Thursday, November 29, 2007

So Many Projects

NaNoWriMo 2007 is over for me. Now I have another writing assignment. I need to finish writing the story and start revising it.

I would also like to work on the story I wrote for NaNoWriMo 2006. And I need to revise Silence, the fifth book in the Echoes Series. Plus I have a few other new projects I'd like to starts. Two books, one short story, and at least one article.

I wish I didn't have to sleep.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Day After

It was nice to wake up this morning knowing that I'd already accomplished my 50,000 word goal. Soon after I woke up, my 18-year old joined me in this achievement.

Unfortunately, I have written nothing today. My document is open, waiting for me. I'm sure I will add to my word count before I sleep, insha Allah. But for now it's enough to "rest on my laurels."

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I did it!

Tonight I finally reached 50,000 words. I downloaded my count and I'm officially recognized as a winner (though my first download recognized only 49,999 words--talk about frustration!).

This is my second year attempting and completing the NaNoWriMo challenge. I have two great novel ideas and first drafts. I made a feeble attempt, a few months ago, to turn my first NaNo work into a full novel. That character needs a little revamping though. She's strong, but not quite likable yet.

This year's NaNo will be easier, I think, when I go back to revise. First, though, I have to finish writing the story. I probably have another 25,000 words to go.

I have always dreaded autumn. The trees are brown or bare. The skies are too often gray. The air is cold. But all that has changed with NaNoWriMo. Now I can hardly wait until next November!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Day of Feasting on Words

We didn't have a turkey this year. No one came to our house and my husband's not that crazy about turkey. But we did have a day together as a family.

And I had a wonderful time writing. So far I've added 3000 words to my NaNo novel. I have at least an hour of writing before I need to think about sleep. I've had quite a feast.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


I introduced a new character today. I hadn't planned on him earlier but he just sort of worked his way into the plot. And once he was there he made sure I magnified his role. A simple extra has become a major supporting character. I'm still not where he came from. But I do know that now he exists, he's not going away.

That happened with my latest book too--Ripples, which will be published in March. I introduced a new character, intending for her to be only temporary. The trouble is that she wouldn't leave. Now she's an integral part of that story.

I dread unannounced company--especially at times like this when my living room is disheveled. But I love having characters who drop in, especially the ones who decide to stay.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Only 30,034?

I like my main character and, overall, I'm comfortable with my character. But right now 20,000 more words might as well be 20 million. I know I'll make it, insha Allah. I can do it. Just write a little over 2000 words a day and I'm there. And this time next year maybe this novel will be polished enough to submit.

But right now I'm questioning my sanity. Why did I so enthusiastically sign up for NaNoWriMo? must have been crazy.

It's kind of like childbirth. I'm looking at the pain and suffering ahead of me before this novel is finished and I'm swearing I'll never do it again. But in two weeks I'll look at my finished novel with pride and relief. Childbirth is more difficult and the results are more rewarding, but you get the picture.

I think I can. I know I can. I'm over halfway there. . .

Monday, November 19, 2007

28,000 Words and Counting

I'm putting on a little steam in the NaNo challenge, though I don't think it's possible for me to catch up with my son, who has something like 35,000 words. At least I'm not out of the game.

I'm not sure this is the best way to write a novel. The problem is that I concentrate too much on the word count. My story is shaping up, however, and I think it has potential. It's better than the one I wrote last November. I like my main character better--even though she has some major flaws. Who doesn't?

One of the best things about the NaNo exercise is that it's given me time to rethink my efforts on Silence. Ten days ago I was ready to scrap the whole novel and start over again. Now I can see better what to keep and what to delete. In December, I'll be ready to finally complete that book. I've done so before, but I could never print it off because I was always changing the plot.

November is a good time to do something different and strive for the goal. And in a year or two I may be ready to introduce Laurel Bremer to the world.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

May I. . .

brag a little?

I've said this before and I'll probably say it again, though I will try to say it in a slightly different way. Three of my kids are writers, and I am really happy about that. (The youngest three. The oldest three are not writers, but one has writing potential and the other two have a real gift of speech--they could sell gun control to the NRA.)
About thirty minutes ago my 14-year old (who wants me to call him a 15-year old, which he will be 15 by the end of year) asked me to read through an analytical paper he wrote for his English class. It's not perfect, but it's a whole lot better than what I was able to write when I was his age. Look for works by S. A. Jitmoud to hit the bookstores sometime in the next ten years. (Yes, he has already decided on a pen name.)

And my 18-year old is doing the NaNo thing. He won't tell me the plot or even the genre, but I do know he has over 25,000--leaving his mother in the dust (I hope to pass 19,000 before I go to sleep tonight). This kid is a perfectionist and I appreciate NaNo for giving him permission to write without worry. He's on his way too. (But he hasn't decided on a pen name yet.)

My youngest, at 12, is constantly coming up with stories. At this point I'm not sure if he'll be a writer or just a really good storyteller--and you can't knock the oral tradition. He certainly has an imagination, and he knows how to string together sentences too. We'll see.

I am proud of all of my kids. It is satisfying, though, to see some of them follow in my footsteps--and I'm sure these three will all pass me up. I don't mind.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

'Falling' Into a Habit

I started with a title and a simple premise. Laurel Bremer is Falling, in more ways than one. Every day I see her taking shape on my screen, her life and her personality developing in front of me.

I'm more than 16,000 words into my NaNo novel now. It's time to put on the steam. Still far from halfway but I can see where Laurel is heading. While I wash dishes I write whole passages in my mind. Now I just need to type them out.

I'm always amazed at the evolution of a novel. It starts with a word, a simple idea, and grows. If carefully tended, it may mature into a published work--a bestseller even.

I can dream, can't I?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Two Thousand Words

I was beginning to lag far behind in my NaNo effort. This weekend put a real dent into my ambitions.

I've had a good day of writing, though. Two thousand words and counting. I'm still a little behind, but I'm not worried. Not yet.

Meanwhile, and most importantly, my story is taking shape. This is probably the most frustrating point for me in writing a book. I know where I want to go but I can't get there fast enough. There are only so many hours in the day and, like it or not, I must take time out to sleep and do other meaningful tasks.

I think I can. I know I can. Insha Allah.

Monday, November 12, 2007

I think I can, I think I can, I think I can. . .

Three people in this household signed up for NaNoWriMo this year. One, my 14 year old, dropped out early due to homework. My 18 year old, on the other hand, is going strong. He's exceeded the recommended daily word count and really flying.

I have a little over 10,000 words. Not as much as I should have at this time of the month. Last week was incredibly busy. I was out of town over the weekend. I did manage to crank out maybe a thousand words in the last few days. This morning I was too tired to even think about writing.

Tonight before I go to bed I'll take a stab at producing a page or two. Of course, once I get started it will suddenly become much easier. But sometime soon I'm going to have to put on some serious steam. I made it last year. I hope to do it again.

I think I can.

Thursday, November 08, 2007


Check out my new website. It's still a work in progress, but I think it's ready to go public.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

NaNo Progress

I have been working on my NaNo novel for a week and I should have somewhere around 12,000 words by now--if I were trying to meet the minimum daily recommendation in order to reach 50,000. But I'm not there yet. I have cracked 8000, and may surpass 9000 before going to bed tonight.

It was the same last year. Worse, actually. I started very slow. My first day's count didn't even pass 1000. But I made it by day 28 or 29. So I'm not worried.

The plot is forming in my mind but I'm too busy to put it all down into words. That's okay too. Sometimes plots come out better when they're given time to simmer.

I haven't posted an excerpt yet because everything I've written so far is really just introduction. Well, I am about 300 words into the meat of the story.

The important thing is to keep on trucking.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Time to Write

Today I worked on my NaNo novel in between parent-teacher conferences. By the time I came home I was too tired to write.

I still am. I hope my life settles down soon. I hate to leave my characters waiting. (Last night I stopped when a character was in the middle of labor. That's how tired I was.)

Good night.

Monday, November 05, 2007


The two news stories capturing my attention right now are the dire political situation in Pakistan and the writers' strike.

I've commented before about Musharraf. He's a petty dictator who acts in his own interest, not that of his country. He needs to be removed. He should have been taken out of office years ago. Now the climax. Arresting the opposition--1500 is the last number I heard. Shutting down the Supreme Court. Declaring martial law. He sounds like a desperate man. I hope the current chaos will lead to the death of his leadership. Pakistan deserves better.

The writers' strike captures my imagination because I am a writer and I feel solidarity with those whose work is being exploited. I know the feeling. I can do without the late night talk shows. If necessary, I can do without my soap opera. :-) And the truth is I won't even miss the primetime shows. I rarely watch TV in the evening.

Pakistan is working for the rights of the people to have truly democratically-elected leadership--not a third-rate dictator who has been propped up by Western support. The writers is working for their right to be paid fairly for their work and retain the economic rights to their work. Writing is not as easy as it looks and, considering the amount of work going into each piece--whether it's a novel or a TV screenplay, writers almost never get paid enough.

There are other people whose rights are being trampled, from Guatanamo to Myanmar. This is a beginning.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Reading and Writing

Two of my very favorite activities. And right now I'm immersed in them.

I started my NaNo novel before going to bed last night. It's coming along. I have the plot. All I need is the time to write. Tonight much of that went toward making a 7th grade social studies test.

And I have so many books on my reading list. Library books, bookstore books, books I want to buy--and one of my own books, or manuscript actually, which is now with the editor.

Sometimes I wish all I needed to do was read and write. Wouldn't it be wonderful?