A Thousand Words A Day

A writing journal _____________________________ PROFESSORBLOG@HOTMAIL.COM

writing: _ Christian Writers _ _ NaNo _

reading: _LibraryThing_ _ BookCrossing _ _ My local library _ _ Another nearby library _

blogs: _ Lorie Rees_ _Itinerant Iconoclast_ _ Rita's Ravings _
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Location: Columbus, Ohio, United States

Reader, writer, podcast listener, and TV watcher. And real nice guy.

Thursday, October 31, 2002

Time is running out before NaNoWriMo, starts! I went through the process of getting this site registered to the National Novel Writing Month web ring. I was able to get the link at the bottom of the page pasted into the template for this site, which I thought was pretty impressive on my part. I have little or no programming skills -- does anyone need someone who knows a little BASIC? I also was able to put the "official NanoWriMo member" link on this page, although I could not get the picture on the site. If anyone has any ideas how I can get the GIF file for the picture onto this site over there on the left hand side, feel free to let me know how. Remember, my skills with HTML are that I know how to spell it, and beyond that I have few if any bits of knowledge. Remember that this is major busy traffic season at the official National Novel Writing Month site, so it may experience temporary outages today and probably for a few days in November.

I hooked up via e-mail with the group that met here in my town a few days ago and it looks like the group may continue to meet after this upcoming month is over. There is something about shared experiences (battlefield, athletic, writing a novel in month, whatever) that ties people to each other. I hope it works out. Based on the e-mail traffic, it seems like a great bunch of folks and it sounds like Borders would not mind if we came back. Again, they seem like a great bunch of folks, and maybe this will turn into a little group of like-minded encouragers. I have read in all of the books on writing that the writers group is an important part of developing one's skills. I have been afraid of joining one for a variety of reasons: fear and loathing of what people will think of my book and me as a writer, and the dynamics of breaking into an established group are always tough. But this way, if this is the way this group eventually goes, we are all starting from scratch -- literally, starting tomorrow from scratch -- and all are at about the same spot in our writing lives. If this also turns into more of a social affair, that is great too. Maybe some combination. I have high hopes, but then again in a month we may all want to put this experience as far behind us as possible!

The master plan for tomorrow is to get a fire going in the fireplace -- it won't be quite cold enough for one, but I am looking to set a restful atmosphere here, OK? -- and get writing by about nine AM. I am thinking that I will do my work on paper first, then get it onto this site in the afternoon. This is only the plan for the first day, but we shall have to see how it all shakes out by the end of the month, or weekend, or day. I am by nature a planner, which works for plotting and outlining novels I suppose, but I have to keep myself flexible enough to move away from the plan when appropriate and to realize that the whole day is not shot if the first part of the plan does not go off as expected. Flexibility, flexibility, flexibility. Not always my strong suits, but I recognize it and that may be all the help I need in getting myself in gear this month.

Well it is going to be fun, I am sure. I already have the first line and maybe even the first paragraph ready in my head -- not written down yet, because that would be cheating! But I am ready to get going. I wish I could just fall asleep and wake up at midnight . . . I ready to write. Come on, midnight, just get here already! As most aspiring writers, I suppose I am a by myself, leave my alone, let the world go by out there kind of guy, and the notion of being in on something bigger than just me, some secret kind of organization / self-infliceted punishment / hobby is a really cool feeling. I hope this goes well, but I know that my attitude is such that I will enojy it no matter what. I really think I can get to 50,000 words, by writing 2,000 words or so 25 days of the month. I think it can be accomplished. I think I can accomplish it. I need to turn myself inot a writing machine, and kick it up another notch and give 110% and take it one day at a time and whatever other overwrought cliches I can think of, but I think it can be done. "Soulmates," here we come! Brian X. Norton and Iona ("Annie") Bainbridge, prepare to meet, fall in love, fall out of love, deal with many disappointments and triumphs, because the next month will be extra hectice for you. I think I have it bad, I mean all I have to do is write, but my poor characters actually have to go through all this stuff! Poor kids. I hope it all works out, although to be perfectly honest, I have not figured out whether they get together or not. Is that a hoot or what? I do like the idea of being in control of people's lives, even fictional people's lives, and I think I am digging this notion that I can determine whether these two lost osuls, these two soul mates, end up together or not. What a rush. Well I need to go get ready for tomorrow and the weekend: paper, pens, computer working, computer paper to print out drafts (maybe, maybe not), plenty of caffeine, and just don't lose that outline! If that disappears, it is over for me. And for Brian and Annie, poor kids.

See you here tomorrow, with the first installment. Right on!

Wednesday, October 30, 2002

NaNoWriMo Prep
I am getting stoked for NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month. Less than 36 hours from now, it'll be time to get those first 2,000 words a-going. I am so thrilled to be doing this, and the anticipation is driving me crazy, although the 7 Milky Ways I've downed may be part of that, too. Halloween is for kids? No way, it's for us, too! Anyway, between the web site, a web ring I joined, and a mailing list of area people, I am really looking forward to this. By November 7, when I'm XXX words behind my quota, I may not be so stoked, but . . . . . for now, I'm getting into it. I missed the local kickoff party last night, but have hooked up with the attendees via a mailing list. Nice work to all who went -- it sounded like a great time. I have told my wife about my plans to write this month, so she'll probably understand when I attend the end-of-month celebration -- or is it commiseration -- or is it whine and cry -- get together. Oh well, call it whatever you like, I am getting psyched to start the writing process.

I have another day to work on the outline, and have already fixed a few things in it. My novel is pretty structured, alternative POVs, so I needed to think through a few things to get the right scenes told from the right character's perspective. That required a little rejiggering of the events, as well as a little bit of minor modifications. I decided to kill off one of the minor characters in a less gruesome way than I originally thought. My thinking about the entire outlining things is twofold: 1) This novel already was outlined. I admit, that helped the decision process along quite a bit. 2) This month is for writing, not about thinking about writing. So, outlining is thinking about writing and not writing so I can't do it (much of it) in November. November requires knowing what the next few scenes will be, and being able to move quickly to them, and we hope through them.

I also am looking forward to (though I hope this is not going to take away from my own writing) reading some of the other novel's in process, via Journalers, a National Novel Writing Month web ring. I am listed there (Professor Blog) as are a number of other WriMos. I saw this term on some related site and like it. Wrimos. Sounds like Rhinos. Charging boldly ahead, unstoppable, yeah right. The web ring allows people to communicate, and lists the sites that participants' works in process are being posted. This site will include my works in process. Only one more day of writing about National Novel Writing Month, or writing in general, and then this site can begin to actually contain writing.

On a completely unrelated subject, I have to put in a plug for last night's episode of 24, which may have had one the best 10 scenes in TV history. Keifer Sutherland has been recruited back into the Counter Terrorism Unit, and they have gained custody of a federal witness, who is somehow involved in the terrorist plot that Keifer has to save us from this season, or in 24 parlance, today. So he is talking to this guy, who is a complete waste of skin, a child abuser, child pornographer, whatever, the lowest of the low. Now this guy is to testify against the terrorist, so Keifer has to get some info from this guy to lead him to the terrorist. now Keifer has worked undercover before with the terrorist, which is why he is brought back at all. Anyway, this guy crows to Keifer about how after he testifies he will be back on the street, even though we all realize that he is a major league low life. So instead of talking to him, like you expect, in 3 seconds Keifer has pulled out his gun and shot this low life dead, right in front of Keifer's boss at the Counter Terrorism Unit. This is shocking enough a turn of events, but it really gets interesting when Keifer turns to his boss and says, "We need to get a hacksaw." The episode ended shortly thereafter, so those words will be running around my brain for the next week. "We need to get a hacksaw." This expression almost never means anything good.

Anyway, back to writing, and thanks for letting me detour into a little bit of pop culture. One of the motivators for me this upcoming month is that I do not want to still be getting my 2,000 words out in the evening, because I watch a lot (I mean a LOT) of TV in the evenings. Almost a show per night, although the end of the World Series helps put a damper on a bit of that. So my incentive to myself is that I can't watch 24 (or Alias, or whatever the night's show is) if I am not caught up on my National Novel Writing Month obligations. Again, I have talked to the missus about this and she seemed to dig the premise and "get" the attitude from some pages off the web that I printed for her, so I hope she will let me do my "work" without too much trouble. It's a pretty healthy commitment, but it's only one month. Anyway, that is my motivation. It is also why God made VCRs. I am so behind the times, I don't have a Tivo yet, which would make this whole TV watching process so much easier. But I am rambling. Rambling will be good next month, but is not so good now. Focus, focus, focus.

Okay, so with one more day to trade emails with fellow Wrimos, which I believe will tail off once we begin writing, and one more day to outline and prepare to write, I am ready. Good nights sleep, plenty of caffeine, sharp pencils, pads of paper everywhere, and a willingness to write a bunch of crap. Maybe some good stuff, too, you never know. But the gleeful acceptance of writing crap.

Tuesday, October 29, 2002

OK, I signed up for the NaNoWriMo, the National Novel Writing Month. That means that I will have 30 days (November) to come up with a 50,000 word novel. I love the attitude of the site, and the irreverence it shows in encouraging readers to fulfill the missions. The demystification of the creative process is important. It reminds me of a comment I understand Woody Allen has made recently, while doing work in Europe, which is evidently the only place that people go to his movies. Anyway, what he said was that he does not like the American film industry because "people there only go to movies that are entertaining." Uh, yeah? Woody, it is called the entertainment industry. Ever since he left his wife for her daughter, his career has gone straight down. And you know what? That is a very good thing. We wonder about the moral state of America sometimes, but the fact that Woody Allen's movies gross in the $2-3 million range encourage me. If there is anyone who should be shamed out of the country and out of his celebrity status, it is that man. The point also is that this is a man who needs his sense of own brilliant creativity demystified. So now I get a chance to demystify the creative process by contributing (contributing? I don't think that is what the publisher would call it) to the world of arts and letters. What I love most about NaNoWriMo is that they don't grade on quality, just on quantity. The site has a comment somewhat like: "We receive the final draft, count the words, don't read it, then destroy it!" What a refreshing attitude towards creativity! And since most of writing anyway is rewriting, why not spend as little time as possible on writing. It is the least important part of the finished product, so they say! Why not write the first draft as fast as absolutely possible? I spent time agonizing over the first draft of my one finished novel, and have not even begun the torturous process of revising it. Writing is rewriting. This idea of just speed writing is not my style, well it never has been, maybe this blog and the National Novel Writing Month project will change my attitude and change my habits.

I will try to find my way to the Borders tonight in town for the kickoff party. Maybe meet a few fellow novelists (a much less pretentious word than author, by the way), trade ideas, secrets, advice, and most of all encouragement. Weather and other things permitting, of course. That reminds me, I actually have to go online soon and find out exactly where that Borders is. I have not gotten that far yet in the planning process. But hey I have like 8, 9 hours to find the address and where in town it is. Do I looked worried? No, not at all.

I love, respect and honor creative people. That notion that I can do just a little of what "they" do knocks me out. "They" are just like me, and I don't mean the truly "artistic" type (I mean that in the mean way), I mean the writers. I differentiate between "writer" and "author" the later being those who take themselves and their work way too seriously. You know, the type that James Lipton would interview on Bravo TV. Now those people take themselves a bit too seriously. James Lipton just encourages them , though. Brian Lamb of C-SPAN is the far better interviewer. He never pretends to know an answer, and never has to show off how smart he is. He once asked a biographer of George Washington, "Who was George Washington?" Amazing. Simply amazing. One of my goals in life is to write a non-fiction work that lands me on Booknotes. I already have ran the script through in my mind.

Anyway, so I am looking forward to participating. What a whirlwind of a week it has been. Within a week of committing to write a thousand words a day, I am committing to writing 50,000 in a single month. Thank God I had an outlined novel somewhere just waiting to be written. What I have is "Soul Mates," an alternating POV first person narrative told from both the man and woman's perspectives about their relationship. The only part I have not figured out yet is whether they end up together. I suppose that I can make that decision somewhere around the 29th of November. I found the old outline, dusted it off, and here we are, ready and raring to go. I have approximately 60 scenes, meaning I have to do a pair of thousand word scenes each day in November. Some are the same events told through different eyes, and some are different events, when they are apart from each other and dealing with their own stuff. I also found some notes on the backstory that I had made before. I have two days to work on the outline, flesh out the characters and fine-tune the outline. Then, I have 30 days to write, write, write. Fun, fun, fun.

The nice thing about my job is that I have Friday off, so I can begin writing Friday morning. I have to consider all the hard questions -- write at the library, on the computer, pen and paper then the computer. It all has to get on the computer eventually, and if the first draft is all that matters, maybe writing directly to this blog is the way to go. All of it eventually will go on this blog, then accumulated in a separate file (WORD, I guess) and sent off the site. They start verifying word count on the 15th of the month, so you just unofficially keep it yourself until then. They give you an option on your personal profile to enter your own word count, so any time you post in a forum or something like that on the site they can see your word count. It is for encouragement, though discouragement is just as likely, I am sure. But I'll not think like that. Positive, positive, positive.

Monday, October 28, 2002

Really interesting thing I found as a link in protoype 26.website, a web log, blog I should say, by a young artist / traveler / hanger outer / something. Cool site. She has a link to something called National Novel Writing Month., wherein a 50,000 novel is written in a month. That is right, in a month. That is right, a month. So I've got this thousand word a day thing that makes 30,000 words, and if I just poke it up to nearly 1,700 and voila! there it is, a 50,000 word novel. Is that a novella? Or is that a novelette? Or is a noveleenie? That is a word I heard somewhere to describe a super-short novel, probably not more than 20,000. I am going with novella, or maybe just novel. Novel is a good word. I have about 4 days to figure out whether to do this or not. It is really inrtiguing as a notion. The site at first glance looks, too, for a writing site. Something to seriously consider. And then a novel to seriously consider. Actually the site is not very serious which is the way to go. I am not a very serious writer, so maybe a tongue in cheek contest is the way to go. But I don’t even know if I want to put myself out as a writer at all, even a fake one. Not a fake writer, just an in the dark one. Heck I am even confused about whether I want this blog to be known to anyone. Carolyn See talks about the private world of the writer, and how nobody can get in and don’t expect anyone to like the fact that you are a writer. Pretty funny, actually. Pretty funny. I thought it was good advice, and advice that I intend to follow, and does this contest count as putting myself forward as a novelist. Or is my fear just fear of rejection or fear of ridicule. I would like it to be a complete secret that I have written and published and sold 4 million copies . . . LOL!

I am a big believer in coincidence (not in karma or God’s particular will or any other spiritual meaning in every single moment and decision and act that happens), so if it was a coincidence that I found prototype 26 and this contest idea, what is the big deal? If there was nothing cosmic, then why do it? But will I ever have such a good opportunity again to be forced to write. I don’t even know if I am interesting in this free writing, and had never done it until 5 days ago or whenever this blog started. Now I am considering committing to nearly 2,000 words a day . . . what has gotten into me? I am a nutcase, a nutball, one big ball of nuts. I am considering this? Me? Me? I am actually considering this? How can someone change completely in that short a time, or is this a change especially if I have dreamed of writing for such a long time. Is this a fulfillment of something instead of a change? Maybe. Another thing for me to think about. Yikes! I need one more thing to think about in my literary life? I am pretty good with deadlines, and I finished “Wanted” by the deadline I had set. More than a year before, I set a deadline for the end of the next year, and finished it on I believe December 27. So maybe with a 50,000 word deadline as of November 30, I actually have a chance. Hey, I am not visiting anyone for Thanksgiving, and no one is coming to visit me, either.

I do not want to do idea 2 or 3 as discussed previously. For one thing, I have bigger visions than just 50,000 words for those and the contest is not open for works in progress, but maybe one of the other rattling-around-my-head ideas could work. They are "Soulmates," which I intend to be an alternate POV novel that by its nature I already have pretty well outlined. Boy meets girl, boy falls for girl, boy loses other girl, girl likes boy, blah blah blah. That is a possibility, as is "She was Coke and I was Pepsi," which despite the possible trademark issues of the title is supposed to be a light hearted post mortem of a failed relationship. I don't know if you can do funny in a month in a 50,000 word novel. Of course I don't even know if I can do funny at all, so . . . but if I only have a month maybe it is the time to try funny. No I just don’t think so.

I am leaning toward “Soulmates” because of the whole outline thing. That gives me 3, 4 days to think more aobut my characters, which of course I already have a pretty good idea of. The girl is one of my 10 most important people (under See’s idea) and the guy is me. That should not be hard. If we believe in writing what we know, or who we know, I know me and I know my life and my personality and my reactions, so maybe that is the way to go. I think in doing this I have narrowed my options to 2. One is to ignore this, or at least not do it, or at least not do it this year. The other is to spend a month writing a first draft of “Soulmates.” That’s it! That’s the list!

Well, this was not the thousand words I expected to write today, that is for darn sure. It was just a matter of checking for interesting blogs to link to for my other blog (the public one), and I hadn’t hit Prototype 26 for a while, so I figured . . . and then there is the link, and there you go. And here I am, five minutes later thinking. This has to take time in order to sink in and consider. Well . . . I will go consider.

Saturday, October 26, 2002

Okay, where were we, where were we, where were we. That is quite the fun sentence to write, as it takes largely the middle three fingers of the left hand. Where were we. It is a nice rhythm. Rhythm is important in free-writing. It is all about getting into a rhyth,, where the words just pour out. This is clearly not the way to write finsihed prose, but one must fiorst write ino rder to re-write. Wrtite, revise, revise, revise, revise, revise, submit, revise . . . . . publish! That is the goal. The only variable in the formula is the number of revisions and submissions. At some point, if you are persistent enough, someone will like your work enough to publish it. I am not the only one who likes the things I like, and therefore who likes the things I write.

I have spoken about novels one and two, "Wanted," which is complete in its first draft status, and "Country Church," which is not, but is about 25,000 words complete. And we are finally getting to some conflict. It is like the latest Tom Clancy novel, 27 hours worth of listening and almost no drama. If mine ends up published and selling one-tenth of Red Rabbit, then I have nothing to complain about. Now is the time to write about novel three, "lol," though it may be renamed "asl." Both are chat room lingo, Laughing Out Loud and Age Sex Location. I like "lol" as a title, except that the book itself is not that funny. Funy, but not funny enough to be called "laughing out loud." I think that "asl" more aptly reflects the subject matter of the book and plot, but I have not had the heart to make the changes to the Word document. Maybe soon.

"asl" is about a university grad student who is dating the daughter of a publishing bigwig who is interested in publishing the kid's research and helping him get his start in his career as a popular business writer. Sounds like quite the life plan, huh? Well, the guy gets a little lazy and ends up spending much time on chat rooms and web sites. This new hobby and source of socialization and firendship open the main character to a new world of vulnerability and faux communication, but the result are losses in real life, or IRL, to career and relationships, etc . . . Now that i think about it, "IRL" might be the name, although Indy Racing League might sue, and open wheel racing fans might be disappointed in the subject matter. "asl" may be the name to go with. This is worth considering.

I just finsihed the See book, "Living the Literary Life" and quite enojyed it. She makes some intriguing points about this life I desire, the life of the academic and writer. She makes a fascinating claim about characterization. She says that a list of the 10 people who most changed your life and the 6 poeple you most dislike (she had a different word, the the concept is right) will give you the guts of all your characters. These 16 real life people will eventually morph into the characters of your novel, whether you want them to or not. I believe that this is what "write what you know" means. Maybe the phrase should be "Write who you know." One of the interesting things aboutt eaching is the wide number of people you get to know, the wid enumber of potential characters that are there before you. So I don't think I'll have 16 possible characters, I think I'll have as many as I get to know. Students open up, not about every part of their life like a friend would, but certainly about parts of their lives, sometimes very perosnal parts. There is pleanty of material sitting before me every day of the school year for interesting characters, at least interesing composites. And that does not even mention my faculty colleagues. One thing to keep in mind about professional professors is that there is a reason they like research and quiet and summers off and not supervising people and not dealing with customers, etc . . . I know that is why I like being a professor. It meets my personality, because my square peg did not fit in the round hole of mainstream society. All of my colleagues are square pegs, although a few are octagonal pega, rhomboid pegs, trapezoidal pegs . . . I am one the most normal people on campus, and I am a bit nutty. "asl" has a wealth of characters to draw from, and a wealth of situations to draw on. I am interested to see where it goes, although I know it will not have a happy ending. The work has "cautionary tale" written all over it. But I will try to make it not a cookie cutter morality piece, but a living breathing work of value, that just happens to have a "cautionary tale" feel to it. But I don't seem to be able to get to "asl" or whatever it is called. I am on a bit of a roll with "Country Church," although roll is an exageration. I am on a habit, perhaps, and have made some progress. And of course I need to revise and summarize (summarize, then revise) "Wanted," also. So I just need to live "asl" and gather experience and eyeball potential characters, let them simmer, maybe write some here . . . but get back to them some time down the road.

I am concerned about the accountant in me, that part of my personality that has noted that this paragraph began at 935 words, leaving only 65 to write today. The organizational side of the accountant is a good thing, letting a number of plots go on at once and making outlinging less of a struggle than it could be, but the picky pick picky part of me gets on my nerves sometimes, and may hinder my writing. I sincerely hope not.

Thursday, October 24, 2002

OK, so this one is going to be tough. I know it is only the second day and maybe my habits are not as well-formed as I would like, but I will try to press through on this. I spent over 3 hours (not all at once, I must say, this was spread out over some other commitments) doing an online jigsaw puzzle. That is how my Thousand-Words-A-Day time disappeared like the early morning fog. Early morning fog? Not too bad. Their are other responsibilities, too, but is important to keep in mind that this is my commitment to keep this pace. I will onyl post to this site 5 days, as per the book that I am reading now by See. However, she does say that you can not make up for lost time, it is not an AVERAGE of one thousand words per day, but a commitment to get one thousand words per day. So if one day falls short, then the next day you can not make up for it. But I did not want to skip on the second day, so I am trying to write on the second day. Write a bunch of mumbo jumbo obviously, but still trying to write. I understand the Red Smith quote about writing being easy, just "slice open a vein and let it flow."

What I have got to do now and over the next few days is figure out when to write again. I assume that I can write Saturday and Sunday, although Friday tomorrow may be a problem. So my thinking is that I may skip tomorrow and get in 3 days of writing over the first 4 days of the week, my first attempt is a 4-day week. I would be terribly proud of that accomplishment. I am not there yet, but I am getting there. Life a series of small steps, and so is becoming a skilled writer. In order to write a good novel, my understanding is that it may take a million bad words to get tot eh good stuff. It is a matter of getting the words of bad novels out of the way before the good novels can come. My education background leans me to think this is more like a matter of practice, practice, practice.

Tomorrow is a new day, it was the best of times and the worst of times to be or not to be, wherefore art thou Romeo . . . when will I write words that memorable? Is that even the goal? Is my goal to be immoratl or to be respected or to be . . . what? Why am I here. Maybe I just have stories that I need to tell. Or that I want ot tell. I am uncomforatable with the word "need" in this context. I will not persih if I don't publish, but will I if I don't write. Or if not perish, maybe I will just not be as healthy a person as I hope to be. I have had experiences, maybe writing either in this context or in novelistic form, it is a chance to digest these experiences and perhaps share them. So many books have had an impact on me, and I want to have such an impact onothers. Jane Eyre, Tess of the Dubervilles, and others have actually touched my soul. I am a better person for having read some of these books, and am certainly a person of better outlook and temperment because of the fantasy aspects of these books. I am an educator because I want to change people's lives, maybe I want to be an author for the same reason. Cee talks about writing a note a day to someone that you respect in the field of literature, but I balked at this and doubt whether I will ever do it, and certainly can not see me ever getting to do that on a daily basis. But wow thinking about the notion of being on the receiveing end of this makes me tingle. I want to be on the side of touching people's lives, as I have been touched. Whether this is spiritual growth, opening one's mind to new ideas and a new paradigm of thinking, or just fun entertainment, I want to be on the giving side of that. I love being on the receiving side of these factors, and the thought of being on the giving side blows me away. Tis better to give than to receive.

Well I am three quarters there for the day and am pretty pleased. It is amazing to realize what is behind your mind when you finally open the floodgates and let yourself go. My mother once said "you are an emotional person" and it was a line that blew me away. I am shocked that I am an emotional person, but I am. The facade of cool rationality is just that, a facade. The real me is the one who feels, hurts, bleeds, and cries. I need therapy, maybe this is the therapy I need. Not just this blog, but the entire process of writing. I will eventaully get to the point where I can do my revising and writing on this blog, but this whole notion of the daily free write is something I could really get used to. Maybe I need a friend, it is sad but when I start to list my close friends I can count to zero. That is it. If that is not the life of the writer, what is? I can be nothing else, I have to be a writer. This is the way I can deal with not having a close friend. The loss of that is to turn inward and become an inner person. I feel like exploring the inner life is valuable, but I have to continue to explore that and not turn so inward that I forget to write and forget to deal with the real issues of my life. Have a good day.

Wednesday, October 23, 2002

Well, I have heard about this thousand-words-a-day concept ever since I have been seriously considering writing. For my first novel (unpublished, unsubmitted, and even unedited . . . ) I was able to write based on a 1,500-word-a-week goal, but since have had trouble making the commitment to working on novel #2. So in going through yet another book on writing, this one by Caroline See, I see the 1,000-word-a-day commitment stressed (along with a nuttier one regarding sending a note to someone you appreciate in the publishing industry every day, 5 days a week, no exceptions) My theory is that she made these 2 separate recommendations on the basis that the 1,000-words-a-day was the really important one. It seems like an old professor's trick: Give you two things one to do, one so outrageous that the other sounds do-able.

I am not a big fan of the 1,000-words-a-day plan, because it seems too legalistic for my tastes. I am not a big fan of free-writing, writing about anything. Neither of these ideas rsonated with me. Unitl now. I want to get back into the writing habit, and if this is the way, then I swallow my pride and write a thosand words of something, anything every day. I am not so good that I can't learn. I must note my own version of Cee's plan, by taking her recommendation of writing 1,000 words a day, Monday through Friday, and tweaking it to 1,000 words a day, any 5 days, Monday - Sunday. This gives me the weekend to make up for any days missed during the work week.

I expect this blog to include some actual writing on the novels, on theory, general writing and observations, as well as filler, filler being the more traditional free-writing about my life. I have been extrememly faithful to my regular blog, missing one day of blogging in about 2 months. Not too shabby. Now for a little bit about my writing plans, hopes, dreams, aspirations, and goals. Goals may sound a bit pretensious, but here you go.

"Wanted" was Novel #1, still is, and is sitting in a binder next to the bed waiting for me to go through it with a fine tooth comb for revision. One thing I can use this blog for is the re-write process. The book is 100,000 words long, so the rewrite can't take more than 100 days, no? Well, that may be pushing it, but the rewrite is something I need to do. First will be a summary, and again this place is as good as any for doing that, I suppose. I like that idea, I got it from the book "Writing A Novel" by I don't remember who, but it made what seemed to be to be a great point of writing a summary after the first draft is completed. This is a quick way to see inconsistincies, and figure out how to iron out plot wrinkles that will inevitably appear. I fear about a whole forest and trees things happening if I just start the rewrite without a summary. This is a good idea, and I am going to try it. Well, that is Novel #1, finished, my wife read it and fell aslepp, always a good sign, but at least I shared it with her. Counting me and her, a grand total of three people know I was writing a novel, and the third does not know I finished. I am kicking around the idea of dedicating it to person #3, along with the person from whom I heard the original story (true) that led to the novel. I still remember the first time I heard him tell it (overheard, actually) and I knew right then and there that "this would make for a great novel." So far all it has done is make for a novel, not a great novel. But there is still time.

Thank you, Wave and Ione. For giving me 2 completely different kinds of inspiration.

Novel #2 (in terms of how far along it is) is "Country Church", which I envision as the first of three books. Not a series in the sense of being books about the same group of characters, but in the sense of being books about a similar theme. "Country Church" takes place in a small town church with a young new pastor and the things he deals with in his first church. Various young couples, the Atholtons, the Wallaces, the Babbits, etc . . . all are part of the mix, as well as the pastor, Warren Dorsey. So far, all of the coules are in the town (one is moving in the next section I have to write, ti be perfectly honest) and 4 of the 5 have gone to the church. Next up is the process of integrating these new young folks into the life of the church, along with the pastor, who has befriended (or been befriended by) a black pastor in the same town. As the Pastor and the young guns try to institute some (minor to their thinking) changes, they face backlash from the old established members of the 60 to 80 person congregation. Racial issues, generational conflicts, all are part of the story. The balance between moving on to a new generation of leadership while maintaining a proper respect for "thge older brother" of the Prodigal tale is one of the themes, as well as criticizing petty and small church politics. "City Church" and "Suburban Church" come next, I suppose. The arc of planned novels traces the path of my life pretty accurately, from the West End Alliance Church to the Richmond Vineyard to the Columbus Vineyard. Some keen observation, along with leadership posts and a wild imagination . . . who knows? Hopefully, solid writing will ensue. They are all tales worth telling, and I hope that I can do them justice.

Thank you, Ms. Cee. I believe I am done for one day, the first(?) of many.