Tag Archives: NanoWriMo

“Why Are You Just Sitting on the Side of the Road?” — What Will You Die For?

Excerpt from my WIP “What Will You Die For?” by Mary C. Findley

writing policeman

“Two weeks? You can’t tell me anything more – ?” Talia’s phone gave a bloop and she saw the message satellite signal lost flash on the screen before it went dark.

Talia pulled over to the side of the road and sat with her head on the steering wheel, praying with all her might for her aunt and uncle, and for clarity in this craziness. After all, they weren’t involved in some international spy mission. They were just digging holes in the ground! This couldn’t have anything to do with the Testaments, could it?

Talia realized suddenly that he felt really, really hot. She started to roll own her window, but the switch didn’t work with the engine off, of course. She started the car and cranked all the windows open. She pulled at her scarf and yanked down the zipper on her coat, but it didn’t help. Her vision started to blur.

“Ms Rodriguez? Are you okay? Why are you just sitting on the side of the road?”

Talia turned her head, so … so … slowly. Her neck hurt, and it felt so heavy. “”Oh … Clark ..I mean, Officer Johnson. I don’t know. I’ve had this cold, but I just … I feel so weak, and I can’t see straight … “

“Sit right there. I’m calling an ambulance,” Clark exclaimed.

“Oh, no …” Talia’s tongue felt so thick, she could hardly talk.

“No arguments. Don’t you move. We’re seeing lots of these cold things turning into serious cases of pneumonia. It’s nothing to mess around with.”

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Seems Like a Good Idea … The Ultimate World Religions Database

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 This is an early version of a snippet from my NaNoWriMo Work in Progress — “What will You Die For?”

“Miz Rodriguez, you should totally do this.” Jayna blew on her hands as they watched the kids file into the buses.

“But Jayna, they want to collect people’s Bibles. I mean take them away. Would you give them your Bible?” Keith asked.

“I totally would, Mr. Bradley. They’re saying the stuff I underline and my notes are just as important as fancy commentaries and famous preachers. They want everybody’s ideas and thoughts that they write in their Bibles. Won’t it be cool? I could help some sister a thousand years from now understand the Bible better!”

Talia looked up at Keith. Everyone shivered as another icy blast blew through the bus parking lot. “Mr. Bradley, did you ask your grandmother about letting them use her Bible? What did she say?”

“I … I did ask her.” Keith looked across the street toward the rundown building where his grandmother had her apartment. “She said this whole thing sounded like the Mark of the Beast to her. She said she would never give up her Bible.”

“Jayna, go get on the bus. I can’t drive you home again,” Talia ordered.

“The Mark of the Beast?” Jayna ran a few steps toward her bus but turned back “That’s crazy. This is a good thing, Mr. Bradley. This is gonna make history! You tell her not to be old-fashioned.”

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NaNoWriMo Shouldn’t Exist? — Mary C. Findley

NaNoWriMo

http://www.salon.com/2010/11/02/nanowrimo/

The above-referenced article in Salon by Laura Miller states that, in her opinion, NaNoWrimo shouldn’t exist. That’s a contest where people are encouraged to produce a 50,000 word novel during November. You can find more about the specifics here:

http://nanowrimo.org/

Miller insists that nobody should be encouraged to write novels. She says it isn’t necessary. Novel-writers will always write. Nobody can stop them. She wants most of them to stop, in fact, since so many of them apparently write bad stuff. They won’t stop, she laments. Then she makes the odd contention that we should be encouraging readers while discouraging writers. Maybe I’m oversimplifying the author’s position. Read the article for yourself, but here are my thoughts on the subject.

Last year I participated in NaNoWriMo for the first time and met the goal of 50,000 words by about November 19. The book from that project was published in May of the following year. It is just under 100,000 words and is the second in a series. I am also the published author or co-author of over a dozen books, all written before I ever heard of Nano. So I’m not sure if it’s fair for me to wonder if she meant I am one of the pitiful hacks who should not be writing. She even brings up a Nano success story, Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen. So I guess she doesn’t hate all Nano writers.

But, wow … How to really respond to Laura Miller?

1. I never did agree with all the Nano pundits who seem to say that you should give yourself permission to write badly just because it might mean you churn out 50,000 words in a month. I had no real problem meeting the goal last year, and I revised and corrected everything along the way. If people really do churn out 50,000 words of garbage, and call it writing a novel, shame on them.

2. It also disturbs me, as it does Miller, how many people write but don’t read, or even read only what they like, or to have derivative fodder for their chosen genre.

3. I also agree that readers are somewhat hard to find and may be becoming fewer, and more disillusioned with the bad choices.

4. I think the writer of this article is snarky and doesn’t take seriously what a truly good writer is and does. I have not read Water for Elephants but I have read about it. The basic story is pretty derivative — the old “her husband didn’t love her but this other guy was a sensitive soul so she was justified in loving him back” story is one anybody could write, but I wonder if anybody should.

5. So I conclude that we should carefully write good stuff, for Nano and otherwise, try to nurture readers, and ignore the snarky woman who got paid to vent about something she does not understand — which is writing. How do I get paid to write about something I admit I do not understand?

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