Monday November 30th, 2009

The exercise:

So long, November. It's been interesting.

Your prompt today: you just don't get it.

More fun at work this morning.


I am losing my mind.
But I'm an optimist,
So I'll tell you one more time.

The first ten times you missed
Were my fault, to be sure.
So, next time: do it like this.

I will keep my thoughts pure.
I will not swear at you, Bill.
But... you're dumb and there's no cure.

Now I'm feeling quite ill,
Cause you just don't get it,
And I know you never will.

Leave me for a minute,
If you would be so kind;
I need to nap for a bit.

Sunday November 29th, 2009

The exercise:

In case you missed yesterday's update...

NaNoWriMo 2009: Complete

So, with that in mind, today's prompt is: retrospection.

Yeah, it got long - but at least I kept it under 1,667 words!


I'll be honest: from the moment I decided to do NaNoWriMo there was no doubt in my mind that I would hit 50,000 words. When I have a definite goal, especially with a public one like this one was, I find a way to get there.

Which makes me wonder what else I could accomplish if I simply announced that I would have it done thirty days (or however long) from now.

But that's a thought for a later time. Right now I just want to enjoy this feeling. Because, no matter how certain I felt at the beginning, this still feels real, real good. Accomplishment is a big part of that feeling, as well as a touch of relief to have the pressure off.

I'm also all kinds of excited to get back to writing other things. A Fighting Chance, the first novel I started and now the second to be completed, is approaching its finale. But not today.

Will I do this again next year? Without a doubt, barring something massive getting in the way. I can't imagine what that something would be though.

But for now, I'm going to let Lessons In The Dust sit on the back burner. I'll open it up in either January or February and begin the editing process but until then I'm going to do my best to forget about Ethan and Barrett and the earthquake that forced them together.

Oh, I mentioned on my birthday that I might have some good news. Well it's looking pretty certain that it's not going to happen, so I think it's safe to explain now. I received an email from NaNoWriMo asking for my permission to have my book info sent over to the artist in charge of the 30 Covers, 30 Days project.

Of course I said yes. I was told that 15 books were being sent for his consideration for the first 7 covers, so I had an almost 50/50 chance which was very exciting. I didn't get picked but just being in that first group, when there were some 100,000 people signed up, was an honor.

It would have been pretty cool, and it would have put a lot of eyes on my story, but I'm not too disappointed it didn't work out. It was just a thrill to even be considered. Completely unexpected to say the least.

It's been a good month. Now it's time to ease into December. And to cheer on my fellow Protagonizers as they approach the finish line.

Thanks for letting me share this trip with you.

Saturday November 28th, 2009

The exercise:

Going to see how close I can get to finishing the story today. Wish me luck!

Edit: Um, I'd say that went well. Considering I'm all done now. Woo hoo!

NaNo Word Count: 55,557

But first, let me get things started with the following topic for your four line poem this week: class is in session.


Close your damn mouth and open your mind
To receive lessons that are one of a kind.
I will teach you the things that no one else knows,
Like how to rob banks whenever it snows.

Friday November 27th, 2009

The exercise:

I might do some more writing tonight, but I doubt it. So I'll just put up the number now. Story should be finished some time on Sunday.

NaNo Word Count: 52,774
NaNo Tar - It doesn't matter what the NaNo Target is!

Your prompt for this week's Four Line Friday Prose: security breach.

I was feeling silly this morning.


"I don't reckon she's much of a threat, d'you?"

"I dunno, Robbie - Pa said not to let anyone or anything come in."

"Oh, don't be a danged fool, Ricky; you just go right on through, missy."

And so Roberta, their trusted milk cow of nearly ten years, was allowed passage, and the explosive device strapped securely to her belly ticked happily away.

Thursday November 26th, 2009

The exercise:

Bit more writing to do tonight, I think. We'll see. It's getting late.

NaNo Word Count: 51,259
NaNo Target: Obliterated

Your exercise today: imitations. Pick an artist, poet, author, whoever you like, and try to write in their style.

Yeah, I'm still stuck on my Tom Waits binge. Good thing tomorrow is four line prose day or I'd do it again.


Imitations - Tom Waits

When I was born that rainy Monday
Momma's skin turned as grey as the sky
Oh brother I just started to live
And Momma, she was all set to die
Yeah Momma was all set to die

Oh Daddy stuck the blame right on me
No sir, I never did stand a chance
I was raised in a house full of ghosts
And they never showed me how to dance
Yeah I never learned how to dance

While Daddy drowned his heart with whiskey
I took notes so I could fill his shoes
The day he passed on I said goodbye
And carried on with nothing to lose
Yeah man I had nothing to lose

Well I robbed a man the other day
It felt good to put him in his place
But man that feeling soon was gone
Cause he went and shot me in the face
Yeah he shot me right in the face

Now these beeping machines tie me down
No they won't let me break free and fly
If this is what living's gonna be
Oh my brother I'd much rather die
Yeah brother please just let me die

Wednesday November 25th, 2009

The exercise:

Hitting 50k tonight. Will update the numbers later.

Edit: Booyah. Now I just have to finish the story in the next five days. I think I should manage it.

NaNo Word Count: 50,059
NaNo Target: 41,669

Your prompt today: it's been too long.


On my commute to work this morning I got off my bus at the Skytrain station and went up the stairs to the platform level. Once up there I looked to my left and my first reaction was, "What the hell is that?"

I thought someone had setup a spotlight a little ways down the track. It took a few moments to realize that it was just the sun peeking between the horizon and the clouds.

I think we've had a bit too much rain here lately.

Tuesday November 24th, 2009

The exercise:

Work today was very meeting-ful, so I've got some writing left to do tonight.

NaNo Word Count: 48,736
NaNo Target: 40,002

Your prompt for this week's Two Haiku Tuesday: locked in.

Stuff like this is both fascinating and terrifying to me. There aren't too many things I can say that about.


Can't you hear me scream?
Why does nobody listen?
I think I've gone mad.

* * *

I count the passing
Seconds and wait for my death...
But dawn comes again

Monday November 23rd, 2009

The exercise:

Steady as she goes with the NaNo.

NaNo Word Count: 46,905
NaNo Target: 38,335

The prompt for today: one step ahead.

On the bus ride in to work this morning, for the first time that I've ever noticed it, the bus was one stop ahead of the automated voice that announces the stops. It was rather disconcerting.


He was always one step ahead,
Ever since the day we were born;
He slipped from our mother's womb first,
While I was sound asleep that morn.

And that's how it's been ever since -
No matter what time I get up
He's already waiting for me,
Smirking over his coffee cup.

But I know I'll get the last laugh,
Because at the end of our days
His face will freeze with that damn smile,
And I'll pour coffee on his grave.

Note: thanks to Irish, I just listened to this awesome Tom Waits song and now I can't read this poem without putting it to that rhythm. I think it works pretty well, actually, if you repeat the last line of each stanza. After smoking a few million cigarettes.

Sunday November 22nd, 2009

The exercise:

Just sitting down to write now, so today might be a low word count day. We'll see how the afternoon goes.

NaNo Word Count: 45,005
NaNo Target: 36,669

The writing prompt for today is: silhouette.


She stood in the doorway,
Back lit by a street light.
The floor was her ashtray,
Her dress was skin tight.

Smoke from her cigarette
Curled around my head;
They say her silhouette
Stayed until I was dead.

Saturday November 21st, 2009

The exercise:

A whole day of resting and writing stretches out before me. Let's see where it takes me.

NaNo Word Count: 43,275
NaNo Target: 35,002

Your prompt for your four line poem this week: feeling guilty.


I read your sad poetry
and wonder why
Such great sadness fell on you
instead of I

Friday November 20th, 2009

The exercise:

Twenty days down, ten days to go!

NaNo Word Count: 41,403
NaNo Target: 33,335

Incidentally, your prompt for Four Line Friday Prose this week: the final stretch.


I stood tall atop the mountain created by the bodies of the words I had slain and surveyed the terrain before me.

"The end is in sight," a disembodied voice boomed, sending a chill dancing down my spine.

"Oh, I don't know about that," I said with a slight smile. Then I pointed a steady finger at the horizon and added, "I think that end is merely the beginning."

Thursday November 19th, 2009

The exercise:

Today I had a less 'work productive' day and a more 'writing productive' day at work. So I'm all done for the night.

NaNo Word Count: 39,350
NaNo Target: 31,669

Your prompt for this dreary and rainy Thursday in Vancouver: spider webs.


Sitting in his spider web,
Waiting to get spider fed,
He lets his prey come to him.

But he is a little dim,
For instead of hidden silk,
He's made his web out of milk.

Wednesday November 18th, 2009

The exercise:

Both work and technology conspired against me today, so I have some writing left to do tonight.

NaNo Word Count: 37,057
NaNo Target: 30,002

Your prompt du jour: apocalypse came walking down the street.

Just an odd phrase that popped into my head this morning.


The earth shook beneath his feet as Apocalypse walked down the middle of Main Street. Cars honked their horns like bleating sheep before their drivers beat hasty retreats. On the seventh floor I took a seat and watched with glee as he destroyed the toys of the terrified elite.

I sipped a martini and cheered him on, a mighty king controlled by a mere pawn. Oh, they had laughed and yawned when I proposed the project I codenamed Brawn. Now they all had blood stained lawns and they would still be running until the dawn!

I reached for the phone and made the call, satisfied now that he had crushed the stupid mall. I told the president to be a doll - just pay up or Apocalypse will destroy it all.

Now I own this island, its people are my slaves, and Apocalypse makes sure they all behave.

Tuesday November 17th, 2009

The exercise:

I seem to get way more writing done at work than I do at home. What can I say? I work best under pressure.

NaNo Word Count: 35,296
NaNo Target: 28,335

Your Two Haiku Tuesday topic this week: baby toys.

Inspired by something Kat told me yesterday, after she got back from babysitting for a friend. The first one, at least.


Cars and bears and drums
Hold no interest - he'd rather
Play with fresh laundry

* * *

No more baby talk.
Next time I get your keys I'm
Driving to Vegas.

Monday November 16th, 2009

The exercise:

All done writing for today, taking the night off.

NaNo Word Count: 33,259
NaNo Target: 26,669

Your prompt today: the big reveal.

And yes, the prompt is a reference to what's going on in the novel. And no, I'm not saying anything more than that.


The man donned his top hat
And picked up his black cane;
With a nod to his cat,
He strode onto the stage.

The large crowd cheered wildly,
For he was the big star,
And I stood by idly,
Set to reveal his flaw.

He was blind for certain
To the coming trouble.
I pulled back the curtain
To show his twin brother.

I yelled from the rafters,
"Let's see you vanish now!"
And to roars of laughter,
To earth his star fell down.

Sunday November 15th, 2009

The exercise:

So yesterday marked the first day I didn't hit the minimum daily word target of 1,667 for NaNoWriMo - I only managed 1,353. But on the plus side I'm still three days ahead of schedule and it looks like today will be a much better day - I wanted to get going on it before I took a break to do this post and I've already done over a thousand words this morning.

So, let's get on with today's prompt: weathermen.

Yeah, I dunno. But hey, we're all creative people here, right? I'm sure we'll come up with something from that.

NaNo Word Count: 31,258
NaNo Target: 25,002

Would you look at that? It's the halfway point sailing right on by...


One called for two months of rain,
Then moved his family to Spain.
One said wind storms were coming,
Then he hit the road running.
One warned a heat wave was next
(Sent from parts unknown, by text).

Why is it so hard to find
Weathermen to hide behind?

Satuday November 14th, 2009

The exercise:

I thought I should mention that today is World Diabetes Day, mostly because I don't think it gets nearly the attention it should. Especially with this dreaded H1N1 going around. I wonder what the reaction would be if every diabetic death received the same amount of press as each swine flu one has been getting...

Anyway, before I get off on a rant, your four line poem prompt is: moving target.

NaNo Word Count: 29,032
NaNo Target: 23,335


You'll never hit the bulls-eye,
The target just keeps moving;
But you'll never admit it,
So you just keep on shooting.

Friday November 13, 2009

The exercise:

It appears to be Friday the 13th today. November really is a special month, isn't it? (Scroll down to the second to last comic... but Little Dee is great in general, so feel free to read 'em all)

Anyway, your Four Line Friday Prose prompt this week: inappropriate comparisons.

For the record, line one was something Kat said last night and line two was my mental response, which was kept safely inside my head. Until now. Lines three and four were made up for the sake of this prompt.

Also: I'm taking yet another day off. This damn cold won't go away.

NaNo Word Count: 27,679
NaNo Target: 21,668

I passed the halfway point yesterday, woo hoo!


"Can you help with dinner?"

"Sorry, I'm kinda busy being sicker than Ted Bundy right now."

* * *

"Did you have a nice flight?"

"It was kind of like riding in the innards of a diseased, rampaging bull - but thanks for asking, Captain."

Thursday November 12th, 2009

The exercise:

Well I managed to go in to work for the morning today and got caught up on everything I'd missed. Then I went home.

So, oddly enough, your prompt today is: heading home.

NaNo Word Count: 25,945
NaNo Target: 20,002

Oh, I've put an excerpt from my NaNo story here, if anyone is interested in checking it out.

Incidentally, I'd be really pleased if someone took it upon themselves to tell mine from the perspective of the driver. Just so you know. That's all.


It was almost closing time when the car pulled up to the pumps and silenced her engine. I looked through the window from where I sat behind the register and admired her sleek lines and leather seats; she had been polished so well that the overhead lights were damn near blinding me, the way they reflected off her sides. My curiosity was most definitely piqued, with regards to who might be driving that fine lady down my lonely road at that hour, so I'll admit that I stared pretty openly.

But the driver didn't get out.

I gave him or her a few minutes to read the Self Service Only sign but was rewarded with a grand sum of nothing at all. So I eased myself off my wooden stool and ambled out the door, forcing a pleasant smile onto my grease streaked face. It was late November, so the cold was bothering my hip a little, but I tried not to blame that on this fine person with their very fine car. I came around to the driver's side window to find a young man, dressed to the nines or hell, maybe even tens, and he was just staring straight ahead, his hands locked on the steering wheel like he wasn't ever letting go.

"You doing alright, son?" I asked, wiping my fingers with the cleanest rag I had at hand. He just nodded and said not a word. "Where you trying to get to tonight?"

"I'm heading home," was his reply.

"Ah," I said with an understanding nod. "Well then, you just take all the time you need - I'm in no hurry to close up."

So I made my way back to my welcoming stool, in my nicely heated office, and waited to see what was what. Five, maybe ten minutes later, the engine came back to life and he pulled up to the road. After a little more hesitation, without bothering to signal, he turned left and roared off into the night. I began locking things up, a little bit sadder than I had been before his arrival, wondering what it was that had sent him back the way he had come from.

Wednesday November 11th, 2009

The exercise:

As it is Remembrance Day, your starter will be: rows of white crosses.

NaNo Word Count: 24,045
NaNo Target: 18,335


So many lives cut short
By the report
Of heartless guns,
Fired by wide-eyed sons,
Who just followed orders
To protect their borders -
Mere lines on a map;
A geographic trap.

Now all that is left
Are wives bereft;
And mothers tears,
Fathers drowning in beers;
And rows of white crosses,
To mark their losses;
And every November,
A pause to remember.

Tuesday November 10th, 2009

The exercise:

By the end of today I will be 1/3 of the way through November, at least 2/5 of the way to 50,000 words, and still sick.

Oh well, two out of three ain't bad.

Your Two Haiku Tuesday prompt this week: outlines.

NaNo Word Count: 22,222
NaNo Target: 16,668


Ten days have sped past
And my wonderful outline
Has been looked at once

* * *

Your sidewalk profile
Is all that remains of you;
Goodbye, my mistress

Monday November 9th, 2009

The exercise:

Yup, officially sick.

Today's prompt: calling in sick.

NaNo Word Count: 19,544
NaNo Target: 15,002


My Dear Boss,
I won't be able to come in today,
This stupid cold just will not go away!
I got plenty of rest and drank my tea,
I tried every herb from across the sea;
But here I am at the start of the week -
My nose has run off, I can hardly speak!
So if you need my help with your report,
I can be reached at Shangri-La Resort.
Signed, Aunt Ross

Sunday November 8th, 2009

The exercise:

It appears that I'm getting a cold. Consider me suitably unimpressed.

I generally get about one a year and always, always at a bad time. I know there's never a good time, but still.

Anyway, your prompt for the day: thieves' oil.

I'm not saying this stuff works or it doesn't; I just like the story and idea behind it.

NaNo Word Count: 17,277
NaNo Target: 13,335


Stealing from the dead
Is a dangerous game;
Knowing what's been said,
I do it all the same.
Nobody gets hurt,
It's a victimless crime;
If I steal your shirt
Then you've run out of time.

Oils are essential
To keeping safe from harm.
There's gold potential
When people buy the farm.
I rub myself down
With this protective mix,
Then I hit the town,
Before bodies sink six.

Saturday November 7th, 2009

The exercise:

I'm writing this first thing in the morning as my warm up for the novel writing I'm about to get to, so I've got no new thoughts to share on that front. I can almost hear your sighs of relief.

Anywise, your four line poem topic this week: the inner editor.

NaNo Word Count: 15,211
NaNo Target: 11,668


Everything you write is wrong!
You really call that a song?
All your words will be ignored,
Since they've all been read before.

Friday November 6th, 2009

The exercise:

I haven't done much writing today and I'm not sure how much I'll be doing before I go to bed. But that's okay - I worked up a lead for this reason and Friday has been a pretty light writing day for me anyway.

Plus I had an issue to deal with in the story.

Update: Okay, I still managed to surpass the daily target. Barely.

Speaking of which. Your Four Line Friday Prose starter this week is: who's writing this story anyway?

NaNo Word Count: 13,518
NaNo Target: 10,001


By the evening of October 31st I had a very good idea of how my NaNoWriMo story was going to play out; I wasn't overly attached to it, but I was confident I knew where it was going.

Late afternoon on November 5th saw everything going pretty much to plan.

But just before bed, on that very same day, I wrote about five lines that introduced a totally new and very different element to the story.

Remind me again: who exactly is in charge of writing this story?

Thursday November 5th, 2009

The exercise:

Five days in and I'm still feeling good. I've got my first full weekend coming up and a holiday next Wednesday, so things are looking positive. Writing more than 10,000 words in five days still sounds pretty crazy though.

Anyway. Today's exercise is one of my favorite ones: take the first line (or two) of any song and then carry on from there, either in poetry or prose. I almost always like what comes out of this exercise for me and today is no different.

NaNo Word Count: 11,746
NaNo Target: 8,335


Orange Sky by Alexi Murdoch

Last night I had a dream I
Stood beneath an orange sky
On a hilltop so far from
Your warmth that my heart was numb.
I gave the wind your name and
Hoped you would come take my hand.

But as that sky faded to
A heavy, unhappy blue,
I still stood alone up there
With no ears to hear my cares.
And as the stars blinked on I
Stood beneath a watching sky.

When this morning I woke I
Turned to see your smiling eyes;
And I said Thank You and you
Wondered where I'd been off to.
And I just laughed and said I
Slept beneath an orange sky.

Wednesday November 4th, 2009

The exercise:

Your prompt today: the money grab.

The inspiration: my "consultation" with the oral surgeon this morning was about thirty minutes and cost $85. I'm not sure exactly what I paid for, but it looks like I'm officially celebrating the end of NaNoWriMo by having my wisdom teeth yanked on December 3rd.

NaNo Word Count: 9,486 (calling it a night)
NaNo Target: 6,668


I sat in that office,
Not sure why I was there;
But oh don't you worry,
It was soon made quite clear.

They had nothing to say
I had not heard before;
The truth of the matter:
I was extremely bored.

At last my time ran out;
A bill and smile were flashed.
And I finally saw:
They just wanted my cash.

Tuesday November 3rd, 2009

The exercise:

Around these parts this inauspicious day of the week means just one thing: it's time for Two Haiku Tuesday.

Your haiku prompt today: flu shot.

What can I say? I had some things to get off my chest.

NaNo Count: 7,121 (done for the day)
NaNo Target: 5,001


Rushed vaccination
Gives me much greater concerns
Than this dreaded flu

* * *

All of this money
To stop a flu? What about...
Ending poverty?

Monday November 2nd, 2009

The exercise:

Your starter for today: breathing room.

NaNoWriMo Word Count: 4,475 (done for the night)
NaNoWriMo Target: 3,334

Maybe tomorrow I'll write something that doesn't involve NaNo. Maybe.


The chase is on
No time to pause
Can't think about
These many flaws

No looking back
As deadlines loom
Just need to find
Some breathing room

It's started well
So far so good
But must keep on
Just as I should

Farewell, farewell
I must be gone
More words to write
Before the dawn

Sunday November 1st, 2009

The exercise:

Welcome to November. Should be a good one :)

Your prompt for this lovely fall day in Vancouver: laughing all the way.

NaNoWriMo Novel Word Count To Date: 2,309
NaNoWrimo Novel Target To Date: 1,667

I'm not done writing yet, but it's nice to know I've passed the 'bare minimum' point already. Edit: okay, I'm done for the day, total has been updated.

I think, in order to keep it accurate, I'll make updating each day's post with my word count for that day my End Of Writing For The Day ritual.

Because if I want to get any sleep this month I'll probably need one.


Kat and I just got back from a laughter yoga class. Never been? Or, worse yet, never even heard of it?

You're missing out.

Just imagine a small yoga studio full of people relaxing, letting their joy out and sharing it with each other. Let me tell you: laughing for the better part of an hour is not only great for your health, it's fantastic for your soul.

Anyway, it was a great little break from writing and now I'm ready to get back at it. But first, dinner.