Sunday, November 30, 2008

I DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Is this not a beautiful site to behold? I finally did it. I've got the bragging rights and I can now wear my T-shirt I bought before the contest started. Whew. I'm going to need a month to recover from sitting in this chair for 30 days straight.

I'm headed to the movies to see Twilight again today. And buy something nice for myself. Maybe a few new magazines, since I've neglected them for the past month.

I'm thankful this month is just about over. I ended up writing 12,630 words today so I could finish and treat myself. I started at 11:00 am Saturday and finally reached 50,022 words at 12:12 am on Sunday, November 30th.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

I'm so close

I'm getting closer to 50K every hour. If I can make it tonight, I will treat myself to a movie tomorrow.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Moo cards

Moo cards
Originally uploaded by mysterywriter
These cards are great! I can't wait to start sharing them with friends.

Ready for Thanksgiving dinner

Originally uploaded by mysterywriter
My sister was the hostess this year for our dinner. My mom refused to cook, saying she was tired. Can't say as I blame her. She's been single-handedly making this dinner for too long. She still cooked the green beans, mashed potatoes and corn, but my brother-in-law was in charge of the turkey.

My job is to make 2 loaves of homemade bread and 3 dozen crescent rolls. The weather was not cooperating so dinner ended up being an hour later than what was planned since the bread and rolls were not rising properly. At least no one was late, as is an usual occurrence in the family.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

NanoWriMo Day 27

I updated the NaNoWriMo site but for some reason my icon on the right hand side will not update. So here is my word count so far: 34,025. Whew.

Visitor Warning

Originally uploaded by mysterywriter
I couldn't resist this one. I bought several and passed out to friends for their cubicles at well.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Cubicle magnets and warnings

Originally uploaded by mysterywriter
More magnets from my collection at work. Hopefully I will post a much needed increase in my word count later tonight.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

May I scream?

Originally uploaded by mysterywriter
I finally brought this little gem into the cubicle this week. There have been days when I felt like screaming and pulling my hair.

This month, however, it is because of NaNoWriMo. I have finally run out of steam. I'm going to finish, and make it to 50,000 words, but now I'm just trying to find filler stuff to up the word count. I

still have a few more scenes I can work on. I've tried writing in chronological order, and so far have done a pretty good job, if I do say so myself. But I've already started to change things so as soon as Sunday midnight hits this thing in going into a dark drawer. Forever.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Tuesday morning breakfast

homemade cin rolls
Originally uploaded by mysterywriter
I made these homemade (made from scratch) cinnamon rolls tonight when I should have been writing. My stomach will appreciate them in the morning when I take them to work and share with a few co-workers. Maybe.

My newest addition to the cubicle farm

I love it. I totally blame Flickr for this purchase. If I could stay off that site and quit looking at the photographs of toys people put on their accounts, I would be fine. You can purchase this one, called a Mood Beam, at Firebox

Sunday, November 23, 2008

NanoWriMo Day 23

I'm closer, but not as far as I wanted to be. I'm used to taking a nap on Sundays and today was no exception. But I at least made it this far and I still have a week to go. I need to write 2,546 a day for the next seven days to meet the word count quota. I probably need to write more during the first part of the week, since I'm the bread maker for the Thanksgiving dinner, to make up for a couple of days of cooking and not being able to write as much.

My heroine did get a proposal from her hero tonight. I'll have to see what I can do to tell him "Yes."

Twilight memories

Originally uploaded by mysterywriter
My niece came over today and showed me her latest tattoo. She's as big a fan of the Twilight saga as I am and loved the movie, as did I.

She decided to get this tattoo in honor of Edward's and Bella's love. I think I'll get one too, but not sure it it will be this big. I need something I can hide under clothes. Her tat is on her right side, over the ribs. Ouch.

Official word count so far

Again, my word count after uploading my novel into NaNoWriMo's official verification portal is three more than what my writing software says. Oh, well. Three less words I will have to add later on.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

NanoWriMo Day 22

Eight more days to go. Do I have it in me to finish this year? I've already bought the t-shirt. And I definitely want the bragging rights. I want to able to tell people that yes, I have written a novel. It doesn't matter that it isn't published. It probably never will be. But at least one of the stories in my head has escaped and finally seen the light of day. Next stop will be the darkness of a desk drawer or whatever hole I can find to stash it in.

27,003 down, 22,997 to go.

Jaguar vs Audi

I decided to go back through my story today, adding dialogue, more descriptions, explaining things, etc. I found a few inconsistencies. 

When I wrote my first novel in May 2007, the hero's dad was first mentioned as being dead, then later appeared as a doctor. I hope I have fixed that this time by making a character list (I did that before) but making sure to mark the people who had died this time. The picture to the right is my current character. You can see certain names in red. Those are the dead ones.

Another inconsistency I found was the type of car my heroine drives. I first mentioned she had an older model Jaguar, one that Christopher, the hero, bought for her when she turned 21. Then I mentioned later on that she had an Audi, adding it was the first car she bought with her own money. Now the character only has one car so I decided to keep the Jaguar, since I love the look of them. I'm writing this book by the seat of my pants, not much pre-planning. So I see now that I have a need for a character sheet to keep track of all these details.

Oh, well. Back to my novel. Finally made it over 26K.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Crime Scene Investigator magnet

The newest addition to my cubicle at work, since I'm so fond of chalk outlines. Don't you just love Cafe Press stuff? Dangerous to the wallet. 

Thursday, November 20, 2008

NanoWriMo Day 20

I've reached 25,382 words. I'm behind and need to catch up.

I printed out 20 more pages of my novel so I can go over and add where I need to put more stuff. I'm not editing, but just making notes where I need to add information from where my story has changed from when I originally started it. Like Frank, the mechanic. I decided to kill him tonight. He had only been mentioned once, in passing. I made a note to add a dialogue scene for him and maybe one or two more scenes later on. If I had decided to do this earlier, I might have gotten out of the cemetery scene earlier.

Tomorrow the Twilight movie opens and I have tickets to two different showings. It will be 10 pm before I get home so I don't know if I'll get any writing done. But I do have the entire weekend ahead of me. My goal is to get caught up, and hopefully ahead of schedule. My biggest fear, after not being able to make it to 50,000 words, is to not be able to get it uploaded in time to get the word count validated.


Originally uploaded by mysterywriter
View out my front door. Working on my story.

Those are stone steps. Real stone steps. Slippery as you know what.

News Alert: Photograph found of actual Writer's Block

Not really, but here are two things, a book and three balls of yarn that could tempt me away from my story.

I need to be strong tonight. I'm going to see the movie "Twilight" twice tomorrow night so I doubt i will get anything written until Saturday so tonight needs to be a marathon writing session. 

Last night my writer's block was more episodes of NCIS. I really need to unplug the TV, Tivo and the cable if I'm going to finish this novel for NaNoWriMo.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

NanoWriMo Day 19

I only added a few words to yesterday's total. The block has showed up again. Thank goodness for two more weekends.

unofficial official word count

NaNoWriMo has turned on the word count validator!! They show me as having 24,017 - 3 more words than what I have listed. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

NanoWriMo Day 18

Finally!!! I think I've broken through the writer's block. I'm still behind, but I wrote 2,490 words in roughly three hours. It's probably complete garbage, but right now quantity is what I'm going for, not quality. 

Maybe I'll leave the TV turned off tomorrow night as well.


I finally had to turn my television off and go write in another room. I'm so addicted to NCIS right now I can't help watching all the reruns, which are new shows to me, since I'm just now tuning in the series. I have the new episodes set up in my Tivo to record and I go through every week and add all the older shows from the USA Network. 

And yesterday I received in the mail the final two discs of season 1 from Blockbuster. How am I supposed to get any writing down when I have all this television watching to do?????

I'm caught up on Smallville, Numb3rs,  and Eleventh Hour. NCIS and The Mentalist both have new episodes tonight but I'm trying really hard to stay away. I need to write a few more words then go to bed early. I'm going on lack of sleep and need to get caught back up for a long writing marathon this weekend. 

Monday, November 17, 2008

NaNoWriMo Day 17

I didn't get much farther today, but at least I put a few words on paper. The novelty has worn off, but I plan to see this through to the end, whatever the total word count at the end. 

NaNoWriMo Day 16

NaNoWriMo day 16 has come to a close for me and I am currently behind by 5,511 words. I still feel as if I'm in a writing slump even though the words have been flowing for past hour. But my day job awaits so I need my sleep. 

I'm twice as far this year as I was last year when I lost interest and quit writing. I have felt like quitting several times this weekend, but my story keeps pulling me back. 

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Down the road

Down the road
Originally uploaded by mysterywriter
Here is a scene just down the road from my home. On my walk yesterday the weather was perfect. A little bit of sun, lots of gray clouds and temperatures in the 50s. What more could a person ask? Nothing, I say.

Except a higher word count. I've made it past 20K now, but I'm falling behind fast. I need to catch up or I'm not going to make it.

So here is my obligatory post for the day. I'll post after midnight my official word count for the day.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

NaNoWriMo Day 15

I'm stopping for the evening. The walk apparently didn't help much.


Originally uploaded by mysterywriter
My dog and I went for a walk today. I was trying to clear my head to get rid of the cobwebs that seem to be putting a stop to my writing.

We came back and I was sitting on the bottom steps to my front porch when my uncle went by. There was a dog behind him, my cousin Kelli's. Well, as you can imagine, Scoob did not like this other dog in his territory. Luckily, I have a fence around my yard so neither dog could get at the other one.

Kelli's dog decided to pee right outside my yard where tiger lilies grow in the summer, beside the gate. I thought my dog was going to have a fit.

He whined and he cried. He finally turned and headed toward me. I looked at him and said "No." He promptly turned around and went right back to the fence (on the other side of where the dog had been) and continued to whine. He was pathetic!! And so funny, acting just like a child being told he couldn't do something.

I love my dog anyway. I can't go anywhere without him being there. He's my friend and protector and it will be a sad day when he's gone from my life.

Characters can come from anywhere

Originally uploaded by mysterywriter
I found this in the USA Weekend supplement. I thought it was an excellent example of how characters can come from anywhere. 

Alton Brown's pizza

A thank you needs to go out to Alton Brown for a great pizza dough recipe. 

The pizza was great, though I burned the bottom. I usually don't bake pizza at 500 degrees. I'll have to watch more closely the next time. And there will be a next time. 

The tasty result far outweighed the effort (i.e. time) that went into making the crust. Because as AB says, the crust makes the pizza. You can find the recipe here.

For more information about Alton Brown, check out his website at or my friend L's fan page at AllAboutAlton. L also has a companion blog about Alton and his various shows on the Food Network.

My thanks to L for turning me on to this dough and for nagging me weekly to make it myself. I owe you!

Friday, November 14, 2008

NaNoWriMo day 14 comes to and end

I made it to 17,277 so I can't complain. My word count is higher than it was last night. I hope those gloves (mentioned in the previous post) are worth it.

Any excuse not to write

I can find any excuse not to write. I don't have writer's block. I have several scenes I'm ready to write, but once I get something in my head to look for, I have to keep going until I find it.

As a fan of Flickr I'm constantly looking for pictures to mark as favorites. I have a total of 164 that I return to for writing inspiration or craft ideas. Tonight's favorite was a knitted glove. I'm a beginning knitter so it will be awhile before I can attempt this but I had to find the pattern. It has taken me most of the evening but I did it. I can now settle down and write, for what's left of day 14 of NaNoWriMo.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

NaNoWriMo day 13

Day 13 of NaNoWriMo and I finally found my way past 17K. Even though my original goal of 18K wasn't met, I'm glad to be out of 16Ks. 

I came up with a few scenes to work on and that seemed to help with the writing slump. If I can get through tomorrow, I've got weekend #3 to try and catch up. I have to do it. I even have to get ahead so I'm not so hard pressed to write in the evenings.

I'm still thousands of words short of the 21,671 I should have by the end of today, but I'm happy to just be writing.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

NaNoWriMo quota

I'm still slowly working my way toward this past Monday night's quota of 16,670. Taking last night off should have helped, but it didn't. If anything, I feel worse tonight. What I need is to win the lottery. But to win I would have to play. Oh, well.

Let's hope I can make it past 17K at least, before I fall sleep on my Macbook.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The mind is willing

...but tonight the body isn't. Too many late nights has caught up with me so I am taking another day off from writing. I plan a long writing session tomorrow evening, hoping to catch up. I'm pleased with my progress so far but since I do have a day job, I need rest to be able to deal with all the phone calls from whiny graduate students who have holds on their records and can't register.

I do have a treat planned for myself tomorrow night. I'm making Alton Brown's pizza dough. My friend L has made pizzas several times so I finally decided to make my own. I hope it is as good as hers. I made the dough tonight, but I have to keep it in the fridge for 18-24 hours so this won't be something I can make quickly. The dough is worth the work that goes into it. I can't wait for dinner tomorrow night.

A special THANK YOU to all the veterans out there and those still currently serving. Your sacrifice is much appreciated. 

Monday, November 10, 2008

Writing is Murder...tonight

I enjoy watching police procedurals. NCIS, Numb3rs, Life on Mars, Eleventh Hour, The Mentalist and others all have a season pass on my Tivo. And tonight was no example. Instead of writing, I've been watching episodes I've previously recorded. So I doubt I will make my quota tonight. I can't seem to get my TV turned off to focus on writing, which is going well, by the way, when I do write. Oh well. I still have 20 more days.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Back on track with NaNoWriMo

After taking Friday off and not quite making the official NaNoWriMo quota for Saturday, I am finally back on track. I needed to be at 15,003 and I have surpassed that milestone. 

I've been happy with my progress so far. I'm enjoying my story. I can't wait to see what happens tomorrow to my characters. Thanks, again, Chris Baty.

NaNoWriMo and the walking dead

I was talking with my friend L last night about my character list for this year's NaNoWriMo novel. I told her I had a printed list of them, and the ones in red were dead ones, or who would soon be dead. She laughed, of course, but I added this feature this year because of what happened last year.

I started the character list to keep track of who was who. All I did was list first (and last, when known) name and who they were. An example was Robert or "Rob"/"Robbie" as he was known to friends and family. I listed him as the heroine's brother, who is a detective.

I had listed the hero's dad, but no occupation, just his name. In the first part of the story, he was dead, along with his wife.  The hero, an only child, had inherited everything. Then later in the story, his dad shows up again as a doctor in the hospital, treating the heroine for injuries received in a car accident. So I now have a zombie character, dead in the first part, alive in the second. My co-workers at the time had quite the laugh because of me.

This year I didn't want a repeat of that so I changed the font color to red for named characters who are either dead before the story starts or going to be killed. This will necessitate several printings of the character list, but that's fine. As long as I can keep track of who is dead and should stay dead, I'll be happy.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

NaNoWriMo and day 8 word count

I didn't make it 13,336 but 12,630 is pretty darn close.

NanoWriMo is the greatest!

I'm currently over 11,000 words, thanks to Chris Baty and his NaNoWriMo. 

I was thinking earlier today about why I am I unable write like this all the time? Why does it take a contest, where the only reward is knowing I have finished a 50,000 word novel? 

I don't need to have a word count, or even stress myself out over not reaching that daily quota. I've admitted to friends and loved ones that I am a lazy writer. I do not set aside time to write. And that is my problem. I don't make the time to write. I can come up with any excuse not to write. Too tired, television to watch, things to do. You get the idea.

When I wrote the first novel in May 2007 with my friend L doing the same, I absolutely loved the experience of creating words and characters on the page. I had never felt like that before, especially with all the papers I had written for grad school. When I realized I had made it to 50,000 (50,044 in fact), it was as if I had earned another master's degree, the high was so great. 

I'm currently at 11,082 for this new novel. I have some catching up to do, since I took last night off. Apparently I needed it. I slept for 11 hours. But I'm ready to write tonight and I still have all day tomorrow.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Taking the evening off

I'm taking the evening off. I've pushed myself hard this week, writing every evening, most of them until midnight. I'm now paying the price.

I tried to talk myself out of it, but I think I need the rest more than I need the word count. I still have the weekend to catch up.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Day 6 word count - what a wonderful feeling

I have surpassed the 10K word count!!! I'm so happy. 

I took my parents to doctor's appointments today so I had no time to write during the day. When I returned home, I took a small nap (not my usual "coma" naps as my friend T calls them, lasting 3-4 hours sometimes) so I wouldn't be sleepy like I was last night. 

I was also glad that I upgraded to the HD channels through the cable. I had to upgrade my Tivo to HD as well. Because of this, I have two tuners and can record two shows at the same time. The two red dots indicate I'm recording "Eleventh Hour" and "Life on Mars" so I could continue with my writing.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Day 5 word count

All I can say tonight is that I made it past the daily quota. 

I can't believe it. I'm ready to fall asleep and I'm afraid of what I will read in the morning. I hope its not a lot of gibberish. 

Driving and writing

If the picture looks familiar, you may have seen it on my Driving Is Murder blog. I use index cards to help me control my anger at all the stupid drivers out there. I write down the license plate numbers and toss the cards in the floor. Every few days, sometimes longer, depends if anyone rides in my car, I throw them away. Writing down the plates numbers is how I deal with my frustrations at how stupid people are when they get behind the wheel.

But I digress. I posted the picture here because I do use the cards to write down ideas, bits of conversation, songs to download from iTunes, and other things besides license plate numbers. One reason for the huge pile of them. I buy them in bulk, when I can, to keep my costs down, because I go through so many of them.

I drive an hour to work and an hour back each day, at least five days a week. I have been known to come in for a few hours on the weekend, if needed, and I do travel occasionally for my job. My most recent trip was to Birmingham, AL in September. Since I was driving a state vehicle, I had to bring my cards along with me. 

Arriving home after work, I take the cards I've put in my pocket and see what I need to do with them. During this month of NaNoWriMo I've been writing down more ideas than plate numbers. So I add the ideas to my list on the Macbook then toss the card. Once a song is downloaded that card, too, is thrown away.

I'll go back to the license plate numbers after November. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

4 days down, 26 to go in NaNoWriMo

I didn't think I was going to make it tonight, but I did. When I finally broke that 6,000 word mark I knew I could finish. 

I felt as if I was pulling every word out individually, not sure how they were going to fit into the story. But I finally made it to 6,678, with ten words to spare. And nine minutes to spare until midnight.

Zero was there as well, taking charge of a couple of Penelope's employees. I can see right now she's going to have to find some new ones after she gets back on her feet from the car accident she and Christopher were involved in, the one where her father tried to kill her. At least, I think her father is trying to kill her. That point is still up in the air. 

What I do know is one of her employees is going to die, probably tomorrow night when I reach that scene. But first she has to pass along some information so I can't kill her yet.

Secondary characters making a move

I've found to be true what other writers have said about secondary characters emerging as a main character. I have one and he's nothing but trouble.

Christopher is the hero of my NaNoWriMo novel this month. Yet, one of his friends, Zero, seems to be telling me he would like his own novel when I finish this one. He keeps recurring in this story almost as much as Christopher and Penelope, the heroine. 

I don't know much about Zero right now. He's just listed on my character sheet as a wealthy computer hacker. He'll have black hair and blue eyes, tall (6'2) and left handed.

I'm off to crank out another 2,500 words tonight. 

Monday, November 3, 2008

Day 3 word count

I've slipped a little in the word count, but I'm still past where I need to be. Had to be 5,001 by day three and I have 5,103.

In case you've notice the extra words (5129) that I'm not counting in my overall total - these are notes to myself of scenes to write. It helps me to list them and work toward them rather than coming to a blank page. I'm writing this all in the same document instead of individual days. I need a goal to work toward and these notes provide it.

I've murdered three people (happened before the story takes place - back story) and will be adding one more to the list, as soon as I reach that scene. If you have looked at the chocolate chip cookies picture on Flickr, you know which one gets the axe. 

Snoopy and NaNoWriMo

I found this yesterday. I bought it last year sometime because I have always loved reading Peanuts when Snoopy was writing his novel. I'm going to use it as a good luck charm to finish NaNoWriMo this year.

4,517 and counting so far. 

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Word count and NaNoWriMo

So far I'm ahead of the game. So far. I hope to keep ahead of where I should be, during day two of NaNoWriMo. I should have at least 3,334 words (total) by midnight today and so far mine is 4,275. 

I've got to beat my friend L this year. When we "unofficially" wrote a novel in May 2007, after I found Chris Baty's book "No Plot No Problem!: A Low-Stress High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days" we made a bet that the loser (the one with the least amount of words) had to buy the winner dinner. Well, I paid up. I made it to 50,000 words (50,044 if you must know the exact total) but she had around 56,000 so I had to buy dinner. 

Since I'm ahead of schedule, I baked some homemade chocolate chip cookies. I leave them in the fridge and bake them as I eat them. So I always have hot cookies to eat. Of course, they don't last long at my house. I have even named them on my Flickr page after the characters in my story. So I'm now going back to the story. I need to write some more. Murder more people.....MUHAHAHAHAHA

Saturday, November 1, 2008

NaNoWriMo and a visit from Alton Brown

I had some homemade pizza today for lunch from my friend L and Alton Brown (of Good Eats fame) from the Food Network. 

The recipe is Alton's, from his Good Eats episode "Flat is Beautiful." I like to think I'm a decent enough cook but I have not yet attempted to make this dough. After eating it today, cooked on a pizza stone, I think I'm going to have to try. The crust was so crispy, I could hear it as I cut into it. Music to my ears. And just the right size for a meal. I don't think I have ever had a better pizza than the one from today. Thanks L, and Alton, for a great meal!

So now I'm headed back to my murder and mayhem and NaNoWriMo - 2,089 words and counting so far. I had to rub it in that I was ahead of her in the word count. We have a bet that whoever has the most words buys the other one dinner. I've paid up once so I plan on collecting a free meal this year.

If you want to learn more about Alton and Good Eats, stop L's fan-created AllAboutAlton blog and website.