Wednesday, November 15, 2006

November 15, 2006: NaNoWriMo - Day 15

This is the beginning of Week 3 of NaNoWri, and I have to ask myself, like the British singer Julia Fordham: Where does the time go? Next week will be Thanksgiving, and the following week, I -- hopefully -- will have a 50,000 word novel.

I'm well on the way. I have written 36,051 words. That means I only have 13,949 more words until I reach my goal. My fear is that there's more story than words I need to reach the deadline. But I'll worry about that later.

I'm soldiering on.

Wish me luck...

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

November 14, 2006: Review Ambivalence (Taking a Break From NaNoWriMo Posts)

I’m the original pop culture vulture. Give me music, movies, TV, and books, and I’m happier than your average plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills! Of course, in George W. Bush’s America, where a dollar is tighter than my Sergio Valentes from 1978, I sometimes need guidance on what movies and programs to see, and what CDs and books to buy. So, from time to time, I check out reviews in periodicals like People magazine and Entertainment Weekly. Of course I don’t follow the reviews like a sheep. After all, Chuck Arnold from People roundly panned Kanye West’s The College Dropout, which turned out to be, and continues to be, one of my favorite CDs of all time. I do, however, appreciate reviews as something of a roadmap. Until the reviewer takes on one of my books. Then I’m not so objective.

To read the rest, check out my November 14, 2006 posting at Blogging In Black...

Monday, November 13, 2006

November 13, 2006: NaNoWriMo - Day 13

I'm still soldiering on as I head into Week 3, which begins on Wednesday, the 15th. I still remain confident. My buddy, Karyn, who's doing NaNoWriMo along withe me, is doing spectacularly as well, with 21+ thousand words.

I just pray that both of us can maintain the momentum.

More to follow...

Sunday, November 12, 2006

November 12, 2006: NaNoWriMo - Day 12

Not to gloat, but here goes:

25,785 words, baby! I'm a little more than halfway there! And we're only only twelve days in.

I remain overjoyed about my progress and hopeful about finishing within the allotted time frame. This is so awesome. Every day, I'm so happy that I signed up for this challenge. I'll reiterate: every writer needs to try this just once.

What a rush!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

November 11, 2006: NaNoWriMo - Day 11

Again, real life intruded today, and I didn't have a chance to visit with Tim, Jonathan, and Ally today. I plan to make that up tonight and see if I can extend my word count even further.

I did, though, visit with Baltimore chapters of Delta Sigma Theta and Alpha Kappa Alpha for a Roses and Violets Literary Showcase. I hung out with sorors and those other Greek sisters -- just kidding; DST and AKA have a long-standing but gracious feud going on -- read from mt two babies, Back to Life and What You Won't Do For Love, and listened to readings from fellow Black Greek sisters. What a night!

Well, back to the grindstone.

Soldiering on...

Friday, November 10, 2006

November 10, 2006: NaNoWriMo - Day 10

21, 668 words... and counting.

No rest, even on a holiday! I'm hoping that I can finish the book in 50,000 words.

Which reminds me, Happy Veteran's Day to those who've served so that we can all be free and safer. You have my eternal thanks and gratitude.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

November 9, 2006: NaNoWriMo - Day 9

I'm feeling guilty. I wasn't able to write anything today. And I feel it. Feels like I'm jonesing for a drug or a drink. It also feels like I missed catching up with old friends. My equilibrium is seriously upset. Thankfully, tomorrow's a holiday, so I'm hoping to get back on track and to continue to knock this thing out.

Speaking of people feeling like old friends, on a sad note, I was SHOCKED to hear that Ed Bradley died today. For as long as I can remember watching 60 Minutes, he's been a fixture on the show. The most recent story I saw him do was the one in which he questioned the veracity of the accuser's story in the Duke lacrosse rape case. My most recent favorite of his -- he has such an impressive body of work to choose from -- was the profile of Chris Rock. He played the clip from Never Scared of Chris Rock pretending to be Ed Bradley interviewing Michael Jackson. Nothing like immortality than to be interwoven into a joke! I'm going to miss Ed Bradley -- with his fine, articulate, earring-wearing self.

Well, no rest for the weary, and I sure am weary. Back to work on my baby.

See you tomorrow...

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

November 8, 2006: NaNoWriMo -- Day 8

I am so proud of myself. This process continues to amaze me. I go into the second week of NaNoWriMo with 18,654 words.

I don't know what it is that's making me soldier on. Maybe it's the characters, with whom I'm in love. Maybe it's the challenge. I don't know. I think every writer should try this. Seriously.

Keep watching this space. And check out the NaNoWriMo web site for more information.

Until tomorrow...

Monday, November 06, 2006

November 6, 2006: NaNoWriMo - Day 6





I'd think Eddie Murphy was talking about The Kid here, not necessarily James Brown.

It's Day 6, and it's smooth sailing. I'm in love with my characters, and they're speaking to me so fast that it's hard for my typing hands to keep up. Hopefully, when this is all done, it'll be in good enough condition for me to share.

Well, this post, too, is going to be a shorty. More to follow...

P.S. This is a record! I don't think I've posted six days straight since I started blogging! Now I have no excuse to not keep it up when NaNoWriMo ends.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

November 5, 2006: NaNoWriMo - Day 5

Not to gloat but...

Uh! Uh! 12,530 words! In yo' face!!!!

I'm cranking on, and I'm so proud of my accomplishment. I really love the characters of this book. The novel is called Triptych. Even though it's pronounced like the things that Triple A gives out when you're about to hit the road, a triptych is a three-paneled painting, in which the panel in the middle is the most crucial to the message that the artist is attempting to convey.

My novel, Triptych, is set in beautiful Nassau, Bahamas. It concerns a man, Jonathan, who has cancer, and his cousin, Tim, a recent widower. At the center is Ally. She used to date Tim eons ago, even lost her virginity to him. Now, though, she's married to Jonathan. To keep her happy, Jonathan has an interest request for Tim, whose loyalty to his cousin makes him fulfil this request, at the expense of his still-fragile heart.

And, to quote Frrest Gump, "That all I'm gonna say about that."

Oh, well, I'm off to novel. Watch this space for more developments...

Saturday, November 04, 2006

November 4, 2006: NaNoWriMo - Day 4

It's like buttah, baby!

My fingers are flying over the keyboard.

Like Lloyd Banks, "I'm on fire. Up in here."

Okay, I'll stop with the similes and metaphors.

I'm proving Chris Baty's theory that the first week tends to be smooth sailing. I'd been stealing time here and there since this past Wednesday, November 1, when the contest started. But I hunkered down today and worked like a fiend. I did a word count, and I have 10,022 words so far. And they're strung along in coherent sentences and decent dialogue. And tomorrow's another FULL day.

I'm so excited and happy that I took on this challenge. I think that every writer should do it at least once.

Well, I'm going to go back to the drawing board. Pray for me...

Friday, November 03, 2006

November 3, 2006: NaNoWriMo - Day 3

Hey, y'all!

True to my promise, I am posting to tell of my progress in meeting the NaNoWriMo challenge. I'M SO LOVING THIS! It's so great to write for myself again. This takes me back to when I was writing Back to Life -- at my own leisure, no contracts, no editor (other than my own internal one), no one to please but myself. I know it's selfish, but hey, it's very good for me. I may have to have a cigarette afterwards!

And I know this may get my Black Girl Card revoked, because it is soooo dorky, but I go to the National Novel Writing Month site -- -- to check out my profile, check out how my two buddies are coming along on their journey, and update my word count. It's bizarre to see a bar graph of my daily progress, and to see the bars go up and up. I'm awake later than I usually am (writing, of course), and I arrive at the day gig bleary-eyed, but I'm having the best time. And of course, Starbucks is a friend of mine!

So, Day 3 and the challenge is still new and exciting. I hope this post will sustain me when I hit the inevitable wall -- which I'm told is guaranteed to happen.

By the way, I haven't received any comments or e-mails from anyone else with interesting tasks for me to complete if I don't end up with 50,000 words at 11:59 pm EST on November 30. But the way things are going now, I won't need them.

Until tomorrow...

Thursday, November 02, 2006

November 2, 2006: NaNoWriMo - Day 2

Well, as promised, I'm reporting in on this, my second day, of the NaNoWriMo challenge to write a 50,000 word novel in thirty days.

I have to say that I am having the best time. I went up to the website (i.e., and put in my word count. My last count from yesterday's session was 2487 words. I haven't counted, but I'm sure I'll have a lot more than that by the end of today.

I have two buddies on my list. The first one is Dinah, with whom I work. We bring our laptops to a quiet, secluded part of the building complex and write. Chris Baty, the director of NaNoWriMo, says that just being in the company of other people can turn on the creative faucets. Writing has been such a solitary pursuit for me, so I couldn't understand how just sitting in someone's company would make me a more productive writer. But I think I could be wrong. We shall see. The other buddy is Karyn, a local writer who is three books in. We've planned to have an "I Finished NaNoWriMo" dinner when this is over. I'm up for that.

I think the difference for me from last year was that I made a detailed outline. I know you're shocked by this revelation, but I am very anal-retentive. :-) I think knowing where I am in the process is helping me tremendously, as opposed to flying by the seat of my pants, like last year. And I love my characters. I run them over in my head while I'm riding on the Metro to work. It's like, when I do finally sit down, they know what they're doing, and I'm just typing their actions into MS-Word.

Well, this is going to be a short one. After all, it is only Day 2. I'm sure on Day 30, I would have so much experience with this process, enough to fill two other blogs. So, for today, I am confident that I won't be cleaning any kitty litter boxes, mucking any horse stalls, or watching any hyperactive four-year-olds. But still, keep your dares coming in the from of e-mails ( or comments under these blog entries. If you're doing NaNoWriMo too, drop me a quick line. maybe we can swap words of encouragement.

Until tomorrow...

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

November 1, 2006: NaNoWriMo - Day 1

Hey, everyone.

In the vein of my mouth writing checks that my body can't cash, I have, again, signed up for the National Novel Writing Month challenge. For the uninitiated, the National Novel Writing Month extravaganza, or NaNoWriMo, is a month-long contest of wills to see if you can finish the month of November with a novel consisting of 50,000 words. Check it out at, if you are a glutton for punishment and cannot find anyone in your life to flagellate you.

I have decided again to bang my head against this particular wall, because a) I love to write, and b) I want to know the answer to the Al-Pacino-in-The-Devil's-Advocate question -- Can you summon your talent at will? I tried last year and failed miserably, and I'm like that kid in the playground who keeps confronting the bully on the off chance that this will be the day that he/she falls under the weight of my mighty fist. I have also committed myself to blogging EVERY DAY OF THE MONTH OF NOVEMBER to chart my progress. You heard it here, folks. And if I don't keep that commitment, I'll eat a bug!

No, not really. But to make sure that I finish as one of the winners of NaNoWriMo (i.e., to complete the 50,000 word dare), I have promised to do some pretty heinous things if I don't. In his book, No Plot? No Problem! A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days, Chris Baty, the director of NaNoWriMo, says that, to motivate myself, I should commit to doing the grossest, most unpleasant chores that I could that I could think of for friends and family. Quite a few friends of mine were only too happy to volunteer their basest tasks for me to complete. Here's a sampling (with friends like these, who needs enemas?):
  • My friend Renee has two cats. If I fail at NaNoWriMo, I will be obligated to clean out her kitty litter box -- at the end of the week.
  • My friend Marcia has a stable full of horses. If I fail at NaNoWriMo, I will be obligated to muck out the stalls of ALL of the horses.
  • My friend Pam has a four-year-old son. She knows that little children give me hives. If I fail at NaNoWriMo, I will be obligated to watch her son on a Saturday after he's been fed a steady diet of cartoons and sugar.

Other "friends" are thinking up things for me to do. I'm like, "Bring it on!" This is what I need to write THREE x 50,000 this month. If you can think of something horrid that you'd want me to do if, by some off chance, I fail at NaNoWriMo (KEEP IT CLEAN AND INSIDE THE REALM OF POSSIBILITY, PLEASE!), send me an e-mail at or comment here under this post. If, God forbid, I fail, I will post a picture of me fulfilling your uncomfortable-but-in-good-fun task up on my photo site on However, as I'm going to succeed spectaularly, the point is "mute," as one of my ex-coworkers used to say.

So, come with me on this journey. We'll laugh. We'll cry (I'm sure). We'll have fun. And most importantly, I'll have a novel consisting of 50,000 words by midnight on November 30.

As my agent says, more to follow...