Jumping right in

Edward Gorey, “The Unstrung Harp; or, Mr Earbrass Writes a Novel” (1953)

Not “weeks”, but “one day” later (and minus the sherry), I’ve begun the revision which, truth be told, is every bit as “loathsome” as described in TUH. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be crankier than usual as I try to excavate a plot and some interesting characters from my 180-page MS.

Started today: a re-read, with notes of who’s who. Prognosis: there just might be something there.

For those who wish to know, my WIP’s title is Split Ballot, and it’s a dystopian sci-fi thriller (too many genres? you think?), set in 2024. I’ll reveal no more for now. But I will say that a friend who writes thrillers has offered her 15-year-old daughter as a beta reader (I polite ignore the implications of her proposal), which makes me want to get on with the revision in order to send the daughter something by March or April.

It’s going to be a busy winter.

PS: What I’ve been reading lately — Jonathan Auxier’s Peter Nimble and his Fantastic Eyes and Sweep: The Story of a Girl and her Monster, along with the next books in Eric Kraft’s Peter Leroy saga. Pratchett’s and Gaiman’s Good Omens is working its way up my TBR stack.

Posted in Am revising, Am writing | Leave a comment


Edward Gorey, “The Unstrung Harp; or, Mr Earbrass Writes a Novel” (1953)

Unlike Mr Earbrass when he finished his first draft of TUH, I didn’t spend the day after just wandering aimlessly through my apartment, although that was tempting.

Usually I give myself a month’s break, but this year is different — I don’t have a raft of students’ papers waiting to be marked, nor end-of-term faculty meetings, nor applicants to interview. (Thank you, retirement!) I have an almost commitment-free December ahead of me. Oh, the possibilities!

Therefore, for the first time ever, I plan to get right back into the MS, possibly as soon as tomorrow.

Let’s see if that actually happens.

Posted in Am procrastinating, NaNoWriMo | Leave a comment

And that wraps up another NaNo

I crossed the finish line at 9:30 am NYC time, and what a wonderful feeling that is. I now have a first draft, and I get to spend the rest of the day feeling like I’ve done something. Here’s Mr. Earbrass’s version of this moment:

Edward Gorey, “The Unstrung Harp; or, Mr Earbrass Writes a Novel” (1953)

My “lower right-hand drawer” is actually a file on my computer, and my feet haven’t fallen asleep, but my calm is as deceptive as Mr Earbrass’s. I’ll need to walk it off. More of a writer’s story (Earbrass version) to come.

Posted in Am writing, NaNoWriMo | 4 Comments

Back on track

Courtesy Transport for London

Good news: My NaNo funk, version 2018, has ended, and I’ve used the last 4 days to push myself past 45K words.

It’s not exactly all downhill from here, but the end is nigh. And by that, I mean the good type of end: the end of this year’s NaNo, the end of this first draft, the end of figuring out where this story is going.

Of course, what comes next is worse, but I’ll save writing about that for a future post.

So, hoist a drink of your choice to all NaNo-ers, around the world. We’re a stubborn crew, devoted to the written word, and to the insanity of reaching that 50K word-count. (FYI, NYC NaNo-ers have written 28.5 million words as of 4 pm today. 45K, or 0.15%, of that total is mine!)

Posted in Am writing, NaNoWriMo | 2 Comments

Who’s big idea was this anyway?

Edward Gorey, “The Unstrung Harp; or, Mr Earbrass Writes a Novel” (1953)

“On November 18th of alternate years Mr Earbrass begins writing ‘his new novel’.”

Did Edward Gorey predict NaNoWriMo? Probably not, but every November I have to reread The Unstrung Harp, to remind myself that every stage of the creative process is well known and documented within this tiny (just 30 pages) book.

I’m now at the stage illustrated above (p. 14). I hate all my characters and would love to put them on a one-way boat to nowhere, and then just curl up with a good book and a box of chocolate. Maybe just one big explosion will take care of them all for me.

But I also know this will pass. Already, my mind is toying with new ways to put my MC into mortal danger before she finally escapes.

Thanks for letting me vent. Happy Thanksgiving to my US readers, and a happy rest of the week to all. Keep reading, keep writing.

Posted in Am procrastinating, Am writing, NaNoWriMo | 2 Comments

NBN Time

NBN = Nothing But NaNoWriMo, and that’s what I’m doing this month.

Although “nothing” isn’t strictly true. I’m still reading like a fiend, still working crossword puzzles (addiction #2), still getting outside to museums (this week to the Armenian exhibit at the Met). But ALL my writing energy is for my current project, a science fiction novel that’s allowing me to vent my anger at the current world situation.

So, after the exciting frenzy of Witch Week, things will quiet down here for a while. You might get a peep or two from me before December, but nothing lengthy.

Happy fall, everyone.

Posted in Am writing, NaNoWriMo, Science fiction | 4 Comments

WITCH WEEK DAY SEVEN: Ending/Beginning

That wraps up Witch Week 2018, and Chris and Lizzie have so enjoyed hosting this. We couldn’t have done it without the help of everyone who participated:

  • Marlyn, of Stuff ‘n’ Nonsense, for her list of Ten Kick-Ass Heroines
  • Tanya, of Tanya Manning-Yarde, PhD, for her beautiful review of Ursula K Le Guin’s poetry collection, Finding My Elegy
  • Piotr and Ola of Re-enchantment of the World, for their discussion of the women in the Witcher stories by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski
  • Lory, of Emerald City Book Review, who last year retired her Witch Week broom yet found time to review Madeline Miller’s Circe and participate in our discussion of Le Guin’s The Other Wind 
  • people too numerous to mention, who added comments and questions; posted pingbacks, links, and reviews on their own blogs; and Tweeted/Facebooked links to our posts
  • our readers around the world.

For anyone not yet sated, here are the links for the Emerald City Book Review Master Posts from earlier years.

Thanks again to all of you for sharing this event with us, and we hope you’ll join us next year, when our theme will be VILLAINS.

Posted in Witch Week | 7 Comments