NaNoWriMo Day 28

File under: NaNoWriMo

Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

I tried writing this morning, thinking I might hit the 50,000 mark or I might not, and I wasn't feelin' it. I spent the day having fun with the family and bracing for going back to work after the first four-day weekend I've had since February, and the tonight I had a little wine and I got very wordy and I hit 50,449 pretty much before I looked up. I submitted my writing in the NaNoWriMo validator and got the most wonderful message. I was a winner and had fulfilled my NaNoWriMo requirements.

Woot! I then closed my doc and freaked out that I might have lost the last couple thousand words and nervously opened it back up, waited to check the word count, thanked the powers that be, and then saved a copy to my thumb drive and send myself a copy via email. Ahhhhhhhhhhhh.

S-U-C-C-E-S-S, that's the way you spell success!

To those of you who have be silently or vocally supportive, thank you so much. This is what I've done to avoid having to do anything really crazy like run a marathon.

I do not have an excerpt today. I am too excited to finish my wine and go to bed and SLEEP IN tomorrow morning for the first time in a month. (I am not couting on the fact that my brain will actually let me do that.)

My plan for the next couple days is to keep adding to my word count, then I hope I will keep the momentum going and do the editing I need to do until it's ready to be passed along to another pair of eyes. We shall see. I may need to start a National Novel Editing Month. NaNoEdMo? Oh, um, they already do. Good then.

Thanks for the support. G'night!

For the sake of posterity, I am 28 days (out of 30) and 50,449 words (out of 50,000+) down.

If you were planning on getting me a Christmas gift or a belated birthday gift, you mind consider finding it here.

I'm too excited to sleep!

Fran

NaNoWriMo Day 27

File under: NaNoWriMo

I have officially run out of anything interesting or constructive to say. I might have senioritis. I will try to step my game back up for the last handful of words.
 
I am 27 days (out of 30) and 48,207 words (out of 50,000) down.
 
Graduation ended up being much better than I predicted in my hj article. The families of the two boys in our class who had died bought a rose for everyone in the class to have during the ceremony. As sad as I was ___ couldn't be there with us, holding the rose made me feel like we were connected again that day. I watched _____ give the commencement speech, which was beautiful and perfect in every way, and everyone laughed while we watched the senior class slide show. The principal announced who won the various awards and scholarships, and I smiled as I heard my closest friends' names called over and over. There was just one award I had my sights set on, and it was the one art award. Winning the award would result in a small monetary prize, having a piece of my artwork hung in the library for an indefinite period of time, and bragging rights. I knew I wasn't the best artist in the class, but at this time in my life I still thought if I wanted something enough I could simply have it, and I wasn't jaded by whatever it was in life that muddled my optimism. I willed Mr. ______ to call my name, and then he did. I stood up, not at all shocked, walked through the aisle to accept my award, and smiled when I  heard a little collective gasp when I emerged and walked toward the podium with my long pink hair under my graduation cap, spilling over the shoulders of my white graduation gown. I shook the principal's hand and accepted my award, so proud I had won, and he said, "Congratulations, Frances. I like your hair." I thanked him, blushed, and walked back to my seat, thinking it might be a perfect day.

Something other than NaNoWhatsItCalled

File under: greta | thanksgiving

On Wednesday night we headed to my parents' house for Thanksgiving. Wednesday night we hung out with Taryn and Todd at their new house until way past my bedtime. Thursday we headed over to my aunt and uncle's land for the annual Turkey Bowl.

My family of blondies.

Only my family...

Interception!

On Thursday night we ate some of the greatest food ever at my parents' house, and then Greta proceeded to get sicker and sicker (she had a cold and then her asthma kicked in and she was feverish and I am mom of the year so I remembered her asthma medication and her nebulizer but not the actual compressor thing, rendering the medication useless - awesome), so we decided to cut our trip short and head home Thursday night.

After the cold, fresh air on the way home, she was actually doing a lot better, and was even better after some albuterol, and she's feeling much better today. Today we went over to Pat's grandparents' house and had leftovers and spent some time with Pat's family. It was all fine and good until Pat gave Greta a hard candy, and shortly after that she turned around and grabbed my shirt and looked at me with terror in her eyes. I knew from the look that she was choking. A few seconds later she swallowed the piece of candy but was freaked out by that, and she started coughing, which actually lodged the candy back in her throat, causing her to choke again. Thankfully, she coughed it up on her own and it shot out of her mouth and into the sink. The whole thing lasted all of 30 to 45 seconds, but it was  quite possibly the most horrifying seconds of my life. I was not only worthless at helping, but I also overreacted and made a nice scene in front of my in-laws. Pretty sweet. I think I will be taking some sort of safety/CPR class with the Red Cross or something, even though I'm pretty certain that if it ever happens again I'll still be as worthless.

The highlight of today was setting up the Christmas tree. It's so fun to see how excited Greta got about every little decoration. So cute.

Tomorrow Greta and I are going to the Nutcracker, which I am ridiculously excited about. I've been wanting to take her to see it since the day I found out I was pregnant.

Fran

NaNoWriMo Day 26

File under: NaNoWriMo

Good evening, friends. It's day 26 and I have major ants in my pants to wrap things up. Today's writing focused on other people's feelings on Marcellus. There are five lengthy books wholly about Marcellus, written by authors who either currently live in Marcellus (some for all their lives) or lived in Marcellus at some point. I talk about those books a bit, and I also talk about the official website of Marcellus, New York, which at a glance looks like a typical small-town website but upon closer inspection is a treasure trove of professions of love for a special small town. The guestbook, which is what this excerpt is about, is filled with all of these amazing little stories of sweet memories, quests for long-lost loves, personalized obituaries, congratulations for high school sports teams, people who were touched by Marcellus or someone from Marcellus, people with the last name Marcellus who just happened to stumble upon the site, and I could go on and on. I describe a handful of my favorite entries, like one woman who had a crock on it from the Marcellus Crown Mill that she inherited from her deceased mother and that she sadly lost during Hurricane Katrina. I describe a volunteer fire fighter from Santiago, Chile, who got a uniform from a second-hand store that had been donated from the Marcellus Fire Department, and he asks if anyone recognizes the name on his uniform and asks for the email address of the fire department so he can talk to someone there about his passion, firefighting. And that is just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many great stories.
 
Oh, I broke 45,000 word mark today. [Rubs knuckles on shirt.]
 
I am 26 days (out of 30) and 46,383 words (out of 50,000) down.
 
My personal favorite thing on the MarcellusNY.com website is the guestbook. As I write this, there are 461 entries in the guestbook ranging from present day back to February 13, 2002. This may not seem like a lot of comments, but I think it's very fair to say in the case of this small town's website, the guestbook is much more about quality than quantity. Since I discovered the guestbook, I have made a point to check back every six months or so, looking for familiar names. While I did find a lot of familiar names, I also found some amazing stories that connect people to Marcellus.

After recently reading through all of the guestbook entries, I came to the conclusion that the common theme of the guestbook is that those who contributed are all people wanting to speak their piece about Marcellus. Unlike most spaces on the Internet that aren't heavily monitored, people are being nice; there is little to no negativity. There is even an entry from me, signed with my maiden name. It is entry #71, from December 3, 2002, well before this book was a glimmer in my eye. My entry is just one of many from someone saying she lives somewhere else now but will always call Marcellus home.

NaNoWriMo Day 25

File under: NaNoWriMo

Happy Thanksgiving. I have a lot to be thankful for. At this very moment, I'm especially thankful that my word count is in great shape to wrap this project up by the end of the month and that I can expect some tryptophan-induced dreams in the very near future. I hope you're all having a wonderful day.
 
During today's writing, I wrapped up the last big story I wanted to cover for the book. I was having trouble reaching my goal and just decided to write some content that might be some sort of material for the front matter or auxiliary information, which is where this excerpt came from.
 
I am 25 days (out of 30) and 43,939 words (out of 50,000) down.
 
November 1991 through August 1995 will always feel like a magical time for me, one that holds and extremely special place in my heart. I was nothing if not awkward. I made some of the most embarrassing mistakes of my life during that time. I wore unflattering clothes. I said unflattering things. I got myself in uncomfortable predicaments. I wished for a lot of things that never came true. A lot of great things I never planned or hoped for fell in my lap with ease. I made some of the best friends in my life. I had some of the greatest fun in my life. I had my first kiss. I got in my first car accident...and then my second car accident. I fell in love for the first time. I got my first raise. I thought I knew a lot but felt stupid at the same time. I watched a lot of movies. I made unexpected friendships. I mourned death for the first time. I felt apathy for the first time. I listened to music and it truly moved me for the first time. I cleaned a toilet for the first time. I learned how to make change (of the money variety). I had my first alcoholic drink...and then my second, third, and fourth. I learned that good people are capable of doing horribly bad things. I learned that some people won't change no matter how much you try to make them change. I learned that I look pretty damned good with pink hair. I laughed a lot. I cried a lot. I took away a great number of memories that had a huge impact on me and I'll never forget. This book is an account of those times (and then some), to the best of my recollection.

NaNoWriMo Day 24

File under: NaNoWriMo

Happy Thanksgiving eve, aka the eve of the greatest holiday ever.
 
I am kicking dirt about today's excerpt. It's from this very strange incident that is an interesting story but may never make it to the finished book if it ever gets published. It involves other people that I would really prefer not to offend, but it might be too late for that...yeah, I'll have to figure that out. That being said, here's a soft, safe, and sanitized excerpt from today's writing.
 
I am 24 days (out of 30) and 42,245 words (out of 50,000) down.
 
As I walked up the steps to the store, before I even put my key in the lock, I saw that the door was unlocked and was slightly ajar. I looked over my shoulder to see if anyone was watching me, for some reason, and I poked just my head into the video store before I walked all the way in. I didn't think the store had been robbed. It didn't look like the door had been forced open. Only a handful of us had keys, and I assumed ____, who closed the night before, had accidentally left it open. Thinking back, I and can't remember if I was actually oblivious to the fact that there could have been danger inside or if I felt scared but just sucked it up and went in anyway. Either way, I went in the store and looked around. Things were in various states of undone, but nothing appeared to be missing at a glance. I noticed the carpet hadn't been vacuumed, and the counter had some things on it that would usually be cleaned up after a shift.

NaNoWriMo Day 23

File under: NaNoWriMo

The good news is I broke the 40,000 mark! [Pausing for fanfare.]
 
The bad news is I wrote total crap today. The other bad news is that I have seven days of writing left, but in my mind I have about three to four days of decent writing left in me. I will reach 50,000 words or die trying; that is not my worry. I just hope I don't have to spend four days writing filler. If any high school friends want to brainstorm with me (aka, reminisce about the awesome old days), I am all ears!
 
I am 23 days (out of 30) and 40,483 words (out of 50,000) down.
 
Seconds later, I looked out the living room window and saw two police cars with their lights flashing and my grandfather's neighbor, Mrs. M, from across the street running down her driveway. I ran toward the front door and said something approximate to, "Son of a bitch. This isn't happening." C and and I walked out the front door and down the driveway toward the flashing lights. I smiled at the neighbor and said, "Hi, Mrs. M." I turned toward the officers and started to explain who we were and what we were doing when Mrs. M cut in and said, "Oh, I know her. This is Jennifer." She then looked C and me up and down and said, "Looks like you were coming for a swim. You must have turned the alarm on instead of off." I realize then the neighbor had no idea who I actually was, but I didn't correct her. She either thought I was my grandfather's wife's daughter, Jennifer, or my little cousin, Jennifer. Either way, I was happy she was willing to vouch for me.

NaNoWriMo Day 22

File under: NaNoWriMo

Meh, another day, another 1,867 words. This is getting too easy. (Joking.) I originally had the usual blanks, but it was confusing, so I switched to first initials for this one. This exceprt might still be a little confusing without the context. Alas...
 
I am 22 days (out of 30) and 38,545 words (out of 50,000) down.

I was happy to see C come out of his shell a bit with me around, and I tried to squelch the comparisons I kept making in my mind between N and C. It seemed that, aside from N being outwardly funny and conversational and C being almost painfully reserved, I could immediately tell C was a better person in every way. Sitting across from them in Perkins, I noticed C even had clean, trim fingernails, in distinct contrast to N's, which were bitten so far down the nail beds his nails were wider than they were long. I also appreciated the challenge of saying something and getting faint smile to appear on C's lips.

NaNoWriMo Day 21

File under: NaNoWriMo

One thing that has surprised me during this process is what stories turn into something substantial and what doesn't. I thought talking about the murder in my town would be a more significant portion of the book than it was, but it ended up being only about 1,000 words. And I didn't plan on the part about my one drinking experience to be significant, but I easily wrote that part and it ended up being more than 3,500 words. Who knew? At this point my focus is on quantity, not quality, so I'm just happy to keep my word count up.
 
So, the below excerpt is probably self-explanatory if you read yesterday's post. I want to make one note below about my reference to the "B'ville sluts." We had these friends of friends who were affectionately referred to as the "B'ville sluts." (They were from a suburb of Syracuse called Baldwinsville.) To my knowledge, they were not actually sluts, but that's neither here nor there. That's what everyone called them, including their family and parents' friends, so for the purposes of authenticity, that's how I'm referring to them in the book. I would never call anyone a slut otherwise (at least not in "print").
 
I am 21 days (out of 30) and 36,678 words (out of 50,000) down.

I had an even worse night of sleep than the night before, sharing a bed with a snoring girl and listening to the heavy breathing coming from the two B'ville sluts in the bed a few feet from ours. I slept for a while, and then I woke up around 3 AM feeling sick to my stomach. I fought the urge to throw up, partially sitting up and breathing deeply and trying to think about anything but the feeling in my stomach. I tried willing myself to sleep, and eventually my stomach and brain calmed themselves enough to let me get some more sleep, and then the phone rang at 6 AM. I angrily answered it, and there was just laughter on the other end. I slammed the receiver down and sat wide awake again, listening to the three other girls sleep soundly and contemplating whether I could continue to fight the urge to throw up or if I should just run to the bathroom and get it over with.

NaNoWriMo Day 20

File under: NaNoWriMo

I drank alcohol only one time during high school, and then I didn't drink again until the summer before my senior year in college. I was at my boss's son's wedding, and I guess I figured it was as good a time as any to try drinking since my parents were also at the wedding (if things really went awry and I needed their help) and since we were at a hotel and not going anywhere. (My parents didn't know I was drinking. Sorry, Mom and Dad. It has been long enough that we can laugh about this now, right?) I think I had all of three screwdrivers that night, and I'm pretty certain the bartender knew my friend and I were painfully underage and made them very weak. I just felt a little tipsy at the reception, and then the next day I didn't throw up but I felt extremely sick to my stomach. I thought I was going to die and swore off alcohol. Needless to say, it was a very long drive home from Pennsylvania. I found out later that my cousins, who I had seen a few days prior, had gastroenteritis. I think I caught it from them, but it was enough to scare me from drinking for more than four years.
 
I am 20 days (out of 30) and 34,796 words (out of 50,000) down.

_______ had been sneaking what I assume were very weak screwdrivers all night, and she asked if I wanted one. She didn't have to twist my arm very hard, and then she went right up to the bar and asked for another screwdriver, handed one to me, and said, "Drink it fast. Stand over here so no one sees you." I took my first sip and said, "Whoa, that's strong." I proceeded to suck the rest down in less than a minute and then said, "Wow, that wasn't bad." After a brief pause I asked, "Can I have another?" _______ got me another, and as I was quickly sucking that one down, I made eye contact with ___. I'm sure I looked extremely guilty. He came over and said, "There's no alcohol in that orange juice, is there?" I shook my head no, and he said, "You can drink as much as you want as long as you can still crawl back to your room," and then he walked away. I hoped he wouldn't tell my parents, but of all the adults who could have caught me drinking, I voted ___ least likely to tattle on me. I quickly finished the second drink and asked _______ if I was supposed to have another. She said, "I think you should probably take a break now." I thanked her for being savvier than I was, then she grabbed my hand and we ran out to the dance floor.

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