A November Reflection: On National Novel Writing Month and Feeling Old

I won’t even bother starting this one saying that it’s been months since I posted, since we all know that.  So I’m just going to move on!

It’s now December.  This year has been a particularly weird one for me, likely because of the whole getting married thing, so everything’s been feeling rather, well, out of sync as far as the normal passage of time should go.  Since I got married at the tail end of the summer (August), three weeks after performing in Dublin Irish Festival, the earlier summer months were devoted 15% to Dublin Irish Festival rehearsals and 85% to frantically trying to get wedding stuff done.  After the wedding, we left for a week-long honeymoon, and got back literally a day before September started.

That’s a really long story just to say that it didn’t feel like I ever really had a summer, in the normal sense I usually do.  And when late August and September came around, and the commercials on TV were all talking about back to school sales, I was legitimately confused, because I felt like there should have been at least another six weeks before schools would start again.

So here we are in December, and it doesn’t really feel much like December to me.  Sure, our apartment is decked out in Christmas decorations, I’m listening to Christmas music, and I’m going Christmas shopping this weekend with some girlfriends.  But in my mind, it just…doesn’t feel like it should be Christmas time yet.

I think my body clock is about a month behind, all due to my crazy summer and my multitude of life changes.

NaNoWriMo 2015 winner banner

Anyway, last month was actually (no, seriously, Erin) November, which meant that it was yet another National Novel Writing Month.  This was my eleventh year doing NaNoWriMo, and ended up being my seventh year crossing the 50,000-word finish line!  Which, you know, is kind of an exciting accomplishment, not to mention because the first week of November found me in jury duty for four days (never got picked, though, so no fun stories from that).

If you have any interest at all in how the novel writing actually went — well, let’s just say it was nice to get back into a regular novel-writing groove.  The novel itself was fun for the first two-thirds of the story, and then got weird, and kind of drifted off.  The last chapter was mostly my main character rambling just so I could reach the 50,000 word goal.  Longest.  Resolution.  Ever.

Which is an important lesson — sometimes novels I write end up staying in their little drawers, for my amusement only.

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Me after my high school graduation (June 2005)

November was also the month of my — and this still feels weird to say — 10 year high school class reunion.  Yes, the picture above was taken ten years ago (plus a few months).  I kind of believe that there are a handful of events that occur in most people’s lives that just naturally make a person feel “officially” old.  Celebrating your 30th birthday, perhaps.  Experiencing a “baby” sibling graduating college and getting their first “big kid” job.  A child growing up, moving out, and getting married.

And, of course, high school reunions.

My class didn’t have a five year reunion, for good reason.  It was only five years; we were probably still a little sick of each other, and the people I wasn’t sick of I was still in touch with.

Look how much things have changed in the last ten years!

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One of my high school senior pictures

 

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My husband and I on our wedding day

Ten years since high school graduation.  Wow.  In the last ten years, I’ve learned a lot and experienced new things.  I’ve written a lot.  I’ve done things I was scared to do, like traveling alone.  I’ve graduated from college, started learning Irish dance, met the love of my life, and got married.

I’d say the last ten years have been pretty awesome.  Who knows what the next ten years will hold?

 

 

NaNoWriMo Day 2…and Stuff

Well, here we are.  We’re winding down the second day of NaNoWriMo 2012, and at this moment I have 4,057 words logged so far.  Woohoo!  I’m pretty proud of myself and am getting into the swing of this novel.  It took a bit for me to work up the momentum for it partly because A) I’ve been in a pretty nasty writing slump for a couple of months so am vastly out of practice, and B) my main character had to deal with some feelings post-apocalyptic-event before she could move on. 

(Of course, if I ever go back and revise this sucker, many of those feelings will probably get cut out, but for now she had to deal with them.)

Anywho, having gotten past my quota for the day, I’m now sitting here watching Doctor Who Confidential from series one, and working on a crocheting project for Christmas.  And freezing, because apparently my room must always be absurdly cold (I’m gonna have to break out the fingerless gloves and/or arm warmers and/or Hogwarts snuggie here soon, me thinks).

It feels good to be working on a first draft I’m actually really excited about again.  Some of my other half-finished drafts I might return to later, but for now I feel like this is what I need to write for my sanity.  I’ve actually found myself thinking about it a lot and it feels really good to be working on a draft that consumes my thoughts again.

In other news, I have this tendency to pick a “theme song” or a few for each of my novels.  For the part of my NaNo I’m in now, this is the theme song for my main character, Alissa (for reference, she’s just lost her home, her family, and has no idea if anyone she knows at all is still alive).

In 8 Days…

…the normal chaos of NaNoWriMo begins again.  This will be my ninth year and I couldn’t be more excited about it!  (I mean, first of all–wow, it’s my ninth year.  And second of all–well, it’s NaNo, I’m always excited for it.)

I’ve been working on my idea for this year’s NaNo novel and I thought I would share what I have thus far.  This general idea has been stewing for several months and I’m very excited to finally start writing it.  Its working title is The Apocalytes and here’s the clarity that has come out of the stew so far.

For years, the group sarcastically nicknamed as the Apocalytes predicted the end of the world every few months. While the first few times started a frenzy, now it’s just gotten old and the group began getting ignored. And it was during one of those predicted apocalypse days, while everyone went about their normal lives, that something finally did happen–explosions, fires, death. Half the country just wiped out with no idea why.

Sixteen-year-old Alissa Carter, by some miracle, happened to survive. The lone person of her family and friends to do so, as far as she knows. She’s one of the only survivors from her small Ohio suburb and, for a few weeks, survives as best she can. And then she’s found by a scouting group of survivors, who convince her to come back to safety within the confines of the city, where a number of survivors have taken up residence, hidden in an underground parking garage. It’s not safe, she’s told, for girls and women to wander around by themselves anymore. The Apocalytes staged their little end of the world for the purpose of starting over, building a new society, and they’re desperate to gain followers, particularly ones that can help them grow their new population.

But Alissa has never been one to hide away. They might not have contact with the other survivors. They might not know what the Apocalytes are planning or when they might strike next. But Alissa plans to help fight back, even if sacrifices have to be made in the process.

Alissa Carter– main character and narrator
 
Kane Thomas

Sarah Hart
 
Cooper Randall– one of the main antagonists

Lauren Randall

T-minus 2 Days to NaNoWriMo 2011

I love this time of year. NaNoWriMo. National Novel Writing Month. This is really my writerly Christmas. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside (with a side of insane).

This will be my eighth year. EIGHT YEARS! I can’t even believe it. My first year was the November of my senior year of high school. I can’t even wrap my head around that fact. I didn’t win until 2009, though. Then again last year. I’m hoping this will be the third year in a row I cross the 50k finish line.

In preparation for NaNo, I’ve been doing a few things…

1. I’ve picked out a general plot, the names of my two main characters, and a title. I was starting to panic for a little while at the beginning of October, because I couldn’t think of anything. AND THEN IT HIT ME! And there was much rejoicing.

2. I’ve created a NaNoWriMo 2011 playlist.

3. I’m going to my region’s kick-off party on Sunday!

4. I’ve warned the friends that didn’t already know that I do this that I’m going to do this. They needed warning. Querying and doing NaNoWriMo at the same time. My stress level is going to be nuts.

5. I’ve set a goal to finish my current first draft before November 1. I set this goal today. That gives me three days. HA! We’ll see how that goes.

So, all in all, I’m psyched. I’ll try to keep this blog updated throughout my NaNoWriMo journey.