Monday, 29 November 2010

November - NaNoWriMo

Okay, so I've been absent from the blogging world for a bit. (You should see how behind I am on the scrapbooking blog). I have forsaken all other hobbies, I have neglected the book I'm supposed to be finished reading for our book club meeting on Sunday, and I haven't touched my scrapbooking (except for a fabulous retreat with my Mom and sister-in-law). Haven't used the treadmill. Haven't even sat in front of the television. Neglected the housework and menu-planning... Basically, after my kids fall asleep, I sit down and the computer and start typing. And typing. And typing.

See, this is the second year I've signed up for NaNoWriMo. Check it out at . Basically, you commit to writing a 50,000 word novel in November. It's crazy and stupid, but also incredibly amazing when you realize that you have the makings of a manuscript (albeit a short one) and you've done something that most people only talk about doing ("I should really write a book some day"). The rules are easy, it has to be fiction, it has to be at least 50,000 words long, and it has to be written between 12:01am November 1 and 11:59pm November 30th. And you're not allowed to edit as you go. It's all about the word count... quantity not quality. This year there were almost 200,000 participants worldwide! That's a lot of creative writing going on!

Last year I did it just for the heck of it because I like to do things for 30 days and then quit. I wrote 50,000 words about a woman's relationship with her mother. This year I tackled something that I've been thinking about writing since my second son was born in 2007, but never really got past the planning phase. I even signed up for an online novel writing course last January but dropped out in March due, partly, to my procrastinating tendency not to do the homework and partly to other reasons.

Anyway, I did it. I typed my 50,000th word (it was "the"), validated it on the website and WON for the second year in a row! My 'mess'terpiece is over 200 pages (double-spaced), 54,000 words long, rambling and full of typos, loose ends and plot holes all over the place, very unpolished, and very unplanned prose. And I think I love it.
And a HUGE SHOUT OUT to my cousin, Rebecca Carter (sorry, girl, you'll always be Becky to me!) who decided to play along with me and be my NaNo buddy this year. She was a great cheerleader and she hit 50,000 before I did and I'm excited to read her novel.

So here I am publicly declaring my goal to finish it this story in 2011, before next November --- cause I already have an idea for next Nanowrimo, so I've got to be done with this story by then! :) Hold me accountable... I work well with deadlines and public humiliation.
Anyway, here's a teeny little teaser (be kind, I did no proofing or looking back as I pumped out the pages)! You'll have to read the rest of the story if I ever get published! :)

Daniel was an unhappy man. It stood to reason. He had a job he hated. An apartment he hate. A cat he hated. A car he hated. Daniel hated everything about his life.

It hadn't always been this way. There was a time that Daniel had passion. He fervently believed in what hd did at work, day after day, fumbling through the forms, bringing joy to those he stamped "approved" and charity to those he stamped "declined". Daniel worked at the Department office as a senior advisor for The Project.

Daniel's love affir with Smirnoff began seven years ago. He got a familiar phone call, two words, "she's here", and then a soft click. Daniel sat down, put his head into his hands and sobbed. His shoulders shook with the force of his angst. Confusion swirled in his head, black spots danced before his eyes, his temple throbbed. "She's here", he kept repeating, trying the words out with his tongue, twisting them around until they no longer made sense, sounding instead like a phrase uttered by one not quite familiar with the English language. "She's here". It could have meant anything, and yet only one thing.

It's a girl. Daniel fumbled on the coffee table for his keys, and grabbing his wallet he shoved it roughly into his back pocket. He turned off the loight, closed the door behind him, locked the deadbolt, and headed out into the street. Daniel had been drunk before. This wasn't the first time he had tried to escape the thought of a girl by drinking himself stupid.




Daniel drank until he ran out of cash. He considered getting more out of the machine, but when he slid off the bar stool, unsteadily, the black spots returned. He turned and staggered out of the building.

Daniel didn't remember getting home that night, he just rememberd the mother of a hangover he had the next morning. His head ached and roof of his mouth was fuzzy and thick. Daniel groaned. Then he remember the phone call. "She's here". Shit.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Hide and Seek Etiquette

I learn a lot from watching my children. I learn that you don't need to have toys and video games and books and television to entertain yourself, sometimes you can go right back to the basics.

Hide and Seek.

Today, on this sunny, but cold, November day, hide and seek is the game of choice. And finally the kids are almost all old enough to get the hang of it. But not quite. My six-year old is pretty good at tailoring his game play to suit the sibling that is hiding though, so it works.

For example, when he is seeking the two-year old, his technique is to wander through the house exclaiming loudly, "Are you in here?" before finally looking behind the couch, where he knows she is hiding, because he can hear her giggling and because its the place she's hid the last thirteen turns in a row.

And when he's looking for a three-year old, well, Connor pretty much hides in whatever the last place is that Alex just hid. So Alex either goes straight to him or pretends that he hasn't figured out Connor's pattern too and looks in a couple of other locations first.

Alex is a great seeker! He always wins.

And when Alex hides... well, he hides in some pretty innovative places. Sometimes so well that Connor and Kirstin can't find him. So throws out little clues to help them out.

An example of a good clue:

Alex hollers, "I'm somewhere stinky!" Connor finds him in the laundry hamper.

And example of a clue that maybe needs a little tweaking (but you have to give Connor kudos for trying):

Connor - "I'm somewhere in my bedroom under a blanket!"

The best thing about it is that it's a pretty independent game. Requires little supervision, no supplies and the best part, NO CLEAN-UP! Sometimes I join in, sometimes I don't. Usually my job is to count with the little ones and make sure they don't peek before we yell "Ready or not." However, when Alex tells my three-year old, "Connor, count to eighty thousand!"... well, then I decide it's time to intervene...