Monthly Archives: November 2014

nanowrimo – week 4

Today’s post will be very short in comparison to the other three I’ve done for NaNoWriMo, because I’m doing a really big push today and tomorrow to get the words down and actually win the challenge.  I’ve written 2,000 words today, I’ve got 3,700 left to write to win, so once I’m finished writing this post to give you a quick update, I’ll be right back with my writing.  I think I could probably win today if I spend all my computer time writing – not sure if I’m going to be doing that, though, because breaks are great, but I should definitely get at least another thousand words in before the end of today.

I’ve been pretty good about keeping away from Pinterest, Youtube, and other distractions, and I think my word count shows that.  In fact, on Thursday I wrote for nearly two hours straight on a computer that had no Internet access and I got a LOT accomplished.  Turning off the Internet really does help, no matter how cliched the advice has gotten to be.  Another thing that really helped (and something I wish I’d thought of at the beginning of this month) is to play a movie soundtrack in its entirety (movie soundtracks are usually about an hour long apiece) and do nothing but write until the music is over.  I’ve been really enjoying the music for Kung Fu Panda, even if it doesn’t much match the theme of my book.  Check it out!

You can view, download and comment on Kung Fu Panda free hd wallpapers for your desktop backgrounds, mobile and tablet in different resolutions.

Okay, I’ll quickly share a snippet, and then it’s off to the grindstone again. (*wink*)  And I promise that when NaNo’s over, I’ll share more about the actual plot and characters in Project Remembrance.

Jonas Breen.
Skye gazed at the name on the mysterious file.
Jonas Breen.
Related to Liz Breen perhaps? Possibly. She wasn’t sure, she couldn’t be sure of anything at this point. From what she’d seen of her mom and Liz’s encounter, it had been awkward and not without some trepidation on Liz’s part. Maybe Liz’s coming had had something to do with this file. Skye somehow didn’t want that, because an agent – intern, really – coming from the Department of Records would probably want the file back, she would get mixed up in a big, tangled mess, and she hated that kind of thing.
All she wanted was to keep the file and figure out the story behind it.
And she couldn’t do that if those stuffy people from the Department of Records took it away.
Skye looked around her, almost furtively. It was the dead of night, her mom was certainly asleep – just to be sure, she’d checked about twenty minutes ago – and now it was time to open up the file and see just what exactly was in it. But there was still a part of her that wanted to wait, to savour it. There would certainly be some interesting things, and she was craving to read whatever was inside, but she also wanted to save it. Anyway, hadn’t she promised herself that she’d do things in alphabetical order? She still wasn’t done Ruth Akins or Connie Breen.
Well, maybe she’d just finish memorizing Ruth, and then jump ahead a little to Jonas Breen.
Probably not, though, since doing things out of order was something that made her uncomfortable.
After all, she hadn’t been up to the attic in quite some time and there was still that old computer sitting there, just begging to be worked on and fixed. She still wanted to fix it…didn’t she? Or had these dead files really taken over her life, the way so many people had said happened to them? They’d always said it had been in a good way, but she didn’t want anything to take over her life. She’d had everything – law school, repairing, social life – in neat little slots. Before the dead files. And now everything was messed up. ~Chapter 5


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Posted by on November 29, 2014 in nanowrimo, project remembrance, snippets, writing


nanowrimo – week 3

This week has been a study in procrastination, and yet I actually got a lot accomplished.  I have about 18,000 words left to write in eight days, which I’m not looking forward to, to say the least, but I can see some light at the end of the tunnel.  I’m up to 31,874 words right now which is whole lot more than I expected I would have at the beginning of this week.  Anyway, about the procrastination…I’ve watched animated movies (Kung Fu Panda and How To Train Your Dragon), watched Combat!, taken a gazillion Combat! screencaps, watched Combat! fanvideos, pinned a ton of stuff, and just overall did a bunch of things that are Not Writing.  And yet I have 10,000 words to show for my week of procrastination.

Don’t ask me how that happened, because I don’t know.

Anyway, I have a feeling that this coming week, the very last week of NaNoWriMo (goodness, time goes by SO fast these days), will be a ‘buckle down and get to work for real’ week.  Oh, I’ll still watch Combat!, but only in the evenings.  I’ll still pin stuff, but much less than I’ve been doing.  And every day, I’ll write until my fingers are sore.  Or something like that.  Because I really, really don’t want to lose NaNo this year, or any year.  I think it’s mainly a matter of pride – bragging rights and all that – but I also think it’s awesome to win just because I’ll have 50,000 words of story.  How cool is that? (or, in my case, 40K words of Project Remembrance and 10K words of Combat! fanfiction)  Now, at this point in the week re-cap post, I usually put a Combat! fandom picture in here, and this week, it’s going to be from The Clone Wars. (I’ll explain in the next paragraph)

I’m describing the world of Project Remembrance as ‘Clone Wars meets Matched’, and I think that pretty much sums it up.  The whole ‘record of dead people’ (and, as it later turns out, people who are still alive) is similar to the Matched trilogy (although I hope not too similar) and whenever I’m writing descriptions of places around the city where Skye lives, all I can picture in my head is the Clone Wars universe, particularly downtown Coruscant.  Plus, one of the weapons that Skye uses – a kind of stun stick – is styled after a lightsaber.  I definitely don’t agree with everything about the Star Wars universe, but there are some pretty neat things in it.

Snippet time! (and I’m thinking that after NaNo, I’ll write a blog post properly introducing all the characters and more about the plot – sounds good?)

The smell of burning bread and rice sifted up through creaking, crooked floorboards of Nia’s bedroom. For a moment, she just sat there on her bed numbly as she had been doing for nearly an hour as she pieced together memories and dredged up recollections that were a hundred times better hidden. But then she realized just what exactly she was smelling.
“Oh, no…” she whispered. Springing up from the bed, she clattered down the stairs, so differently from the usual slow and steady pace she exhibited; something drilled into her by both her mother and more recently – if you could five years ago – her aunt. Now her mother was gone and her aunt was dead and her uncle was the only one left.
And he was burning their food.
Nia stood in the doorway of the small kitchen, little more than a closet in actuality, and watched the smoke billowing up from the oven’s inside and the stove top. She grabbed a cloth from the laundry rack and gingerly moved the pot of rice to one side and took the bread from the oven. Both foods were irretrievably burnt and even she and her uncle, in their perpetually hungry state, could not stomach this degree of charred food.
What had gone wrong? Uncle Proust, despite his many faults, was usually a careful, good cook with what little food they had.
“Uncle Proust?” she called, even though the scrappy living room was only two or three steps away. Her voice held more anger than usual. Her meal at the cafeteria, something included along with scholarship, had held her over as always, but she was still hungry, always hungry and Uncle Proust had ruined whatever small meal they could have hoped to eat. So, yes, she was angry.
She left the kitchen for the living room.
There he sat, in the only chair they owned, the one he called ‘his favorite’, head set to one side, sleeping. That he had fallen asleep while the food was heating was something she had never known him to do before. And why would he, when each meal was their last until something new was found? She would receive no credits until she won a case or graduated. They relied on whatever the government cared to give to those living in the slums each month.
“Uncle Proust, wake up. The food has burned.”
She shook his shoulder and his hand fell away, a lifeless quality about the way it dropped.
“Uncle Proust?”
No response. Nia took a step back, hands pressed over her mouth, eyes wide. He was dead. He had died in this house, in this chair, while the food burned and she had known nothing of it. How could everything have continued just as normal while a man died? Nia backed up until she was pressed against the wall, her eyes never having left the still, and now very obviously dead body of Uncle Proust.
What would she do now?
Aunt was gone. Father and Mother were gone. And now Uncle. ~Chapter 4



Posted by on November 22, 2014 in nanowrimo, project remembrance, snippets, writing


nanowrimo – week 2

(sorry this is a day late – I completely forgot about doing a weekly NaNo update until late last night when I was in bed)

How goes the battle, fellow NaNoers?  For me, it’s going pretty well.  I’m still about 5,000 words behind schedule (give or take a couple thousand), but I’m writing hard and having fun, and I think that’s a big part of what NaNoWriMo is all about.  I’m not exactly happy with my low word count (21,193 words), especially since a quick check of my writing journal from this time last year shows that by this point, I only had 10,000 more words to write before hitting 50K…but I can live with it.  I’m sure the last few days will be a mad scramble to win, but I can handle it.  I’m ready.

Now, I have a confession to make.  I’ve become a NaNo Rebel.  A NaNo Rebel is someone who works on a collection of short stories, poetry, graphic novels, etc.; someone who draws pictures or edits during the challenge; or someone who works on two projects at once.  I’ve fallen into the third category.  See, my writing was going really slowly with Project Remembrance, and since I was so far behind, I needed/wanted a project to quickly and easily boost my word count.  And just what might that kind of project be?  Fan-fiction.  Simple, easy brain candy that’s a breeze to write, partly because I don’t have to think much about characters and plot and partly because I write fan-fiction about fandoms I love/obsess over, and it’s easy to write lots about what I love.  I finished up my first ‘Combat!’ fic yesterday at just a little under 10K and I’m pretty happy with it, even if it still needs a lot some work.  I’ll be going back to Project Remembrance now, but if the whole thing slows down again, I’ve got a lot of other fic ideas I can explore.

I don’t think anyone will be very interested in an excerpt from some fan-fiction for an obscure old show, so I’ll share some more of Project Remembrance. (although I don’t know if anyone’s interested in that either)  Oh, but before I forget, I found the perfect soundtrack for PR.  I always end up finding a movie soundtrack that fits perfectly (or nearly) with my current novel’s theme and mood, and at the moment, it’s The Fault In Our Stars. (the score, not the ‘songs inspired by’ thingy)  Check it out – you’ll love it!

Alone in her room, Skye opened her briefcase.
Fifteen files, fifteen people, fifteen lives.
She wasn’t going to be all sappy and sentimental about the whole thing, but she had to admit there was something poignant about this system. In her hands, she literally held the lives of fifteen different people. All ages, nationalities, every one of them unique.
And she was tasked with remembering each and every one of them, making sure that for as long as she lived, they’d never be forgotten. In a way, it was comforting to think that the same thing would happen to her when she died. As long as she cooperated, that is. She could see how people would get attached the whole concept.
But enough of this.
She checked the tabs on the files where the names were written in clear, careful script. All the writing was the same and she wondered who exactly sat down and wrote it all out, hour after hour. It must have been tedious. It looked to be about half men and half women – or girls or boys depending on when they died – and she arranged the files in alphabetical order. That was how she’d tackle them. ~Chapter 4



nanowrimo – week 1

NaNoWriMo has been going well, considering that I’m afflicted with whooping cough, my entire family is afflicted with whooping cough, and when you’re sick, production levels go only one place.  Down.  I’m about 3,000 words behind, which is where I’ve been almost all week, and it’s not the greatest feeling in the world.  Especially since last year I took the NaNo world by storm (after only a day of preparation, no less) and reached 50K in about twenty days.  Maybe part of the reason I’m having so much trouble is that I had a lot of time to prepare, to plot everything out, to get used to the story – while everything was spontaneous last year. (and in case you’re interested, I’m at 9,942 words)

Anyway, I’ve had to resort to something I almost never do – bribery.  I bribe myself.  How weird is that? (at least I think it’s weird)  What, you might ask, am I bribing myself with?  ‘Combat!’  A delightful television show all about the trials and tribulations of a squad of men fighting in France in WWII. (delightful my foot…the thing is depressing as Les Miserables)  For an hour or so every day (if I’ve done my writing), my sister and I forget all about terrible word count and incessant coughing and all that stuff and watch other people go through much worse situations than we ever will – it’s oddly encouraging. (shameless plug: WATCH COMBAT!  It’s amazing.  Especially Doc 2.  Who I will include a picture of because it’s my blog and I love him dearly.)

A typical day of NaNo-ing goes something like this…

  • Wake up. (obviously)
  • Have breakfast.
  • Write for about half an hour.
  • Break.  Play Uno with my siblings/read a book.
  • Write for an hour.
  • Lunch.
  • Watch Combat! with Elisabeth.
  • Break until after supper.
  • Write for half an hour.
  • Go on Pinterest, send emails, catch up on Facebook.
  • Bed.

So, I’m taking a gentler approach to the challenge this year, with plenty of breaks, but at least I’m still getting words down.  Although I don’t even want to talk about the quality of those words.  I’ve decided that I’ll share a snippet at the end of every NaNo post this week, but honestly, I’m not proud of it at all.  I’m definitely placing quantity over quality.  The plot’s there, and that’s about it.  My characterization and dialogue skills have seen better days.  But here’s the snippet anyway 🙂

“Skye Amsden, here to take my memory test.”
The desk receptionist in front of Skye hardly glanced up. “You’ll have to wait.”
So Skye sat on one of the soft chairs that instantly molded around her to create the best possible experience. The technology was a luxury, even for her, but she couldn’t enjoy it.
Arriving on time was something she prided herself on, and she’d walked through the thick glass doors at exactly nine in the morning. It was now two minutes past nine, she could see no one from where she sat in the spacious waiting room, and the receptionist moved with all the ambition of a half-dead slug. All in all, not an auspicious beginning.
Nevertheless, it was a beginning.
She sat in the most professional, elegant manner she could think of for the benefit of both the receptionist and anyone who might come in. She was a prime candidate for the selection – even if she didn’t want to be – and being a lawyer was all about public image. She’d be poised, polite, and placid. After all, it wasn’t all that big of a deal. The whole dead files thing just took weeks, if not months, out of her life and leave her less time to study for things that were actually important. But no big deal, right?
Inwardly, she rolled her eyes.
The door she’d entered from opened again.
“Don’t touch the glass,” the receptionist said, without looking up, in a sepulchral voice that had the potential to raise the dead from their files, just because they’d think one of their own was in the building.
Nia walked in, data pod in hand just like Skye, and rolled her eyes, in reference to the receptionist. Then she grinned, and sat down a couple seats away from Skye. She placed her data pod on her lap in front of her and appeared to be reading something off it. Skye looked away. None of her business.
Several minutes passed. The room was so silent, Skye could hear her own heartbeat, everyone’s breathing, extremely faint sounds from somewhere outside the room, and a single sheet of paper falling from the reception desk.
Nia tapped at her data pod a couple times, and then put it in her jacket pocket, right side.
“How long have you been here?” she asked in a hushed voice.
Skye shrugged. “Maybe ten minutes.”
“They said nine o’clock.”
“I know,” Skye said. For a moment they had something in common and commiserated silently. But Nia was a rival lawyer, even if she didn’t seem to be resentful or outwardly hostile to the fact that Skye’d won and she’d lost, and Skye didn’t feel right in trusting her. Better to keep rivals and potential enemies at arms’ length. Far enough away to not fall into any traps but close enough to observe them. ~Chapter 2

How’s your NaNoWriMo going?


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Posted by on November 8, 2014 in nanowrimo, project remembrance, snippets, writing


“now it begins all over again.”

It’s NaNoWriMo time again.  I’m afraid I can’t feel all that enthusiastic, because about a week ago, most of my family (including me), came down with an awful cough which we’ve yet to shake.  And it has a way of draining all the fun and excitement and enthusiasm out of anything.  Does this mean I won’t be participating?  No.  I’ll be participating, but I might not win.  I love the Project Remembrance story, I really do, but I’m just not sure how the whole thing’s going to go down. (on a total side note, don’t you love the graphics for this year’s NaNo?  Much better than last year, in my opinion.)

So, yeah, I’m sitting in the kitchen, early in the morning, being kept company by my sister since we both hate sleeping right now because we cough more when we lie down.  Bleary eyed because I stayed up till midnight watching a dumb animated film, eating pizza and oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, etc, etc.  Bored out of my mind, kind of depressed, and so on. (if this whole thing sounds like a pity party…it kind of is.)

BUT.  I’m going to rally and give NaNo my best shot this year – after all, what else can I do?


P.S. Don’t ask where the post title came from.  Just…don’t ask.  Like I mentioned above, I’m depressed right now.

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Posted by on November 1, 2014 in nanowrimo, project remembrance, writing