Monthly Archives: November 2013

A Quote for the Aspiring Writer

“Many an aspiring writer is just in love with a glammed-up idea of being an author, but not enthused about the actual work. Well, the only way to learn to write is to write (and to write a lot). Sit down and get started. Even if you just type, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Writing is wretched, discouraging, physically unhealthy, infinitely frustrating work. And when it all comes together it’s utterly glorious.”

Ralph Peters


The Day of the Doctor

Doctor Who.  50th Anniversary.

I’ll wait until the fanboy/fangirl flailing ends.  (I’m aware that will likely take quite a while.)  I know you can’t help it:  the squealing and flapping about aren’t a choice when it comes to the Doctor—they’re an involuntary response showing extreme joy emanating from every cell of your body.  Do not be ashamed.

            *cue the writer’s own fangirl flailing of epic proportions*

Matt Smith.  David Tennant.  John Hurt.  Billie Piper.  Tom Baker.

Let me repeat that last bit:  Tom Mother Fuckin’ Baker.

More metareferences than the normal geek brain can handle.

Yes, friends, it’s The Day of the Doctor.

The highly anticipated special episode was so highly-anticipated that even I, notorious for having to catch on the fiftieth repeat even things I really want to see, set the DVR to record the premiere and then watched it the same day.  So highly anticipated that I spent days wandering around my apartment (or in my car or in the store or during my trip to the office to pick up work mail) singing “Because we want to!  Because we want to!”  An I sang it with gusto, too, like this is still the ‘90s and Billie Piper still acknowledges her career in pop music.

Yep, that highly anticipated.  The only way I could’ve been more excited for this was if they’d managed to pull Christopher Eccleston back to reprise his role as Nine.

Was my excitement out of proportion?  Only those who don’t understand Doctor Who will think so.  I own a dress designed on the TARDIS, a pair of TARDIS earrings, and a sonic screwdriver.  My excitement was perfectly on level for the occasion, I’m certain.

I don’t actually have any sort of coherent review to give here, I simply feel compelled to mark the 50th Anniversary of the culture phenomenon that is Doctor Who.  Watching Matt Smith (Eleven) and David Tennant (Ten) interact for two hours was epic, the kick to the gut that was John Hurt’s performance and the story around it caused me to sniffle and clutch the Kleenex box, and yeah, my girl crush on Billie Piper is still going strong even though she departed the show years ago.  Happy sighs all over the place, people.

Happy.  Sighs.

“Anything could happen!  For instance…a fez.”

During one commercial break there was a ‘behind the scenes’ clip with Matt Smith and David Tennant where Tennant mentions that, while Matt Smith could’ve been quite threatened by having his predecessor return to the set, he handled the multiple stars well and didn’t react that way.  Smith said something about the special being about the show, not about him, blah blah blah I wasn’t listening because I was too busy reflecting on how Tennant easily stole it all during The Day of the Doctor.  Because Tennant really did stand out, and I’m not saying this as an insult or sneer:  he did an amazing job, a great nod to the fans who still miss him even as they enjoy Matt Smith’s run, and my God, the man just shines on screen when he’s having fun, doesn’t he?  (And yeah, he knows he’s playing up to all the hardcore fans who are vehement about Ten being their Doctor.)

At the end I cried (of course…every ‘end’ in Doctor Who makes me and my grandma weep like babies), due almost entirely to Tennant’s final sentence that echoes his regeneration scene.  Tears.  There were many tears.

And then!  TOM BAKER.  I was still sniffling even as I was flailing.  It wasn’t like I was surprised:  I already knew the fourth Doctor was going to make an appearance.  Yet while watching the first 1 hour and 45 minutes of the episode I somehow managed to forget, and when his voice came from off camera, I lost my shit with the shout of joy and the flapping of hands.  Fairly sure the neighbors could hear me.


Like I said:  no coherent review here, just fangirl flailing.  So I’ll leave you all now, perhaps I’ll go re-watch the show, and as I sign off I’ll say only this:

“I don’t want to go.”

NaNoWriMo Chronicles: Week Two

Week Two, widely known as the most difficult stretch:  the adrenaline high has worn off, initial bursts of inspiration are spent, and nagging little story issues are making themselves known, like that rattling noise in your car that you can hear quite clearly but can never quite pinpoint where it’s coming from.  This week sees a sharp decline in numbers as participants drop out and word counts lag even as the quota increases; there is a corresponding rise in hair pulling and caffeine consumption.  Things start getting weird right about now as story arcs do very un-arc-like things such as make sharp turns and characters do things like wander off without so much as a ‘by your leave’, chapters start popping up between other chapters where they don’t belong in the outline, and your brain goes a bit squiggly every time you think about 50,000 and how it seems forever and ever away, all the words away.  Yeah.  It’s like that.

A dear friend and fellow WriMo has hit upon an approach that works for him:  the boxed wine and words and more boxed wine system.  It shames me to admit that I lack his hardy constitution and, having no wish to dance on my own table in an inebriated manner (although anyone else’s table is a-okay), I’ve been simply plodding along, puttering and poking at the keyboard and mumbling to myself, occasionally cursing in a way to make sailors blush.  Allow me to present unto you, my dear friends, week two:


I do my research like a good little girl, only to twist it, warp it, and cover it in dirt for story purposes. Facts: I use them to make shit up.


Beware the Writer’s New Groove.


One of Jesse O’Shaughnessy’s Rules to Live By.


Edit reminders: because no one gets it right on the first try, not even someone as awesome as me.


Real life interferes and makes story time difficult. My god awful memory doesn’t help much, either. (But seriously: YAY! No cavities!)


One incident of ‘nearly forgetting the laptop on the way to the write-in’, a free food extravaganza distraction, and a strange, seconds-long interaction with a bum. An interesting evening, all in all.


Unfortunately, some days you really are just too sad (for no apparent reason) to write. Even more unfortunate is when those days happen during NaNoWriMo, when ass in chair writing words every day is the only way to make the Graph of Progress happy.


A little story snippet, because it frames Jesse’s state of mind quite well. (Of note: he was enraged that I had the nerve to shoot him. I pointed out that another character whom he happened to be trying to kill at that time was actually the one to shoot him, but my logic stood no chance against his anger. What a wuss.)


An actual bit of dialogue from the book. Jesse’s vocabulary is not for the faint of heart, easily offended, or those of delicate sensibilities.


Jesse’s line of work lands him in the ER quite a bit, and Polly is the nurse/administrator who oversees his many, many trips. Both are stubborn, both are caustic, and both are now engaged in a decade-long battle of wills. (This is one battle where Jesse’s chances of victory aren’t good.)

And lo, the end of Week Two!  I’m still in the game, word count is exactly where it should be, and although all might not be going amazingly, things are at least going.  Up and running, even.  *goes back to scribbling*

NaNoWriMo Chronicles: Week One

Posting my notes for Week One a bit late (considering it is now the start of Week Three), but damn it, don’t judge me!  I’ve been busy with that whole “writing” thing, which is the whole point of this month, no?  After a rough start I’ve been (just barely) staying current on word count, all while still managing to accomplish a handful of things that real adults do on a regular basis.  Grocery shopping, taking the trash out, maintaining that whole “gainful employment” thing, and I even did the laundry!  (Please don’t ask if I folded it.  Leaving it in a nice, clean mountain is folding, right?)  There have been good days, there have been bad days, there have been write-ins, there have been nights alone in a darkened room, there have been good words and bad words, there have been a few angry naps and a handful of victory dances.  Shall we get to the scans, then?  Yes, let’s get to the scanned pages from my work-in-progress NaNoWriMo ’13 chronicle.


For goodness sake, I’m writing the sequel to my NaNoWriMo ’11 novel, so starting this one should not have been so freakin’ difficult! I know the story ‘Verse (yep, that reference is for Firefly fans, hi y’all!), I know the character better than I know myself, and the plot, subplots, even the damn themes are all in my head and ready to go. But the words…the words did not cooperate. There was much frustrated screaming and pulling of hair; my neighbors think I’m crazier than ever.


Day 2 much the same as Day 1, but Day 3…oh, blessed, blessed Day 3! I’d like to say that I drove to Barnes & Noble to write and then, if I wrote enough words, I would buy myself a book as a reward. That is what most people do; that is not what I did. No, I bought the book first. Because I’m greedy and prefer instant gratification. And yet I stayed in the cafe and successfully wrote a large chunk of the story, which is all that matters.


Fact: for some unknown reason, small children love me. Perhaps it’s because I’m small and non-threatening; perhaps they sense that maturity-wise, I’m on their level. No matter the reason, small children I’ve never before met will smile and run up to me and give me things, just like subjects to their queen. And there’s nothing quite like the moment when you realize you’re writing about a sociopath carrying out a contract killing while pausing to accept gifts of toy dinosaurs and plastic tea cups and occasionally reading books like “Just Like My Mommy” out loud. One cannot describe the ‘WTF’-ness of that moment, for the appropriate words do not exist. (Trust me on that. After all, I AM a writer.)


Every Tuesday in November I drag myself away from nap time and drive the 30 minutes to my mother’s house. Why? Because as a fellow WriMo, she likes to attend the weekly write-in only a few blocks from where she lives, and as it’s hosted by a pizza place, I can clock some mother/daughter bonding time that doesn’t require much talking AND get free dinner because my mother’s nice like that sometimes. Also: words get written. A bunch of people sitting around, stuffing their faces with pizza as they hunch over laptops and type like the wind. It’s excellent and, as proven by the word count scrawled across the bottom of this page, quite productive.


Maybe, maybe not, but my main character really will be the first snowflake that refuses to melt in hell.
And why procrastinate with Project Runway Australia? Simple: because American Project Runway isn’t on youtube.


The O’Shaughnessy Reputation: Put On Your War Paint is NOT a love story. However, the love between a man and his car deserves a thousand words (maybe even more, but I needed to move on), and honestly, this was far more than a little autobiographical, although I now have an awesome car as opposed to a battered PoS. No matter what, my car + me = LOVE.

There you have it, folks!  Week One of NaNoWriMo complete, word count hanging in there on par, all set to cross the 50,000 word finish line on November 30th.  With a little luck and a lot of effort, I should make it there, even if I have to drag myself on my belly across the ground with fingertips bloodied from excessive typing.  And the dragging.

NaNoWriMo Chronicles: The Beginning

We’re on Day 4 of NaNoWriMo with sanity still in check, although just barely.  Everything went well, was smashingly good, right up until 12:00 a.m. on November 1st, at which point I hit a block so hard that it knocked me senseless and my frustration level has been skyrocketing ever since.  But that is neither here nor there, I’ll get to that hot mess later, because today we’ll focus solely on the pages from the beginning of the journey, from before the journey even officially started.  Notes from the days of innocence and excitement and a record of all that has gone on in the NaNo-verse that’s not necessarily writing-related.  So here goes, the first scans from my NaNoWriMo ’13 Chronicle notebook!  (Good luck to anyone attempting to read my handwriting!)

Wherein the title takes precedence, along with some personal editing notes to myself.

Wherein the title takes precedence, along with some personal editing notes to myself.


A short exchange of dialogue, prepped and ready to go for a future scene of lightheartedness.

Because when a story depends on a complicated backstory and character interactions, the writer's sanity depends on a clearly defined map to avoid getting lost.

Because when a story depends on a complicated backstory and character interactions, the writer’s sanity depends on a clearly defined map to avoid getting lost.

Notes from the kick-off, a combination of Halloween party and NaNoWriMo extravaganza at 12:00 a.m.

Notes from the kick-off, a combination of Halloween party and NaNoWriMo extravaganza at 12:00 a.m.

And lo, my friends, the insanity has begun.

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