Writing

Just in case you’re wondering what my novel is about in terms of which words I use the most, here it is!

Created on wordle.net

Yup, that DOES surprise me. No, my novel is NOT about wallabies. They aren’t even the main characters. But apPARrently, that’s what I’ve mostly mentioned so far as far as word count goes. Huh. Very interesting.

Thanks to the Portsmouth Public Library, I’m at a write-in right now. Not a huge turnout today… I think having to postpone the kick-off party last week due to Hurricane Sandy really put a damper on the excitement. Not that that could have been helped… though I wish they had rescheduled it! Oh well.

Can’t wait for a Kaffe Vonsolln-sposored Tuesday! Dunkins is great and all, but Vonsolln has better pastries. And in regards to coffee, I had three cups before I arrived here, and I’m a one-cup-a-day, MAYBE two cups if it’s THAT KIND of day, kind of girl. So, I’m already jittery. And I’m drinking Dunkin’ coffee, which is like the worst of all in terms of jitters. I may have to go get a bottle of water and a ham sandwich soon to mitigate the blood sugar/caffeine crisis my body is in right now.

Um, so apparently my word count should hit 10,000 today… 10,002 to be exact. Uhhhh… I’m at 4,292. So:

Ohhhhhh we’re (almost) halfway theeeeerrrrre!

More. Words.

xoxoxo

—Crystal

0 FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail
I’d like to take this time to thank a few apps, without which my NaNo-ing would not be possible—or, at least, without which I’d get much less done, in a much longer timeframe.
First, the newest discovery of mine, from a fellow NaNo-er on Twitter: OmmWriter! Here are my first four paragraphs, as they appear when I’m typing:
In case that’s too small to read, I’ve posted these 1st four paragraphs as my excerpt on my NaNo profile.
Super minimalist, right? A mere wiggle of my cursor brings up this:

This screencap made possible by the wonderful Skitch, of course.
Such a slick interface! Features that disappear when unnecessary, leaving you with just your words. But that’s not all, folks! One of those controls is a music note, which gives you, in the free option, three different ambient types of noise (they suggest you wear headphones, which of course I do while writing anyway), and let me tell ya, it’s pretty neat! There are also keyboard noises, which are somehow different from a keystroke click… I don’t know how to describe it, but it sounds delightful. Something about the slight noise of typing, and the absence of noise when you backspace makes you subconsciously want to JUST WRITE, which of course is the whole point of NaNoWriMo!
Of course, if you, like me, need a change of audio pace, say hello to Rdio!
Listen or subscribe to my NaNoWriMo playlist here.
Rdio is a wonderful app. I actually have the paid subscription, so I never have to hear an ad and I have unlimited streaming on my laptop, online at work, on my phone while driving or anywhere else. It’s astounding how much music there is available. I run across artists every now and then who choose not to have their albums made available for listening (why, Metallica, WHY?!), but for the most part, I can hear anything I want anytime, which is wonderful for a muscially ADD person such as myself. I’ve NEVER been able to pinpoint a fave genre…
For writing, I prefer mostly non-lyrical music. Last year I almost exclusively wrote to Hans Zimmer’s Batman movie scores. Of course, I was writing about Bat Man last year, so that was super fitting, but in general, movie scores are wonderful because they embody drama and spur one to write without the distraction of words. Through another fellow NaNo-er on Twitter, I recently was turned on to Alexandre Desplat, who did the stunning score for The King’s Speech (which is currently making me tear up and want to watch the film right now again…) and scores for lesser-known films like Harry Potter (teehee, I kid, I kid.), The Queen, and Fantastic Mr. Fox.
Okay, so the third NaNo helper isn’t so much an app as a program, I think: OpenOffice. I don’t have Microsoft Office (I have mixed feelings about that… It would be nice to have for compatibility reasons, but BOOO MICROSOFT PROGRAMS BOO.), so this is my spreadsheet interface. And boy, do I love me a spreadsheet! What do spreadsheets have to do with NaNoWriMo?
Behold:
Now, the tracker on the NaNoWriMo site itself is actually pretty good, but I don’t know if it had that many stats last year… or if I just really wanted to be able to see how far behind my overall word count I was (Row J above), which they don’t show online… but I do like to see concrete evidence of my progress. It’s a compulsion.
Whelp, as you can see above, I’m doing WAY better today than I was yesterday (which registered ZERO on the word count side), and Day 1, but I’m still a couple thou behind where I need to be today to stay on course… and I’ve got some pretty exciting events coming up in the next week or two (including Mozcation, speaking at a Portsmouth Chamber small biz breakfast event on Twitter, and Digital Portsmouth) that might set me back on my word count, so I’m-a get back to it!
Thanks for tuning in, folks, and may the Muse be with you!
xoxox
—Crystal
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail
NaNoWriMo diet

This is apparently what my dinner looks like when I studiously attend to my writing goals instead of life as I normally conduct it… Um, I think I need to do a Ramen and cold cuts run tomorrow on my way home from work.

Oh, and I’m sure you’re also dying to know what a real live novelist wears:

NaNoWriMo wardrobe

Until the next time I find the laundry supplies, this will likely be my novelist uniform. Glamorous, right? As Ray Bradbury said, “Have fun with your writing. Don’t be self-conscious and superintellectual.” I think what he’s really saying there is: wear flannel snowman pants, More Cowbell thirts, and stripey fuzzy socks, since that’s really the best way to be comfy while clacking away idealistically at your keyboard. At least, that’s how *I* read it.

I have changed my Facebook cover…

…although I have determined that Facebook is NOT the platform for NaNo fellowship and updates. Obviously, Twitter is the best NaNo platform, second being the NaNoWriMo website itself (which was in various states on over capacity last I checked—yay, writers!) but just in case you wondering, Facebook isn’t easy to integrate into your NaNo-ing. First of all, I discovered to my great ire this morning that you canNOT “Pin to Top” on a personal page. Also, Facebook doesn’t really suport PNG files, so my word count widget is stuck on “76 words” now (so really, actually, it’s totally fine that I couldn’t pin in to the top…). Anyhoo, I’ll stick with Blogger for people to find out if I’m still alive and how I’m doing (check out that widget on the top of the right column! It’s totally up-to-date!), and Twitter for human contact on my writing breaks.

Oh boy, y’all… I’m sort of psyched about my concept. It’s a bit nebulous right now… the plot is really missing, but I have a Pinterest board for inspiration (check it out for clues! comment below with your best guesses!) and a growing Rdio playlist for atmosphere. That’s all the hinting I’ll do right now, though… only 366 words in and it’s after 9:30pm already! Sheesh!

Goal of the week:

xoxoxo

—Crystal

0 FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail

Oh, just look at me… so young, so full of hope and the promise of more words! I was 25 days into NaNoWriMo last year when I took this photo… little I know, then on the precipice of finishing what was inarguably a work of pure genus, that it would be September of the following year and I’d still have that same draft, unable to cut anything that would remove the few early plot holes that came of “pantsing” the whole novel.

It’s currently just over a month away from NaNoWriMo 2012, and … the sight of this photo terrifies the ever-livin’ outta me.

My apologies in advance to the universe for becoming a complete hermit throughout November. Send green tea and more Batman soundtracks if you must; other than to selfishly accept such offerings, I shall be unreachable.

Here’s to another month of frivolity before the November of Delirious Solitude!

xoxo

—me

0 FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail
Aww, our little Wednesday morning breakfast gatherings have gone legit! Jason Boucher has started a real live website!
What started as a tweet:

@walterelly @dougridley @briandekoning @LainieH33 @melsieburger @Monte_Bohanan I miss you already. Tues/Weds #PortsBkfstClub needs to happen
— Crystal Paradis (@laughtercrystal) April 24, 2012

And grew into a Twitter list:

Became… ta da!

Site by Jason Boucher
Awesome video by Monte Bohanan
I’m so proud!
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail

My idyllic hometown, Portsmouth, NH.

Thursdays are my “JUST WRITE: No exceptions” days (I find it helpful to subtitle my personal commitments; it gives more weight to them), and this one has been pretty successful. I completed Chapter-izing my novel, which was a really necessary step in editing since I’m too enamored with my own witty language to be able to cut any single sentences from my novel. Viewed as a chapter list with a few bullet points under each chapter will help me to rearrange elements, spot plot holes, and eliminate superfluous characters (sorry, Robert…).

I also got to start reading an epub version of a fellow NaNoWriMo-er’s novel from November. It’s RILLY good so far.
AWESOME, right? I’m so impressed that he has it all available to iPhones and stuff already! I need this kick in the rear to get my ass in gear…
Whilst you all await my genius novel, I leave you with February’s 10-sentence Story Cube project from this month’s writing group.
First, the cubes:

Direction(from Hasbro)

The pale polished wood grain made the pitch black form of the letters stark and plain, eloquent in their directness. Somehow they’d ended up in order, face down, on their tumble out of the Scrabble sack, and as she racked them she slowed with each reveal, wondering if she was hallucinating as she placed each letter next to its predecessor.
She’d been silently and patiently awaiting a sign ever since the wedding day–an indication, a direction, an arrow pointing her to the path of freedom. She’d never wanted to get married, but after 10 happy years together, his persistence had overcome her will. The rings were a bridge to a world she had never wanted to visit.
For months, she sought an escape, an out, anything to get her out of the prison she’d been confined to by her own altared words. The truth would hurt him too much, and every time she gathered the nerve, the words stayed choked in her throat. But as the seventh tile hit the rack and she sat staring at the lifeline that Fate had thrown her in this obvious yet unsuspected way, she felt at ease for the first time in a year.
Of course, she thought as she played the word onto the sterile plastic board, it’s so simple: A-R-S-E-N-I-C.

Some have called me the female Stephen King, but… most of those people live inside my head, so…

0 FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail

WHEN is Skitch coming to the iPhone? According to their site, it’s “coming soon”… According to their blog, they’re hiring people as of September who are good with iOS, so… safe to say it won’t be, like, tomorrow. Sigh. The ONE thing Android has going for it… the ONE thing. As far as I’m concerned.

I want to do THIS:

on my phone! (I did that on my Mac—thank HEAVENS there’s at least a Mac App for it)

Blarg.

My novel editing is going… very slowly. What was a blast to write and a thrill to finish is becoming a huge task to refine. I’m too close to it. I think it’s brilliant. It cracks me up. It’s hilarious. The problem is, there are huge plot holes! Things just don’t make sense beginning to end! They all make sense on a micro scale, but overall they need to be shifted around. I need to break them off into sections and rearrange them without looking at the individual paragraphs… I’m just too attached to my own perceived hilarity. It’s a real problem.

Here’s some great writing advice from David Oglivy:

 “If all else fails, I drink half a bottle of rum and play a Handel oratorio on the gramophone. This generally produces an uncontrollable gush of copy. The next morning I get up early and edit the gush… I am a lousy copywriter, but I am a good editor.”

So wise.

I’ll temporarily shift my writing to the 10-sentence story inspired by my Story Cubes. Here’s what I was cast in the last Creative Writing Group meeting:

Ten sentences… 
…and I’m off!
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail

Oh man oh man oh man.

You know when you finish a major project and you’re all, “Woo! Now I can relax! I am going to have SOOO much free time!” and then a few days go by and you fill your time with so many things that you’re excited to be able to do again that… you are still exhausted!

Welp, that is totally happening to me right now. Today I had NOTHING to do after work, but after some quality roomie time, watching the new What Not To Wear show (it’s the ONLY show I enjoy that is NOT available ANYWHERE online, which irks me), cleaning up my room, and settling in to bed only to discover all these productivity/organization tools take serious time to set up… here I am after 10pm and still going strong. In fact, I’ve had to pee for about 30 minutes and am so caught up in what I’m doing that I haven’t had the time to stop and go down the hall to my bathroom.

So. A few things I’d like to share out of sheer excitement at their existence!

#1: Evernote.
I’ve just discovered this, and already am super psyched about it. Basically, it does everything I’ve known was possible for years but have never found one program that is SUPER INTUITIVE and super easy and super fast that does all those things. Short reminders, longer notes for reference, web links (I’m going to move all my Google Bookmarks there, since they are discontinuing lists (which is the ONLY reason I was using them in the FIRST place!), etc., etc., &c.
I’d love to use it more for work, since it is so exactly perfect for my crazy busy Administratvie Assistant/Copywriter/Scheduler/Gopher/Social Media Manager/Keeper-tracker-of-everything-er job, and I am somewhat using it, but currently I’m at the bottom of a long totem pole of computers, and I’ve got what  I’m quite positive is the last of the non-Intel, PowerPC Macs (a G5, pretty good speed, but… no bueno for being able to upgrade any programs, use anything Mac App-related, Chrome, etc., all won’t run on a PowerPC processor), so although thankfully Evernote is available for PowerPCs, it’s got a disclaimer that it’s a non-supported version and upgrades aren’t available, so it makes me nervous to rely on it much…

BUT. Super amazing life program! 🙂 Maybe, just MAYBE, when my Franklin Covey Classic 7Habits planner refils run out in June, I’ll go all digital with my life planning. We’ll see.

Here’s an adorable video promoting it. I have to say, the ad style, the voice, the elephants in the sky… all convinced me to try it.

Oh, also it’s free. You can pay $5 at any time to boost your upload limit/amount for that month, but your cumulative upload/memory size is unlimited!

#2: My desk fetish is fueled by this image from a random spam-mailed ad:

Le sigh. Right?

#3: Shoeboxed.

Dude, it’s like the Netflix for cluttery paperwork! You sign up for a certain level of membership, starting at $9.95, and then you can just cram reciepts, bills, etc., into these envelopes and send them off, and someone scans them and they appear in digital forms online, and– get this– there’s an auto-import option to your Evernote account, which also contains text-recognition, which means even notes you jot on recieipts will be searchable on your COMPOOPER! Amazeballs, right?

Now, I don’t know if my trust level is up to snuff with this. I’m sure the Shoeboxed folk are fully certified and professionals who deal with important papers a lot… I think I’d be more worried about mail-handlers. I mean, I love every single USPS employee I’ve ever known. They have to go through all sorts of background checks, have to sign all sorts of things and swear by all sorts of gods, and have super cushy Federal jobs I’m sure they don’t want to risk, but… ever since my Mom warned me that she heard that some post office employee told her that some guy that one time would steal checks if he could tell they were in envelopes, I’ve always wrapped rent checks in other paper to make them look like letters so it’s less obvious.

This is a ridiculous fear for several reasons: a) nowadays, people can’t really steal from you with a check, as most places require ID, and fraud is so easily reported and you get your money back when someone obviously rips you off, and b) my mother is paranoid about everything, even to this day, and c) I’m pretty sure that just doesn’t happen anymore… it has NEVER happened to me or anyone I’ve ever heard of.

But. This envelope screams “I HAVE IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS IN ME!” To anyone who might  be familiar with this company at all, and I’m assuming it’ll grow in recognition if it does well … so it just seems like tempting fate to me. Although… everyone knows that Netflix envelopes have DVDs in them, and they NEVER get stolen. At least, that I’ve ever heard of. So. Silly fear.

And anyway, I just think this is a great time-saving idea. And that’s the kick I’m on lately, so this was right up the alley of eye candy por moi!

Okie dokles, kids, I’m off to bed. Let’s see if showering tonight will help my morning routine be less rushed tomorrow (I keep trying the “waking up earlier” route and… it just doesn’t happen for me! Suggestions welcome…).

xoxo

—Crystal

0 FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail

Oh hey, how’s it going?
Me? Not much, why?

Oh, I forgot:

I’m off to get a celebratory pint, but let me just, if I may before I leave you, state that this whole experience has been amazing!
My novel has a beginning, a middle, and an end! There are a ton of plot holes along the way, but I know what it’s ABOUT now! So when I get to the revision process, which I might not do until January… I will be able to rewrite sections and streamline and make it all make sense.
Huzzah! I love books.
The End.
Or is it?…
xoxoxo
—Crystal
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail