For those of you not in the know, that’s short for National Novel Writing Month. Takes place every November. I’ve participated on and off since 2003. Have even “won” three times (meaning I made the 50k word count).

Now, I write year round, as much as possible. And a lot of what I write doesn’t lend itself to so high a word count (stage plays, screenplays). But I do also write some prose, and after taking a couple years off, I’m thinking of trying NaNoWriMo again.

Of course, right now I do already have a lot of projects on my plate, but . . . What’s one more? Right? As if my family didn’t already feel like I’ve abandoned them . . .

Being a writer is hard work. Sometimes it’s fun, but not as much fun as so many people seem to think. Sometimes it’s a tough slog, trying to get where I and the characters and the story want to be. Sometimes it’s like having multiple personality disorder because you have to know all your characters as if you were them: how they’d react to something, what they’d say. (This is especially true when writing for television, but it’s true in general for all fiction.) Sometimes it’s an out and out fight with your characters or a plot twist.

Funny thing is, though, that my family is much happier when I’m writing than when I’m suffering a dry spell. Because I’m even more difficult to live with–more cranky and unpleasant–when I’m not actively “employed.” So participating in NaNoWriMo may only ensure that we all come out more content at the end of it.

Moving Up in the World?

Today I got an unsolicited e-mail from JustFiction saying they were interested in publishing “The K-Pro.” Flattering as it sounds, all my red alert signals went off. It’s a writer’s dream to have a publisher waltz up and ask to publish them, but any writer worth his or her salt knows the reality is, it’s never that easy.

First I looked at the JustFiction site. Not a lot there, and (though they admit to being new) their catalogue of books was very small. Nothing I’d ever heard of, and the covers were stock, not individually designed. Hmm.

So then I did the general Google search for information, and thank goodness for sites like the Writer Beware blogs. Need to add them to my blogroll . . .

So yes, I’m kind of sad that JustFiction doesn’t appear to be a legitimate, viable option for my getting published. But I’m glad to know that now instead of finding out to my detriment later.

Score Card

So at last count I had submissions out to a lucky 13 places. One short story and the rest are play submissions. Now it’s the waiting game, which I’ve never been very good at. In the meantime, I will continue writing. Although I must admit it’s tempting to check my e-mail every five minutes or so. And then depressing to find it empty. I should stop checking. It’s only bringing my morale down.

Sneak Peek

As a tease, here’s the first part of my new story “The K-Pro.” I thought it was going to be a short story, but it’s already pushing 10k words and I’ve barely scratched the surface, so it’s starting to look more like a novella . . . Not sure it’ll get big enough to be a full on novel.

Forgive the formatting; I write for submission, meaning I use Courier and underline where a publisher would use italic.

Just as I used Ewan McGregor as my internal picture for the lead in 20 August, I’ve mentally cast Benedict Cumberbatch as David in “The K-Pro.” (Probably the reason I’ve had a couple nightmares about him; I’ve been thinking about this story for too long and need to finish it.)

I have trouble sometimes with description; I tend to slack off on that side of things because I’m a screenwriter, and we’re taught to only include details that are important to the plot–things the director and art department need to know about. Dialogue is what I’m good at, even if it’s interior dialogue. BUT . . . In “The K-Pro” I’m making a concerted effort to do better with my descriptions (without bogging things down, that is; there’s nothing I dislike more than a book that has pages of description when a paragraph would have done). It’s one of the reasons this is taking me so much longer than my usual projects do.

Deep breath, then, and onward. Hope you enjoy the tidbit!

Tweet Dream

You know you’ve been on Twitter too much when you dream in Twitter stream fashion. The first part of my dream last night had something to do with a Twitter conversation going on amongst me, Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss. I’m sure it was all very interesting, but I can’t remember any of it.

The dream went on to being about a garden in late afternoon sunlight, me trying to find a very specific kind of flower (none were the right color, and I recall the soil being dry; the flowers looked unhealthy). And then Steven Moffat turned out to be a member of some council, and the queen or one of her chancellors was chasing people through the gardens. I don’t quite recall how this was resolved; it may have ended in us jumping into a cab.

Meanwhile, I have an idea for a new play. So now the question is whether to plow on with my current story (novella? novel?) or switch gears.


It almost sounds like a Rod Stewart song . . . Pro. Cras. Tin. A. Tion.

I’ve managed not to get any writing done today, much to my shame. Laundry, yes, and I’ve baked brownies and mailed off a couple more writing submissions, but I have not actually done any writing. The problem is I am well and truly stuck in this story, and it’s a bit like embroidery–I’m dreading having to go back and take out some of the stitches, which is what I think I’m going to have to do if I want to move forward.

It doesn’t help that I had a nightmare about being stuck in a tower with Benedict Cumberbatch. Or maybe we were at the top of a building, like a hotel or apartments or something? I don’t know, but bad dreams throw off my day. I end up restless, which makes it difficult to sit and write.

I must ruminate instead, figure out how to fix my story, and once my mind is firmly set, off I will go to write it.