Nano Spotlight: Adventure Writes

November 30, 2011

Good morning! Only 15 hours, seventeen minutes left in November here. Today, I’ve got my last Nanowrimo spotlight – Mel and Adventure Writes.

How and why did you end up participating in National Novel Writing Month?
This is my first year, and I had heard a lot about it from other peoples blogs, and how excited everyone was, but I didn’t really want to do it at first. I didn’t think that I would have enough time to write 50k words. Well Ali Cross posted about how she was planning on doing NaNo even though she just had her book come out. I thought to myself, if Ali can do it, so can I. So I signed up before I chickened out.

What are you writing about this year?
I am a rebel NaNo because I’m writing my story that I’ve been working on for a while, The Daughters of Etheria

What’s your favorite part of Nanowrimo and why?
Probably the writing calender that was posted about how many words to write a day. When you’re told to 1667 words a day to meet a goal, it doesn’t seem so overwhelming.

Who’s the best character in your Nano?
I don’t know if I could choose one of my characters as the best, but I do have a favorite. Jack Frost, is my favorite character of all.

Sneaky Ninja Question! What one thing are you most thankful for?
In life, my family, in the writing world, I’m most thankful for all of the bloggers out there who post things about improving their skill, their writing experiences, and motivating others to become better writers.

The Eleventh Hour of Nano…

November 29, 2011

So, it’s the evening of November 29th. A little more than one day left for Nano-ers here in North America.

First off,Wordle: Star Patrol I’d love to share this Wordle made from the 62,168 words that I’ve written so far. Wordles are word clouds that you can make out of a large sample of text – the more frequently a particular word is used in the sample, the larger the word is inside the graphic. I’m hoping to hit 65k at the Waffle-palooza write-in tomorrow evening!

And I’m happy to say that I’m still really having fun with this storyline, even though it wasn’t necessarily where I thought that Star Patrol would go. At this point, I’m unlikely to get out of Act 2 of ‘The Imperion Encounter’ during November, but that’s fine – it’s the second book in the series after all. And all kinds of really cool things are coming together.

We’ve got the human foil, Star Patrol Captain McBride, (named after a Nano ML that I met in San Francisco,) who dislikes the friendly aliens and distrusts humans who are friends with them or study their ways. And McBride was essential to actually getting my main characters where they needed to be – I had to throw him a very small idiot ball, but that’s okay for a foil character.

And then there’s the new romantic rival, Ensign Mason, (named for Fort Mason,) who’s another Star Patrol Academy graduate studying the aliens, and he likes Melissa. Brett and Melissa have been out on one date and they kissed, but she still hasn’t made a big dramatic choice or anything.

A lot of my characters are developing fairly well. Carla Jones is obviously the smart girl and is struggling a bit to do more than just be the source of helpful exposition whenever there’s something that needs to be explained. And Melissa Dempsey is opening up about her secretive past a little, and letting me flesh it out. All really fun stuff.

If you’re still short of 50k, then good writing to you. You can do it!

Nano Spotlight: If I had a world of my own…

November 28, 2011

Good evening, Nanoers and adjacents. Are you nearly at fifty thousand words this evening? Today’s spotlight is on Luna, and If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense.

How and why did you end up participating in National Novel Writing Month?
This is my first time taking part. I hadn’t really planned on it but over the last year a lot of things have been going wrong so my writing had taken a major back step. Nanowrimo was my-get-back-on-the-horse-thing, to pick it up again. Yet as I write this I’m unsure if I’ll “win” because those same distractions are back. If I don’t – I’m still really glad I took part.

What are you writing about this year?
My story is a diary, or rather a series of letters written by seventeen year old girl named Lauren. Read the rest of this entry »

Another Six Sentence Nano Sunday

November 27, 2011

Hi everybody. Once again, I’m skipping forward by a few scenes, and sharing some more description involving my aliens.

They weren’t paying the humans much attention any more, now that Jody had given up on trying to teach them vocabulary. They had set up a table next to the cart, on an elaborate system of springs and shocks which seemed to be designed to keep it steady and cushioned from any kind of irregularity or even movement of the ground. and it was what was on the table that was the focus of all their attention now.

It was hard for Brett to describe what was on the table in the terms of a whole, although he could recognize most of the parts of it. At the center of the item was a crystal sphere – a crystal ball even, looking like the sort that a fortune teller stared into at carnival shows back on Earth. And the sphere was at the center of a series of concentric geometric shapes… yes, it was made up of the five platonic solids, each nested one within the other. “Good for the Greeks – those shapes are truly universal – not even aliens can come up with a sixth platonic solid in three dimensional space.”


Nano Spotlight: New Day Rising

November 25, 2011

Good evening everybody, and it’s a privilege to introduce a great friend of mine for Nanowrimo spotlight tonight, and a fellow Hamiltonian writer, Rich aka FantasyWriterGuy!

How and why did you end up participating in National Novel Writing Month (the first occasion you did.)
Somehow I got sucked into doing the three-day-novel contest and while bantering with fellow three-day-masochists there were many references to NaNoWriMo which sounded like a far more humane excuse for forcing yourself to write and for meeting other writers. So I looked into it. I actually succeeded in writing a complete novella in three days – about 24,000 words and yet it then took me five attempts in five years to finally do 50,000 in 30 days. Go figure.

What are you writing about this year?
The usual: Butterfly robes, floating teapot aircraft, the God of Frivolity, avian ham, Voltaire, cheese graters, green men, rainbows, two-headed cats, robot clowns, willinillies, shizzpoogterriers, winged hedgehogs, landchovies, screaming jeebies, ogre-bears, limouworms, six-legged choodwinks, skellizardons, passenger clouds, big bad evilkins, a too-short dwarf with Short Dwarf Syndrome, a thief with apparent sexual orientation issues, a priest with a tourettes-like curse, a swordsman with the IQ of a pencil box, an enchanter whose spells are marred by ludicrous side-effects, a ranger of tremendous heroic qualities who is never taken seriously because of her gender, friendship, personal growth and sacrifice. Same as everyone else, I presume.

What’s your favorite part of Nanowrimo and why?
Like any gathering of writers: It’s power to remind you that you are a writer. It’s so easy to forget. Although, meeting new amazingly wonderful writer people to befriend, love and cherish is pretty okay too…

Who’s the best character in your Nano?
Lance Lightfinger if I really must choose. He’s capable of very poor behaviour at times, owing to his significant insecurities. But the quest brings life-changing experiences. His future looks bright!

Sneaky Ninja Question! What time in the day do you write the most?
Midnight; when things get quiet and people leave me alone.

New Day Rising – or Rich Landriault if you prefer his slave name – spends enormous amounts of time pondering instinct and consciousness, human evolution and the illusions of society, and not nearly enough time blogging. But he has fabulous intentions to start blogging more regularly at

How to procrastinate on your Nano – the Lisa Simpson way!

November 24, 2011

So, I was really pleased to come back from San Fran and find a new writing and books-themed Simpsons episode on my DVR – ‘The Book Job.’ While Homer, Bart, and friends collaborate to churn out a soulless best-seller ripoff, Lisa vows that she’s going to write a personal book that readers will connect with. Most of what she does, though, is procrastinate. It’s a pretty good list of ways to not ever get a book written, in fact:

  • Swear to only write 2000 words, then stop ‘to pace yourself.’
  • Don’t write until you have music that inspires you playing.
  • Organize your CD collection.
  • Play online Boggle.
  • Take your laptop to a coffee shop.
  • Set up your Wi-Fi ‘in case you need to do research.’
  • Buy something out of a sense of obligation to the coffee shop.
  • Brag about how much you love being a writer.
  • Build a toy log house out of pencils.
  • Watch kitty videos on Youtube.
  • Build a model cathedral or castle out of pencils.
  • Stare out the window.
  • Rub your finger against the window.
  • Clean the window.
  • Clean the outside of the window with a makeshift platform lowered from the roof.
  • Watch the complete series of ‘Friday night lights’ on DVD.

Happy Thanksgiving to everybody in the USA!

Order and Chaos in the Exploratorium.

November 23, 2011

On Saturday of last week, I spent a few hours at the Exploratorium museum in the Palace of Fine Arts, near the Presidio in San Francisco. That really wasn’t enough, and I saw a bunch of cool stuff, but what really struck me was the chaos and the order.

First, the chaotic pendulum. This was a bunch of swinging arms and joints embedded into the interior of a big spinning wheel. When you spun the wheel, all the pendulums started off swinging in the same direction, but they don’t all spin with the same frequency or energy, so they start to throw each other off and get the larger wheel kicking and jerking back and forth. Fun to watch, but also a good lesson to learn about anything complex in the world.

Second, the balancing pendulum. This was one weight on a long rigid swinging arm, connected to a computer motor that could move back and forth. The computer could read the position of the arm and was programmed to get the arm balanced straight up as quickly as possible and keep it that way. It was fun to see the computer in action – choosing its moment to swing into action, going back and forth to build energy if the pendulum wasn’t swinging up all the way, and nudging carefully along if you tried to push the arm to the side by yourself.

Read the rest of this entry »

Nano Spotlight: Scott’s Written Words

November 22, 2011

Hello, everybody. Today I’d like to send the spotlight out for Written Words, and Scott Bury.

How and why did you end up participating in National Novel Writing Month?
This is the first time I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo. I had heard about it for the first time maybe two years ago, just after it ended, and thought I should try it out. I missed it last year, as I was putting the finishing touches on my first-finished novel. This year, I had an idea and some material written, as well as a lot of completed research, so NaNoWriMo felt like a good opportunity to impose some discipline and finish this story, which I have worked on sporadically for many years.
What are you writing about this year?
My current project is completely different from my first novel. It’s a memoir in novel form, about my father-in-law’s experiences in the Soviet Red Army in the second world war, focusing on his escape from a POW camp.
What’s your favorite part of Nanowrimo and why?
My favorite part of NaNoWriMo is the imposition of a definite goal and deadline. I know I have to write 1600-1700 words a day. Not an insurmountable goal, but sticking to it every day is the challenge.
I also like the camaraderie of others who are doing the same thing.
Who’s the best character in your Nano?
The best character in my NaNo is definitely my MC, a man who managed to stay clear-headed and charmiing, even in the face of the worst horrors in history.
Sneaky Ninja Question! What would you spend one wish on?

One wish: to know everything I know now, 30 years ago, plus some winning lottery numbers.
Glad to be a part of NaNoWriMo this year!

The next leader of the Office of Letters and Light!

November 21, 2011

Like many people who went to the Night of Writing Dangerously in San Francisco last night, I thought that the ‘big news’ was going to be the fact that this was Chris Baty’s last year as the Executive Director of the Office of Letters and Light, the non-profit that runs Nanowrimo, Script Frenzy, and the Young Writer’s Program.

I don’t know about anybody else there, but I was very excited about an announcement that Chris made in the middle of his moving thank-you speech – naming Grant Faulkner, board member of the Office of Letters and Light, as his successor, and thus our new Fearless Leader.

I don’t know much about Grant. I managed to get a moment to congratulate him at the dinner, and even got my picture taken with Grant and Chris Baty. But he seems cool, and like a reasonably good choice to follow in Chris’ footsteps, even if he also reminded me a little of Adam Baldwin, who wouldn’t really be the kind of guy I’d ask to lead me into 30 days of creative craziness.

Read the rest of this entry »

A very west-coast Six Sentence Sunday

November 20, 2011

Hello from San Francisco! I’m sure I’ll have lots to tell you about the NOWD tomorrow.

I had a bit of a hard time picking six sentences that I liked for tonight. This is after Brett asks Melissa if she can put him in touch with a particular medic back up on the main ship:

“Nurse Practicioner Lyon is busy trying to save all of our lives from the Kane syndrome, Ensign Walker,” Exec reminded him. “You were there when we heard about this interdisciplinary committee that she is serving on. Surely there are other biology and anatomy specialists on the ship that you could consult with.”

How could he explain to a woman like the Exec that he trusted Natalie, and that they understood each other as colleagues? Then something else occured to him. “Wouldn’t every specialist be working on curing the Hyperspace sickness, in their own way?”

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