Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Just a little brag before I hit the sack...

24 hours before the deadline... I typed my 50,000th word (it was clearing). I now have a 180 page pile of ... ummm... well, not sure yet, actually because I haven't re-read any of it yet. It could be brilliant, more likely it's rambling crud. I do know that the last chapter and the epilogue were both written this weekend while I had the flu... so they could be interesting and cringe-worthy in the re-read.

Either way, I accomplished something pretty freakin' crazy... again!

Man I love November!!!

Now seriously, I have 3 unfinished, unpolished drafts... who's going to get on my case and harass me into bringing at least one of them up to publishing potential before I go stupid next November again (and I will, no doubt in my mind)?

And who around here actually likes proof-reading... cause have I got a doozy of a job for you! :)

"My Grandfather's Clock"

180 pages

50,022 words

November 2011

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Gladiator Crows

Okay, I'm taking a break from Nano'ing (I feel like Mork when I say that), to blog about something that we witnessed yesterday that was really horrible. I felt somewhat traumatised and really guilty about not doing anything.

We stopped at 7-11 to fill up with gas before heading to the city for swimming lessons yesterday morning. The sky and the power poles surrounding the parking lot were filled with crows. At least 50 of them, maybe more - felt like hundreds. They were all cawing loudly, over and over and over. In the parking lot, lying on his back on the ice was a small to medium size crow (Let's call him Little Crow), and circling and pecking at him was a larger crow (let's call him Asshole Crow, shall we?) He'd give him a few pecks and then back off, Little Crow would right himself and flutter a few feet into the air only to be knocked down and pecked by Asshole Crow again. It became pretty obvious that Asshole Crow, egged on by his horrible audience, had no intention of stopping until Little Crow was dead.

It was awful. It reminded us of when kids got into fights in high school and a crowd of kids would surround them watching, making the fight go on far longer than it probably would without the audience. Cory said that the crows were chanting, "fight, fight, fight", and that's probaby exactly what they were doing. Only problem is, this time there were no teachers nearby to intervene and pull Asshole and Little apart.

Ugh. I shudder to think about it.

Now let me first confess, I hate crows. They're ugly, noisy, dirty, garbage strewing birds that killed the nest of baby robins we had in our carport two years ago. I hate when they fly overhead because I always think they're going to dive-bomb my head. I hate when they tear apart our garbage, or worse, drag someone else's into our yard So, this scene creeped me out a bit. But I felt sorry for Little Crow who was seriously getting his ass kicked. I stood there pumping gas and trying to figure out what to do. I wanted to throw something at Asshole but I had nothing handy, and with my luck I would have hit Little instead. I wanted to chase him away but I couldn't bring myself to get near enough. I was feeling kind of paralyzed by all the creepy low-flying crows chanting their horrible battle cry, and I'm pretty sure Cory was too, so we just watched with morbid fascination. And even if we had intervened, what would we do with a dying crow if we did manage to save him? So we did nothing.

Eventually, Little Crow did manage to hobble over to the wall and hang out by the store, where a very kind (much braver than I) woman stood in between him and his tormentor. I'm not sure whether or not he survived. He wasn't there when we drove home in the afternoon, but that doesn't mean anything. Cory did a few circles of the van trying to chase Asshole away, but he was stubborn and didn't fly to far.... plus it didn't help that I was saying "Please don't run him over," over and over. Thankfully, the scene took place behind our van, so my kids don't share my trauma, they were blissfully unaware in their forward facing car seats. I have never seen anything like the arena style fighting and those horrible birds cheering it on.

It was like a scene out of a bad horror movie.... so of course I wrote 500+ words about it and threw it in my novel!

Anyway, here's the scene in my Nano novel (unproofed and unedited, so be kind). My character was braver than I and did what I wish I could have done. So now my character has morphed into a literary version of my Grandfather, who in his later years was a bird-lover.

And now I must get back to novelling... 10.5 days left in November and I am no where near wrapping up the story!


Chapter 11

The sound was shrill and grating, cacophony; the redundant, insistent cawing coming from the murder of crows that circled above the trees. Joe set his axe down against the house and arched his back, stretching out his muscles, flexing. He watched the crows for a few minutes. Curious, he followed the path to the treeline. The noise grew louder, insistent. A chanting, as if the crowswere crying out in battle. Joe snaked his way through the trees following the worn track beaten in to the ground since childhood. He dodged brush and branches easily, the woods as familiar to him as the back of his hand. The clearing. His clearing, the sanctuary where he and his brother played and later his sanctuary to which he’d escaped the realities of his home life. Now, however, it was an arena. Fifty or sixty crows circling in the air, more settled in the trees; calling incessantly, loudly.
Caw, caw, caw...
Fight, fight, fight...
In the middle of the clearing, lying on his back in the snow, a small crow flopped around, wings fluttering feebly, as he struggled to right himself. A larger crow, fat and swollen with the spoils of a recent meal, circled him, pecking and taunting.
Fight, fight, fight...
Joe watched the scene, ignored by the bloodthirsty spectators who continued their cruel chant, providing an unsettling soundtrack to the carnage below them. Joe wondered what the smaller bird had down to evoke the wrath of the larger; the bully. Possibly stolen his prey. Perhaps interrupted a mating ritual. Encroached on another murder’s territory. Joe watched, cheering for the smaller, but it became apparent as he righted himself and attempted to rise into the air, that this was not a fight to be won. The larger crow allowed him to hover mere feet off the ground, then dove at him, knocking him down; pecking him without mercy once again.
Fight, fight, fight...
Coming to a decision, Joe picked up a chunk of ice. It was cold and it burned his hands. He
stepped into the arena. His aim was true. The ice hit the larger crow square in the chest. His
body flew back and he flapped his wings angrily, rising into the air, fluttering to the edge of the clearing.
Fight, fight, fight...
The spectators jeered at Joe, circling his head and threatening to strike. He waved his arms above his head, irritated, as he walked towards the injured bird. The bird hopped away from him, frantic with fear and adrenalin.
Fight, fight, fight...
Now the spectators chanted him on. The tormentor flew back to his victim, landing twenty feet from Joe, eager to make his move but not daring to quite approach.
“Oh no you don’t,” Joe hissed. He stopped and pulled off the thick flannel jacket that he favoured in this weather.
Fight, fight, fight...
Spurred on by the eerie song, Joe tiptoed close to the bird. The aggressor cawed, his rage evident as he voiced his opinion; his intention to finish what he’d started. But that was not to be. With a sudden lunge, Joe dove at the injured crow, covering him with his coat, and wrapped the sides quickly underneath him. He scooped the bundle up into his arms.
Fight, fight, fight...
The cries of frustrated bloodlust followed him as he carried the thrashing bundle back through the trees to his house.

Monday, 7 November 2011

10,000 words!

Well, I have to say, this Nanowrimo is going really well. I am thoroughly enjoying the story that is typing itself (I'm helping a little, but this year it's just coming out naturally). My characters and plot have already started developing in ways I hadn't originally anticipated. It's a lot of fun.

The kids have been sick so I only managed a mere 800 words on Saturday and a mere 252 words yesterday. 1667 is the daily goal to hit 50K in 30 days. I've used up my excess words from last week and am not a bit behind the ball, but I plan to have a really good writing session and catch up tonight. I've also already sneaked in two writing sessions to the tune of about 1100 words this morning, so I am caught up to yesterday's 10K goal.

I do hope I can keep up the level of motivation to actually finish a story this time. Instead of pushing it aside December 1st, in favour of the Christmas season... and then resolving to get back to it in January... and then finding myself working on a completely different story come November. As history has shown that I'm apt to do.

So, for my Aunt... here's a teaser... This is the paragraph that contains my 10,000th word, "at". I know, I know... boring word, right? But it's actually the 50K word that truly counts. Please remember, the goal of Nano is quantity, not quality... so I corrected the one obvious typo and left the rest of the prose as is. Be kind... it's a bit "gagworthy and fluffy," I know.

"And so it continued for Nellie for a year. She no longer cried herself to sleep at night pining for a love that was as unhealthy as it was satisfying. She grew strong in her maternal desire to provide for her family and she vacillated between breadwinner and homemaker, spending long hours AT night carrying out the domestic tasks she used to have the luxury of completing in the morning. She never failed. Ever. Until Benny got sick and her world started crumbling all over again."

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

It is November 1st today...

... which means NANOWRIMO has officially begun! I am so excited! It's ridiculous. I'm completely capable of writing fiction any other time of the year. But I don't. I store it up and expel it in November. And I LOVE doing it.

This is my third year and hopefully my third win. Check out for rules --- and maybe to sign up, too!

Crazy, huh?

And I'm getting braver. I'm outing myself before I start the challenge, instead of after. I guess I'm pretty confident that it's an entirely achievable challenge.

I haven't typed a word yet. But I did spend my morning coffee break scribbling ideas into a notebook. Got three pages of fluff. I'm very pleased with it. I can't wait to see where it develops.
So... tonight after the kids are in bed, I am going to be typing my heart out and hopefully hammering out chapter one of a 50,000 word novel (which is about 200 pages from start to finish).

I have Nano 2009 and Nano 2010 unfinished on my desk (and on my hard drive). Maybe Nano 2011 is the draft I will finish and allow people to actually review for me.

Welcome my two Nano buddies, my cousin Rebecca (joined and won Nano 2010) and my old high school friend, Courtney ( whose a Newbie Nano'er this year, but if you check out my blogroll, you'll see that she's written some cool stuff under the pen name April Raines)

So here's to a month long burst of fertile creativity... see you on the other side of November!!!