

Today's thought on the experience that was the past few years of my life...

The experience of losing your sight changes you,
but not nearly as much as the experience of getting it back.

The former changes the way you see the world.

The latter changes the way you see yourself.

The blur that was days 2-4

And already, there are wardrobe malfunctions...

it's only day four, my socks no longer match and they tell me my cardigan is inside out...but who cares! I'm writing a novel and no one can see my feet (well, now they can...)

Holy cow.

I've never typed let alone written so much in my life. My wordcount took on a life of its own after Chris Baty's passionate plea that we not injure NaNo angels by deleting anything from our novels in November, and I took that to heart.

He said, quote:

There's an old folks saying that goes like this: Whenver you delete a sentence in your NaNoWriMo novel, a NaNoWriMo angel loses its wings and plummets, screaming, to the ground.

Where it will likely require medical attention.

That finally drove the point home to me and I've been repenting ever since. More difficult for me is to stop editing as I go (after 12 years of editing other people's work in creative writing groups, editing as I go is a very hard habit to break but I'm trying).

So I drew the above picture and taped it, along with Chris' words, to the wall right by my computer monitor so I cannot escape it while I'm working on the book.

The book which actually has a title (it had a long one now has a much better short one) and main characters and as of last night, an ending which is incredible because I never write endings in advance- this one just happened.

All part of the magic of the special time of year that is NaNo. I told you, for me it's a religious experience.

Chris be with you...

Oh, and I wrote a letter of apology to the NaNo angels that was worded thus:


Apologies for the injury of Angels Unknown, by February Grace

Dear Nanowrimo Angels...

Ugh. So sorry.

You see I just read what Chris Baty said on the main page about how, and this is too good not to quote here:

"There's an old folk saying that goes: Whenever you delete a sentence in your NaNoWriMo novel, a NaNoWriMo angel loses its wings and plummets, screaming, to the ground.

Where it will likely require medical attention. "

Oh, the injuries I have inflicted unawares to those of a more celestial nature.

I can only beg their forgiveness now with promises to TRY (I know I know, "do or do not there is no try..." Freaking smart Muppet. He never goes away...) not to erase any more sentences.

It's just so hard. With my 12 year history editing other people's work for collaborative writing groups (none of which I have sadly ever been paid for but I digress) I tend to edit my own writing as I go. Even last year writing 50K words in 10 days to write my first Nano novel, it was almost completely edited by the time I was done and I didn't have to go back to do much to it to have a completed draft.

Now, I see the error in my ways and I can only pray that during this most holy Writer's month of Nano (Chris be with you...) that I can repent and be forgiven.

I will injure no more angels. No matter how much it injures me.




Here I must also add my sincerest thanks to Mr. Baty for his brilliant, humorous writing. If not for it I know Nano wouldn't have held my attention the way that it did in the beginning to the point where I HAD to sign up on the 17th of last November just to get the character voices in my head to stop their revolt (and to quit calling me a chicken) and why all year I have been counting down the days until Nano started.

So thank you, Mr. Baty, truly. You're one of my heroes.


My word count as of 11:59 last night: 23,057. Cha. Take THAT socks that don't match!

Day One: Who are you and how many words are you going to tell me to write?

This year, knowing about NaNo in advance (and having a long time to think about it when I was unable to see) I had many fleeting ideas for concepts to try for this year's novel.

Last year I had two ideas, neither of which worked and then I just started typing dialogue- and there it was, the entire novel just wrote itself.

The same thing seems to be happening this year. I had decided that I wanted to try writing humor/parody but my muse again had other ideas. At 12:01 when I cleared my head and just sat down, my FMC, Annabeth, decided to start 'speaking'.

What I wrote ended up being what is posted as my excerpt on my NaNo profile.

In the first 24 hours (23.5 hours to be precise) I passed 10,000 words...a personal best that just proves I am absolutely out of my mind.

A little back-story: Is that really a coffee cup?

Yes, yes it is. It's tilted, it's brilliant, and what's more it has a picture of my inner editor on it.

You see, last year after hounding me all of my life, I saw a thread on the NaNo forums asking what your inner editor looks like and mine immediately marched out of the shadows of my mind and declared her identity with a statement something like this:

"I'm here, darling, I'm fabulous and I am not going away."

Yet after wrestling her down and duct-taping her mentally to a chair- I cast caution (and my mother's habit for stating that I never 'finish anything' ha!) to the wind and I wrote my first NaNo novel, Fireworks Flowers, in ten days. I think the word count was something like 50,242 (am trying to research that to verify).

I didn't like it when it was done- it seemed a failure all over the place and I was terrified to let anybody read it. A couple of kind Wrimos accepted my offer to swap drafts (Thanks ladies!) and the reviews were far kinder than I dared imagine.

I'll be posting more of the story of how it's a miracle I am here (in more ways than one) to do NaNo again this year but for now, I will leave you with a picture of my inner-editor in coffee cup form.

The cup says "It's my way or the runway."

To that I say, "Hit the road bucky! I've got a novel to write!"