Wednesday, October 31, 2007

NaNoWriMo Prep

Originally posted 9.22.2004 on Limes with Orange

I've started giving some thought to my NaNoWriMo goals. The book that I want to write this year is more ambitious than the one I wrote last year, so some preparation might not be amiss. (This year's Hollywood-style pitch is "Mary Higgins Clark meets Charmed"... it's a supernatural thriller with a hint of romance; last year I described "Being Zoe" as "Bridget Jones' Diary for the intelligent woman.") Anyway, I thought I'd start with a list of things I want to do before November 1:

1. Getting to Know You: Write character descriptions for (a) main character (name yet to be determined... thinking she'd be played by Sandra Bullock in the movie), (b) romantic interest (cop... don't know yet who'd play him... maybe Dylan McDermott?), and (c) serial killer (need to determine his MO, among other things... possibly a Billy Bob type character, but not sure yet). Not sure if I'll bother with descriptions for any other supporting characters. I found a character chart that I think I'll try out this time 'round. I won't try to completely fill them out right away, just do the bare bones and add the other stuff as I get to know the characters better. Maybe tomorrow's project?

2. Plot the Plot: I know how the story starts and I know how it ends, with only the sketchiest idea of what happens in-between. Would like more of a plan to get started with it, even if I end up deviating from it once I start writing. There are some good suggestions in Zilpha Keatley Snyder's article on Being a Storyteller. Other sites I'll be using for reference are: Holly Lisle's Forward Motion for Writers and the Tameri Guide for Writers. I may even break down and read a book or two on the subject of plotting, since I feel like it's the weakest aspect of my writing. The Writer's Bookshop has some reasonable suggestions.

3. Keep the Pen Moving: I used to do daily timed writing practices à la Writing Down the Bones, but I've been remiss in the past several months. If I'm going to expect to write 2000 words a day in November, I'd better get used to writing every day again. Not to mention the fact that it will help prime the creativity pump.

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4. Supernatural Romantic Thriller: I know that I can't really read fiction during NaNoWriMo because I too easily lose my voice and start writing like whomever I'm reading. But if I read a few books before November in the genre that I plan to be writing, I think it'll put me in the right mindset. Dream Man by Linda Howard looks like it might work and possibly something by Connie Willis, though I think she's more sci-fi than I'm looking for. Anybody have any suggestions?

5. Shopping, Occult Style: Since my story starts with a visit to an occult shop, I thought it was high time that I popped into a real one myself. I found a list of Alberta Pagan Shopping & Services that should give me a good place to start.

6. Susie Homemaker: Don't need to worry about this stuff until closer to November, but I intend to have cupboards full of groceries and clean dishes, a freezer full of nukeable food and a closet full of clean clothes before November 1st rolls around. Because laundry, dishes, groceries and cooking might not will not be happening in November. (Oh yeah, must not forget to stock up on Scotch, too... mmm, liquid inspiration...)

Oops... almost forgot...

7. For Your Listening Pleasure: Must make songlists to suit the moods of various scenes: quiet moments, action, spellcasting, love scenes, etc. (I already know that I'll be listening to Heather Nova's "Sugar" for the first spell cast... that's kinda how this whole ball got rolling. And hey, while we're talking about it, check out this video clip of "Sugar.")

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

NaNoWriMo

For those of you who think the title of this post is gobbledygook, I guess you haven't heard of National Novel Writing Month. Well, it starts on November 1st. Yep, as in the day after tomorrow. I've done it three times. The first time I literally found out about it the day before and I managed to write a full 50,000 word manuscript that I hated and which will never, ever see the light of day. The second time around I prepared thoroughly and also managed to write a full 50,000 word manuscript that I'm quite pleased with and would like to go back and turn into a screenplay someday. The third time around I dithered and couldn't settle on a plot or even a character and I think I was feeling restless with the novel format, already having an urge to write a screenplay but lacking the knowledge and tools. I didn't participate last year because I was just too busy and had thrown myself fully into film at that point. This year, I'm planning on doing it again... in a way.

I'm not writing a 50,000 word manuscript. I'll be completely up front about that. I'm using NaNoWriMo as motivation to complete a second draft of my feature length screenplay. (I really meant to write about my process while I wrote the first draft but I realized that writing about your writing process while you're trying to write is senseless... much like this tongue twister of this sentence.) So I will go back and talk about the first draft later on. During November, I'll try to post wee updates on my progress. I know this project would be more appropriate in National Novel Editing Month which happens in March, but I don't want to wait that long. Why bother with NaNoWriMo when I'm doing something so different? Because the support, the information and the opinions on the forums are so worth it. Resources and motivation, baby!

So here's my plan...

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I figure that I have about 45 pages of writing still to do. At approximately 200 words per page for a screenplay, that leaves me with 9,000 words to write. Piece of cake, right? Except that I also have some substantial restructuring to do, so let's set aside 10 hours for that. Then there's some research required for some of the new writing, so let's set aside another 10 hours for that. So instead of striving to reach the 50,000 word mark, I will be striving for 20 hours of work and 9,000 words. Not your conventional approach, but I think I can make it work for me.

I'm also planning on posting some of my old NaNo posts from Limes with Orange, the personal blog I was writing while I participated in previous years. So check back.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Quote of the Week

"Fairy tales do not tell children that dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children that dragons can be killed."

~ G. K. Chesterton

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Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Dissertation Writing Service

You may find it strange that I'm talking about another writing service when I offer a writing service right here. Well, I've never written a PhD and therefore don't offer dissertation writing services, just essay writing services at an undergraduate level. So if you're looking for help with your dissertation or thesis, allow me to recommend Your Dissertation.com. They offer help with all phases of the writing process, from Proposal Development through Research Design to Report Preparation. For example, if you you aren't certain what you want to devote the next few years of your life studying, you might want a little guidance from the experts in selecting a dissertation topic. Or maybe you need help writing your abstract. And so on... you get the idea. Now go forth and dissertate!

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Friday, October 5, 2007

Book Catalogue

I've been cataloguing books today. Something I usually enjoy, but it's made somewhat less fun by the fact that I had actually entered and sorted over 1000 books on my BookCat program before my computer crashed last summer. But I just got a bunch of books out of storage that I want to incorporate into my library now that I've got enough shelf space and I'm trying to input them as I go, as well as input the books in the category that they're sharing shelf space with.

The BookCat program is pretty cool. I'm sure there are similar programs out there, but I've only used this one so I this is the only one I can speak about. It's very easy to enter the information. Just type in the ISBN number and select which sources you want it to check and voila, you now have the author, title, publisher, etc. already entered into the catalogue. I usually have the program check Amazon USA, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada and the Library of Congress. But if you're in the States and most of your books were purchased new, then you probably only need to check Amazon USA.

If the book is too old to have an ISBN number (published before 1970... and even many books published in the early 70's), you might still be able to have the program enter the majority of the information for you if you can find your book in the Library of Congress Online Catalog and it has a Library of Congress catalog number.

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Sometimes you might need to tweak some of the information, but it's a very user-friendly computer program so that's not a problem. And it's great for slightly OCD people like me. I have 11 different bookshelves in my apartment and some of them are divided into different sections (for example, Biographies and Social Sciences share one shelving unit). I tend to group my books according to the Dewey decimal system, which makes for easy decision making... very helpful when you have this many books. But once they're grouped I just figure out location according to space and how much I need the books to be near my computer. Anyway, the reason I'm putting my anal-retentive habits on display is to mention that you can easily include location information for each book as you enter it. A feature that I particularly like.

So if you are an avid book collector (and maybe a little OCD), I highly recommend a catalogue program like BookCat.

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Film Screenings

Coda in G Minor

July 22, 2009
CSIF presents ImagineNATIVE
The Plaza Theatre
1133 Kensington Rd. NW
7:00 p.m.
Calgary, AB

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Weirdgrrl

Calgary, Canada

1 part shy intellectual, 1 part edgy chick, 1 part sophisticated woman, 1 part mental patient (after all, sanity is a type of conformity)... what's your mix?