So you want to write a novel....

I know I'm posting early, but I cannot resist this.

So true. And so scary.

You can read the post that goes along with it here

David, you made me laugh harder than anything has all week. Thank you.

Thanksgiving conversations

Well, Thanksgiving is over, Black Friday is over, and as everyone settles into the weekend, I thought I'd give you some giggles.

This year my family went to my grandmother's for Thanksgiving. Eight adults and three kids under six  in one smallish house. As you can imagine, some of the conversations were awesome.



My nephew Christian comes into the living room where I'm reading and my sister (his mom) is sitting. He pulls out a paper cutout of a vaguely birdlike form and starts to twirl, holding it out.

MY SISTER: Christian, what on earth are you doing?

ME: (looking up from my book) Oh, he's flying his pterodactyl.

My sister gives me a look of disbelief.

ME: Christian, what are you doing?

CHRISTIAN: I'm flying my pterodactyl.

ME: See?



We're getting ready for a family photo.  I'm in jeans and a t-shirt. My grandmother (who is a sweet and wonderful lady) is wearing slacks and a pullover, but she's worried she won't look good.

GRANDMA:Your mother is changing her shirt. Maybe I should change into something nicer.

ME: Don't worry about it, you look great. I'm not changing.

GRANDMA: (looks at me) Yeah, I guess I look as good as you do.

ME: That's exactly my point....



My mother is going around the table asking people what they're thankful for, and my three-year-old niece Chloe apparently  doesn't quite grasp the concept....

MOM: So what are you thankful for?

SISTER: This year, I'm thankful for....

CHLOE: *freaking out* NO MAMA! DON'T TELL!!!

All the adults stare at her. My brother-in-law and I start laughing uncontrollably.  

ME: What did you DO, sis? Are we not supposed to know about it?

SISTER: I guess it's a secret. *shrugs* Anyway, I'm thankful for...

CHLOE: *still clearly upset* MAMA, NO! DON'T DO IT! DON'T BE THANKFUL!!

BROTHER IN LAW: *dies laughing*

Our only explanation for this outburst was that  she mixed up being thankful with a conversation about getting spanked that had happened a couple of minutes earlier. She apparently thought if her mom was thankful, she'd get a spanking. Whatever the reason, we spent the rest of the evening randomly yelling "Don't do it! Don't be thankful!" at each other. Good times

How was YOUR week?

Thanksgiving post!

Things I'm thankful for:

~ My family and friends, especially my writer community and my awesome husband. (I know it's an easy out, but it's still true!)

~ Things that make me laugh. like this site, and this site, and this one too.

~ Cute animals.
~ Good books.

Ahh! I almost forgot Saturday's post!

In honor of all you Harry Potter fans, here's a story from one of my favorite websites,

(If you've ever been in customer service, or known someone who was, you should check the site out. Hil-arious.)

A Golden Snitch Short Of A Quidditch Match

Bookstore | Bay Area, CA, USA

Me: “How can I help you?”

Caller: “This a bookstore?”

Me: “Yes, this is a bookstore.”

Caller: “Oh. I need the 8th Harry Potter book.”

Me: “I’m sorry sir, but there are only 7 Harry Potter books.”

Caller: “But I need the 8th one.”

Me: “There are only 7 books, sir.”

Caller: “Why?”

Me: “Because there are only 7 years at Hogwarts.”

Caller: “What does that mean?”

Me: “Sir, have you read the Harry Potter books?”

Caller: “No, my son reads them and he finished the 7th one and asked me to get the 8th one.”

Me: “Sir, if he read the 7th one, he would know that that was the final book in the series.”

Caller: “But he wants to read it. What can I do?”

Me: “Contact the author?”

Caller: “Do you have his number?”

Me: “Do I have J.K. Rowling’s number?”

Caller: “Yes.”

Me: “No. I… uh… don’t happen to have that on me.”

Caller: “Oh. Can you tell my son that there are only 7?”

Me: “No, I’m sure you’re quite capable of doing that all on your own.”

Caller: “He will be very upset!” *hangs up*

PS: I apologize for the cop-out post, guys. But my main character is in a fight to the death with a creepy, soul-stealing green mist thing that can melt people or trap them in mirrors, AND I HAVE NO IDEA HOW HE'S SUPPOSED TO WIN!

*brain explodes*

How's everyone else's week going?

Can't stop writing....

... be back on Monday!

EDIT: Oops, I meant Saturday! Be back on Saturday!  Though Saturday's post will probably look similar to this one since I'm, you know, writing and all. *grin*

(If you want to buy this shirt, it's at CafePress)

We interrupt these posts to bring you this:

A video of lion cubs going swimming!

I especially like the look on the third cub's face.

Happy swimming this week!

First draft tip #3: Work through the crazies.

This is the Mountain of Crazy. 

I'm tired.
This is hard.
My brain hurts.
This is impossible.
I'd rather be sleeping.
I don't want to do this.
Everything I write sucks.
This is never going to work.
I'm not cut out to be a writer.
I was crazy to think I could do this.

There is no way to avoid slipping on the Mountain of Crazy. The mountain doesn't care how many industry blogs you read, or how many writing books you study or how many conferences you go to. It doesn't care if you're writing your first book or your twenty-first book. You could be an unpublished author or a NYT bestseller. You could be a horrible writer or a genius.

The mountain does not care.

The only thing the mountain knows is slippery green moss, jagged stones, and impossible footing. It takes out everyone sooner or later. And the only way to beat the mountain is to pick yourself up at the bottom and climb back up.

And there's only one way to do that.

Sit down and write.

a word
a sentence.
a paragraph.
a chapter
a book

Sit down and write.

Don't let the mountain beat you.

Some songs to fight the writerly blues

It's the dreaded Week Two over here in NaNoWriMo land!

Week Two is when all the mental crap we writers use to self-sabotage ourselves goes into high gear. For most first-drafters, this period is usually about a one-fourth to one-third of the way through the book

Obstacles this week include:

~ The Great Wall of Writer's Block

~ The Anthill of Too Many Characters

~ The Impassable Desert of Word Drought

~ The Cave of Lost Plots

~ The Evil Dragon of Word Count Comparison

~ The Many-Headed Hydra of the Inner Editor

~ The Siren Song of the Shiny New Idea

~ The Choking Fog of "People Who Are Better Writers Then You Will Ever Ever Be"

 And my personal favorite?
~ The Quicksand of "Everything I just wrote was crap and now I have to kill myself with the toaster"

So in the spirit of encouragement, I'm handing you some songs that always make me feel like I can do it.

Hallelujah by Claire Bradley

Learning to Fly by Tom Petty

Breathe/Shine by Anna Nalick (the video plays them back to back.)

Here's a bit from the chorus of Shine.
Isn't it time you got over
How fragile you are?
We're all waiting, waiting on your supernova
Cause that's who you are.
And you've only begun to shine.
Anyone else got songs or movies or inspiration to share? How do you get through these obstacles?

Monday thoughts

1. There was frost on my car this morning. And not just any frost. This was heavy-duty, kryptonite frost that took twice as long to remove as it should have. VERY ANNOYING. My thought is, if it's going to be that cold outside, it needs to snow.

2. This past weekend was fun, if extremely full. Two sets of out-of-town friends came through, and there was lots of eating out and laughing. I was pretty much gone the entire time, and very little writing was accomplished. However, I saw it coming, and wrote extra all the other days of the week, coming in just on schedule. Now if I can just get past the dreaded Week Two... *shudder*

First draft tip #2: Break it up

When I tell people I'm doing National Novel Month, they usually ask "How much do you have to write?"

I say "50,000 words in thirty days."

At which point everyone I'm talking to looks at me like this.

 Are you NUTS?

There are usually comments along the lines of "That's a lot!", or "How do you do THAT?"

No matter if you're writing a novel in a month or a year, the answer to that question is always the same.

One word at a time.

Earlier this year I did a post on the math of 500 words a day. But even 250 words a day will get you  90,000 words a year, a solid length for any novel. This year for NaNo, I'm not even thinking about it in words, but in hours.

Is it Saturday already?

Sheesh.  That week went fast.

I'll be back later today with another first draft tip. In the meantime, please enjoy this otter.

My favorite writing movie ever

Movies about writers and writing are all around us, and everyone has their favorite. Me being me, I have more than one.

First draft tip #1: Find your seed

Every story has to have a seed. The vague desire "to write a book" really isn't enough to get you through the first few pages, much less the entire thing.

The good news is, seeds come in all shapes and sizes.

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Fabric art in the header by Carol Riggs.