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Subterranean Slan Shack Blues
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Below are the 6 most recent journal entries recorded in leesnavely's LiveJournal:

Sunday, October 8th, 2006
2:27 pm
NaNoWriMo 2006
Has it been a year already? Yeah, I guess so, and Squidboy Rising has been relegated to the virtual trunk for the time being. New year, new start, new profile, new novel: Subterranean Slan Shack Blues.
Saturday, October 22nd, 2005
11:15 am
NaNoWriMo Tech
My insanity deepens as November 1st draws nearer. I've got a vague plotline, some vague characters, voluminous novel notes (not that I'm particularly OCD or anything), and a few other items I consider essential:

An HP Pavilion 753n desktop. This is my primary computer, which I've had for about three years. No complaints; it's been very reliable.

A Compaq Armada 1750 laptop. I picked this up on eBay for about $150.00. It's kind of creaky, not particularly speedy, it's running Windows 2000, but it's a laptop, which greatly expands my options when it comes to where I write. See, unless I'm in precisely the right mood, trying to write at home becomes somewhat problematic--too many distractions, too many temptations ("Well, I'll just take me a leeeetle nap before I start..."). With the Compaq I can hole up in a couple of local coffee shops, ingest caffeine and highly-sugared snacks, and type like a madman because what the hell else am I gonna do?

A 128 MB Lexar JumpDrive Sport USB Flash Drive for archiving stuff off-site, like on the computer at work. Not that I'd ever consider using work equipment and time for personal projects. Uh-uh, no; not I!

A Pocketec DataStor 40 GB portable USB hard drive, because I haven't had a hard disk crash in a long, long time and I don't intend to be rendered helpless by one now.

OpenOffice 1.1.5 software. NotePad and WordPad are great (I'm a text-only kind of guy), but OpenOffice has instant statistics--just the thing to see where I stand on my daily word count (oh-so-important to NaNoWriMo!).

A Moleskine pocket notebook because when you get down to it, nothing is more reliable than pen and paper. Yeah, there's a certain snob appeal to the Moleskine, but that doesn't detract from its functionality.

Pilot G2 fine point rollerballs, my current favorite pen.

A Cthulhu plastic figure for inspiration and as a conversation starter for when attractive female strangers intrigued by this eccentric-looking gentleman hammering away at a keyboard and muttering under his breath ask what, exactly, do I think I'm doing?

Yeah, I'm ready and chompin' at the bit.
Monday, October 17th, 2005
10:30 am
No Plot? No Problem!
So as to relieve the anxiety of NOT being able to start my NaNoWriMo novel yet, I broke down and bought a copy of Chris Baty's No Plot? No Problem!: A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days.

It's worth the money.

Part cheerleading section for getting the task done, part ego-deflater to keep one from taking this activity too seriously, it's the perfect foil for my Internal Editor which, even in the middle of October, is sticking its ugly, ichorous, intrusive head into the dim, dark recesses of my cerebral cortex.

I'll be keeping this little tome with me at all times.
Monday, October 10th, 2005
10:29 am
Portability Is Good!
Just for kicks and giggles, I purchased a used Compaq Armada 1750 Notebook Computer from eBay this afternoon.

From the review:

"We decided to go for it, since Jerry Pournelle (a popular computer columnist and science fiction writer) had an Armada at that time and found it to always be quite reliable (at one point, I think he even had one fly through the window of his truck when his truck rolled on a dirt road, and the computer part survived, although the screen was trashed)."

Well, hell! If it's good enough for Mr. Lucifer's Hammer, then it's good enough for me.

Especially at $150!

This way I don't have to worry about my workplace's rule against personal computer use plus I have a degree of mobility for when I need serious caffeine infusions.
Sunday, October 2nd, 2005
10:28 am
Sign-Up Blues
Well, as is typical for the first twenty-four hours of sign-ups, the NaNoWriMo site is acting pretty funky--yer basic server overload; however, I did manage to snag a participant icon...

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

...which I'd post somewhere besides here, but I'm not sure I want to make my intentions that public yet.

In other news, I found a very useful .pdf file, A Writer's Toolkit, by science fiction author Rudy Rucker. Lots of great suggestions here! Also, Mike Shea, son of author Robert Shea, has a nice article on what he calls Method Writing, which seems particularly applicable to NaNoWriMo.

There's Gareth's Tips on Sucks-Less Writing by Gareth Branwyn, which seems potentially useful as I prepare for the unabashed orgy ahead, but may be inhibiting during the actual NaNoWriMo writing itself.
Saturday, October 1st, 2005
10:26 am
National Novel Writing Month 2005
I'm still not sure what insanity has beset me, but I've decided to participate in NaNoWriMo, an exercise in self-imposed torture wherein a slew of people attempt to write a 50,000-word novel (okay, a novella, but let's not quibble) in 30 days.

50,000 words.

In 30 days.

That's about 1667 words per day.

Which doesn't seem like that much until you realize that most published writers are happy with churning out one page of usable prose per day.

50,000 words translates to approximately 175 pages.

Now, the organizers of this event emphasize over and over again that the point is quantity, not quality, that part of the "fun" is generating 50,000 words of "laughably awful yet lengthy prose together." "To actively participate in one of our era's most enchanting art forms! To write without having to obsess over quality. To be able to make obscure references to passages from your novel at parties. To be able to mock real novelists who dawdle on and on, taking far longer than 30 days to produce their work."

Yeah, well, they don't have Mrs. Forbes living inside their head.

See, Mrs. Forbes was my 11th grade English teacher and pretty much forced us to use what Peter Elbow referred to as "the dangerous method of writing". We had to get things right the first time we set words to paper.

Spelling. Grammar. Point-of-view. Structure. Characterization. Dialogue. Etc. Whatever, it had to be right the first time

This is not the way real writers write. Real writers do a brain dump, writing "laughably awful" prose at first because the most important thing to them is to get the words on paper. That's actually the hard part and probably the Prime Mover of NaNoWriMo--get it down on paper. Editing, refinement, reasonable plot structure, realism (if necessary), all these things come later.

Unless you live with Mrs. Forbes inside your head. The Inner Critic. The Harsh Mistress. The Ilse Koch of English. Nothing, nothing I write escapes the intense scrutiny and unrelenting criticism of Mrs. Forbes, which means that even today the act of writing is an exercise in fear, humiliation, and anxiety.

So, my participation in NaNoWriMo is as much an attempt to smother my metaphorical Mrs. Forbes as it is to try my hand at telling a story, an exorcism of sorts. I have the germ of an idea, I have some notes, I have a sense of the direction I'd like the story to go. We'll see what happens.

And maybe I'll have the opportunity to do the Vicious Spite Jig atop Mrs. Forbes' grave.
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