So Much Stuff I Can't Recall

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Last day. Capricorn sub-1's. Year of the city - 2004. Carousel begins.

This is the final day of National Novel Writing Month.

If I get "renewed" I'll be back tomorrow.

Or maybe I'll run for Sanctuary.

Time will tell.

Mikesell : 3:10 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Monday, November 29, 2004

More Fun With AutoCorrect

Earlier in the month I blogged about the joys of MS Word's auto-correct feature and the fact that I added sherrif -> sheriff to AC database.

Last night I added nv -> N'Vonecz so I won't have to type in that awful combo of capital letters, apostrophe, and seemingly random letters each time the demon does something.

Auto-correct is having a decidedly negative effect on my typing skills outside of Word. When I proofread my blog entries, for example, I'm noticing a larger than average number of typos. Part of the NaNoWriMo philosophy is to type now, edit much later. As I switch from the novel to a couple short story ideas next month, I think I'll slow down the pace in case I wind up with a job interview that involves a typing test.

Mikesell : 3:20 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Twenty-eight Down. Two to Go.

Well, NaNoWriMo is winding down and it looks like I'm going to make it. I already have the word count; I just have to wrap the thing up.

Last night I started the penultimate chapter, the scene I envisioned from the line in The Call's song, Oklahoma: "The preacher cried out 'Hell's been raised!'" Zombies are now running rampant in the town of Graphite. The demon N'Vonecz has taken possession of Rev. Herbert Gantt's body (pun most certainly intended).

In this chapter and the Revival Meeting one, I started by sketching out all the things that could go into the chapter. I got all but one or two into the Revival one. I have way more than I can get to tonight in the Zombie chapter, so I've highlighted a few (the ones I've been mulling over the longest) and will catch the others during the rewrite.

Tomorrow I'll write the Aftermath chapter as the survivors walk through the ruins of their town (this presumes that after the rewrite there will be any survivors; if that all changes in the second draft, then the Aftermath chapter will come from the perspective of the road crew who finally manage to install a temporary bridge into town.)

All in all this has been a great month. I'm still as stoked about the book as I was in late October, if not more so.

Mikesell : 1:26 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Trivial Pursuit

In today's NaNoWriMo blog entry I make reference to a book called Tobin's Spirit Guide.

14 bonus points to you if you can correctly source* the origin of TSG without resorting to Google or other online search engine/index.

If Sam Raimi can re-use Lovecraft's Necronomicon in the Evil Dead movies, Tobin's is fair game for me.

*This'll help narrow it down a bit: It has nothing to do with my friends Dave and Melanie Tobin, or the Tobin family at-large.

Mikesell : 9:28 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Getting Sidetracked

I only managed about 1,500 words of my revival service before exhaustion overcame me (4:15a - 11:45p is a long time, even with a brief post-shopping nap in the afternoon). That looks like it's about a third of the way through, so I should be able to tackle the rest of it this evening.

In addition to the fatigue, another reason I stopped at 1,500 was that I wrote a 1,000+ word section dealing with a character who had dropped under the radar and had a significant role to play midway through the revival meeting. So I got him all set up.

I also finally caved in and didn't give the girl who Gantt revived (physically) life-threatening organ failure. Instead she gets appendicitis, which is funny (not ha-ha) because she already had her appendix out prior to the events chronicled in the novel.

I also changed one of my character's backstory so his dad died earlier in the year instead of his mom - with two moms dead and a tortured teenaged girl, I felt the thing was getting a bit misogynistic. So one mom, one dad, and a girl with a re-grown/re-failed appendix; not quite fair, but a bit more balanced.

Mikesell : 3:44 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Friday, November 26, 2004

Doubling Up

Yesterday (Thanksgiving) I made the most of the Dina being home all day (I first wrote "took advantage of Dina..." but that didn't sound quite right) and fit in two writing sessions. In the first I wrote about 1,400 words split 60/40 between two small sections of the book. In the evening I wrote almost 2,000 words.

Today I fit in a session at Barnes & Noble while Dina and Phil went to the SpongeBob movie. 1,300+ words in 90 minutes ain't too shabby. I missed seeing David Hasselhoff swim like a cruise missile, but I think I'll survive.

I'll start writing the revival meeting tonight. I'm planning on skipping around in the listening audience with the preaching being in the background. We'll see if I can pull off the technique I'm thinking of....

Thanksgiving find of the day: Buffy - Season Seven: <$18 at Target.

Second best: $20 in Bon dollars by going back through the line and picking up additional $5 cards.

Yesterday I was at 114%. With today's early session I'm at 117%. Tomorrow morning? Come back then and check it out.

Mikesell : 8:57 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Thursday, November 25, 2004

"YAHOOOOO! You're all clear, kid. Now let's blow this thing and go home."

I've finally begun work in earnest on the final section of my novel, the part where the zombies come out to play. Even though I've met the 50,000 word goal, I'm still shooting to complete the book by the end of the month.

53,474 words = 107%

Mikesell : 1:25 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Sometimes I Amaze Even Myself*

As I mentioned over at the NaNo Blog, my characters have been using their backstory information to develop themselves as I write. In the example I gave over at the other blog, my revivalist has a prison record, mainly so I didn't have to go into detail on where he'd been for the past 15 years (in jail for DUI and killing a police dog pretty much covers it; movin' on). But when he was confronted by a bully in last night's writing session, his prison survival skills kicked in. It was pretty wild watching it happen as I wrote. He reaches for his coat, observing that the metal tip of the coat hanger hook would make a nice gouging weapon (I'd say 'shiv' but the story doesn't take place in a b&w 50's B-movie, plus 'gouging' has nice resonance, don't you think?).

The bartender's scar has popped up in several other characters' scenes. It will pop up again in a scene I'm writing tonight or tomorrow when the revivalist meets her (he doesn't look at the scar at all and she winds up buying a round of drinks for her patrons after he leaves).

My favorite instance of this happening took place last week when I dove into my bookstore owning ex-priest's backstory. In the present-day story he offers literacy classes (possibly some tutoring too, but I didn't get into that). So was that something he did when he was still a priest? Something told me yes, and that that had something to do with why he left the priesthood. Well, why would he leave the priesthood over that? Well, what if his students were getting into secular books (Harlequin Romances, Stephen King, etc.) that the other parishoners didn't approve of. Yeah, that could lead to conflict (Catholic conflict? I'm not so sure, but it works for now). So he leaves after a blow-up with his parishoners and maybe even the next step or two up the hierarchy (it'd be helpful to know what that hierarchy is before publication, but for now generic hierarchy works for me). Okay, so we know why he quits, but why'd he get into literacy classes in the first place?

Well, what do I know about Catholics.

In the books on writing that I've read in order to forestall actually writing anything, they say this kind of thing will happen. When you read about it happening to someone else you kind of think, "Yeah, right. It's a coincidence or wishful thinking or whatever."

Now that it's happened (and continues to happen) to me, it doesn't feel like coincidence at all. Where do those moments come from? I don't think it's coincidence, because it feels like they were there all along just waiting to be found. Providence feels more like it, although I don't think God scheduled Vatican II for the sole purpose of providing me with a character development point. Nevertheless, I thank God for working it out that way and for including details like that in my scant knowledge of Catholicism.

And Thanksgiving happens this week and I'm actually thankful for something. Coincidence? Hmmmmm....

*To which Princess Leia responds: "That doesn't sound too hard."

Mikesell : 1:04 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Almost There ... Stay on Target ... All-mooost Therrre ....

Hopefully my next blog entry won't be headed "Auuuuuuurrrrrrgggghhhhhh!!!!!"*

I'll blog more later, but I'm stoked that when I added tonight's wordcount to the previous total it came out to an even 49,500, without dithering or copious padding.

500 words to go (that's exactly 99% done for you non-math nerds). I'm stoked.

*If you don't get this reference, rewatch the original Star Wars (Episode IV: A New Hope if you're under 25 and the words 'original' and 'Star Wars' confuse you).

Mikesell : 3:48 AM : 0 snarky remarks

Monday, November 22, 2004

Road Writing

Last Wednesday night we packed up a rental car and headed for Astoria. We had to detour from Junction City to Eugene because Hwy. 99 was totally fogged in; I-5 was much better.

Driving I-5 at any time isn't the most exciting of jaunts, but at night it's just plain ridiculous. So with Dina behind the wheel I got out my laptop at Salem and wrote about 750 words by the time we hit the windy roads of the coast range west of Beaverton. After we checked into our motel and got the boy to sleep, I finished another 1,250 words before calling it a night.

Most of my non-child-supervisory time on Thursday was spent working on a song-synched slide show for Dina's Friday presentation at the annual Episcopalian convention. I did sit down to write for awhile, but managed only 321 words due to Philip-related interruptions (he wouldn't stay in bed at bedtime) and the video project.

I did a little better on Friday, struggling through sleep deprivation, but still managed the minimum 1,737 words.

Back home, Saturday night I was back on track with 2,731 words.

Yesterday (Day 21) I went to a meeting on Eugene-area NaNo'ers. One guy already finished his book with 57,177 words. After the meeting I stuck around Cafe Paradiso and wrote just over 1,000 words. After the Thanksgiving service at church, I fired up the 'Book again at home and wrote just shy of 1,500 words for a daily total of 2,498 words.

I'm 93% of the way to the 50,000 word target - I should hit it tomorrow night. That'll likely put me 2/3s to 3/4s of the way through the novel itself (Tuesday - Thursday) with the big Friday zombie finale still to come.

Mikesell : 7:17 PM : 1 snarky remarks

My Ship Comes in at Wal*Mart, Then Stops at Freddy's

New boxes of Hot-Wheels got opened at Wal*Mart and Fred Meyer's yesterday, and I made it in on time to pick up some nice ones, including:There were a few marginally cool cars at Freddy's, but at a buck a pop, I only got the coolest of the cool (your mileage may vary).

Mikesell : 6:38 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Give Thanks Early - New Phil Pix!

While we were away last week we stopped at the Tillamook Air Museum. The Tillamook Ford dealer had a selection of cars in the hangar and if you went out and looked at them you got admission to the museum for 1/2 price. In addition to seeing the new Mustang, we saw some equally sweet WW2-era aircraft. Phil even posed with some of them:

Mikesell : 5:27 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

NaNo Roadshow

I'll be away from home for the next few days, and I'm not sure what Internet access will be like where I'm headed. It's my intent to keep shooting for 2,000 words a day - you may have to wait until I get home to find out what, if anything, I've written.

I'm sitting at 71% complete right now (doubling up yesterday boosted me another 9%).

There are worse places to sit.

Places with gum on the seats.

Or medical waste.

Don't sit there.

Mikesell : 3:10 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Killing Characters

Well I finally killed my first character in the novel. It was part of a backstory element not set in Graphite, so she's not coming back in the big zombie finale of doom. Even though this is the first and only time we meet Graham's mom, it was sad to see her go (she's the motivation for my main character's animosity toward the revival preacher) - I got a little misty as I wrote it.

Her death gets a bit messy, so that's not the excerpt over on the NaNo page (plus my mom freaks out when I kill mothers in my stories). Instead, it's a segment I wrote in the first two-hour writing session I did last night.

I wound up with almost 4,500 words for the day (no dithering). As yesterday (Day 15) was the midpoint of the monthlong project, I'm on pace to write over 70,000 words before the leftover turkey goes bad.

For what it's worth (FWIW for acronymists), I'm listed with a bunch of other NaNoers over here.

Mikesell : 3:02 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Monday, November 15, 2004


I just stopped by danielamos.com and saw this on their concerts page.

Scroll down to Eugene to see why I'm excited.

Mikesell : 3:52 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Actual Research

Shortly after I began writing last night (Day 14), I realized that my two preachers were going to start quoting scripture at each other (because that's such a productive way to get your point across).

I had something in mind that sounded "scripture-y," but I had no citation to go with it (when in doubt, bluff with Hezekiah 3:16). Usually I'd just type in BIBLE VERSE GOES HERE to hold the place and keep moving on, but since I wanted Gantt to quote (paraphrase, actually) Pastor Jim Bromfeld's snarky citation back to him, I really needed to have the gist of what Gantt was going to say right.

So I took a field trip online and found a few verses that were in line with what I was thinking. I never found the actual verse I had in mind, which makes me think I made it up (I'm soooo creative, y'know).

The top three verses made it into the story - and today's NaNo exerpt.

If nothing else it'll get readers to go find a Bible and look up the passages - maybe the Spirit'll move them to read other stuff there, too. It's all good.

Mikesell : 1:17 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Happy Blogday to Me!

It's been a year since I started this blog.

Since I ought to be closing in on my 31,001st word around 9:40 tonight I thought I'd kick things off a bit early <hoists mug o' coffee>.

So take a moment and enjoy the archives and enjoy a mug of your favorite brew, too. Irish it up if you want - it's a fiesta!

Mikesell : 12:28 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Getting There....

If getting there is half the fun, then getting halfway there must be a quarter of the fun.

Well, it's 12 hours since my early morning post and I'm still buzzed. I can see this thing coming together. Last night I had a couple more of those moments where I'm writing and then I see something that should be happening, but I hadn't thought of it yet.

The first one was that after Maya, the 14-year-old, is hit, someone goes and runs and calls 911. I didn't actually show it happening, but what happened next (and I didn't show it because I didn't know it was happening) is that someone called the girl's mom. Fortunately I noticed the mom pull up in her station wagon, so I was able to incorporate her into the story right away (and it doesn't matter that we never saw someone call her, because of course someone would call her). So mom made it in the story.

The other thing that I saw that I didn't see in time to get it into the first draft (but my parenthetical, italicized inner editor happened to mention) was that I had a bunch of high school-aged kids and revival show workmen (I always type the m before the k in workmen, so it says "worm" - poor typist? no. hidden symbolism? yeah, that's it) congregated on the park side of the street. The other side of the street is people's houses and my PIIE (mmmm...piie) commented that there should be people on that side of the street, too. So I made a note of it and forged ahead.

The past few days I've noticed that the first 500 words are the hardest, taking upwards of an hour to get down. The final 1,000 are the easiest, coming in around 30-45 minutes.

I'm at 53%. Go, Me! Go!

Mikesell : 3:27 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Point of No Return

Yes, you're reading the time stamp on this entry correctly. It's after one-freakin'-ay-em in the morning.

I'm also over fifty-freakin'-percent of the way through my novel.

Yay me!

And the 14-year-old girl I killed off the other day? Not so dead any more - and not in a bad way, either (that comes later).

Mikesell : 3:04 AM : 0 snarky remarks

Friday, November 12, 2004

Goodbye, Ruby Tuesday

Well, with last night's writing out of the way, I have now completed the first major section of the novel: Day 1 - Tuesday. If I need extra words at the end of the month to hit 50,000 there is a bit more I can do on the interview with Brooke Adams. I kinda left that hanging at 2:30 yesterday morning.

I'm now 48% done. As long as I hit the rock-bottom 1,667-word-minimum tonight I'll cross the continental divide, and all the words will start flowing downhill into the second half of my novel.

Mikesell : 3:37 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Second Wind

Last night (Day 10) was a late one at church, and by the time I got Phil to bed it was 10:30. I didn't get going on the story until after 11.

The first 500 words were a struggle and I was ready to give up after 1,000. But after a break and some leftover Chinese barbecue pork, I sat back down and wound up with 2,552 for the night (well, it was 2:30 this morning, but I'm counting it for last night). Almost 900 of that fintal 1,500 words is a long, rambling account of how Brooke got her scar.

Knocking down another 5% of the 50K target puts me at 43% for the first third of the month.

Mikesell : 1:51 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Wednesday, November 10, 2004


My folks have been here the past few days. Among the things we got to do were go see The Incredibles (no photos, as they frown on bringing cameras into the theater), drive up to Salem and visit the Capitol, and get Phil a spankin' new haircut.

Here's the pix:

Phil took these pictures up at Salem

Here's one of Phil treeing a squirrelDick Tracy's newest nemesis: Flattop Jr.Group PhotoA couple more photos by Phil

Mikesell : 3:20 PM : 1 snarky remarks

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Writing on Autopilot

Last night (Day 8) I was dozing off while writing. Being half asleep didn't hurt the quality of my writing any - I don't know if that's a good or a bad thing.

In the rewrite I'll probably format the interviews as a "From the notebook of David Graham" kind of thing unless my skills at writing what's going on in the background improves (2,000 words of straight Q&A probably isn't that great of an idea).

Anyhoo 17,000 words = 34%.

Mikesell : 11:56 AM : 0 snarky remarks

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Watch What You Eat

Yesterday (Day 5) I made the mistake of eating a bad salad from Arby's before working on my novel.

Consequently, I spent more time in the bathroom than in front of the computer. I did manage the daily minimum of 1.667 words (plus a few), so that worked out okay.

Lesson learned: Get the Double Quarter-Pounder (that'd be the Half-Pounder) from McD's instead of the "healthy" salad.

22% done is 22% done.

Mikesell : 12:12 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Friday, November 05, 2004

Meeting New Friends ... and Killing Them

So goes the old recruiting poster joke; it's also how my novel's coming along.

Last night (Day 4) I found out something about my main villain: He doesn't like really old people.

Reverend Gantt visits a retirement home and one of the residents is a semi-vegetative guy in a wheelchair. The guy is staring off into space in Gantt's general direction and it creeped him out. Didn't know that when I started writing the section.

I've mapped out the scene where Gantt dies, but haven't "officially" written it yet.

4 days, 19% done. At this rate I'll hit 50,000 words around the 20th.

Mikesell : 4:36 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Day 3 Recap

I wrote in two shifts on Day 3. On the first and third Wednesdays there's a group of moms that get together at church. Dinner is served to their preschoolers, so I horned in on that and get Phil some food and I wrote for about 45 minutes. Then I wrote some more after getting home from Wednesday-night activities at church.

Over at the writing blog there's an excerpt from the late-night shift.

In the earlier shift I killed a 14-year-old girl. Yeah, there's something to take pride in.

Mikesell : 1:02 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Day 2 Recap - No Election Commentary

Well, I didn't get any writing done this morning or early evening due to Election Fever. But this evening I cracked open a Diet Pepsi at 9:20 and 2.3 hours later walked away with another 2,066 words written.

Let me add that I love the auto-correct feature in Word (not the auto-complete feature; I hate that). In the chapter I wrote today my main character, a writer named David Graham interviews the local sheriff, Brandon Woo (see excerpt, on NaNoWriMo blog page). Unfortunately, my fingers could never remember if sheriff has 2 r's or 2 f's (they usually went with the extra r and shorted an f). So I added the word and the typical misspelling to the auto-correct table and stopped worrying about it.

I was also appreciative that common contractions typed with a semicolon auto-corrected to an apostrophe.

9% written in two days. Yay me!

Mikesell : 3:14 AM : 0 snarky remarks

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

NaNoWriMo Day 1 Recap

If you write every day in November it works out that you need to average 1,667 words a day to hit the target 50,000. Yesterday I wrote 2,234 - a surplus of 567 words. Since I plan on missing a few days here and there, that padding will come in handy later.

Here's how it went:

Mikesell : 10:59 AM : 0 snarky remarks

Monday, November 01, 2004

And So It Begins (again)

Well, at 12:00:01 I typed the Epilogue to my NaNoWriMo project.

The words for the epilogue came to me a few nights ago and I wrote them on a paper plate so I wouldn't forget them.

I'll write more later this evening, but I wanted to get this part in ASAP, so I've "officially" begun. Yay!

Go read the epilogue over on the project blog. It'll make a little more sense after I write the prologue - and then the whole rest of the book - but I think it's pretty effective for what it is.

Mikesell : 3:19 AM : 0 snarky remarks

Last Review for Awhile?

Well, it's 11:05 and National Novel Writing Month begins in 55 minutes, so this may be the last Amazon review for awhile (as I'll need all my words to reach the 50,000 word goal). lost boy lost girl is a haunted house story written by Peter Straub. It was his first novel after his horrid collaboration with Stephen King in Black House (BH, by the way, gives me hope that no matter how crappy my NaNoWriMo book may be, there's a remote possibility it may get published someday). Anyhoo, lblg wasn't too bad.

Why you should read my review of lost boy lost girl: It's not that bad a review. Based on the likelihood that the excerpts of my first draft on my NaNoWriMo blog will be pretty reeky, this may be your last chance to read something halfway okay from me for awhile. Plus, there's some fractions.

For your convenience, there's a link to my NaNoWriMo blog permanently affixed to the upper right hand corner of this page. Don't forget it.

Mikesell : 1:05 AM : 0 snarky remarks