Archive for the ‘ The Sexy G Writes ’ Category

NaNoWriMo Day 23: Greetings from the Winner’s Circle!

Me, recovering in my "2011 Winner's Circle" tee-shirt

NaNoWriMo 2011, day 23

Today’s personal word-count goal: 50,000

Today’s actual word-count so far: 50,413

Ahead or behind? Finished, baby. All done.

The Julia Morgan Ballroom, all lit up with busy laptops

I went stag to NaNoWriMo’s 2011 Night of Writing Dangerously, and I finished my memoir in 20 days, but I didn’t do any of that alone. I entered The Julia Morgan Ballroom Sunday night and found a cozy seat between a pack of three Canadians and a pair of lesbian figure skaters, all noir-costumed and jovial.

Noir drag, arriving stag

I leaned in close to my iBook G4 to listen for its bootup chime over the din of a few hundred assembled novelists tapping away at keyboards, but the Canadian on my left and the figure skater on my right both expressed concern when I sat back, the screen still black. “Is something wrong with your laptop?”

Chris Baty's avatar and me

Then he appeared, a tower above us, NanNoWriMo founder Chris Baty himself, looking exactly like his avatar, an image plastered all over this party. He asked the ice dancer and me, casually as a guy in a bar, how our nights were going. He crouched to catch our enthusiasm, and down on our level, he noted my idling laptop.

“Oh no!” he cried. “A down laptop!” And like the prophet he is, he placed his hands on my screen and asked, “Should we lay hands on it?”

“Yes,” I said. And I wish I could write that it sprang to life in that moment, but it took another ten minutes and help from all three Canadians for me to get into the game.

Writing with the Canadians

Rally hat for the final grand

The Canadians–friends of Community Liaison at OLL Sarah Mackey–knew everything. They told me about the free drinks and directed me to the bathroom, and they knew about the secret web of electrical outlets under all the ballroom tables. And they knew I was going to beat 50,000 words at the party. They could tell by my rally hat, which I put on to celebrate the last thousand.

Winning

And I did. The Canadians and the lesbian figure skating couple cheered for me, and I headed up to the front of the ballroom to ring the bell. Another writer beat me to it; she took the stage in a mighty leap and rang the bell high above her head, face beaming, dreadlocks flying, slinky dress shimmering. When she hopped down, I mimicked her exactly and inhaled the house-quaking applause.

Crowned

A beautiful volunteer directed me to fill out a form and then crowned me with a real, golden paper crown. Chris Baty shook my hand, and I reminded him that he’d seen me four hours ago like a brokedown jalopy on the side of the road. “And look at you now!” he said.

NaNoWriMo Day 17: party break

NaNoWriMo 2011, day 17

Today’s personal word-count goal: 43,329

Today’s actual word-count so far: 44,000

Ahead or behind? Ahead, hence the party break.

Years I’m Writing About: 2009-2010, on my Facebook Page you can contribute your own words about these years.

I suffered through the transition from week two to week three of NaNoWriMo, but yesterday I found comfort in a productive and entertaining writing date, in stumbling into a natural upswing in my storyline, and in finally fundraising my donation goal for the Office of Letters and Light. So I’m going to The Night of Writing Dangerously this Saturday night. See you there?

This morning, I woke up and  re-read how I handled the challenging days last year, which helped. Then I got a call from my wife: there’s an extra ticket to tonight’s fancy fundraiser! So I’ll be dining at a designer table tonight at DIFFA! See you there?

Looks like I’m taking a writing break to attend a couple of parties. And it feels good. I’m still committed to finishing by Thanksgiving, but maybe I’ll just extend the party break and finish before the month ends like everybody else.

Get a piece of the action. There are several ways to participate in NaNoWriMo. Support the do-gooders who run this free event online by making a donation to the Office of Letters and Light on my fundraising page. And visit the The Sexy Grammarian Facebook Page to contribute your own words to my daily word count.

NaNoWriMo Day 10: My Top Ten Success Tactics

NaNoWriMo 2011, day 10

Today’s personal word-count goal: 26,664

Today’s actual word-count so far: 27,226

Ahead or behind? Ahead! Keeping up with word counts has actually been EASY this year!

Years I’m Writing About: 1998-2000, on my Facebook Page you can contribute your own words about these years.

I’m a three-time NaNoWriMo winner, and I’m way ahead on my word count. How do I do it? Here are my top ten rules:

1.    Never erase anything. The only reason I ever move my cursor backward is to add a space between words that should have a space between them (see #2 below).
2.    If a word can be more than one word, I make it so. And I never hyphenate anything: bird feeder, grown ups, latch key kids, one hundred fifty eight.
3.    While writing, I try to actually write every single thought that crosses my mind, even thoughts like, “I don’t know what to write,” or, “Ugh, I can’t remember that word.”
4.    If I think of a better way to write something I just wrote, I don’t go back and edit. I write it again, even thrice, until I like it, and then move on. So the draft might read something like this: I skated down the big ramp, no I flew down the slope of the great cement ramp, no I thundered down the wide cement slope, the meanest ramp I’d ever skated, and then smiled for the reporters.
5.    I write long, episodic chapter titles. They help me remember what I’ve written at a glance, and the long title helps my word count. Example: Chapter Twenty Seven: In which the main character Tallulah chases her new beloved girlfriend into the burning village and helps her rescue a house full of orphans and two old blind men and then they have sex in an abandoned barn at twilight.
6.   Everything I need to draft this month starts in my NaNoWriMo manuscript. I draft blog posts like this one, important email, and thoughtful Facebook comments  in my fastest NaNoWriMo writing style  and then copy and paste them elsewhere for editing. Consequently, everything I’m writing this month becomes relevant to my current NaNoWriMo project.
8.    I overwrite. I explain things and describe things several times, especially if it’s a struggle or I really want to get it right. I can always remove the less successful sentences later.
9.    I tell everyone. I answer every “How do you do?” with an announcement or a reminder about this crazy thing I’m doing.
10.   I give myself pep talks and talk to myself, right in the manuscript: I am at 12,000 words! I am doing great.

Get a piece of the action. There are several ways to participate in NaNoWriMo. Support the do-gooders who run this free event online by making a donation to the Office of Letters and Light on my fundraising page. And visit the The Sexy Grammarian Facebook Page to contribute your own words to my daily word count.

NaNoWriMo Day 8: My Life as a WriMo

NaNoWriMo 2011, day 8

Today’s personal word-count goal: 19,998

Today’s actual word-count so far: 17,620

Ahead or behind? Behind! I’ve got 2,378 words to write today.

Years I’m Writing About: 1991-1993, on my Facebook Page you can contribute your own words about these years.

In 2008, I participated in NaNoWriMo for the first time, and my life has changed forever. My 2008 novel is in its 5th draft now. I can see a light at the end of the revision tunnel.

I just revisited 2009’s manuscript for the very first time this August when I went to Hawaii, from whence one of that story’s main characters hails. I did some great research, but that manuscript still has a long way to go.

In 2010 I tried something different based on my own theory that you’ve got to write about 50,000 words to get 500 good ones. I wrote 50,000 words about my city’s pigeon population, hoping to edit them down into a 500-or-so-word children’s story.

This year, because I’m about to turn 40, and because Susie Bright‘s memoir really moved me, and because of some wise words from Jane Fonda and Julia Cameron, I’m writing about my life so far, a memoir, though Jane would call it a life review and Julia, a narrative timeline, not necessarily for publication but instead for my personal and creative use.

Get a piece of the action. There are several ways to participate in NaNoWriMo. Support the do-gooders who run this free event online by making a donation to the Office of Letters and Light on my fundraising page. And visit the The Sexy Grammarian Facebook Page to contribute your own words to my daily word count.

NaNoWriMo Day 3: This Year’s Project & My Strategy

NaNoWriMo 2011, day 3

Today’s personal word-count goal: 9,999

Today’s actual word-count so far: 7,500

Ahead or behind? Behind! 2,499 words to go today!

Years I’m Writing About: 1984-1985, on my Facebook Page you can contribute your own words about these years.

This year I’m writing a memoir, one year at a time, a few years a day. Because I love gory process details from other writers, I’m sharing my strategy for this year’s project.

I made a chart that counts the days of NaNoWriMo—thirty of them officially. But since I plan not to write on weekends, and I plan to finish in time to enjoy Thanksgiving and relax for the rest of the month, I hope to write for only 15 days.
Today is day three, and I should have 9,999 words written. The chart says so. I have only 7,500 now, but I’ll make it up by the end of the day. The chart assigns a couple years to each day, and I’ve got a few notes for each year, stuff like my age and where I lived at the time.
This is quite different from what I did last year, writing with no direction most days. Pigeons—go! It’s also easier than what I suspect most WriMos try to pull off: figuring out an actual storyline. My chart tells me what year of my life I’m writing about today, and I start writing.

For inspiration, I have my short list of easy writing prompts, such as  “I remember . . . ” and “I loved . . .” and “____ influenced me.” I may reference Wikipedia’s historical pages to help me with context. I’m lucky to have an engaged Facebook community posting inspiring comments too.

On day one, Maureen Futtner of  PR for the People  reminded me that, “There was that bicentennial thing!” in 1975. Thanks, Maureen. On day two, my Kindergarten teacher commented that she thought I might have been a fairy in a former life.  Talk about creative fuel! My mother has posted a few dozen photos from my childhood, potent memory ignition.

So far, this year’s strategy works pretty well. I’m reaching my steep word count goals and having fun. I know of at least two WriMos who liked my chart well enough to make something similar for their own projects. I feel a sense of ease and support to write a 50,000-word memoir in less than 30 days. The future’s so bright, I have to prop an umbrella up on my desk to see my computer screen.

Get a piece of the action. There are several ways to participate in NaNoWriMo. Support the do-gooders who run this free event online by making a donation to the Office of Letters and Light on my fundraising page. And visit the The Sexy Grammarian Facebook Page to contribute your own words to my daily word count.

NaNoWriMo Day 1: I’m a WriMo R U 2?

NaNoWriMo 2011, day 1

Today’s personal word-count goal: 3,333

Today’s actual word-count so far: 0

Ahead or behind? Behind! 3,333 words to go today!

Years I’m Writing About: 1972-1975, on my Facebook Page you can contribute your own words about these years.

Since 2008, I’ve participated in National Novel Writing Month, an international annual event where participants compete to see who can write a 50,000-word novel in 30 days. The event is open to all, so if you’re even a little curious, don’t hesitate to join me. And if you want to sit this one out and watch first, keep an eye on my blog this month, where I’ll chronicle the harrowing adventuresperseverance, experiments, and triumphs just as I have in past years. Today, I’ll embark on my 4th NaNoWriMo–not because I have another stunning novel concept in mind but because I’m hooked.

November’s become a time in my creative year where I can count on the momentum of an online community to push me to race-write for 30 days, to prioritize writing for 30 days, to trust in future drafts and thoughtful editing in order to convince myself to write, uncensored and unbridled, and as fast as I can. The yearly exercise makes me a better writer.

This month on the blog, I’ll write about the inspiration for this year’s endeavor–a memoir to celebrate my upcoming 40th birthday, mine my own stories for new fiction ideas, and review my life so far in order to set goals for the next forty years.

I’ll also keep you updated on my word-count race, so you can cheer when I’m ahead and sympathize when I fall behind. Or you can follow my word count on my Twitter feed, my Facebook page, or by befriending me in the NaNoWriMo online community.

And of course, I’ll share the play-by-play emotional roller coaster of a writer gone mad, writing wildly and without care for thirty glorious days.

Get a piece of the action. There are several ways to participate in NaNoWriMo. Support the do-gooders who run this free event online by making a donation to the Office of Letters and Light on my fundraising page. And visit the The Sexy Grammarian Facebook Page to contribute your own words to my daily word count.

Still Life With Novel #1

Last November, I posted this story of my writing process for novel #1. After I finished writing about pigeons, I returned to this project and have been deep in it ever since. So I thought I’d update.

I snapped the shot above because when I finished the current draft and printed it, I felt proud. Now I’m working with this pile of papers to ensure a few things:

  • the story has a day-by-day rhythm that works
  • I’m using sexy, thematically appropriate language and sentence structure
  • the plot makes sense

So what are we looking at in this photo? That stack of paper beside the butt-end of my hot pink stapler, a pen, and a nail file, consists of:

  • a color-coded, day-by-day plot outline
  • theme-word lists for each of the novel’s four sections (on hot orange paper)
  • an 80,000-word manuscript

Yep, the manuscript has almost doubled in size, so I’m also looking for places I can cut. And I’ve joined a local queer/trans writing group where I hope to find some momentum for this final push. After this draft, I’m looking to sell.

Anybody know an agent or publisher looking for a bisexy romp through deadly sin and snow in San Francisco?