National Novel Writing Month

This Thursday, November 1st, marks two of my favorite things. The first being my wedding anniversary (5 years) and the second being the start of National Novel Writing Month or what it is colloquially known as NaNoWriMo.

If you haven’t heard of it and are a budding/want-to-be writer, I suggest you check it out. Their website is: www.nanowrimo.org. I went to their site to brush up on how and where it all began, (because I have this vague memory that it was started by a bunch of college students who wanted to finish their manuscripts) but I couldn’t find any sort of mission statement. So, I may have just made that shit up in my head. Who knows. If I did, that isn’t the first time I imagined reading information in regards to the event.

The idea behind it is that every day for the month of November you write a minimum of 1,667 words until the 30th when you reach the ultimate goal of 50,000, which amounts to a novel length work of fiction.

When I first participated I could have SWORN I read somewhere that you just write, you don’t ever go back and revise or re-read what you’d written, and instead charge forward until you’ve accomplished your goal. Once at the finish line you can look back and begin the process of editing. When I participated the following year that whole piece was absent from their website and, just like my fantasy of “how it started,” may have concocted the whole thing in my imagination. Regardless, that piece of advice is what I pass on to those I try to entice into the event. What I discovered is that this is EXACTLY how I like to write. In addition, I don’t like to plan that far in advance (however if that’s your process have at) because I enjoy having the story unfold for me as if I was reading the book. My good friend Matt told me that is the style in which Stephen King writes and I take that as a shining omen for my process.

The first time I participated I wrote my first ever novel and, also, the one I have since attempted to edit. (That was back in 2009, to get some perspective). It sits on my desktop taunting me. It wants to be published, but the thing I hate about writing is editing, and that is all writing is, to be quite frank.

From that first novel I wrote two subsequent sequels in the same NaNoWriMo style. One of them was absolute trash and once I was complete I ended up printing it and shoving it in some dark drawer, never to see the light of day. The one I wrote after that though was fantastic. I guess I just needed to get all the bad ideas out first.

It has been a few years since I did NaNoWriMo. Life has just gotten in the way and each year I set out with the intent to do it but ultimately told myself that I didn’t need the added stress of trying to write 1,667 words a day for an entire month added to my plate. This year is no exception. I’m just as busy (if not more) like before, which made me realize life is constant and I’ll always be “busy” but that isn’t an excuse to forego my art. Going against my better judgment, I have decided to rejoin the fun, but with an added twist. I will publish my work, to my blog, as I trudge along in all of its terrible, raw glory. (I may give each sprint a little run through the Grammarly program, but otherwise it will remain unedited.)

I encourage you to follow along, because it’s interesting to see how things turn out. Full disclosure, it will also be a train wreck, which is also kind of fun to watch.

P.S. I will be saving each entry under the category “Cursed.”

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Five Simple Rules

In typical pattern, as winter slowly changes into spring I myself am going through my own transition.  It may be because I have grown-up some, being almost thirty, or I am just longing for a purpose.  Right now, I lack any real directive.  Instead, I waste my time on events and relationships that go absolutely nowhere.  I want to be established.  I want to have a career.  I want a goal!

The other day I had decided to delve further into my novel.  I want it to submerge me.  When I was younger I’d become so engrossed in my own creativity that nothing else mattered.  That is the place I long to return too.  Maybe then it will inspire a goal.

I made the decision to post one of my novels on Watt Pad and see what kind of response it gets.  And because I am a perfectionist I have been going through and revising it to be viewable by another pair of eyes besides my own.  Although, I am questioning whether I want to post my novel there since my niece informed me last night that plagiarism is a huge problem on the website and creates a good amount of drama.  That makes me uneasy, as I am already paranoid about people stealing my work that is not accessible for the whole world to see.  I go so far as to shred any page of my book I print out and no longer need.  Yet even with that fear, I find myself driven to create a “platform.”

“Platform” is the buzzword I keep running across in blogs, articles, or books about writing and getting agents.  Literary agents want the writer to have done most of the legwork building an audience through social media or blog posts.  That is a lot of pressure.  While it is not mandatory, it is preferred.  Therein lays my desire to publish my novel online.  (Well, that and I am looking for validation.)

Being an artist is tough.  Until one’s art is complete, he must live inside his own head and judge his talent on his own.  There is a lot of doubt and fear that comes with that kind of responsibility.  I think that may be why so many people never finish what they start.  The inner critic just kills any beauty that may blossom from one’s creative mind.  In an effort to combat that, I have created my own rules of writing.

1 – Throw all the paint on the canvas as quick as you can.

2 – Take your time editing and refining the details.

3 – Trust your gut!

4 – Don’t take criticism personally.

5 – Always finish what you start.

The Eye of God

I have to say… this is a bit risky of a short story.  I couldn’t help myself.  I want to be controversial but who doesn’t?  Supposedly it acquires you fame or infamy.  Either ay it draws readers.  So, shamelessly, my mind wouldn’t let this idea go.  Please know that I meant no harm. I just needed fictional characters for a “matchup.”

A Year of Writing Prompts by Brian A. Klems & Zachary Petit
January 9
Matchup!
“Write a scene featuring a cruise ship or a boat, a sudden change of weather, and the idiom “Fools rush in.””

The prophet Mohammed stood on the rickety dock that jutted out into the waters of the Sea of Galilee. His band of followers were busily preparing the boat to set sail to the other side. One called from the ship, beckoning the prophet forward onto the skiff. Using the gentlest of motions he stepped down and they immediately set sail.

Mohammed tried dearly not to show his uncertainty, he was the prophet from Allah, he could not show any sense of fear, but deep down he dreaded being on the open sea. The fear of being washed overboard weighed heavily in his mind and he prayed for safe passage.

Then the clouds rolled in. Those around him commented at the momentary shimmer jumping from cloud to cloud. “It’s going to be a bad one,” someone said. Mohammed did not know who had whispered, what he thought, were the final words of his life. He had to admit that none of them truly mattered to him. They were mere stepping stones in his journey to retrieve the stone of power that rested on the other side. It was known as the Eye of God and any mortal that held it would take on the powers of one not of this world.

If it were not that he feared another would retrieve the stone he would have walked around the sea or at least found some other transportation other than the sea.

If only I had the stone now, he thought, I would stop this storm before it had spread like a disease across the sky.

The waves began to grow. They lapped at the edges of the boat, lobbing spray of sea at the men. The man chosen as captain tried his best to steer the ship through the waters. Mohammed would have thrown him overboard I he didn’t need him. The man clutched to the side of the ship, trying to stabilize himself, while keeping his eyes pointed ever forward.

The winds picked up and ripped the prophets ‘Imama from his head, relinquishing the greasy, black locks beneath. It whipped at his face like angry tentacles, entangling itself in his thick beard.

The wave first rose like a mountain rising from sleep at the bow of the ship, blocking Mohammed’s view of the other side of the sea. Then with the strength of the earth it crashed over the ship and sent everyone swirling into the blackness.

He scrambled. Climbing his way through the water but he could not tell what was up or down. But soon he found himself slowly drifting ever upwards.

His head broke the thrashing surface of the water. He gasped and gulped down the salty air.

“Why have you done this,” Mohammed cried out.

His black eyes scoured the sea for any sign of his companions. He knew none of them by name and felt it ridiculous to call out for anyone. There was no room for weakness.

A wave rose and cresting over it was another, larger, boat, still surviving the rough waters. It dove down the other side of the wave. It rushed past Mohammed, spraying him with a miniscule wave compared to it’s brethren.

“Over here,” he called out.

Lightning cracked the black and he saw the silhouettes of twelve men, scrambling across the deck of the ship. There was incoherent shouting but he did not recognize any of the words against all the other noise around him.

The storm quickly subside in a cool breeze.

“Look” shouted someone on the boat.

Mohammed waved his arms above his head and shouted again, until he was submerged in the water.

A hand grasped on to his shoulder and pulled him from the water.

Mohammed looked into the face of a Hebrew man, bearded like himself, with long locks of flowing hair. He knew that face. It was the man who claimed to be the son of God.

“You,” Mohammed said.

He looked down and realized with the sense of falling, that this man was standing on the surface of the water.

“Did you-“

“Yes, cousin, I got the stone before you.” Jesus sneered. “Cause only fools don’t rush in.”