Cathy Eats Her Words

November 21, 2008

author’s note

Filed under: Author's Note,NaNoWriMo — jeanne @ 4:30 am

this is such a long final little bit of the chapter. It was meant to be the standard 8-10 pages that i end up with per chapter. But the little bit that had to be covered in the outline turned into page after page of exploring the building events, and now it’s as least twice as long.

Feeling my way. And i just today thought up what has to happen in the next and last chapters, which is a whole interlocking series of events involving the minor characters, who interact with each other. This is like a story in itself, and i find as i finish this sixth chapter that i’m thinking of things that i’ve just set up and how they must play out, and rushing down to the bottom of the outline and putting down what has to happen before i forget it.

So the following chapters are getting bigger, but it’s the end of the book and it’ll turn out as big as it needs to be. I’m really busy mowing the grass behind this wall calling publishing, striking out and rewording as fast as i can. It’s just that i’ve planted so many seeds and they keep sprouting up and needing to be trimmed.

It could get worse. I’ve just maybe decided to include a suspected meth lab in our neighborhood into the story. At least, i suspect there’s a meth lab because of the funny smells, but it could just be somebody dumped their toxic waste in their side yard or something. But i’m sitting here writing what does whom to what and i keep wondering how it could fit in.

more pages, bigger, longer, incapable of being finished in the time left in the nanowrimo contest and so maybe we’ll wait until next year to finish cathy eats her words? i don’t fucking think so. i don’t want to spend three years on this unpublished novel when i could be writing a book that my entire family will never speak to me again after it’s unpublished on the internet for them all not to read – train wreck: the wrath of mom.

i’m actually spending all the time i was going to take finishing the sixth chapter finally, and i probably might could have finished it today. but i’m spending all my time rewriting how the story has to go from here, and it’s a major rewrite, with all sorts of emerging motivations and twists in the plot.

it’s beginning t o get musical, mathematical, there’s rhythm to what happens and then what happens and then what happens. a waltz maybe. It’s much more complex than it was, but when i wrote the outline there was a fuzzy spot at the end where a miracle needed to occur. so, cool, i sat down this morning and pulled one out of the air in front of me.

i love when that happens. It means you could just sit down and start writing without a thought in your head beyond the opening scene – which appeared to you while you were sitting in the bathroom. and the story would write itself. And you wouldn’t know the ending until you read it on the screen. this technique is called no plot, no problem, and it’s how one of the founders of nanowrimo writes. just write. shit happens.

October 31, 2008

tomorrow it begins

Filed under: Author's Note,NaNoWriMo — jeanne @ 6:15 pm

tomorrow is november the first, when the annual nanowrimo kicks off, and i’m participating again this year. i’m finishing the novel i started last year at this time. it was something like 65,000 words when i was only half done, and because shit happens, i never got around to writing more.

but jim and i have been reading my daily output from last year, a night at a time, and we’re going to finish it up tonight with the 21st day of writing. we’re only halfway thru the plot.

we’ve only just gotten into the real fiction part of the story. the first part was almost verbatim what actually happened, and now it’s almost completely fiction from here on out.

i thought i would get to the end of what i’d written last year and change everything that was to come, but at this point i haven’t figured out what to change, so i’m going to stick to the plot i figured out last year. it’s somewhere in the beginning of this blog, if you’re interested in scrolling way down.

i hope you’re entertained by it. it should approach farce pretty quickly.

the trouble will be, as always, getting time to sit down and write. last year it was my first priority, but this year i can’t actually go somewhere and isolate myself from everything, so i’m not expecting it to go as smoothly as it did last year.

but we’ll see.

stay tuned as i write page after page of hopeless drivel that nonetheless keeps me and jim pretty entertained.

October 11, 2008

reading the manuscript so far

Filed under: Author's Note,NaNoWriMo — jeanne @ 5:58 pm

so jim and i are reading th e story out loud, a day’s work a night. we’re up do day 5, chapter 3. i’m noticing that things go by very tersly, with not much development. i’m finding i don’t much like the dialog, which sounds stiff.

mainly we’re both amused because we know these events to intimately from when they happened and we changed the names.

it’s a good thing that the plot diverges from reality early on, and by the time i take up the keyboard again we will be in completely uncharted territory.

it’s fun reading what i wrote last year. i took loads of the dialog straight out of recent memory or saved email, and wrote everything as it was happening in my construction news blog.

i’m reading it because i need to know what i’ve written if i’m going to finish writing it, and ji’m’s hearing it because i sat with him day after day for a month and he never knew what i was writing.

October 2, 2008

november’s coming, cathy hasn’t eaten

Filed under: Author's Note,NaNoWriMo — jeanne @ 4:51 pm

after not having written word one since last november’s mad orgy of novelling, this november i will be going back to try and finish cathy eats her words .

unlike last year, i won’t be participating in any of the hand-holding meet your local fellow-nanowrimo contestant thing at coffee shops around atlanta.

what i will do is to print out all the already written chapters and review my notes.

my husband hasn’t read anything i wrote last year, because i wrote it while i was hanging out on a custom mural job he’d taken on. we went to these rich buckhead people’s home and painted on their wall every day last november. jim painted on the wall, i sat and typed, we brought a boombox and some classical music, we brought lunch, we brought the dogs. and i sat and wrote a novel for the four hours or so that we were there. got 6,000 words written a day that way. bang bang bang on the typewriter keys (click click click).

so i’ll get him to read what i’ve already written. i’ll read it myself. then i’ll have a comletely different idea of what the ending should be, because i’ve had a year to let it sit and simmer, and he’ll help me come up with the twists and turns it will have to take to get there from here.

lots of shit has to happen.

November 28, 2007

Author’s note

Filed under: Author's Note,NaNoWriMo — jeanne @ 7:01 pm


official 2007 nanowrimo winner

I’ve finished writing for the month of November, because I’ve got to go do shit, but I’m not finished writing my story. So come back in December and see how far I can get in two months. Maybe three.

November 19, 2007

Author’s note

Filed under: Author's Note,NaNoWriMo — jeanne @ 6:39 pm

With this eleventh day of writing, I have officially “won” NaNoWriMo, with almost 52,000 words. I credit my ability to set aside four or five hours at a time to write, and two or three hours to edit.

Unfortunately, it being Xgiving week, and family due at my house for all sorts of cooking that has yet to be done, I won’t be back at the keyboard until Friday. Which means that by the end of November, when NaNoWriMo officially closes, I’ll have probably less than 75,000 words, and will be somewhere around halfway thru my story.

In the near future, my excuse for sitting and writing all day will dry up, and that means i’m going to have to invent a way to be away from distraction for most of each day. This may be difficult, since Xmas is coming, and I’ve got to make all those presents.

But I will do my best to continue, because I love to write. And I don’t want the momentum to disappear, because I want to see all the good guys get theirs, and the bad guys, too.

And Cathy and Gray need more sex. Sorry, Star.

November 3, 2007

Author’s Note

Filed under: Author's Note,NaNoWriMo — jeanne @ 6:38 pm

So, how’s it going?

Well, I’ve been writing for two days. According to the National Novel Writing Month guidelines, if you spend every day writing 1,666.67 words a day, you’ll have 50,000 words at the end of a month, which is the whole goal of NaNoWriMo. In my case, being the realist I am, I’m not even trying to write on the weekends, so i’ll have to put out, say 2,500 words a day for 20 days.

However.

My goal is to write a first draft of a novel, and as far as I’m concerned, a novel is at least twice the number of words they’re shooting for in this contest.

The reason I’m doing this is because I love to write, but as with all things, shit happens,and I have been blocked from writing for about a year. I wrote Splat, and then I tried starting Construction News, but friends came to visit, and other stuff happened, and then I had no time to write, so I just let it slide. Another unfinished, unpublished novel. My fourth.

It took me a year to write Splat, and I did it very differently from how I’m going about writing Cathy. Splat was carefully plotted out, just as Cathy is, but I handled the sections chapter by chapter, instead of daily, and did the first and second rounds of editing as I was witing it. With Cathy, I’m writing for 3 or 4 hours a day, correcting the spelling before I quit, and then  spending several hours in the evening editing it and then posting it.

Another difference is that I’m not sitting here at my computer at home writing it. That’s got too many interruptions attached to it. There’s my internet connection. There are the dogs. There are endless cups of coffee, the laundry, the garden, research, and writing my blog. All the things Cathy does, incidentally. Write what you know.

What I’m doing while I write Cathy is I’m going off with my husband to a commission he’s doing, a mural on someone’s wall, and I’m sitting there with my laptop and a carafe of coffee, pounding away at the keyboard, and only getting up to have a lunch break and pee.

And I’m putting out 4,000 words in just over 4 hours. I love to write. The words just flow out of my fingertips, and often when I look at what’s on the screen, I don’t recognize it, don’t remember having thought it up. It’s a shoemaker and the elves kind of thing.

The problem they warn you about on the NaNoWriMo website is that somewhere in the middle of the month, you lose your enthusiasm for writing. The plot fizzles, the details get tangled, your energy flags. I didn’t experience this with Splat, but I sure had that kind of trouble with Construction News. So we’ll see what happens in the middle of it. For now, I’m having a great time, and leaping out of bed in the morning to start writing.

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