Sunday, October 31, 2010

And We're Off!!!

November begins at midnight and my life adjusts for National Novel Writing Month. For the entire month of November, all waking “personal” hours (i.e. hours not included in the salaried work day) will be dedicated to writing as much as I possibly can of my new steampunk (more or less) novel.

I’ve got a nice new “Decomposition” notebook (you have to love the stuff you can find in the shops around Hallowe’en!) tucked into my bag so that I can write on the subways and during lunch during the week, and of course I’ll be writing every night. The weekends may take me back to the experience of writing my college History thesis – write until my head explodes, sleep for a couple of hours, write some more. If I don’t stop for fifteen minutes to worry over the exact right word (my favorite act of procrastination) and if I don’t stumble over any massive plotting potholes, I should be able to push out a lot of words.

What I won’t be doing in November is socializing, either face-to-face, on the phone or online. I’m advising friends and followers alike to expect only the briefest of blast bulletins from me, and I thank you all in advance for your forbearance and support.

Be seeing you!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Next Up: NaNoWriMo!

You’ve probably gathered by this time (3/4’s through October!) that I’d decided not to do another historic tweet.  Yes, as I’ve written elsewhere, this project turned out to be oddly satisfying.  With this project, I was able to create three minimalist novels.  When I read through each one (as you can, too, if you navigate down the page), I find believable characters who tell real stories that I can follow and enjoy.  I marvel at the feat -- all of this was written in bursts of 140 characters or less.  And I’m the one who wrote them! 

I don’t usually blow my own horn, but this time I have to; I set myself a ridiculous challenge and I pulled it off.  Now I feel a great sense of freedom. Readers of this blog know that I’ve been searching to find ways to reconcile my vocation (writing uncategorizable novels) with contemporary, primarily digital, reality.  As far as I’m concerned, I’ve done it.  I have proven to my own satisfaction that I can make this medium do what I want it to do.  It doesn’t matter whether or not I had readers or made a dime.  I did it.  And that’s what makes artists happy (in that strange, often grim, artist-like way).

Crazy though Twitter novels (and the whole Extreme Writing challenge it was part of) may have seemed, I’m now moving on to a crazier challenge.  I’ve decided to write a steampunk novel….No, that’s not the crazy part!  In many ways, I’m well-suited to writing steampunk.  I’ve spent a lot of years in the 19th century and it turns out that much of what I enjoy reading and watching is at least tangentially allied with the genre (according to current buzz).  For a number of reasons, I’ve been searching for a genre I could write in for even longer than I’ve been on the “blovel” hunt, and when “steampunk!” recently went off like a cartoon lightbulb above my head, I didn’t want to waste a minute getting started.  Here’s where the big crazy comes it:  the story idea presented itself just as Scrivener (a great app for fiction writers) emailed a reminder that National Novel Writing Month was coming soon.

During NaNoWriMo, insane writers sign on to try and spew out a novel.  Starting from scratch (new stories only!), 50K words in one month. The logic behind it is that writers need deadlines.  You also get a built-in support group of others trying to do the same thing; if nothing else, it means there are people who will understand your screams!  Including commuting time, my job-that-pays-the-bills-while-I’m-wishing-I-could-get-paid-to-write-fiction eats up 11 hours of each weekday.  That doesn’t leave a lot of writing time, and surely not enough to push out 50K words.  Even if it did, this story is bigger that that.  But NaNoWriMo is a brilliant opportunity to jump start a new project, so I signed on.  Gulp!

Til then, I'm organizing my ideas -- characters, alternative history divergence points, ripping yarn components -- but starting November 1, I'm a steampunk fiction writing machine (hmmmmmmm.......)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


For those who may have missed an entry or two, here are the collected tweets of Adeline Thorne, Oxford Scholar and Titanic Passenger.  Addie’s was the final in a series of three stories told as tweets-from-history.  This project was a sub-set of my three-month Extreme Writing self-challenge.  To see what I have to say about this experience, visit Light Up the Cave

*Caught Roper wearing the most appalling painted stockings. Sets back the cause of women's degrees 20 years!
*More 2 do than hours of the day. What does it say about me as a scholar that I'd rather be reading Zuleika Dobson?
*Slept 5 hrs of last 48, & not sequentially. Living on stewed tea. Hair a greasy mop. Ah, the joy of education!
* Sat my final exam 2day.  My FINAL final exam.  Not certain of results but still more nerves about America than any exam.
* 2 busy 2 think & just as well.  Big trunk packed & taken away, also three boxes of books.  Next I see them, we will all be in New York.
* Walking from the High, saying goodbye 2 trees & stone walls.  Why does everything ordinary seem so precious when you’re leaving it behind?
*No idea how women dress in New York.  Do I need a new hat? Or do I just want that one with the velvet pansies?
*2 cold 2 punt but didn't care! Must whilst I can. Don't think they have punts in America.  What do they do at those Universities? :)
*2day, last time typing petitions for WSPU.  2nite will b cocoa party in Maude's room.  Final cocoa party.  Everything today so final!
*Vi Roper is engaged! 2 the Paper Baronet of all things! We all laughed, but she is so happy. I won't b here for wedding. It all sinks in.
* Kind lttr fr cousin Simon.  I will be met at dock & shown city. Asks if I wld like 2 see The Pigeon. Missed it @ Royalty. World so small!
*Salve Oxford.  Salve St. Hilda’s.  Piece of my heart left behind.  Wld I b this sad were I staying in England? Father wld have known 
*Oh, London! Must memorize every corner with my heart!  So grateful 2 Maude & the W's 4 having me 2 stay these final weeks.
*Met Maude’s brother Desmond, back from Germany. Very kind & well spoken, as she always said.  Beautiful eyes & such shoulders!
 * All day signing papers w Mr Martens. Father's box rcvd from safekeeping, too. Have rcvd tkt from his hands. No going back now
*Rainy day looking through box.  Father’s watch; their letters & dear faces. Hope Mother’s Limoges arrived safely. All that is left of home
*Tea with Roper.  Aglow & all talk about wedding. Wants me 2 come back 4 it.  Can’t bear 2 admit I will be 2 skint. Made polite noises. 
* Something about voyage makes me want 2 shop. Silliness!  They do have stores in NY.  Still taking no chances w boots!  Bought both pair. 
* Jermyn St 4 gift for Cuz Si. Also Mr. & Mrs. W 4 their kindness.  Des such a help.  Must ask Maude what he likes. Lovely noil scarf 4 her.
* Maude envisions shipboard romance.  Doubtful.  Remember crossing 2 France? Shall likely b green the entire way.
* Much buoyed. Ran into Em et al. Boston cousin took degree @ Vassar! Said fine things & is giving me lttrs of intro 2 friends nearby.  
* Des cinema-crazy. The Sunbeam – charming in a way, but foolish.  Sez Mr Griffith a force 2 b reckoned w. Wants 2 come 2 NY to work w him
* Exceptionally fine day. Will not b here for Easter so debuted new blue hat with ribbon bow & aigrette. Everyone says is quite fetching.
* Maude & Des insist on accompanying me 2 Southampton. Am weak enuff 2 accept. Will b that much harder in end, but want 2 hold every minute 
* Tea w Jonesy & little Kate.  Browsing new books @ WH Smith.  Like always. Hard 2 believe am not going back up 4 Trinity, but getting excited
* Restless. Must have walked 5 miles 2day.  Said all goodbyes. Already feel as if gone. Am ready now for an adventure!
* How to pack 4 ocean crossing? Only small case in cabin. Trunk will go below. Shld not have shopped quite so much! Mrs W kindly advising
* Beautiful surprise for last nite in town.  Simpsons on the Strand. Mr. W says making certain I have good English beef inside to see me off
* Longest train ride. All trying so not to cry. Silly jokes & gossip. Such love for these friends. Foolish 2 hope Des may visit NY for Mr. G?
* Boarding now. Will have no chance to write til arrive NY.  My heart leaps at sight of boat. The future - how beautiful!  Titanic! Adeline