Some observations as I enter my final week of NaNoWriMo 2016

When I began the first version of this novel a few years ago, I thought it was about one man, a character I named Sergeant Tom Cleaver. My mother-in-law had sent me a book of obscure Texas histories and real-life wild characters, and I read about one crazed man so violent and so charismatic thatContinue reading “Some observations as I enter my final week of NaNoWriMo 2016”

NaNoWriMo 2016: getting back to work

I began my 2016 NaNoWriMo on fire: thanks to a midnight start, I cranked out more than 9,000 words on the first day. By Day 4, I’d launched up to 15,000 words. As of Monday, November 7, I had written 17,643 words — I was WAY ahead of schedule, so I decided to take November 8, ElectionContinue reading “NaNoWriMo 2016: getting back to work”

Lit Crawl Portland and Wordstock 2016

I’m taking a short break from NaNoWriMo this weekend to catch a train to Portland, OR and attend Lit Crawl and Wordstock, two of the year’s biggest literary events in one of my favorite literary cities! I wrote about Wordstock last year, but this year I’ll be volunteering (I’ll be a door monitor), so in addition toContinue reading “Lit Crawl Portland and Wordstock 2016”

NaNoWriMo 2016: starting over

People have been asking me on social media if I’m participating in NaNoWriMo this year. Friends, former students, readers who liked my first NaNoWriMo attempt (Hagridden) — I even got a Facebook event invitation from NaNoWriMo executive director Grant Faulkner. I’ve told them all the same thing: of course I’m participating! Except, as I’ve done aContinue reading “NaNoWriMo 2016: starting over”

NaNoWriMo 2015: the end is the beginning

Well, I have crossed the finish line and then some. As of today, my word count stands a little more than 57,500. Of course, as I said in my previous NaNoWriMo post, a lot of those words I’ll wind up throwing out, and I also know a lot of those words might stay but become drasticallyContinue reading “NaNoWriMo 2015: the end is the beginning”

NaNoWriMo 2015: revising without revising

It’s been a while since I’ve posted updates on my NaNoWriMo. That’s because it’s been a busy month, with a lot of side obligations I’ve been fulfilling. I judged a literary contest, I blurbed a friend’s book, I did a couple of readings, I wrote an essay a magazine solicited. It’s also been a busy month of myContinue reading “NaNoWriMo 2015: revising without revising”

NaNoWriMo 2015: plot, structure, shape

I struggle with plot. In grade school, I learned that plot was just another word for story. Later, I learned a more mechanical version, that plot was the arrangement of events in a narrative. It is the order in which things happen, and it has a shape. Mostly it looks like an arc — often a sharp one, likeContinue reading “NaNoWriMo 2015: plot, structure, shape”

NaNoWriMo 2015: inspiration

A few months back, while looking through some old family miscellany, I had an idea for a new novel. This month, I’m writing that novel for NaNoWriMo. But unlike in years past, I’m trying to avoid reading much of anything while I’m writing the book — I have a pretty clear narrative voice and, as ofContinue reading “NaNoWriMo 2015: inspiration”

Against my better judgment: NaNoWriMo 2015

I don’t know quite why I’m getting myself into this, except that I don’t know what else to do. I’ve had an idea for a novel for a couple of months now, but I haven’t done anything with it because I’m still in the middle of writing a different book. When it comes to bigContinue reading “Against my better judgment: NaNoWriMo 2015”

NaNo(Re)WriMo: the first big rewrite

Well, I’ve done it at last. A while ago, I mentioned that I was feeling revolutionary, that I wanted to throw away everything I’ve written on this novel and start again, that I wanted to make such drastic and dramatic changes to the book as to change the narrative structure, the POV, the purpose. I triedContinue reading “NaNo(Re)WriMo: the first big rewrite”