NaNoWriMo Rituals

Julie asked if we have any NaNoWriMo superstitions. Seemed like an excellent post idea. Mine are more rituals than superstitions, but I think it’s all the same. Here are mine:

  1. My writing will be done on a Toshiba Satellite laptop when I’m at home and a Dell Optiplex desktop with dual monitors when writing during my lunch hour at work
  2. My writing times will most likely be noon (lunch hour) and 10:00 PM (when my daughter falls asleep). One difference will occur in the middle of the month, when I’m gonna take a day off from work to most likely catch up on my word count
  3. My daily breakfast will consist of 17 cups of coffee
  4. My daily lunch will be a full Bloomin’ Onion from Outback Steakhouse and a pint of Guiness
  5. My daily dinner will be a single leaf of lettuce, culled from the garden beside Edgar Allen Poe’s mother’s, sister’s, neighbor’s, cousin’s, pet iguana’s friend, garnished with Ranch dressing, of course
  6. Just like hockey players I will wear my lucky underwear every day for 30 days, even in the shower. Can’t jeapordize the word count.
  7. If I wear a hat, I’ll only wear it upside down and inside out. This will be difficult since the only hat I wear is a Viking helmet, but I’m sure I’ll get used to the horns poking me in the head.
  8. In the month of November I will allow people to refer to me only as Johnny Wordsmith. Jo – Dub for short. This is non-negotiable. I must feel like a writer at all times, or I will fail.
  9. When I finally do go to sleep at night, I will opt for a specially designed bed frame, crafted from a tree from the same forest the paper was made from in the initial printing of Good Omens. If I don’t find this bedframe, I won’t sleep in November.

Anyhow, those are a few of my rituals I’ll be sticking to in November. Or maybe not. I am typing this while wearing a pirate costume, so everything I say should probably be taken with grain of alcohol, I mean salt.

Honestly, my biggest ritual will be to simply write, and write often. I plan on starting tonight at “midnight”. Good luck to all!

Break Out Bloggers – Sharing the Love

Diane awarded me with the Break Out Bloggers award today, which gives me the opportunity to post about the great upswing in activity I’ve been experiencing the past month or so and it also allows me to hopefully direct that attention elsewhere as well.

First of all, thank you all so much for coming here to read my various writings, to gawk at my crude drawings, or to just say hello. You all keep me going here. This here blog received a record 370 visits yesterday, which is amazing. My post, Frank – A Halloween Short Story, was read by 159 people! On my best months, this blog averages around 2000 visitors. This month I am near 6,000! Here’s a graph, just for the heck of it:


I hope this trend continues.

I’d also like to point you to a couple blogs you all might not know about. Julie K. Rose has been talking NaNoWriMo in the past few days, which in addition to her Word-Hoard posts and Myths, folklore & symbolism posts make her blog one you should be reading.

Miss Jane has been writing some really good posts about writing craft, many of which you should read before NaNoWriMo. In addition to those, she has also offered to edit your story for free. I plan on taking her up on this and maybe you will too.

Finally, have you seen D L Ennis’s photographs? I could write an entire novel based on any one of them. Take a look at Picnic in the Mist. See what I mean?

These are just a few of the blogs who I think are Breaking Out. If I didn’t mention your blog, please don’t be offended. I enjoy yours as much as any of these. I’m relatively new to these and figured you might be as well.

Finally, don’t forget to check out my other post today, Fairy Tales; Their Origin and Meaning by John Thackray Bunce.

Again, thank you all for reading. Please continue.

Fairy Tales; Their Origin and Meaning by John Thackray Bunce

I did a search on the word “Fairy” at Project Gutenberg the other day and came across the book: Fairy Tales; Their Origin and Meaning by John Thackray Bunce, originally published in the late 1800’s. Here is some wonderful text from the beginning of the book:

We are going into Fairy Land for a little while, to see what we can find there to amuse and instruct us this Christmas time. Does anybody know the way? There are no maps or guidebooks, and the places we meet with in our workaday world do not seem like the homes of the Fairies. Yet we have only to put on our Wishing Caps, and we can get into Fairy Land in a moment. The house-walls fade away, the winter sky brightens, the sun shines out, the weather grows warm and pleasant; flowers spring up, great trees cast a friendly shade, streams murmur cheerfully over their pebbly beds, jewelled fruits are to be had for the trouble of gathering them; invisible hands set out well-covered dinner-tables, brilliant and graceful forms flit in and out across our path, and we all at once find ourselves in the midst of a company of dear old friends whom we have known and loved ever since we knew anything.

“There are no maps or guidebooks, and the places we meet with in our workaday world do not seem like the homes of the Fairies. Yet we have only to put on our Wishing Caps, and we can get into Fairy Land in a moment.” – That’s the feeling I want to capture in my novel. That encapsulates it right there.  The whole idea of escaping our mundane world to a world of magic, that’s what reading is all about to me.  That’s what I want the reader to feel when they pick up something I have written.

What I Know About This Year’s NaNoWriMo

  1. It’s gonna be fun.
  2. It’s gonna be tiring.
  3. Somewhere in the middle, I will get burnt out, but I’ll have to keep going.
  4. There will be interruptions. There is Thanksgiving, weekends, and a memorial 40 days after my Grandma’s death (A Greek Orthodox thing). The point is that there are probably less than 30 days of writing time for me in November. The days I write I’m going to have to really WRITE.
  5. I’ll share some excerpts here. That’s the beauty of doing this one on the computer rather than paper. I’ll be able to let you all see what I’m writing, good or bad.
  6. I’ll be jealous about how much further along you all are than I.  Trust me, this will happen.
  7. The first day will be the key for me.  I want to write A LOT that first day.  I’d like to get up to 5,000 words, if possible, to build up a nice big cushion.

Feel free to make a similar post or your blog or leave some comments here about what you know about this year’s NaNoWriMo.

It’s Cold Outside

I woke up this morning and noticed my house was a little colder than usual.  I looked at my outdoor thermometer and it said 29 degrees.  Wow!  We went from high 50 degree temperatures to 29 degrees in a night.  Hopefully, things will warm a bit as the day goes on.  I want my Autumn!

Thanks for all the comments yesterday’s “question of the day”.  It seems many of you do fill your notebooks, but a few are like me.  I guess I’m not odd, but maybe eccentric in my notebook use.

I played hockey last night for the first time in a couple weeks.  I had missed a few games due to funerals, weddings, and birthday parties.  Last night’s game was a particularly fast paced game, too, so I feel a little wobbly right now.

I sent out my BookMooch book on Saturday, and the book I “mooched” was sent out by it’s owner Saturday as well.  I’m excited to see if they both find their destinations.  There’s nothing better than checking the mail and finding a book waiting there for you.

Anyhow, that’s my thoughts for this cold Monday morning. I’ll write more later in the day.

Question of the Day: Notebooks

Has anyone in the history of the universe ever filled a notebook from page 1 to page x?

I only ask this because I have a bunch of Moleskine notebooks that I started to write in, only to see the next shiny new notebook and push the old notebook to the side.  I can’t be the only one who does this.

I have a problem.  Help! 🙂


I just discovered Bookmooch today.  Actually, I’ve known about Bookmooch for a while, but signed up today.  In fact, I entered some of my books in the system and got a request for one of them right away.   I turned around and put in a request for Lud-In-The-Mist.

For those who don’t know, the way Bookmooch works is that you list the books you own on the site and people can request them from you.  If you send them a book, you gain a point. You can then use that point to request books from other people.  The only cost is the shipping costs to send someone your book.   It’s a nice way to get rid of books you no longer want without having to throw them away and it’s a nice way to receive books you want for “free”.

I have added a feed of my Bookmooch Inventory at the bottom of the sidebar on the right hand side of this site.  Most of the stuff I’m giving away right now is non-fiction computer programming books (C++ anyone?).  My wife had me list one of her books, though.

It’s a pretty neat system, and I’m sure I could waste a bunch of writing time there.  Anyone else using Bookmooch?

Ghosts of NaNoWriMo Past

I got curious last night, which is always a bad thing I’ve found, and pulled out my NaNoWriMo story from last year. Iwrote 14,000 words last year, in a baby-induced, drowsy fog with absolutely not planning except for a one sentence story idea. I also wrote the entire thing by hand in a Moleskine notebook. The crazy thing is I had no idea what I wrote last year.

I opened it, read the first sentence and recalled vaguely my story idea. Still, the whole thing is hazy. I guess a year of not sleeping through the night will do that to a person. I don’t think I’ll ever revisit this story. Maybe I’ll give it to someone else to read to see if anything is there. For some reason, I feel anxiety just from thinking about it.

This year I hope things will be different. I plan on writing this year on my laptop. This should help tremendously with editing. I love the romance of writing in a notebook by hand, but I just don’t have the time to write something by hand and then type it.

Also, I’ve done some planning ahead of NaNoWriMo. This should allow me to at least start with a coherent story. Where it ends up, I don’t know.


On an unrelated note, my wife, daughter, and I went to the library for the second time this week. When I first moved to this area I didn’t think the library was that great, but the more I go there the more I like it. There’s even a kids area where my daughter likes to play and especially likes to hold this huge “Cat in the Hat”. We picked up a book and cd pack by author Sandra Boynton for my daughter and The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish by Neil Gaiman for me/my daughter.

My Fantasy Story Map for NaNoWriMo

Well, I cleaned up my map as well as I could, though you might not be able to tell looking at it. I was going to add color, but I think that made it too “computery”, so I’m leaving it black and white.

The purpose for creating this map was to help me visualize the journey my character is going to go on. This acts as a sort-of outline in that as you move along the map you move along in the plot. This is a rough draft and there aren’t proper place names yet, as I haven’t thought that stuff up yet (that’s what draft 1 of the story is for).

Making this map helped me think of bits of the story I still need to add (conflict!) and I’m working on that. Overall, it was a fun process.

My map making process:

  1. Draw Draft 1 in pencil on plain white printer paper
  2. Draw Draft 2 in Sharpie or whatever dark, black marker (scans better)
  3. Scan in the image
  4. Fix things up in Photoshop (or whatever image editing software) duplicating items such as trees on the computer rather than by hand
  5. Print the map on “special paper” (I will do this when I get home)
  6. Post to the blog and hope not to make a fool of myself

Anyhow, here’s the map. Click on the image below to make it bigger.bandwmap.jpg