NaNoWriMo: A Day Late & Low Word Count In

So, I didn’t write anything yesterday. But that’s okay. If I can “win” NaNo, that’s awesome, and I will probably add a bullet point to my resume, but I am really striving to find balance every day, so I’m not going to beat myself up if a “win” doesn’t occur. I’m winning by writing. (Also, I need to make time for my kid and my grad school reading/schoolwork/etc.)

winning

Anyway, let’s talk writing.

One of the big things I always struggle with, is what to name my characters. I now realize that there is an entire NaNo forum dedicated to what to name things, but, in addition to that resource, I generally find myself using baby name sites. A resource I have used this year is the 25 best-loved baby names. This site is particularly helpful, because I knew that I wanted some popular names for a couple of my characters, due to the nature of those characters.

I hope everyone else’s first 2 days of NaNo went relatively well! Please, share your favorite writing resource in the comments below:

Please to comment below.

Please to comment below.

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Creepy Craiglist: Why are you posting instead of calling the police?

call the popo

Well, that sounds creepy. You should probably call the police instead of posting a missed connection.

Also – what a great story prompt. You get bonus points if you take this creepy Craigslist post & write a story about it! (But only if you let me know, maybe even posting a link, in the comments below.)

Surprise & Cement

Since I should be studying for my Finance quiz, I felt a desperate need to check my WordPress stats, and noticed, once again, that my most popular post is my wandering writing in which I disparage the movie “The Breakfast Club.”

The reason that this popularity surprises me is that while it has at least 114 views, no one has ever commented on it.

“The Breakfast Club” is a cult classic. People love this movie. And while I do not number amongst those who like “The Breakfast Club,” I kind of expected some indignant response comments defending it. Particularly since I posted it on a public forum, and believe in defending what you love.

Perhaps “The Breakfast Club” is a guilty pleasure. A movie that you know is flawed, but you watch, anyway. Like a hole-ridden security blanket that doesn’t quite keep you warm, anymore, but that has the smell of your infantile spittle soaked into the fibers. Kind of gross, but you can’t help loving it.

Regardless, my reaction towards “The Breakfast Club” becomes further cemented every time someone views my post and does not comment. While I generally strive for open-mindedness, part of me can’t help but feel that all who gaze upon my blog immediately become converted to my view, but are too ashamed to let me know. I am insightful! I am movie critic! Hear me roar!

I realize this isn’t true. I realize some people just want to steal the images I spent so much time Googling, or accidentally clicked on my link, or were curious and possibly thereafter disgusted after reading a few lines.

Yet I find it becomes hard to maintain perspective without any commentary from at least one third party. Having said that, what about you? Fellow bloggers, how are you affected when a blog post is not commented on? And readers, when you do leave comments, what is the incentive that pushes you to do so? Or, feel free to say hello! The interwebs can be lonely; all comments are welcome.

Because the goo…

Because the good news is that we learn just as much about writing from awful books as we do from top-notch books. That’s why we’re encouraged to read everything. So with that spirit in mind, I’d like to look at some of the glaring mistakes of No Name Book that no author should make and no self-respecting author should allow to be published with their name on it.

First, my personal pet-peeve, copious backstory dump. For those unfamiliar with the term, backstory dump is when the author packs the first couple of pages—or first couple of chapters in this case—full of block paragraphs of exposition. Not just any exposition, the life-story of the main characters including all of the important bits of their pasts that will play a role in the current story. No! There are so many ways you can convey that sort of information without dumping it all out in explanatory paragraphs at the beginning! Let it unfold gradually, through dialog and action, and as part of the natural arc of the story!

This quote is from Merry Farmer’s blog, which deals a lot with reading and writing and is often pretty entertaining at the same time. Some of her blogs are romance-specific, and I’m not generally a romance fan, but I still highly recommend reading her blogs – especially since she writes much historical romance, and so a lot of her posts are about “what the hell were these people thinking when –“

But on to my perspective. First of all, reading her blog post, I completely agree with her opinion of the copious backstory dump. Exposition tends to be boring. BUT while reading this particular blog post, I began to wonder – does it have to be boring?

There has to be a way to make even large chunks of information highly entertaining.

One of my favorite novels, ever, is Northanger Abbey. NA begins with a lot of exposition, but all of that exposition is also a parody of gothic novel beginnings. The author (Jane Austen) covers a great deal of time (birth to marriageable age) in a few pages, and writes clever, pithy lines that always make me giggle.

Is that the trick, then? Humor? If you make me laugh while reading, I don’t tend to notice the format of the reading – I just let the ab workout take over and gleefully turn the pages.

What are your thoughts? I feel like this topic is pretty relevant since many people are beginning novels today (NaNo for the win! I’m not doing it this year, but I will cheer for you).