When I was in school, I was the queen of the last minute. I did my best work when it was under intense pressure, staying up till some ridiculous hour the night before the lab report or paper was due. I always pulled it off, and got good marks, thus perpetuating the behaviour!
I'm not sure I've really changed that much. It is a surprise, then, that some three days early, I've reached the 50K goal of NaNoWriMo. This is the third year I've participated and met that objective. To be fair, the last two years I was also doing a daily painting project, so in comparison, this year was a breeze! Only the rest of my normal life to contend with!
A good part of why this year's story was easier was because of what I mentioned before - I was using characters and a setting I was familiar with. The main character was new, and the story as well. Even with some of the old characters, it was interesting how - well, one in particular, in this case - surprised me. I wasn't sure she was going to do something, even though she kept talking about it, and then she went and did it. Something got in her way, anyway, though. Sounds like life rearing its head! :-)
Now, perhaps, I'll manage to get back to some painting! I'd better, because well, that's my *real* job, and I'm in desperate need of some new work!
As a race can have more than four quarters, I'm going with that title even though I'm not a quarter of the way to my wordcount yet! I've hit just over 8200 words, so I'm ahead of the game. ;-) I kind of feel like I'm cheating, because for my story I chose to taken the setting and some of the characters from my LGN (the long-suffering novel that inspired this blog) and throw them twenty years into the future. The main character is new, but many of those around him are old friends.
NaNo lets us upload a book cover, so I decided to do one this year. My NaNo name is Bellarush, if you're wondering! The image comes from one of my paintings.
Forget Hallowe'en, it's almost time for NaNoWriMo again! I have to admit I'm not very prepared this year....not that I ever am! I don't have a great new idea...so I'm just going to be playing around with something. We'll see how it goes.
I was just checking into the site and see my 'win' from last year wasn't recorded. I must not have validated it properly or something. For all I know, I completely forgot to validate it! Oh well...what can you do!
I really never thought I'd get the wordcount on this longsuffering novel that low! Still long, by publishing standards...though once again I sit with three paperbacks on my headboard that are all greater than 150K...though only one is a first novel.
The thing is...I can be a bit competitive. In this case, with myself. Now that I've gone through and hacked an amazing number of words, I want to start all over at Chapter One, see if I can hack some more, because I'm sure as I got closer to the end, I became more ruthless. Of course, I should probably read through the silly thing once more anyway, to make sure it's still coherent!
I have to admit this week I've been trying to be realistic. If I'm *smart* I will try to write a novel of more appealing length, query that, try and get it published - put this one on the shelf. Chances of getting a book that "breaks the rules" published are much greater when it's not a writer's first attempt. My problem is, it's taken me much of my life so far to write this thing...what makes me think I have something else in me?
Oh well...maybe I'm like the perpetual student...destined to be a perpetual closet novelist! Off to dust one of my NaNoWriMo projects to try to prove myself wrong.
(My apologies to Switchfoot for the title, inspired by lyrics from "Playing for Keeps!")
Okay....is this close enough to a Vampire? Especially now that he's registered as Bat Out of Hades? :-D
I'm kind of excited, because I have the good old LGN down to 153K, and I told myself I'd be happy if I made it to 155K. Some of the trimming is good, I'm sure - it makes for much tighter writing - I just hope I haven't messed anything up in the process. Then, of course, I decide it's time to read Twilight - mostly since a few months ago both my sister-in-law and best friend/fellow writer said I should - and discover it's so many pages, apparently they stopped numbering! Seriously, the paperback I have from the library isn't numbered right to the end, so I don't really know how many pages it has. Five hundred, maybe? Either way, it's much longer than everything you read a YA novel should be in order to get published, at least for first-time authors. And guess what? This is a debut novel. Just goes to show, I guess, if you catch the right agent and/or publisher's eye, it can happen.
Someday I will write a YA novel. My last NaNoWriMo stint was an attempt at that. Problem is, there are no vampires, zombies or wizards. I wonder if I just gave all the horses names like that, if it would improve my chances?
In my quest to decrease my word count, I hacked out most of an early chapter, removing a whole event. That was hard, but I had to ask myself, was that section really necessary? How much did it add to the storyline? In my first draft, that part wasn't there - I'd added it to add some conflict and expand on some characters, but if you didn't know it had been there, would you miss it?
The joy of things these days is we have the internet. I don't know how many novels I've read where I wished I could read more, I just liked the characters so much. So why not post some of the cut sections on the blog? When you buy a movie on DVD these days, you inevitably get cut scenes.
I've been thinking about Saratoga this past week, trying to start planning the annual trek. So perhaps a little clip making reference to the Spa would be appropriate.
Lise glanced over to where her parents stood with the winning owners. She and Emilie had come with Claude and Anne, and Lise knew they didn’t plan on staying long. “We’ll probably have to go soon.”
“Oh, stick around for a bit. The way you’re skyrocketing to stardom, how often are we going to see each other from now on? Dean and I could drive you back. You too, Em.”
“I really should go with them,” Lise said. “I’m heading back to New York in the morning.”
“Yeah, and you probably don’t have to get up half as early as you normally would, so I’m not buying that excuse. But I guess it’s good to know New York hasn’t corrupted you, when I couldn’t.”
“You should come down for a weekend,” Lise said.
“Now that would be fun – if I could afford it.”
“Saratoga!” Emilie chimed in. “Road trip!”
“You’re sixteen, Em!” Lise said.
“So? You’re eighteen. And Faye’s just twenty, so she’s not even legal down there.”
Faye was looking thoughtful. “I might have to work on that.”
Lise felt a twinge of regret as she looked out from the back seat of her father’s Jag when he drove out of the backstretch, aware she was once more leaving the comfort of Woodbine behind. It was odd to feel like a visitor, making such a short stay. Tomorrow, it was back to Belmont. In three short weeks she had achieved renown there, but she still felt out of place. Before her string of winners in New York, she’d been a spectacle – a woman in a man’s game, Canadian, and the daughter of a major owner in her home country. Now, though she may have been forgiven some of those things, the scrutiny had only escalated. She hadn’t anticipated this part of her chosen career, and couldn’t imagine ever getting used to the public aspect of her inadvertent popularity.
Well, it would appear I still have some work to do in the ruthless editing department. Wasn't that a show, the $164,000 Question? Am I really dating myself here? Naturally there is not $164,000 at stake here; not for me, anyway. I knew I wasn't going to make my goal of 150K...there just wasn't much I could hack away in the last two chapters, so it's back to square one. I did, however, write what I think is a rather nifty potential query letter. Ironically it's quite short and concise. Is that false advertising?
I have to admit these last few days - despite the warm temps and lovely sunshine - I've been in a "why bother?" sort of mood. My time would be better spent painting. Except that when I paint I feel more or less the same, and think I'm better off just working with the horses, because that I can sort of do, and they seem to actually appreciate it! All except for my own mare, that is! Ungrateful child....
"Good to know you have the whole hotwalker thing to fall back on..."
Anyone with an eye on the horse racing game has probably watched Zenyatta's 2010 debut in yesterday's Santa Margarita Handicap. I like to store bits and pieces of races in my head for future reference, to perhaps use in some scene somewhere along the line. From a strict racing perspective, I thought Smith's ride was kind of dramatic – did he really have to go inside and weave through horses like that? He said he didn't want to "tax" her; was the wild steering job really easier on her than a straight run on the outside? He never hit her, so I think it's safe to say she would have had enough to go around horses. From a fiction perspective, well, that race was great. The kind of ride Lise would have smacked Pete up the side of the head for. ;-)
"You never should have got caught between those two horses." "What was I supposed to do? Take her down the middle of the racetrack?" "Anything would have been better than getting yourself in that position." "I should have let her set the pace." "Either way, it worked out. You pulled it off."
Zenyatta is now on a 15 for 15 undefeated streak, one away from equaling the record shared by two of racing's greats: Citation and Cigar. For me, I'm having a "life imitates art" momment, because I've written this exact scenario in my novel. Maybe I'm feeling a little robbed, or maybe it serves me right for languishing over this story for so long that it's not out there yet! It's ironic that if it ever is published, readers will no doubt think I've borrowed from events in the last few years – bits here and there – when in fact, the storyline has been in place for (gulp) a couple of decades.
Meanwhile...the ruthless editing continues. I'm at chapter twenty of twenty-five, and down to 170,000 words. If I can get it to 150,000 when all is said and done, I think I'll be doing well, but whether or not that will still scare off agents remains to be seen! Wish me luck...
I consider myself a closet novelist - and this is what I've been hiding in the closet. This blog contains excerpts from the story, musings on Thoroughbred horse racing, and some of my thoughts as I contemplate trying to get published.