Saturday, November 04, 2006

Help, Send Bifocals!

Oh sheesh.

You know, its never the known evils that bring you down. I expected word-count induced panic attacks. I anticipated carpal tunnel attackes. I planned for the inevitable 25000 word case of writer's block. I plotted. I diagrammed. I interviewed and researched--all of this before November. (I know, you're asking me how much research could possibly go into a book about a woman who thinks she's Barbie. Well let me tell you. That bitch gets around!)

So it's not the word count that's killing me. THAT I'm on schedule for in spite of the fact that I got run over by the cold from Hell on Day one of Nanowrimo. But hey, I reasoned, what better excuse for staying in bed with the old laptop than an utter inability to breathe. Turning those lemons into lemonade....oh yeah. Got out of cooking, too. That was good for an extra thousane nano-words.

But today, after four-thousand plus words have ticked by on this old screen--I am realizing that I need an arm extension. Or, according to my husband, I need bifocals. Word to the wise. Do not rob the cradle. Just as chidlren grow up too soon, those cute little embroyo boys that looked so cute and cut when we dragged them home from the bar--turn into full-grown man types. With opinions of their own.

How dare that man suggest that....old age might be creeping up on me? Pish posh. Of course not!
So, next year--Dear God, did i just say NEXT year?--I'll get the old eyes checked in October. Stock up on Visine. Do a lot of arm yoga. Or, in a real pinch, get magnifying screen aka bifocals for my monitor.

Because lets face it. Bifocals make everything look bigger.

That goes for toy boys and word counts.

Its a Bouncing Baby Nano-ite!

That's right. Nanowrimo is a family affair for us this year. My thirteen-year old daughter dared me to join with her this year. You can read about that little challenge here--you'll see that we've been planning this for a looooong time, and why I felt it so very necessary for my daughter and I to participate in this challenge together.

Gina chose to write a combination graphic novel/extra-terrestrial chick lit. So her chapters begin and end in a graphic novel format. If you think Gina's writing is beyond her years....dude, you should see her artwork! I'll scan one of those in as soon as this techno-challenged parent can figure out where the on button is. :)

Because I'm way impressed with the witty and wonderful words my little one is spinning out during her nano-challenge--I'm going to be the first to publish her. On my blog, but hey...when you're thirteen? Print is print! And I'm a great believer in the power of the publish button to inspire a reluctant muse.

Please cheer for Gina---and enjoy an excerpt from her zany WIP, (working title) Podicle 23--set on the rogue planet where the meaning of life may well come gleaned in the pursuit of good hair days and the quest to produce the ultimate spiking gel...

“Click clack, clickity clack”,went the staccato sound of Zelenka's nails as her they tapped across the keyboard. She sighed, looking over her work. Only one more page, and then she would be all done! She leaned back in her egg chair and sighed.

The report on the results for the new product formula would be ready to turn in by six. Grinning she thought, Surly all this hard work warrants a reward… Gummy time! Zelenka grabbed a bag of gummy space pirates and stuck her hand in. But what was this? Her gummies were gone!

“My gummies!” She could have sworn she had at least seven gummies left in that bag! No gummies, why… that was madness! Someone must have stolen them! She stood up in her chair and looked into one of the podicles next to her, where her friend Suzika had two windows open on her holo-screen computer, one with an unfinished document that was probably due in less than thirty minutes, and another where she was playing Space Demons 5.

“Suzi, have you seen my space pirate gummies?”

“Grrr… Huh? No, I haven’t- TAKE THAT, SPACE ZOMBIE!” she shrieked, jabbing the space bar repeatedly, after which the screen scrolled large letters reading “LEVEL 78 COMPLETED”.

“WHOO! I am Suzika, destroyer of demons!” she shrieked, jumping up in her chair and then falling face first on her computer’s keyboard, causing both of the windows to close before she could save her game or write down her high score.

Deciding not to stick around for one of Suzika’s tantrums, she decided to try the other podicle. She saw two of her male co-workers; Lucas and Uriel. They were both notorious for goofing off every single day, blackmailing others into doing their work for them, and just being big lazy (cute, claimed some of the girls in the office) jerks in general.

She wondered what they were doing; most likely doing something that involved sticking things in their nostrils or having fights with their pens.

“Whoa, dude! That was sick, Lucas. Do it again!”

“Hehe, alright!” He replied, pulling a green gummy out of a space pirate gummies bag, and then snorting it up his nasal cavity.

That bag… why, that was hers! She was the only person in the office who scrawled a smiley face in marker on their snack containers so they would recognize it should it become lost.

“M-my precious gummies!” Zelenka squealed, losing her balance and falling on top of Uriel.

“What the heck?!” he shouted, pushing the girl off him. They both stared wide-eyed at the girl sitting on the floor, until Lucas broke the silence.

“Uriel! That chick just fell from the ceiling!” he said loudly, pointing one of his fingers at her.

“Whoa, how’d she get up there?”

“Idiots…” she mumbled, standing up and dusting off her black suit. It had yellow stripes running down the sides. This was the standard uniform for the people working in the corporate section of PRIDE Hair and Cosmetics, though the colors sometimes differed depending on the employee’s tastes.

“Hey, she’s got an attitude!” Uriel chuckled, prodding the side of her shoulder playfully. This warranted a sneer from Zelenka, as she pushed him away from her.

“Don’t touch me. You,” she said, turning her head to Lucas, “Gummies. Now.” She ordered, holding out her hands expectantly. Smirking, he pushed her hands aside.

“Whoa, whoa, calm down there, little girl! I’ll give you your gummies… If you do something for me.” he said suavely, leaning against the wall of the podicle.

Oh, she could see RIGHT through this one. He stole her space pirate gummies, and now he wanted her to go on a date with him? What in the universe was his idea of the definition of the word “charming”?

“Oh yes, of course. I’d definitely go on a date with you. What else do I have better to do than waste brain cells pursuing some degenerate hooligan like you?” she said in a gruff tone. Of course, these big, long words were much too much for Lucas and Uriel to take in and understand, besides the first two sentences.

“Great, see you at eight.” He said, waggling his eyebrows. His buddy gave him a thumbs-up and they both snickered, waiting for her to leave. Zelenka’s brow furrowed, and she frowned. I should have known better...

“Since you two can’t seem to comprehend proper English, why don’t I put this in a way you two can understand?” she suggested, giving her best smile. Promptly after, she grabbed a soda that happened to be set on the messy desk area, took the lid off, and splashed the drink all over them.>

“I don’t like you.”

While they both stood with their mouths agape, she grabbed her gummies out of Lucas’ hand, and popped an orange one in her mouth...

Friday, November 03, 2006

Its Nanovember At Trashionista

Ah, Day 3 of Nanowrimo, and I'm still on schedule to make goal by Thanksgiving. But, the newness wears off, doesn't it? In spite of months of plotting, planning, developing storylines....nothing, absolutely nothing, is going to put those words to the page for me. Every word that flies off my keyboard for the next three days is going to put me that much closer to....SAGGING MIDDLE SYNDROME!

No, I'm not talking about my gut. I'm talking about that writerly affliction when the newness of the rosy beginning wears off, and we're left with the reality that we have to carry these characters and their problems all the way to the finish line. EEK! Scary....

If you're anything like me, you probably have to stop writing now and again to crack your knuckles and bolster your muse up with a word or two of inspiration. Check out Nanovember at

Authors who have managed to see their Nano entries published are speaking out. One of them even saw her nano-book produced into a movie by Goldie Hawn.

You'll also hear from other writers who have set sail into that vast, unknowable realm that will lead some of us to 50 K in 30 days.

Or not! But how wild the ride on this merry voyage of insanity! :)

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Nanowrimo. It's not as hard as it sounds....

Perhaps I can thank my summer of "training" with an eye towards increasing my daily word counts, but popping out 1667 words (the Nanowrimo daily minimum) went by quickly. So quickly that by 3 am. last night I had over 2300 words. Then I slept for a while, got up, and spun out another 1678 words.

Normally, writing doesn't come this easily for me.

Then again, given the short time frame in which the nano powers that be give their participants to reach 50,000 words, I did something that, given more leisurely circumstances, you couldn't pay me to do.

I. Wrote. An. Outline. (gulp. gasp! shhhhhh!)

And it was good. I am re-thinking my life as a seat of the pants writer. So if that's all this month of living by the almighty word count accomplishes for me--how to weave a compelling story--then I've already won.

Good luck everyone. It's really not as hard as it sounds.

Then again, ask me how I feel about this post mid-month!

Excerpt...And we're off! Nanowrimo Has Begun....

After my mom finished icing the nasty lump on her forehead, she came into my room to look over my (way amazing) report card.I had already kicked my feet up onto my desk and leaned back in my chair, figuring that this one should be worth at least fifty bucks.

I got six a's and one b-.When mom gasped--probably overwhelmed with joy--I extended my open hand toward her, ready to receive my accolades and my cold, hard cash.

Those gothalicious ankle boots I've had my eye are so mine, I thought.

Mom's brows knit together in a (faux) blonde slash of ire. "Kathi Jo Roberts, I thought I'd taught you better than this."

My chair fell backwards onto the carpet, taking me with it. "What? Whaddid I do? And did you just call me Kathi?"

Mom breathed so deeply that her shoulders rattled with the effort. "It's obvious, by the looks of these grades that we still have a lot of work to do."My mother's index finger wagged before my nose. "Your head is clearly not in the right place, young lady.

Is mom lecturing me?, I wondered. My mom? No way.

I scrambled to my feet and snatched my report card out of my mother's freshly manicured hand, thinking that Grets and I surely must have gotten our cards mixed up.

I don't get it, I thought as I scanned the grades. This was clearly my report card, and these were clearly my awesome grades.

"Mom? I made the Dean's List!" I cried, shoving the card back under her nose."

"I know, Kathi Jo. You certainly don't have to rub it in."

"It's Katya now, Mom. Or Kat. Anything but--brr--Kathi Jo!"

"Honey," Mom said as she reached out and clasped my hand into hers. " A new name is not going to solve your boy problems."

"Mom?" I said as I took in the blonde hair, the pink t-shirt, the maribou trimmed mules. Maybe we should call a doctor..."

My mother reached out to smooth my hair away from my face. "Let's not fret, now. It's not like being smart is a t-terminal disease. No doctor can fix this. We'll just have to b-buck up and work harder..."

I could see tears--actual honest to God tears--welling behind my mom's false lashes.

"What needs fixing, Mom? My good grades? My free ticket to Juilliard?"

"Sweetie, you'll never get a date to the prom with these grades."

"The prom?" I scanned my mother's face, looking for the evidence that one of those cackles that so often marked the punch lines to her jokes was about to erupt.

"The prom?" I repeated, unable to believe that my brilliant, bohemian, bizarre mother thought I'd even consider such an anti-goth rite of passage.

Not a single muscle quivered on my mother's face. She just looked pissed beyond reason. And sad---truly heartbroken. And really, really blonde.

Cold fingers of fear began to work their way through my gut as I backed away from my mother.
"No, mom. No prom. Not now. Not ever."

My mother's lower lip quivered as she backed up to my desk and picked up my Day Runner. "You'll thank me for this someday."

Thunk. My mom dumped my Day Runner into the trash.

My mouth fell open. My jaw hung slack. "You've gone completely emo."

Klunk. My calculator followed my Day runner.

"And just how do you propose to fix the fact that I have an IQ, mom? Are you going to throw my brain away, too?"

Mom picked the poetry and astrology books up off of my desk and dumped them one by one into the trash pail.

"Don't be silly! You're going to do what girls like us have done since the dawn of time."

"And that is?"

"You're going to fake it."

"Fake what?" I shouted as I dove to intercept the trash can before Mom could leave with it.

In spite of the frilly maribou trimmed mules that forced my mom to stand on her tiptoes, she pirouetted out of my reach with a ballerina's grace.

"You're going to fake being dumb."

Kaplonk. My slide rule and calculator followed the books.

One more time, I lunged for my stuff. My mom, the mega-klutz who once broke her nose by walking into a wall, danced out of my reach again. She executed a perfect split-leap to close the space in between me and the trash receptacle that overflowed with everything I needed to complete tonight's assignments.

"Mom? You can't throw my books out. I have homework."

Mom looked at me. Her blue contact clad eyes remained as wide and vacant as a high desert sky. "Trust me sweetie," she said as she picked up my trash can and hugged tight against her chest. "This is for the greater good."

As my mom backed slowly towards my bedroom door, she kept talking. "If only I'd taken more care back when I was your age.....well, I'd never have l-lost my chance with K-Ken.

A huge teardrop dangled pathetically on the thick crescent of my mom's lashes. "I had to settle for less, Kathi Jo."

My mom's wagging finger emphasised her clipped words. "No daughter of mine. Is going to grow old. Living on. If only's."

Then my mother turned on her pink kitten heel, her gleaming, blonde ponytail swishing behind her.

Obviously my mom had inhaled a good bit more up there in the attic than the dust that covered that old box of fashion dolls.

I picked up the Prom Queen Barbie that my mother had left lying in the lonely space that my books used to occupy.

"Where is my mom and what have you done with her?" I picked the plastic antithesis of everything I've worked so hard for by her bouffant skirt and hurled her across the room.