November 30, 2001

Go take a look at

Go take a look at the NaNoWriMo winners. Go on. I'll wait here. There are some great titles there. I think my favorites are "The Undeleted Email of Joan of Arc", "A Happy Tale of World Conquest and Band Nerds" (a novel about band nerds! That rocks!), and "A Length of Chain, a Jug of Ale, and Thou".

I'm still glowing. :) I took the night off last night and just sorta futzed around on the computer. To my surprise, I found that I missed writing. Alas, tonight is a homework night.

Posted by Lisa at 07:37 AM | Comments (0)

November 29, 2001

I DID IT!50,020If you heard

I DID IT!

50,020

If you heard a piercing shriek coming from southeastern Michigan, that was me. The story's not done yet, but I will have a first draft finished before the end of December.

Posted by Lisa at 01:39 AM | Comments (6)

November 28, 2001

Scream with me, children. I'm

Scream with me, children. I'm now 1774 words away from crossing the finish line. I may actually manage it tonight. If not tonight, then definitely tomorrow night.

Posted by Lisa at 10:26 PM | Comments (0)

Inspiration came and smacked me

Inspiration came and smacked me upside the head while I was trying to sleep. All the loose ends of my story neatly tied themselves up and presented themselves to me as a wrapped package inside my head, so I'm going to try and capture some of that.

Posted by Lisa at 01:04 AM | Comments (0)

November 27, 2001

Not a lot done tonight,

Not a lot done tonight, but I'm still ahead of the game. At this rate, I think I'll finish on Thursday. Well, finish as in reach 50K.

Posted by Lisa at 10:29 PM | Comments (0)

Natalie Goldberg to the rescue:

Natalie Goldberg to the rescue: "Anything we fully do is an alone journey. No matter how happy your friends may be for you, how much they support you, you can't expect anyone to match the intensity of your emotions or to completely understand what you went through. This is not sour grapes. You are alone when you write a book. Accept that and take in any love and support that is given to you, but don't have expectations of how it is supposed to be."

I do love my friends, new and old, writing and non-writing, NaNo-ing and non-NaNo-ing. Y'all are a patient bunch and I appreciate every scrap of good feeling that's come my way this month.

Posted by Lisa at 08:44 PM | Comments (3)

I got email from a

I got email from a friend this morning gently pointing out that I've been a self-absorbed brat all month. And he's right, I have. I've acted as if this book is not only the most important thing in my world, but in the world, and frankly I'm surprised that my non-Nano friends haven't kicked me in the teeth before now. I made the mistake of thinking that absolutely everybody gave a shit whether I wrote a novel or not. Now I feel a little at sea, recognizing the truth.

I feel like I owe an enormous apology to anyone who knows me. Suddenly whether or not I reach 50,000 by Friday doesn't seem to matter nearly as much as whether or not I'll still have some of my friends by then as well. I'm sorry, guys.

Posted by Lisa at 07:27 AM | Comments (2)

November 26, 2001

Another 2,000 words. I am

Another 2,000 words. I am now officially a full day ahead of schedule. Woohoo! This generic "Arthricream" stuff is the only reason I was able to write tonight, I think. My hands and arms are aching. I'm about to go fall into bed, but here's tonight's excerpt. Is it love, or stalking?

David still sounded strange as he settled onto the grass next to her. "So what'd you do last night?"

"Not much," A.J. said. "I did some homework, then went to bed early."

"Ah," David said, still speaking with someone else's voice.

"David? Is something wrong?"

"Oh no," David said. "Nothing at all. I was just worried about you."

"Worried about me? Why?"

"I came by at about nine and you didn't answer the door. I figured you weren't there."

"Oh," said A.J. "I was probably asleep."

David didn't say anything for a moment, then he sighed. "A.J., you don't have to lie to me. I mean, we didn't really have anything going on. It was just one kiss and--"

"David, what on earth are you talking about?"

He raised his eyes to meet hers. "I was worried about you last night. I was afraid it might have been like that day you slept all day. So I… climbed the tree outside your bedroom window."

"You what?" It took A.J. a moment to move from puzzled to incredulous.

"I was worried," David repeated. "So I climbed the tree outside your window. A.J., I know you weren't there. You weren't in your bed."

Posted by Lisa at 11:15 PM | Comments (0)

November 25, 2001

I wrote over 7,000 words

I wrote over 7,000 words today. I'm a little awed by that. Not only am I now caught up, but I'm about a thousand words ahead of schedule. This is a good thing, because starting tomorrow I'm working ten hour days. The scary thing is to realize that in another 7,000 words, the amount I wrote today, I'll have reached 50,000! Sara and A.J. met each other tonight, and what an eventful meeting it was! I couldn't type fast enough to keep up with them. Of course, now my fingers feel like they're going to fall off. Here's an excerpt from earlier today, Sara again. She's just more interesting to excerpt than anyone else, apparently.

Once back in her room, Sara fell into a deep sleep almost immediately, a combined result of the long day and the beer she'd had. For the first time since leaving the Institute she dreamed of the crying baby that always showed up in her pictures. She was washing dishes at the truck stop, and above the noise of the cooks and truckers outside, she heard the sound of a baby. At first she just figured it was one of the customers' children, but the sound went on and on, and grew in intensity until the cries were drilling into her skull. Sara stopped washing dishes and started looking for the child. When she looked into the dining room, there were no children to be seen at all, and the sound seemed to get fainter, coming from behind her.

Turning back to the kitchen, the angry cries grew louder, as if the child was impatient for Sara to find it. In the confused manner of dreams, Sara began looking in the cupboards, pushing aside institutional-sized cans of green beans and tomatoes. Part of her mind went back to her drawings of the infant and his often surreal surroundings. Finally after looking in all of the cupboards and under all of the sinks, Sara made her way back to the walk-in refrigerator on the other side of the kitchen. She swung open the door, expecting a cold rush of air to wash over her in a wave of white frost.

Instead the scent of loam and green life filled her nostrils. Sara looked closer, and where shelves of salad vegetables and defrosting meat and open cans of ketchup and mayonnaise should be was instead a deep, growing forest framed by the stainless steel doorway. From the depths of the forest, she could hear the infant crying louder, as if letting her know she was getting closer.

"Sara, Sara, Sara," Eochaid's cold voice sounded behind her, gently reproachful. "There's nothing there for you."

Sara whirled to find her surroundings changed once more. Instead of the truck stop of her dream, she was standing in the white room with Eochaid towering before her. She glanced behind her, but the doorway to the forest was gone.

Posted by Lisa at 10:40 PM | Comments (4)

Julie made it to 50,000!

Julie made it to 50,000! Go, writing buddy, go! Now I'm truly inspired. Time to dive back into my own manuscript! Wright and his partner are off looking for Sara, in hopes that she can help them solve a missing persons case. She can, but she doesn't know it yet. :)

Posted by Lisa at 07:27 PM | Comments (0)

FORTY THOUSAND WORDS! Even with

FORTY THOUSAND WORDS! Even with the turkey and the nap, I am rocking and rolling today. I have an offer for a date tonight. I'm tempted to take it, but I'm afraid to give up the momentum I've got going on now. This is how much of a writer geek I am.

Note: Expect more exclamation points and words in all caps as I get closer and closer to 50K and finished (which, I have a feeling, will not be one and the same). I am now just one day behind in my word count, but I want to get ahead as much as I can tonight, because this week will be the week from hell. Mandatory OT starts at work this week, gearing up for busy season.

Posted by Lisa at 05:46 PM | Comments (0)

I gotta stop eating turkey

I gotta stop eating turkey sandwiches for lunch. Turkey for lunch, then I sit back down to write and end up taking a two hour nap instead. Gah!

Posted by Lisa at 04:08 PM | Comments (0)

My god. I see the

My god. I see the light at the end of the tunnel. Literally. I have about 14,000 more words to write, and as of this morning I have two handwritten pages of notes that contain the end of my novel. I now know how the story ends! This is such a rush. I'm about ready to go bouncing out of my chair. Everything has fallen into place and makes an almost coherent picture! I'm already recognizing flaws in what I've already written, and things I will need to rewrite or elaborate on, but that's for the edit. For now, this story is almost complete in my mind and on my screen, and all that remain after that are finishing touches and decoration.

HALLELUJAH!

Posted by Lisa at 10:05 AM | Comments (0)

November 24, 2001

After managing 2500 words last

After managing 2500 words last night, and 4000 words today, I'm only about 4000 words behind schedule. I should be able to catch that up this weekend. I think I'm actually going to make this!

Another excerpt of Sara again, talking to the same one of the Host as before. He has a name now, but I think I'll keep that information to myself for now.

The silver-haired one chuckled. "It is interesting, is it not, that your own kind shut you away from the world when you told them about us. Why do you suppose that is?"

"They didn't believe me," Sara said. "They thought I was insane. People who believe in aliens usually are considered a little insane. People who say they've met them are considered a little more insane."

"Yet you were telling the truth, and I doubt you are insane. Why do you think they did not believe you?"

Sara glanced down at her bound feet and hands. "Look, this conversation would be a lot easier to have if I could sit up, maybe?"

The silver-haired one watched her for a moment with amusement. "I do not believe you will harm anything if you are free." He pressed a few buttons in a console set into the wall, and her bonds fell away. Sara sat up, rubbing her wrists gingerly. "There," he said. "That's much better, isn't it? Much more civilized, I think."

"Well, as civilized as kidnapping and torture can be, sure," Sara retorted, and then felt a moment of fear after she spoke.

"One does what one can," her captor smiled. "Now. I believe we were speaking of your people's lack of belief."

Posted by Lisa at 12:19 AM | Comments (0)

November 22, 2001

This Thanksgiving I am grateful

This Thanksgiving I am grateful for two very important things: having a four day weekend in which to write, and reaching 30,000 words! Yay!

Posted by Lisa at 08:13 PM | Comments (1)

November 21, 2001

Let the weekend games begin!

Let the weekend games begin!

Posted by Lisa at 11:58 PM | Comments (0)

November 20, 2001

Hanging in there. Waiting for

Hanging in there. Waiting for this weekend. The words are coming out of me one at a time; I'm dragging them out with a winch and chain at times, it feels like. I'm about 6,000 words behind, but I can still catch up. I wrote my way past my block tonight, and started tossing in some notes about the next couple of chapters.

Posted by Lisa at 10:26 PM | Comments (2)

Not a whole lot going

Not a whole lot going on last night. I managed something like 200 words. For the first time, I got stuck. The words I did write were mostly chapter synopses of chapters to come. I'm starting to get a little overwhelmed by the wholeness of my story. It might just be because I'm tired, I don't know.

I did, however, start editing some other pieces. I worked on "Rhythm" some last night, trying to get it ready for a new submission. I also started editing some personal essays, for submission to a book about "generation X". Hey, if I'm going to procrastinate, I may as well procrastinate by writing, right?

Posted by Lisa at 07:15 AM | Comments (0)

November 18, 2001

Aha. The plot thickens --

Aha. The plot thickens -- literally! Two of my plotlines finally started to converge of their own free will. This excerpt is linked to the one below:

As Sara watched, the wall in front of her dissolved into transparency. There she saw another table similar to the one to which she was strapped. Writhing on the table was another girl, maybe about her age. Horrified and confused, Sara watched the girl scream as the needles and electrodes extracted whatever it was the Host "needed" from their victims. Why were they showing her this? She tried to close her eyes, but the screams still filled her head, and that was somehow worse. So she watched while the nameless victim, pale and a little plump, with dark hair that fell into her face, twitched and cried. Finally she saw the silver-haired one step forward and she heard him say, "Enough." The girl fell limp and the wall darkened and solidified once more.

"What is different about that girl?" The words came in the coldest voice Sara had ever heard, a voice that threatened to frost her veins and freeze her heart. She looked over and saw one of the Host, this one with radiant golden hair and a cruelly beautiful smile. With the gray pallor of his skin, he looked like nothing so much as an exquisite corpse.

"Wh-What?"

He gave a patient smile and spoke again, as if speaking to a child. "That girl. There is something different about her. What is it?"

I only managed about 1,000 words tonight. I'm still 4,000 words behind schedule, but there's still Thanksgiving weekend!

Posted by Lisa at 11:28 PM | Comments (0)

Halfway there! I just crossed

Halfway there! I just crossed the halfway point of 25,000 words. I ended up spending Friday on my own, away from everyone and everything, taking a much needed sanity day -- a sanity day in the truest sense of the word. It did wonders, and Saturday did even more. I didn't write anything yesterday, but I went to class, went and saw Harry Potter, and then went to a concert that completely re-energized me mentally and spiritually. So today, I'm writing. It feels good to be back.

Posted by Lisa at 03:23 PM | Comments (1)

November 16, 2001

I am bone-tired today. I

I am bone-tired today. I woke up at 5:30 and got a little bit of writing done, but not enough. As of right now, I'm about 3,600 words behind. I don't know how much writing I'll get done today, because I have a metric shitload of homework to do tonight. Tomorrow is mostly shot as well, since I'm going to see Harry Potter after class, then going to see Sweet Honey in the Rock tomorrow night. Sunday. I'm clinging to the idea of spending all of Sunday writing. Then there's always Thanksgiving weekend. I'm locking myself in my room for at least two days of that weekend (or maybe locking myself out of my room, depending on where the vibe feels best). I can still catch up, I know I can, but god, am I tired.

I spent a good part of last night (after I got home) in weepy mode. I felt confined and angry and a little lost -- normally, I'd say this belonged in my other journal, but it was writing-related. I seriously resented my job last night, because I felt like it was taking away the best of me and leaving me with little to spend on the best parts of my life. I want nothing more than to blow off work for about a week and retreat somewhere with a laptop, some music, and a food supply. And maybe a bathroom. Feh.

Okay, so, an excerpt. This is from this morning's writing:

The room was empty. Directly overhead, however, was a brilliant light shining from something that looked vaguely like a dentist's lamp. It was angled just precisely to keep from blinding her, but instead held her in a circle of light surrounded by shadow. There was a short humming from above, and the worlds crashed through her once more. She felt a deep pulling sensation within her, as if her veins were being slowly drained dry, but she could see no needles in her skin. She received a glimpse of each of the worlds that slammed through her mind: a green forest, remarkably like the one from her dreams of the infant; a dimly lit cavern, filled with humanoid creatures perhaps about three feet tall -- her first thought was of goblins; a windswept hill where tall, exotic figures dressed in colors brilliant beyond describing danced in a circle around a fire; a rocky beach where beautiful dark-eyed women, wearing only their milk-white skins, chased one another and laughed like children. Then the visions grew stranger still, showing her scenes similar to the first ones, but regularly interspersed with images of frightening creatures: tall, thin, gray creatures with empty black eyes, many-tentacled horrors menacing a small village, a hulking brute with what looked like blood running down the sides of its face gnawing what looked sickeningly like a human leg -- each vision took a part of her, pulling it away like prying treasure from cold, dead fingers.

She screamed and screamed until a voice somewhere overhead said, "Enough." When she opened her eyes, she realized she was no longer alone in the room. Just outside of the circle of light, there stood a tall, slender figure whose face she could not see. It reached for her with a hand that was mind-bendingly wrong. The fingers were too long, too slender, had too many joints. It looked more like a pale spider than a hand. She shrank back from the hand, her body trembling violently.

Posted by Lisa at 06:54 AM | Comments (1)

November 15, 2001

How not to spend the

How not to spend the evening writing:

First, after work, go straight to the bookstore. Browse for about an hour. Buy a couple books on writing.
Then, go out to dinner. Stuff yourself silly.
Don't go home until 9pm, and then bitterly rant at yourself all the way home, because you know you're too stuffed and too tired to think about writing.
Come home and feel like a slug and whine a lot online.

Voila! Follow those steps, and I guarantee you will not write word one that evening!

Posted by Lisa at 09:21 PM | Comments (0)

Well. If you're visiting from

Well. If you're visiting from the Meet the Wrimo page (and my god, there's a lot of you!), hello and welcome! There's more substantial stuff at my journal section. Stick around! ;)

Posted by Lisa at 05:33 PM | Comments (0)

Just looking over the NaNoWriMo

Just looking over the NaNoWriMo word count pages, I see that there are already a handful of people who have reached 50,000 words. Jeez, talk about your overachievers!

Posted by Lisa at 07:04 AM | Comments (0)

November 14, 2001

Okay, so not so much

Okay, so not so much with the writing today. I'm really tired tonight for some reason (SOME reason, like maybe staying up until midnight all the time lately), so I'm going to crash early tonight and start fresh tomorrow!

Posted by Lisa at 09:52 PM | Comments (0)

Quick! Today only, I'm the

Quick! Today only, I'm the Wrimo of the Day! Hurry! Or if you're visiting after the 14th, go here and look up November 14th.

Posted by Lisa at 08:51 PM | Comments (5)

November 13, 2001

Still on track, barely. I

Still on track, barely. I wrote pages and pages of banal, banal crap today, including the geekiest conversation in existence. I think it fits the characters though. Here are David and A.J., the day after a very tentative and hesitant first kiss:

Then there was silence, broken only by the icemaker dropping an ice cube now and then, and the sound of Persephone eating a very late breakfast. The silence stretched and bloated until it filled the room. Finally David broke it. "Look, A.J., about last night--"

At the same time, A.J. started, "David, I wanted to--" She smiled. "You first."

David looked intensely uncomfortable, but cleared his throat and tried again. "Well, I didn't want you to be upset or anything about last night."

"Oh! No, I wasn't," A.J. said.

"Good, cause you know, I didn't want you to be mad at me or anything."

"I'm not," A.J. said. "Honestly."

"Good," David said. There was another moment of silence. "What were you going to say?"

A.J. smiled sheepishly. "Just that I didn't want you to be upset about last night."

David laughed, and some of the tension melted away. "We're really pitiful, aren't we?"

A.J. nodded. "I think so."

"Want to go get dinner?"

Posted by Lisa at 11:39 PM | Comments (0)

November 12, 2001

I am finally caught up!

I am finally caught up! I passed the 20,000 word mark tonight, and am currently about 200 words ahead of schedule. Woohoo! Still writing about Sara, although I think this chapter is the last we'll see of her for a while. Here's an excerpt from your average, everyday party at a mental institution:

"So Sara," Mrs. Carey, an elegant, pulled-together older version of her daughter, smiled, "Suzanne tells us you're an artist."

Sara was caught with a mouthful of fruit salad. She quickly swallowed and wiped her mouth, "Well no, not exactly. I mean, I draw a little bit, but I don't know if I'd call myself an artist, exactly."

"Bullshit," interjected Suzanne. "I've seen those baby pictures you're always doing. Those are really good."

"Baby pictures?" Janet had a faintly acquisitive gleam in her eye, one that made Sara infinitely glad she was leaving that afternoon.

"Yeah," continued Suzanne. "She draws these really surreal pictures of babies, sort of hiding in all sorts of places. It's neat."

"It's… a hobby, I guess," said Sara lamely.

"I imagine you have time for a lot of hobbies," began Mr. Carey, and then he stopped, just short of making a faux pas.

Sara made it for him. "You mean since we're in a nut house?" She was grinning. If her plans for the day were going to get rained out, she may as well enjoy herself while she could. Suzanne and Janet laughed, but their families looked slightly scandalized and intensely uncomfortable.

"Well no," stumbled Mr. Carey, "that wasn't what I meant at all…"

"It's okay, Mr. Carey," piped up Janet. "We know we're crazy. It doesn't bother us, really."

Posted by Lisa at 11:14 PM | Comments (1)

November 11, 2001

My wrists hurt, my brain

My wrists hurt, my brain hurts, and my fingers hurt, but by god, I'm now up over 18,000 words. I wrote nearly 7,000 words in the last two days, about 5,100 of that today. I feel damn GOOD. Lara (one of my MUSH buddies and another Nano'er) and I have been comparing notes today, even to the point of exchanging manuscripts. She liked it! It was good to know that I'm managing to get across what I want to get across. I think I'm going to go fall into bed now. Another short excerpt from this evening's writing. Sara again. She's really taking off in my mind, and I like her a hell of a lot. Here she's been taken by the Host, and is demanding to be released:

"Why should we?" He spoke in perfect, unaccented English, his voice clear and reasonable-sounding, even pleasant.

Sara was taken aback and couldn't answer at first. They'd never spoken directly to her before. "Because! This… this isn't right."

"On the contrary, it suits our needs more than adequately."

"Your needs?" Sara could feel the anger rising up in her again. "I've been a prisoner for two years! Everyone who knows me thinks I'm crazy and that you're just a figment of my diseased imagination. Fuck your needs!"

He stood watching her for a moment, his head tilted slightly to one side. "Interesting," was his only comment. He turned away from Sara and went back to the group. There was a quiet buzzing conversation punctuated by the waving of hands and blinking of eyes.

"Interesting?! Interesting?!" Sara's anger was quickly growing to outrage. "Look, just let me go. Come back and get me tomorrow night. Stick me with needles, whatever. I promise I'll be properly terrified."

The orange haired one turned around to face her again. "You still haven't explained why we should disrupt our plans to suit you."

Sara thought for a long moment. "Because otherwise I'll die," she said finally. "If I stay in that place much longer, I'll wither and die, and then I won't be of any use to you or anyone else."

"Possible," he said, "but a bit melodramatic, don't you think?"

"No, it's not," Sara said. This was quite possibly the most surreal moment of her life. A creature from another planet just called her melodramatic.

Posted by Lisa at 10:40 PM | Comments (0)

Whew. I've written something like

Whew. I've written something like 5200 words this weekend, but I'm still about 1900 behind. I'm going to try and catch up tonight. I think I can do it, or at least I can come damn close. Here's an excerpt, written last night:

The pair stood on the top of the small hill. Crowning the hill was an almost perfect circle of pine trees, leaving a needle-covered clearing in the center about ten feet in diameter. The moonlight shone down into the clearing like sunlight streaming through cathedral windows, light touching holy ground. That sense of the sacred was strong here; many who visited the place noticed it. Some called it peaceful, others called it spiritual, still others said it was otherworldly. Very few saw it for what it really was.

The circle of pines was something of an oddity, its shape almost perfect enough to have been designed. A.J. somewhat abashedly let go of David's hand, and crossed the circle, the moonlight silvering her hair and silhouetting her figure as she moved. Here she moved with a grace she would have thought herself incapable of, and would have laughed had she been told of it. She turned and grinned at David. "Well? Was I right?"

David nodded. "You were right. It's amazing."

"You're not just humoring me?"

"No. No, absolutely not," David answered distractedly, caught up in looking around.

Although there had been no wind all evening, the breeze on top of the hill was gentle and constant, whispering with the pines in a language A.J. could almost understand. The last time she'd been here she'd been alone, and the quiet sanctity of the circle had both thrilled and unnerved her. Now with David here, the unnerving aspects were gone.

"...find this place?" David was asking.

"Hm?" A.J. glanced away from the full moon overhead and back to David.

"How'd you find this place?"

"Oh. I dunno, I just went for a walk one night last month and wound up here. It was like..." A.J. stopped.

"Like what?" David pressed.

"Never mind, it's stupid."

"No, what?"

"Well," A.J. sighed, "it almost felt like I was drawn here."

Posted by Lisa at 05:24 PM | Comments (0)

November 10, 2001

"Critics have argued that too

"Critics have argued that too close attention to style was harmful to the sweep necessary to fiction: they have contended that many of the greatest novelists, such as Dickens, Balzac, Dostoyevsky, and Zola at times wrote badly; assuredly, they treated language carelessly more than once."

Brand showed me the above quote, but didn't have a source. It makes me feel all kinds of better. No, I didn't write a word yesterday, but I'm gearing up for some serious writing this weekend.

Posted by Lisa at 05:27 PM | Comments (0)

November 09, 2001

Couldn't get to Blogger last

Couldn't get to Blogger last night, hence, no post. Yesterday was another low word count day, but the good news is I did some homework and got a good night's sleep for a change. I have a lot of writing to catch up this weekend. :P

Another short excerpt about Sara, who's seems to be going from minor character to major character.

Mealtimes were one time when the Retreat's real mission was most apparent. Meals were never perfectly ordinary times. The residents either ate in stultifying silence, or there was some outburst or another to remind everyone there that they were among the Unwell. And even when there were no outbursts, there were always the little plastic cups with their bright, colorful pills. When she first came to the Retreat, Sara had managed to palm her pills for the first several weeks, then Eleanor had caught her flushing them down the toilet, and the staff had watched her close ever since.

After swallowing a bowlful of thick, sweet oatmeal with cream (and not tasting a bite in the process), Sara gulped her morning medication under the orderly's watchful eye and hurried back to her room. An hour. An hour before the quiet drowsy hum overtook her mind. Pulling her sketchbook and pencils from under her bed, Sara flopped to the mattress, pushing her pillows behind her to use as a backrest.

The images came, as they always did. A fat baby boy, mouth open in an angry wail, cheeks red and wet. His tiny fists were balled in his fury, the curves flowing from the tips of her pencils. Sara had seen him in her mind's eye a thousand times, and drawn him dozens of times. What her psychiatrists made of her drawings of this single unknown infant she sometimes wondered. Expressing her wounded inner child, they probably told each other. While the infant was the constant, his surroundings in the pictures were constantly in flux. The settings for these portraits varied from the mundane to the surreal, a playpen one time, the top of a bell tower the next. What mattered to Sara was not so much the pictures themselves, but the sense of connection she felt when drawing them. With her pencils in hand, she felt a part of the whole, a piece in a larger puzzle. That connected feeling never lasted long enough though, and while she was shading the background of the picture (this time the setting was a flower vendor's pushcart, angry infant perched in among roses and daisies like an Anne Geddes portrait gone horribly wrong), Sara felt the connection snap, the shift so sudden it was almost audible. With that change, any sense of purpose, any sense of the rightness of holding a pencil in hand, was gone.

This crying baby keeps showing up, in dreams and in Sara's pictures. I know who he is, but I have no earthly idea why he keeps showing up. Guess I'll have to keep writing to see! :)

Posted by Lisa at 06:37 AM | Comments (2)

November 08, 2001

Okay, so I didn't get

Okay, so I didn't get much done last night. There's always today!

Julie reminded me of the other thing I did last night: organize my NaNoWriMo playlist. Mine's divided up into two categories, music that just makes me feel happy so I write faster, and music that reminds me of various aspects of my story. Songs marked with a * are songs that are definitely plot/character related already.

Happy music:
Asia: "Heat of the Moment"
Culture Club: "Church of the Poison Mind"
Donnie Iris: "Ah! Leah!"
Harry Belafonte: "Jump in The Line"
Indigo Girls: "Tangled Up In Blue", "Closer To Fine"
Les Miserables: "Do You Hear The People Sing?", "One Day More"
Once On This Island: "Why We Tell The Story"
Rent: "Seasons of Love", "What you Own", "La Vie Boheme"
REO Speedwagon: "Time For Me To Fly"
Styx: "Too Much Time on my Hands", "Show Me the Way"

Story/mood music:
Heather Alexander: "Creature of the Wood"*, "Something Dark", "Stolen Child"*, "Faerie Queen"
Cure: "Burn"*
Indigo Girls: "Blood And Fire"
Journey: "Wheel In The Sky"
KMFDM: "Juke-Joint Jezebel"
Mission UK: "Serpent's Kiss", "Deliverance"*, "Butterfly on a Wheel"
Mozart Requiem: "Rex tremendae", "Confutatis", "Lacrimosa"
Nields: "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry"
Nine Inch Nails: "Terrible Lie", "Down In It", "Something I Can Never Have", "The Only Time"
Ozzy Osbourne: "No More Tears"
Phoenyx: "Voices of the Sea", "Black Unicorn", "King of Elfland's Daughter"*
Prince of Egypt: "When You Believe"
Rage Against The Machine: "Killing in the Name Of", "Sleep Now In The Fire", "Know Your Enemy"
Sisters of Mercy: "Lucretia My Reflection", "This Corrosion", "Temple of Love"
Tori Amos: "Muhammad My Friend"

Posted by Lisa at 06:45 AM | Comments (0)

November 07, 2001

What a busy night this

What a busy night this has been! I've balanced my checkbook, drawn up an extremely complex spreadsheet for keeping track of my word count (I may post it at some point so you can see the depths of my obsession), and pulled together a list of the MP3 playlist I listen to when writing this so I can share that later too... Writing? Well, no, not so much. There's just been so much else to do...

I've managed 483 words so far today. I tried to write in Starbucks tonight, but apparently my muse wasn't there or something. (This concept has given me a short story idea -- making a note of it...) I think I am actually not capable of writing while wearing work clothes and makeup -- unless I'm actually at work, that is. (Superstitious much? Why yes!) Right now it's about quarter to 11, and I'm debating trying to dive in at this late hour, or just to go to bed. Feh.

Posted by Lisa at 10:49 PM | Comments (0)

November 06, 2001

10,006 words! I have never,

10,006 words! I have never, ever written a single story this long. Even Harvest was made up of several different stories. Tonight another thread in the plot came to me, complete with a new character. Well, sort of new. We've seen her mentioned before...

Now the Host came to her almost every night. In a way, she looked forward to their visits, and even looked forward to the nights they took her away from her room in the Retreat. When she came back screaming, at least she felt something. On those nights, the pain and fear and humiliation cut through the thick haze of Thorazine and Haldol that kept her soul dead during the daylight hours. Even while she was shrieking and fighting the orderlies, something in her was alive, and for those few moments she was herself again.

In the moments before the sedatives took effect, Sara Osborne dreamed of escape. Maybe one night the Host would neglect to return her to her narrow hospital bed. Maybe one night one of the night nurses would find her bed empty during a room check while she was gone. Maybe one night her stories would be proven true and she could go free. Sara realized she could never go home, but maybe, just maybe, if she were given the chance, she could find her own way in the world, find her own home.

I suppose it's worth mentioning that when writing about Sara Osborne, I had "Burn" by The Cure on repeat endlessly...

Posted by Lisa at 11:42 PM | Comments (0)

November 05, 2001

Yay, official word count goal

Yay, official word count goal reached! I'm off to fall into bed now.

Posted by Lisa at 10:53 PM | Comments (1)

Now I understand why my

Now I understand why my friend Eric spent so much time writing in coffeeshops. In just about three hours, sitting in a Starbucks with my Palm and keyboard, I managed to write about 2,800 words. Something about the corporate-trendy atmosphere was highly stimulating, or maybe it was the caffeine, I don't know. In any case, I enjoyed it. I might have to do this more often. Current word count is at 6,880. To reach the 1,667 words a day goal, I'll need to have 8,335 by the end of the day. To reach my own 2,000 words a day goal, I'll need 10,000. Neither seems completely out of the realm of possibility right now. Here's the excerpt o' the day, introducing yet another major character:

Later, determined to get the truth from the girl, Wright questioned her alone. With his slightly hangdog face and boyish features, he had a knack for winning the trust of people, and the Osborne girl was no different. In a hitching, quavering voice, she told him about taking a walk the night she disappeared in the very same woods she was found in. Then there was what seemed like thousands of lights overhead "just like in that Close Encounters movie". Wright managed to keep from wincing, and kept a carefully concerned look on his face. While he listened, the girl began her tale of lights in the sky and little gray men, complete with strange scientific experiments and unpleasant probing. Wright had heard more than his share of UFO stories, and found they were usually related by the same sort of person who could be seen on the evening news in the summer, telling the newsman all about what the tornado sounded like before it struck the trailer park.

This was different. The Osbornes lived in a wealthy suburb of D.C., and the girl was one of the brightest students at one of the area's best private schools. It was unlikely she would ever see the inside of a trailer park at all, much less during a tornado. Furthermore, between her fear and her eloquence, she was just damned convincing. Further psychological testing revealed minimal neuroses, except for the persistent belief that she had been kidnapped by a UFO. Then Wright made his fatal mistake. During a staff meeting on the case, he suggested that they at least try to look into the UFO angle. See if anyone else had reported lights in the sky that night. See if there was any evidence to back the girl's story up. After the laughter died down, one of his buddies snickered, "Okay Mulder. You work the little green men angle, we'll track down the ex-boyfriend." Three days later he came in to find his office covered in posters that read, "The Truth is Out There". Three months later, he was transferred to the butt-end of Chicago, in a small satellite office that spent most of its time waiting for something to happen or for something to get passed down from the main field office.

Posted by Lisa at 06:56 PM | Comments (0)

November 04, 2001

Oh yeah. Lemme post a

Oh yeah. Lemme post a sizeable excerpt, to make up for 1) not posting one yesterday and 2) already being behind. I should explain that making fun of Wordsworth is a long-standing tradition with some of my friends...

A.J. spent the next forty-five minutes back in the Diag. The dew was dry by now, but the atmosphere was much less peaceful. Chattering students walked from class to class, some walking alone and chatting on cell phones, others in groups, moving with the instinct of long-time herd animals. A.J. was one of many sitting beneath the trees, reading (or in the case of some, sleeping or making out). While she was never one to believe in the power of cramming, it surely couldn't hurt to read a little more Wordsworth, could it? Well, aside from the usual pain that accompanied reading Wordsworth.

So passed the last few moments before A.J. headed back across State Street once more towards the LSA building. A.J. arrived outside the dreaded examination room as one of her classmates was leaving. "How bad is it?" A.J. asked.

The girl, a slender pixie of a thing with the short hair and freckles to prove it, shook her head. "Don't ask. Old Man Lindsay is in there. I don't think I've ever seen him look sourer."

"God," A.J. made a face in sympathy. "I'm dead. He's hated me ever since I called Shelley an overblown idealist."

The girl grinned. "Well, at least they didn't ask me about Shelley. It was mostly Wordsworth, thank God."

A.J. just groaned, then took a deep breath and headed into the classroom.

Waiting for her were a slender woman with short silver hair, a dour-faced man who looked old enough to have taught British Literature to Queen Elizabeth (the First), and graduate assistant who didn't look much older than A.J. herself.

"Good morning, Amanda," said the silver-haired woman, a crisp British accent behind her words.

"Good morning, Miss Woodson," added the ancient one, in a tone to match his face.

The GA just nodded.

"Good morning, Dr. Blackledge, Dr. Lindsay," A.J. replied, hoping the quaver in her voice wasn't too obvious yet.

"As you know," Dr. Blackledge began, "this examination will last for two hours, with two ten minute breaks. Do you have any questions before we begin?"

A.J. shook her head. "No, thank you."

"All right then. Dr. Lindsay?" Dr. Blackledge glanced over at the man.

"Miss Woodson," harrumphed the old man, "please explain the cultural significance of Wordsworth's 'Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey' as it relates to beginnings of the Romantic Movement in Britain..."

I will get to the genre stuff eventually. I promise.

Posted by Lisa at 08:34 PM | Comments (0)

Well. The good news is,

Well. The good news is, I had a wonderful weekend. I got to spend time with friends, had a date, skipped class, spent time with the world's two most adorable children, and started running a new RPG.

The bad news is, I'm behind on my word count. Up to 3646 -- I'd wanted to be at about 8,000 by today. So I have some catching up to do this week.

Posted by Lisa at 08:27 PM | Comments (0)

November 02, 2001

I woke up, for some

I woke up, for some unknown reason, at 5:00 this morning, completely wide awake. Did I gripe about not being able to go back to sleep? No. I sat down and wrote another 637 words. I like A.J., but she's starting to show some disturbingly auto-biographical elements.

Posted by Lisa at 06:32 AM | Comments (0)

November 01, 2001

It was a good night.

It was a good night. Did about another thousand words, and wrapped up the prelude with the aforementioned Maura. And our heroine made her first appearance:

The scent of lilacs drifted through the flimsy lace curtains that framed the dirty window of the tiny bedroom. There was only one window in the bedroom, just as there was only one window in the living room/dining room area, a large doorwall that opened onto a postage stamp of a balcony, a balcony reserved during this time of year for bike parking and Christmas tree storage. The apartment was tiny and crowded, with its sole human occupant currently snoring inelegantly in the narrow bed in the bedroom. The scent of lilacs did not wake the girl, nor did the quietly persistent burring of an alarm clock that began moments later.

The girl, A.J. to her friends and professors, was nothing more than a glimpse of wild mouse-brown hair beneath the pile of quilts as the alarm began to burr more insistently, growing more strident with each moment. Finally a fat orange tabby leapt onto the bed and started pacing at her mistress's head, yowling in hideous dissonance with the alarm. A round arm, complete with freckled hand, appeared from under the covers to swat at both alarm and cat. "Up," a voice murmured beneath the blankets. "M'up already." The tabby seemed to accept this as a coherent response, and strutted from the room, tail high in the air.

Posted by Lisa at 10:36 PM | Comments (0)

I woke up this morning,

I woke up this morning, and I faced a real struggle. I desperately wanted to call in sick to work and stay home and write. Well okay. Sleep a little more, then write. I did not, however. I'm proud of that. The idea here is to write the 50,000 words while I'm following my usual routine. The idea is to prove to myself that I can write that much in my normal schedule.

I'm still a little staggered at my pace last night. I don't think I've ever written that fast before. And the simple difference between last night and every other time I've sat down to write was this: I didn't care if it sucked. That's it. No agonizing fifteen minute pauses while I tried to figure out what word to use, what phrase to use next. No agonizing fifteen minute pauses getting stretched to two hour breaks while I got distracted and went off surfing the web rather than writing. I just wrote. Nonstop. That's what I need to learn to do. That's what this whole project is for.

This is going to be an interesting month.

Posted by Lisa at 08:27 AM | Comments (0)

I'll be periodically posting bits

I'll be periodically posting bits of what I've written for the day. For now, the opening sentence, such as it is:

On the morning of Maura Kilpatrick's wedding to Joseph Flaherty, the last thing anyone expected was for the bride to return to her mother's house at dawn with twigs and leaves in her hair and terrified exhaustion written all over her face.

Posted by Lisa at 12:56 AM | Comments (2)

GO!

GO!

Posted by Lisa at 12:00 AM | Comments (1)