Tuesday November 30th, 2010

The exercise:

On this, the last day of November, we shall write two haiku about: footprints.

There were some little birdies walking around outside my window this morning:

Going to try to hit 60,000 words for November tonight. Update later.

Update: day thirty. Managed to hit my target. I am looking forward to not feeling the need to write 2,000 words tomorrow.


Footprints in the snow,
turned pink by your dripping blood,
make you easy prey.

*     *     *

Candy wrappers and
crushed beer cans? It seems that you
left more than footprints.

Monday November 29th, 2010

The exercise:

Let us write about: the night shift.

Because I just saw a truck go by, clearing snow from the road.

Had a day of rest today before hitting the renovations again tomorrow. I'll see what I can do about cutting and fitting some more window trim and then in the evening hopefully I can do some more work on the bathroom with Kat's dad.

Second last day of NaNoWriMo writing is going okay. Update to come.

Update: day twenty-nine. One more day and then... I'm going to have to take a break, unfortunately. The story will be finished, however. Just not this year. It's time to focus on other things for a little while, Christmas in particular.

I'm not very happy about not finishing the story this month, but I think I gave it my best shot. I'll be sure to let you know when I start working on it again.


Gary sat staring at his computer, the words on the screen blurring just enough to make him rub his eyes. Opening them again, he began reading the article from the beginning for at least the tenth time.

"I should just give up and get some sleep," he mutters, but he doesn't shift from his seat. The lights are out in his study, only the white glow from his laptop illuminating the crowded space. There are open notebooks and pens and pencils scattered all around the desk, and several reference books have set up a perimeter around his feet.

He had stopped being productive at least an hour ago, but he didn't want to face the morning without having accomplished something tonight. So he starts the article over for the eleventh time.

There is no wife waiting for him to come to bed - she left long ago, having tired of his inattention and the complete lack of progress he had made in his work. If he was going to ignore her for his pursuit of money and fame, she had observed on her way out the door, he could at least have some hope of attaining either if he wanted her to stick around.

Gary didn't really mind her leaving though. There was less distraction this way, no nagging feeling of guilt to bother him while he worked. It was easier this way, he kept telling himself. Over and over until he believed it. He didn't yet, but that was only a matter of time.

And so he began reading the article for the twelfth time.

Sunday November 28th, 2010

The exercise:

Let us write about: the fair.

Kat and I went up to Penticton today to check our their Community Christmas Fair. Let's just say that it didn't quite measure up to what we were used to seeing in Vancouver. At least we were able to pick up a few Christmas presents.

Going to give the NaNoWriMo story another go this evening. Update later.

Update: day twenty-eight. Figured something important out, feeling good about things again. Only two days to go!


I ride the roller coasters,
I drive the bumper cars,
And though I'm always moving,
I don't get very far.

I eat the cotton candy,
I snack on deep fried bull,
And though I'm always chewing,
I don't get very full.

There is magic in the air,
There is joy all around,
And though I should be going,
There's more fun to be found.

Saturday November 27th, 2010

The exercise:

A four line poem about: the author.

See what I did there?

It's a balmy three degrees out today, so I'm thinking of taking a trip to the beach, maybe do some tanning.

Update: day twenty-seven. Just couldn't get going today. Hopefully tomorrow will be better.


He writes with ink-stained fingers,
Happily unknown;
If he didn't hear voices,
He'd feel quite alone.

Friday November 26th, 2010

The exercise:

Four lines of prose about: the poet.

Reno work continues - today we began putting up the inside trim on the windows, and Kat put primer on pretty much the remainder of the walls that still need painting. Tomorrow there will be more window trim work and getting the bathroom closer to completion and more painting.

Haven't done any writing yet. It'll be interesting to see how it goes, now that word count doesn't matter - it's just all about moving the story towards completion. I'm reasonably certain it's not going to happen before the end of the month. Blargh.

Update: day twenty-six. T'was nice writing without worrying about how many words I'd cobbled together.


He sits at the window, rhymes and metaphors tumbling together in his mind. They form beautiful images and powerful lines as they coalesce into the most important poem in the history of the written word. With excitement racing through his veins like cracked out rabbits, he picks up his pen and prepares to fill the blank page with his genius.

Only, the ink has run dry.

Thursday November 25th, 2010

The exercise:

Welcome to the 900th day in a row of Daily Writing Practice. I think I shall celebrate the occasion by writing the 50,000th word in my NaNoWriMo novel this evening.

Ah, right. A prompt, you say? How about... the random CD prompt?

Go pick a song at random - use YouTube, your iPod, a CD you pick out of your collection with your eyes closed - and use its first line as the first line of your poetry or prose today. Click the label at the bottom of the post to see how things went in our many previous attempts.

Update: here you shall find day twenty-five, wherein lies my 50,000th word. As with last year's magic word, it comes courtesy of Kat. Though I must say that 'home' was a whole lot easier to work in than 'bunny' was last year.


Cocoon by Jack Johnson

"Based on your smile, I'm betting all of this might be over soon," I said, squirming feebly.

The dragon snorted, black smoke billowing from his nostrils. The stench was overwhelming, but it was still better than the flames I had been expecting. He dragged me further into his cave, my back gouged by sharp rocks and what I suspected were human bones - I never opened my eyes to confirm that though.

Still smiling his wicked, sharp toothed smile, he flung me against the back wall, my shoulder meeting stone with a sharp crack. The pain was intense but I fought against the darkness threatening to steal my consciousness. If I passed out I wouldn't have a chance to escape.

Not that my odds were significantly better awake. But, you know, positive thoughts equal positive outcomes, or some crap like that.

"I don't suppose a big sack of gold would convince you to let me live?" I asked, shifting to a sitting position.

"Human," the dragon rumbled before shooting a column of flame at the ground at my feet, "please shut up. You are giving me a terrible headache."

My jaw dropped open and then I snapped it shut, my teeth clicking together painfully. This was not going at all like I expected it would.

But perhaps, I reflected as the dragon sat down on his hind legs, that was a good thing.

Wednesday November 24th, 2010

The exercise:

Let us write about: the thief.

Still cold out today, but at least the wind took the day off. It's supposed to get back up to around zero in the coming days, which seems more... November'ish to me.

Writing is going slowly today. Update to come.

Update: day twenty-four. Just under 1,000 words to go before the official 'win'. I would be looking forward to that a whole lot more if there wasn't so much story left to tell.


"Can you describe the perpetrator for us, ma'am?" the police officer asked, notepad at the ready.

"Of course I can!" The woman looked shocked to be even asked such a question.

"I didn't mean to offend you, ma'am. It's just that many robbery victims are so traumatized by the experience that they have difficulty recalling important details - you know, like height, hair color, that sort of stuff."

"He's five foot nine, one hundred and sixty-five pounds. Brown hair and eyes, walks with a slight limp. Oh, he also has a small scar below his right eye."

"Wow, that's incredible! And you're sure about all this?"

"How could I not be?" she asked, looking at the man as though he might not be completely right in the head. "He is my husband, after all."

"Ah... I see. And what exactly did he steal?"

"Oh, officer," she said sadly, slumping against the door frame. "That man stole my heart!"

Tuesday November 23rd, 2010

The exercise:

Two haiku about: music.

Rest is good. Writing is going okay. Update later.

Hmm, with even a half assed effort I could have turned the above into a haiku. Oh well.

Update: day twenty-three. On track to hit 50,000 words on Thursday.


He never dances
when the music plays; he fears
his own two left feet.

*     *     *

The hills come alive
at the sound of music - so
please use your headphones.

Monday November 22nd, 2010

The exercise:

We're going to try something a little different today. Inspired by something Summerfield wrote here in response to a prompt a few days back, we're going to do up some fake business cards. The sillier the better, I reckon.

Finished all the caulking that can be done right now today, as well as chopped up some more firewood. The fireplace is working fantastically in the cabin - I was able to work in just a t-shirt and jeans again. But I am very, very tired and I will be taking tomorrow off.

Writing... should be interesting tonight. My brain is not firing on all cylinders at the moment.

Update: day twenty-two. Not totally happy with it, but there it is. Hoping to get the words moving tomorrow.


Consistently wrong for over thirty years - Brad Anderson, Weatherman

I get paid to make stuff up - Mildred Williams, Author

Dragon problems? I can keep you safe all knight long - Sir Dustin Drake, Dragon Slayer

Need someone to whip it out and squirt white stuff all over your home? Stan's your man! - Stan Davies, Professional Caulker

Defending the innocent, the guilty, and everyone in between since 1995 - Sam Gray, Lawyer

Sunday November 21st, 2010

The exercise:

Today we get to write some science fiction. Because I very, very rarely write sci-fi and I wanted some practice.

We finished installing the fireplace in the cabin today, and I finished a major phase of the caulking. It'll be good to have some more heat in there, because it's bloody cold out there. Stupid wind didn't stop blowing all day.

Novel writing? Yeah, I should maybe start working on that now.

Update: day twenty-one. Hurray for getting on a late night roll. Me sleep now.


Richard maneuvered his spacecraft into the docking station with practiced ease, barely noticing the loud click that indicated a secure attachment. Powering down with the flick of several switches, he unbuckled and made his way to the rear of the craft.

He gathered his bags from his sleeping quarters and walked to the exit door at the right side of the ship. He was distracted, his thoughts focused on seeing his wife for the first time in three weeks and not on where he was going or his surroundings.

So Richard didn't notice the creature that followed in his wake, blending into the shadows and moving on silent, padded feet. So he left the door open behind him as he stepped into the space station, knowing that it would close automatically after five seconds. Which was more than enough time for the creature to slip through unseen.

It would be another two days before the creature would make its move. Later, there would be reviews of the visual recordings and much finger pointing. But initially there was no time for that.

People were too preoccupied just trying to stay alive.

Saturday November 20th, 2010

The exercise:

A four line poem about: predictions.

There was no new snow here today. That was good, since Kat had to drive to Penticton for a class, but I was looking forward to a nice blanket of white. It still got very, very cold though. Chopping wood was slightly less fun than usual.

Writing update later. Working on getting past the 40,000 word mark.

Geez, that sounds like a lot.

Update: day twenty. Less than 10,000 words to go until 50,000. A lot more to go until the story ends. The race continues...


I thought you'd go right,
But then you went wrong.
So it looks like I
Have to say so long.

Friday November 19th, 2010

The exercise:

Four lines of prose about: cold.

Snow arrived here while I was sleeping last night. Here is one of several pictures I took before I remembered I should eat some breakfast:

A lot more is forecast to be coming tomorrow, so I shall probably have another picture or two for you then. Novel writing is ongoing, update to come later.

Update: day nineteen.


We had locked all the doors and windows that night, knowing that he would be trying to enter our home while we slept.

We tossed some extra wood in the fireplace. Brought out our warmest blankets.

But Cold still found an untended crack to slither through a few hours before dawn and we paid dearly for our mistake.

Thursday November 18th, 2010

The exercise:

Today brings us: dirty work.

We bought a new kitchen sink, kitchen faucet, and five light fixtures today for the grand total of $3.58. Hurray for using Air Miles on gift certificates!

NaNoWriMo, I hear you ask? Here is day eighteen.


This evening I went down to the cabin with Kat's dad to work on getting the fireplace installed upstairs and to learn how to caulk. I only had time to do a small section but the difference was amazing.

It is messy stuff, but that didn't stop me from enjoying using it. It's a very simple, quick way to cover up gaps and I'm looking forward to hopefully finishing up what needs to be done tomorrow. Things are really coming together now. There's painting to be done and cupboard doors to be put up, the kitchen counter and sink need to be installed, and the laminate needs to go in. Several other jobs as well that I'm forgetting at the moment. But I feel like the end is almost in sight.

And then I shall celebrate the day we move in by burning my work jeans.

Because those things are beyond filthy at this point.

Wednesday November 17th, 2010

The exercise:

Let's go with: the detective.

Writing update later.

Update: day seventeen. The word count is a bit off on this one, since I kept going past midnight in order to finish at a good place. Ah well, just makes for a head start on tomorrow.


"What do we got today?"

The lab geek jumps a foot and a half. He looks like he wants to tell me off but thinks better of it. Smart kid.

"One dead, via a gunshot to the head. Bullet entered here, came out here." He rotates the image on his computer screen so I can see the exit wound. "Only prints on the gun belong to the deceased. No sign of break and entry, all the doors were bolted from the inside."

"So you're calling it a suicide?" I ask, lighting a cigarette.

"Looks like a pretty open and shut case, detective," he says, waving the smoke away from his face. Ah, he's one of those.

"Sure seems that way."

So why is my gut telling me it's not?

Tuesday November 16th, 2010

The exercise:

Two haiku about: water.

I've already cracked 2,000 words for today but I'm hoping to do a bit more. Will update in a bit.

Update: day sixteen is finally up. Sorry, Protagonize was down for a while there and I couldn't post it. Now I sleep.


Falling from the sky,
drowning the whole world as I
kiss your love goodbye.

*     *     *

Water in my eyes
since you let your balloon fly -
now off comes my tie!

Monday November 15th, 2010

The exercise:

I'm back in Osoyoos, to bring you: the babysitter.

While we were in Vancouver we were staying with Kat's friend Susi. Susi and her husband have a little boy named Owen (yes, that's where the king's name came from) who turned two yesterday. He is adorable. Anyway, we spent some time watching him to give his parents a little break, so that's where the prompt came from.

Did more writing that I expected to over the weekend, but I'm still working on today's portion. Will update once all three days have been posted.

Update: here you go - day thirteen is here. Day fourteen is here. And today's writing is right around here.

These are really the first few chapters that I didn't properly look over before posting, so please let me know if you see anything terribly amiss.


"Harold and I went out for dinner and a movie last night."

"Oh, how nice! Who did you get to watch the kids?"

"You know Darlene, the Sutter's daughter?"

"Oh yes, lovely girl. Did your boys like her?"

"Well, I think they would've liked her better if she didn't take her job title quite so literally."

Sunday November 14th, 2010

The exercise:

Let's write about: the waiter.

This is a scheduled post, since we're off having dinner out with friends in Vancouver tonight. See you guys tomorrow.


He appears at our table
In a puff of gray smoke;
He takes all of our orders
While cracking awful jokes.

Another puff and he's gone
And much to my dismay,
I see that you've gone with him -
I guess I've already paid.

Saturday November 13th, 2010

The exercise:

A four line poem about: friendship.

Spending the weekend with friends, so it seemed appropriate.

This is a scheduled post. Will be back Monday.


We don't speak for weeks
When we get caught up in the herd,
But each time we meet
I cherish every single word.

Friday November 12th, 2010

The exercise:

Four lines of prose about: pizza.

We got winter tires put on the car on Wednesday morning and the mechanic told me to come back after eighty or a hundred kilometers to get the lug nuts tightened up. Problem with that being we're heading to Vancouver tomorrow morning and we'd only put on about twenty by this morning.

So I went for a drive. Brought my camera along, took a few pictures. On the way back I stopped to take this one and I wanted to share it because I don't think I've properly shown you guys where I live yet. Our place is somewhere around the middle of the picture, maybe a bit below that:

So, yeah. Leaving tomorrow morning, coming back Monday. Posts for the next couple days will be scheduled, I'll get to your comments when I get back. Not sure how much NaNo work is going to get done this weekend, but I'm hoping to squeeze in 1,000 words over the next two days. This is what I built up my lead for.

Update: day twelve. See you guys on Monday!


Paul maneuvered the car onto the sidewalk as pedestrians scattered in every direction. He honked his horn a few times to encourage the slower ones and the seniors. He waved to the drivers stuck at the red light as he sped past them, and he could see a few of them were thinking about following his lead.

None of them did, but then none of them had a pizza to deliver in under twenty minutes - any later than that, and it would be free.

Thursday November 11th, 2010

The exercise:

Since today is Remembrance Day, we're going with: memories of war.

Made some good progress on the cabin today. 

Writing for day eleven is done. Almost reached the halfway point for words!


He will never forget that muddy field in the middle of nowhere. The way the air smelled like freshly fallen rain when he woke that morning. The way it smelled like death that night.

He still remembers the sounds of the bullets as they zipped past his ears, as they kicked up dirt all around him, as they killed his friends. Gunfire still echoes in his ears, grenades weigh his jacket down, his feet are still heavy with caked mud.

He will never forget that muddy field, for he dreams of it every night.

Wednesday November 10th, 2010

The exercise:

Let's give the random book prompt another whirl. Grab a book from your collection at random, and use its first line as the first line of your prose today (giving credit where it is due, obviously). Then go in a different direction than the book did - your own.

Writing is in progress. Update later.

Update: day ten. I am very tired. Good night.


The small boys came early for the hanging.

They did not do so to secure a spot in the front row. The adults would have just shooed them back home if they had.

Instead, they climbed to the top of the saloon which stood across the square from the wooden scaffold and remained there, bellies pressed flat against the roof, until the appointed time.

They had decided that if the law was going to hang their daddy, they were going to bear witness to it.

And then, one day in the distant future, they would exact their revenge on them all. The judge, the sheriff, the hangman. Every person in the square who cheered when the trap door fell open. They brought pencil and paper and wrote down the names. None would be forgotten. None would be forgiven.

None would be spared.

Tuesday November 9th, 2010

The exercise:

Two haiku about: kittens.

So. A wild cat got into the garage recently and proceeded to transport her kittens up to the top of a storage shed in there. Which is about ten feet tall. Kat's mother heard mewing in there yesterday morning, so I found a ladder and had a look with the flashlight from a safe distance. Yup, there was a cat up there. I couldn't see anything else though.

We heard the kittens later in the afternoon. So we set a trap this morning and caught the momma cat. Which meant that the kittens were stuck up there on their own. So up I went, cardboard box in hand. Came back down with five kittens in said box.

Here they are:

They're on their way to a good home now. Unfor... er, fortunately both Kat and I are allergic to them, otherwise at least one would probably have been mysteriously misplaced.

Oh yeah. All that and I wrote a couple thousand words too.


I want to keep them,
though it must be said that I
don't even like cats.

*     *     *

One ball of red yarn
plus four paws equals hours
of entertainment.

Monday November 8th, 2010

The exercise:

Let's go with: covered with snow.

Kat and I went for a drive up in the mountains this afternoon and came across snow for the first time this year. I took a couple pictures of the snow, but I liked this one, which I took on the way back, the best:

Writing is... actually done before I post this, for once. Definitely felt like it went better today.


The road is covered with snow
And we both know
That we have a long way to go.

And I know I'll get us there
With so much care
While you try not to tear your hair.

With such care I look at you
And know it's true
That we will make it through this too.

Sunday November 7th, 2010

The exercise:

T'is that time of year (around here at least). Let's write about: falling back.

I enjoyed my extra hour of sleep last night. I'm not so crazy about it getting dark an hour earlier though.

Writing is... in progress.

Update: day seven. Not entirely pleased with what I wrote today, but those days are bound to happen. Will try for better tomorrow.


Tony polished his beloved cherry wood bar and eyed the new guy on stool number five. Hair receding into oblivion, too many pounds around the middle, and a Blackberry glued to his hand, constantly reading and sending messages. The guy obviously needed a drink.

So why was he nursing a Diet Coke?

Tony grabbed a bottle of cheap vodka from under the bar and a shot glass from the dish rack. Maybe the guy's had a bad stretch of luck with money he thought, pouring a generous amount into the glass.

"Here," he said with a smile as he placed the drink on the bar between them. "On the house."

The guy stared at it for a moment, an unreadable expression on his face. Tony noticed that his fingers were squeezing the life out of his handheld.

"No thanks," the guy said at last. "I gave that stuff up - don't want to fall back into bad habits, you know?"

"Sure," Tony said, tossing the drink down the sink. "How long you been free?"

"Three weeks, two days, and... eight hours."

"Good for you," Tony said with a nod. "Hang in there. It'll get easier, but not much. Worth it though."

"Sounds like you see a lot of guys like me in here."

"Not really," Tony said as he moved to serve another customer. "I'm just speaking from personal experience."

Saturday November 6th, 2010

The exercise:

A four line poem about: the trophy.

The garden was mowed down and rotovated this morning and I spent some time tossing out our cover crop seed in the afternoon. Still more to do tomorrow - it takes a while to cover an acre with seed when you're doing it by hand.

Writing? As of right now, I'm at less than 300 words for today. Time to get to it.

Update: day six. Thankfully the words started flowing again.


I watch the tractor mow down the garden
As it makes its way towards me.
There's a dead sunflower stuck to its grill,
Like some demented trophy.

Friday November 5th, 2010

The exercise:

Four lines of prose on: one way or another.

We went shopping in Penticton today and I came back with two new pairs of pyjama pants. Which I shall be living in for the next few months.

Looking forward to not going to the market tomorrow. Still working though, as the garden needs cleaning up and preparing for the winter.

Writing is going well, thanks again to dialogue. Update to come.

Update: and voila. I seem to be having the most fun with characters I hadn't planned on writing until I realized they were required (first Grace and now Colin).


There have been a lot of ups and downs with the cabin renovation costs, and money in general since we moved here. The plumbing cost less than we expected, the windows more; the electrical was less, the flooring more; an unexpected pension refund from my last job, an unexpected tax payment to the government. Today we got a quote for our winter tires and it was a bit less than we were figuring - but then we got the bill for the window installation, which was of course more than what we'd planned on.

I guess I should get used to the idea that the money is getting spent, one way or another.

Thursday November 4th, 2010

The exercise:

Let us write about: the widow maker.

When I was out chopping wood this afternoon, Kat's mother came out to bring some back to the house. She jokingly (I think) referred to one of the logs as 'the widow maker', since it's rather precariously balanced. And her husband is not the most careful man I've ever met. For the record, I don't think this log could kill you, but it would certainly mess you up.

Anyway, it stuck in my head, so now we all get to write about it.

Writing is going well. Will update later.

Update: here's day four. Best word count so far, brought to you by the power of dialogue. And Arctic Monkeys.


The dagger he called The Widow Maker was his favorite. He only saved it for assignments in which his target was a married man, more often than not an unfaithful one. He did not often get paid to eliminate citizens with impeccable reputations, after all.

The weapon was a beautiful, custom made affair. Perfectly balanced, never dulled, a handle that made it feel like an extension of his arm. A true work of art. It was no wonder it was his weapon of choice.

Well, all that, plus he tended to end up making it with the widows after his work was done.

Wednesday November 3rd, 2010

The exercise:

Today we deal with a word with several very different meanings: resigned.

The one that interests me at the moment is the one about removing yourself from a political position. Because the Premier of British Columbia did that today.

Party at my house!

Windows are mostly installed. And I'm sitting around 700 words for the day. Let's see what I can manage tonight.

Update: tonight went well. Here's day three. Also, I should probably mention that the premier's resignation might have had something to do with his 9% approval rating.

Yes, you read that right.


Hank, the manager of the only gas station in town, was widely considered the stupidest man to walk the planet. Okay, perhaps 'widely considered' is a slight exaggeration. Let me say instead that every person that ever met him considered him to be the stupidest man to walk the planet.

He couldn't give correct change to save his life, he lost the keys to the station three times a day, and if he was working the pumps there was a fifty-fifty chance that the gas nozzle would end up in the wrong hole.

If you know what I mean.

If you don't, that's okay - you're better off than the rest of us.

Despite all this, the owner re-signed Hank every time his contract was up, no matter who else applied to take over. I guess that's the kind of job security that working for your dad provides.

Tuesday November 2nd, 2010

The exercise:

Two haiku about: left behind.

Writing is going pretty well so far today, though I'm still concerned about tomorrow. Oh well, I might just have to use up this lead I'm building up and then work on restoring it later in the week.

It is absolutely gorgeous outside today. The fall colors are out in full force and the sun is shining. I'm going to do some work outside and take full advantage of it while it lasts.

Update: day two is in the bag. Also: the subfloor is now completely installed.


All of the others
have already been chosen...
What is wrong with me?

*     *     *

All alone, only
this black night for company,
I smile happily.

Monday November 1st, 2010

The exercise:

Let us write about: fall in the orchard.

So you can submit local weather pictures to The Weather Network here in Canada, and I finally decided to give it a go last night. I was quite pleased when my very first one made the cut.

NaNoWriMo is off to a good start. I'm already over 2,000 words, but I'm hell bent on equaling my first day total from last year, so the first chapter will go up a bit later.

Between yesterday and today, we've almost managed to get the rest of the subfloor put in - just three small pieces to go! I'm a bit worried about my word count for Wednesday though, since I'm helping a guy we've hired install our windows for most of the day. I'm sure I'll figure something out.

Update: first day's writing is up now.


The leaves are turning,
The apples have gone;
I wander the rows
Hearing autumn's song.

It's time for a rest,
A long wintry nap;
A time for warm soup
And soft wooly caps.

Spring's return will come
Before we're ready;
But for now I stroll
Amidst fall's beauty.