Short stories, poetry, haiku, expository and technical non-fiction. Report Cards and observations on writing. This began as my repository of exercises from the "What If?" self-help writers group at AOL. It has become more and less, since leaving AOL.

Sunday, October 31

Stage Fright Willy...

I'm getting scared, anxious. I want to start writing now. What if I can't "keep up" with the amount of text needed? After all, I am the President of Procrastinators Anonymous, or I would be, if I ever got around to putting my name into nomination for the office...if we ever held meetings...if annual elections didn't take place every 20 years or so when the office holder dies or moves to Florida. Being a cunctator of the first order isn't easy -- it takes a lot of effort to be that lazy! But I digress.

I'm still debating whether it is better to have the Four Horsemen site be presented as a book with a "Table of Contents" on the homepage showing the various chapters completed (surprise -- there will be 30 chapters in all) with links to each chapter or to have short teasers on the homepage each day, with a link to the remainder of the chapter. What's your thought on the matter?

Anyway, the stomach is roiling, the muscles are tightening into knots. If I didn't know better I'd swear I was about to enter a schutzhund competition wearing just my undies with a beagle!

"Schuss, Snoopy ... Find it!"

Tuesday, October 26

National Novel Writing / Blogging Month


November 1 - 30, 2004

Last week's entry didn't produce any takers or comments and I've seen no announcements in the whatif group members journals about pending novels, so I'll try again.

Are you familiar with the National Novel Writing Month Program? Basically, you spend the month of November, 2004, churning out about 1700 words a day -- that's 6 to 7 pages per day -- everyday, for a month. The goal is a novel with a minimum of 50,000 words on November 30, at midnight Humboldt Island Time (GMT -12). It means quantity is favored over quality. This isn't an exercise in speed-writing novels for publication. No time for rewrites. No laborious editing, either. Read all about here at the home page and then go register your intent to participate. It'll only take a few minutes.

Now, you could "take it up a notch," as Emeril Lagasse likes to say and join with the folks at Blogger and join together with the rest of the loonies, and turn it into National Novel Blogging Month. Blogger will give you a free blog site and you can go to town. Or, you could do it as a mirror of a site you already have at Live Journals or the AOL Hometown Journals community that you create specifically for the purpose. Actually, it would be a case of mirroring your Blogger site on LiveJournals or AOL, but they do have it all worked out for how to do it, if you so desire.

Visit the National Novel Blogging Month site (Part 1) for more info on the blogging aspect of this.

Any takers?

Wednesday, October 13

Assignment: How well do you know your character?

I hate restraints. Yes I do. I can work within the confines of limitations if I must, but arbitrary boundaries piss me off roundly. AOL has its reasons for limiting comments to 2000 characters. Andrea has only arbitrary limits in mind when limiting the characterization assignment to one comment. Grrrr. Here's the assignment below, with my response AND the paragraph I hated to cut restored to its rightful place.

Because I don't have a 2000 character limit. That's why. And it isn't character background, so rule #5 remains unsullied.

1. Post your response to this entry in the comments to the Assignment.
2. You only have 2000 characters (the imposed limit of a Journal comment).
3. You're only allowed ONE comment (no 2-parters, no indications that we have to see your Journal entry for the rest of the assignment).
4. You can post your assignment in your Journal also, but your entry must be posted in full here ... in the comments section.
5. Do NOT provide any character background (not even at your Journal).
6. Anyone can play; you don't have to be a What-Iffer.
7. You have until midnight on Monday, October 18, to post your character sketch.

Jake LaMott was in a quandary.

How does one transport six squirming sub-six year old angels dressed in toile, crinoline tutu's and toe shoes along with three nine year old devils done up in shoulder pads, jerseys and football helmets, muddy cleats slung over their shoulders? At the same time. To venues 3 miles across town from each other, with only 16 minutes of transport time and heavy traffic in both directions? In a Dodge Caravan and only a vague idea where he was going?

"Melissa, give Justin back his football. Jeremy, leave Katy's toe shoes be!" Chaos continued behind his head. A drill sergeant able to make grown men pee their pants with terror unable to control this bunch of sniffling little monsters. Humph!

Nothing in all of his six year stint in the Marines had ever approached the logistical nightmare which faced him now. Jake's ten years or so at Quantico, first as a student and lateras a Special Agentand lecturer in Criminalistics hadn't even come close to approximating this situation.

Why oh why did his mother-in-law have to break her back by riding down Malibu Canyon at 75 MPH on a bicycle?

Catching a glimpse in the rearview mirror of a raised skirt and bare bottom topped by fiery red curls, Jake barked out, "Shawna, sit down and put your leotard back on... Right Now!"

How does Donna cope with this five days a week? He could feel a migraine starting over his left eye. "Roger, put your hand back inside before someone sideswipes us and cuts it off."

"A least there's an ambulance nearby," he thought, as he slowed to let one enter traffic ahead of him. With lights and siren going, it disappeared ahead fairly quickly.

"Thank God," he murmured as the sign for "Madame Pompadour's Dance Studio" came into view. His relief was soon squashed when he realized the patient on the stretcher being loaded into the ambulance parked in front was none other than Madame Pompadour herself!

"Oh, there you are, Mr. LaMott. Do be a dear, and keep an eye on the girls for me. I seem to have broken my leg. The mothers should be coming by in an hour or so to pick up the little dears.

Update: Changed the font size so I could read it. Anyone else having problems with Blogger's editor changing the font size to small after viewing it via the "Preview" function?

Saturday, October 9

Book News

Perhaps this is old news to you all. But did you know that Technorati has a new product they are testing in Beta called "Book News?" Give the link a click and then choose the Book News tab from the choices available. It isn't perfect yet; I saw a couple of mangled entries. But it appears close to ready-for-prime-time as it exists today.

About Me

My photo
Well past (by at least a decade) the half century mark. One foot in the grave, the other on a banana peel at the rim of the abyss and the view from here is disconcerting. I am a former student, pearl diver, cook, truck driver, firefighter, EMT, CEO, Town Fire Warden, mechanic, oiler, marine engineer and computer whiz bang. Mostly I sleep these days in an aluminum tube. And So It Goes... I waste my time reading blogs and kvetching about the weather, playing with our Schipperke sidekick, Ignatz McGraw and waiting hand by foot upon my wife, the Queen of our Hovel, She Who Must Be Obeyed (SWMBO).