ways I glossed over things that make no sense in my novel

December 6th, 2017

Sometimes I actually recognized when things made no sense as I was writing them. Instead of figuring out how to fix them, I employed a variety of time-tested strategies to ignore them.

*POV character thinks “that makes no sense”

*someone says “I feel like I missed something”

*POV character is distracted by something during a critical plot exposition moment; no one has time to explain it afterwards

*complete denial — events and people referenced as if there is context, but there isn’t, and none of it is ever explained

*characters claim they are too tired to understand what’s going on

*characters claim they weren’t expecting to have to explain anything

*explanations include the phrase “it was something like that; I don’t remember it that well”

*actual dialogue from the story: “That works.  Explains — all of this. Some of this, at least.  Not that much, actually.”

holiday month update

December 5th, 2017

One of the great things about having a holiday month is that you can take absolutely regular things and call them a holiday thing. Oh, you need a haircut? Boom, Christmas haircut. Done. Feel like eating nothing but popcorn chips for dinner? Call it a special holiday treat meal, goal achieved.

My point is, I don’t actually do something *new* every day as part of the month of celebration. Lots of days I just do regular stuff but give it a holiday name or do it with Christmas music playing in the background, and that makes it feel more fun.

Today’s holiday event: commuting to the sounds of Christmas. (aka actually connecting my phone to the car so I can get the good Christmas tunes!)

things that make no sense in my novel

December 4th, 2017

An un-numbered list, because I don’t want to know the count:

*Early in the story, characters are in a forest at night, looking for a red pine. (Spoiler: they find one.) Except it’s not really a spoiler because it literally never comes up again. What?

*A dog is mentioned once. Where did the dog come from? Where did the dog go? Was the dog named Cotton-Eyed-Joe?

*Is something weird going on? Ha ha, of course not, it’s all just a misunderstanding and will never be explained anyway.

*Allison’s family “isn’t around a lot.” (aka their complete absence from the story is never explained more than that)

*A to-go cup became a travel mug with zero explanation. (I had to fix this one.)

*Two instances so far of people answering questions that weren’t asked or reacting to something that didn’t happen. (Also fixed.)

*Shoutout to the animatronic cat joke from years ago. (NaNoWriMo 2006!)

Optimistically, I’m about halfway through. I wrote a lot of this story on different devices and emailed stuff to myself, so there was a lot of copy-pasting and auto-correct going on. It shows in some places more than others.

the making of a holiday month

December 3rd, 2017

I really like Christmas. I would go so far as to say it is probably my favorite holiday. I like the songs, and the trees, and the lights, the festive cheer, the sharing of food — I associate the Christmas season with a sort of warm glow of good feeling, and yet I absolutely 10,000% relate when Charlie Brown says, “Instead of feeling happy, I feel sort of let down.” There have been many years when I kept waiting for that magical “Christmas moment” when I would think ‘ah, yes, this is Christmas, how wonderful.’

True confession time: I’m not that great at magical moments. I tend to get distracted by practicalities — I’m thinking about a snack, or I need to use the bathroom, or my toes are cold. It’s really hard for me to not have part of my brain ranging about, which I’m told is bad for my “mindfulness” and ability to “be in the moment.” But trying to change it hasn’t exactly brought me tranquility and joy, so I’m trying a new strategy.

Up until Christmas, I’m trying to do something Christmas-related each day — not all day, or even any specific portion of the day, just something. Big or small. So far I’ve got my outdoor lights up (no bingo yet, but we’re getting closer!) and the tree mostly decorated. The goal is to take the pressure off Christmas being one perfect moment and spread out the holiday enjoyment over many days. (Holidays are supposed to be fun, right?)

Today I’m maybe baking cookies (the easy kind that are pre-made and you just put them on a pan) or maybe coloring. Or maybe both! Something enjoyably Christmas-related will happen today, and then another thing tomorrow. Maybe the same thing! Or not! And maybe none of them feel all that magical in the moment, but they add up to that nice warm holiday glow. (I mean, hopefully. We’ll see.)

December Caturday

December 2nd, 2017

I woke up this morning and thought ‘no words for nanowrimo to write?!?!’ And then I went back to sleep.

An update on Christmas light bingo: here are the pre-weekend charts from last night. I think there will be a big jump by Monday as people take advantage of the nice-ish weather.

Building 1:
x x x x
x x x x
o o x o

(o’s are lights)

Building 2:

x x o
x x x
o x x

Happy December!

December 1st, 2017

I’ll be back to the regularly scheduled fic rec Fridays next week, but I’ve been saving this story while nanowrimo finished up, and I don’t want to forget it.

So. Millennials and avocado toast, right? Right. Anyway, so I was at the grocery store last weekend, and avocados were on sale, so there I am with my half-size cart and my reusable shopping bags and a winter hat on because my hair is doing I-don’t-know-what these days. And a woman of an older generation walks over, clearly headed for the avocados, so I move ever so slightly over, in the way that you do at the grocery store when you’re not actually blocking anything but want to acknowledge that you’ve seen someone.

And she says, “Is this an avocado?”

Me: “Yes!” (I am always so relieved when someone has a question I can answer, and I get excited about it.)

Her: “I heard they’re really good for you.”

Me: (Instantly wary in the way only someone who has worked almost a decade in customer service can be.) “I’ve heard that too.”

Her: “What do you do with them? Just eat them plain?” (She had picked one up at that point.)

Me: (Definitely panicking a little and so COMPLETELY NOT PAYING ATTENTION TO THE WORDS COMING OUT OF MY MOUTH.) “I like to put them on toast.”

As soon as I said it, I realized what I had done. I was living the stereotype! Avocado toast! I was about to get called out for not buying a house, or for killing the napkin industry, or something! Alternately, I had just missed an AMAZING opportunity for a joke!

But apparently she was unaware of the dark secrets of the avocado toast craze, or she took pity on me, or she was just very distracted by the multitude of possibilities contained in her single avocado, and off we went in our opposite directions. Even now I’m not sure whether to be relieved or disappointed by her non-reaction, but I hope she enjoyed her avocado.

nano day 30

November 30th, 2017

Nanowrimo 2017: done.

Officially validated at 50,356. My word counter says 50,191. (I am somewhat abashed, but not entirely surprised, to find that my story may have *165* double hyphens in it.)

First line: “You said you’re a student?”

Last line: “Always.”

nano day 29

November 29th, 2017

Less than 48 hours to go! This is not a drill! Get it done!

(That’s all I’ve got for today. Gotta get back to writing!)

nano day 28

November 28th, 2017

Yes, the thrill of the approaching nanowrimo deadline is intense, but at this time of year, there’s another thrill to be had: Christmas light apartment bingo!

I live in an apartment building with 24 units (so, 12 visible from the front), and we’re kitty-corner to a building with 18 units (9 visible from the front). And as soon as the Christmas lights start going up, the race is on. Which building will get the first complete row, column, or diagonal of decorated apartments, and therefore claim the 2017 Christmas Light Apartment Bingo Championship Title?

Also: will the top floor knock us out of the running (again) for blackout bingo this year? Does a single light-up window decoration really count as participation? Are points lost for extreme gaudiness? Or gained?

Yes, this is a totally imaginary competition. The rules are made up, and the points don’t matter. But it’s fun!

nano day 27

November 27th, 2017

My Classic Day 27 Tip: This is the point in nanowrimo where I tell myself ‘you could always skip next year.’ Because it feels like I have worked Very Hard to get here, and yet I am Still Not Done. And that thought creeps in that I could just stop, and next year’s novel would probably be better anyway.

OR! I could push through the next few days and finish, and then take next year off entirely! That would Surely Be Easier!

[Note: Clearly I do not always actually take the next year off. But I could! And comparing ‘finishing this year’ to ‘not finishing this year’ sounds hard, but comparing ‘finishing this year’ to ‘writing 50,000 words next year’ sounds a lot less hard.]