NaNoWriMo Wrap-Up


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This is late, but that pretty much sums up my NaNoWriMo experience this year. There were many days when I got nothing written, and I got nowhere near 50,000 words, but I feel successful nonetheless.

I have been working on this project off and on for almost 10 years now, stuck on the same 1,000 words or so. In one month, I wrote 15,113 words, more than 15 times what I had before. And I haven’t even incorporated the original 1,000 words that inspired the whole project.

I am going to keep working on it — give me another 10 years, and I might have a novel for you. Actually, if I can maintain even my (very slow) NaNo pace, it might be a novel in six months or so. We’ll see.


My own work. Created using "Inkscape&quot...

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I am doing NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) again this year. The goal is to write a 50,000 word novel (really, more like a novella) in the month of November. I did it 2 years ago and finished a novel that I like very much but I don’t believe I will ever take out of first draft stage. I skipped it last year, but I decided to try again this year. Strictly speaking, I am breaking the rules a little bit this year, because I am not using a brand-new idea. Instead, I am greatly expanding a story that I have been working on for over 10 years now, gradually bringing forth new ideas and adding new characters. I will be adding some of the material I have already written to my NaNo novel, but I am planning on increasing the word count to account for it (ie if I add 2,000 words of previously written material, I will finish November with 52,000 words instead of 50,000.)

I am not off to the best of starts, as I have been unable to begin work (life does get in the way sometimes of even the best laid plans) until today, November 3. I started today needing to write 5,000 words instead of 1,667 (the number one must write to everyday to write the same number of words each day of November). I didn’t manage 5,000. I have written 1,819 so far today (I think I’m done for the day). But if I can manage a few extra every day, I should catch up pretty quickly to where I should be.

I’m not going to inflict the entire thing on you as I write — this novel is very much in flux, and will probably be changing yet again before I’m done. Today, I will leave you with the first line.

I always knew my father was a dangerous man.

Are you doing NaNoWriMo? How’s it going? Tell me in the comments, or leave a link to your

blog or your NaNo work.

Poetic Forms in Modern Poetry

On the internet, many poets use rhyme, and meter, and the old poetic forms. In the poetry journals, it’s all (or mostly all) free verse and the over-use of images for their emotional impact. (Thank you, Mary Oliver, for helping me realize that with your book, A Poetry Handbook.)

The question becomes, do the internet-posting poets use the old forms because they are not experienced enough to do otherwise, or does the internet, as a fleeting medium, meant to be read quickly, if not skimmed, lend itself to the old forms that were meant to be spoken, the most fleeting medium of all? (Personally, I would argue the latter.)

And do the poetry journal poets, the poets of academia, use free verse and much imagery because that is the next evolution in poetry, or because they have not read enough poetry in the old forms to know how to use it and how to use rhyme and meter correctly? (Mary Oliver would argue the latter, but I am not sure. Perhaps there is another answer.)

Another interesting point is that the easiest place to find rhyming poems today is in children’s books.  Is this an attempt to educate our children in an important aspect of our history and culture, or are children’s books the last refuge of the old-fashioned poet who can use rhyme and meter to write about sunsets?

I know this post is full of questions. I welcome your ideas and comments. Let’s start a discussion about the place of rhyme, meter, and form in modern poetry.

Confirmation that my poetry is not about to be published

This column states more clearly than I ever could how poetry that does not fit inside ‘the box’ is not going to be published.

From the article:

Typically there are two types of aesthetics (following the MFA division of poetry into two major camps): the narrative/formally uninventive/epiphany-based confessional or memoiristic short poem, and the experimental/avant-garde/language poetry camp, which takes its inspiration from deconstruction and makes a fetish of the insensibility of ordinary language. A judge from one camp is never going to pick a book from another camp; it just doesn’t happen. The screeners know it, and hopefully the submitters know it too (unless they’re really stupid). Already a great deal of self-screening has taken place, and rapidly amplifies during the early stages of screening.

My poetry doesn’t fit within either of those two camps, and I don’t have an MFA (nor the time or opportunity or desire to get one).

I have been working on a chapbook for a few months now, and was planning on submitting it to some contests. Will I, now that I’ve read that article? Maybe, but with the awareness that it probably won’t get published.

When it comes right down to it, what I want is for people to read my writing. I would write even if no one ever saw it, but it’s a lot more fun writing to be read. Sometimes I consider self-publishing, but it seems like a lot of effort just to not be read — I don’t know if I could promote my book enough to get it into the hands of enough readers to be worth it.

Edited to add: Honestly, I’ll probably still enter contests. I wrote this feeling depressed, yet again, about my chances. But I do wish there was another way. Actually, there is another way, sending individual poems to poetry journals. I tried that. My poetry wasn’t good enough, and the journals highly recommend (sometimes require) you to read the journal ahead of time and/or have a subscription. I can’t afford multiple poetry journal subscriptions and the wasted paper makes me cringe. Living in the back of beyond (okay, not really, just hundreds of miles from a major metropolitan area) means that the local bookstores and library do not carry poetry journals. Anyway, enough of my rambling. If you’d like another perspective on the article I quoted above, here it is.

Have any of you been published? Was it by a traditional publisher, or self-published? Was it worth it?

90 Minutes of Writing

I have been struggling lately with finding time to write. So when StumbleUpon gave me this website Monday evening, I was intrigued. I decided I would try it Tuesday morning if I woke up early enough.

Well, I not only woke up when my husband’s alarm went off, I actually wanted to get up. I tried to make myself go back to sleep, but it was no good. I was up and writing twenty minutes later.

The website says to just write, but not being a college student any more with the luxury of as much time as I want (although it didn’t feel like it then), I decided I would just work on projects as I wanted to, and not try to write on just one for 90 minutes.

I worked on one poem I had forgotten I had started, finished editing another, started editing one more, wrote something for yesterday’s writing prompt at Daily Writing Practice, did some journal writing, reread and restarted The Cabin, wrote something for today’s prompt at DWP, and this blog post.

Actually, I spent over two hours writing. This from someone who normally whines, ‘I have no time to write.’ I think the mere act of having a plan made me want to go make it happen. Instead of thinking, ‘Oh, if I get up I’ll try and get some writing done,’ I was thinking, ‘I need to get up and get that writing done.’ A huge difference in those two thoughts.

I’m going to keep up this experiment, and I’ll let you know how it goes.

cross-posted at High Desert Writers.


That night changed it
All — she had never been
The same — never could be — that girl
Was gone — lost in someone else’s anger
But maybe a new innocence
Could be found, forged in love
And forgiveness

Written for Daily Writing Practice. Posted here for Poetry Potluck.

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway for the shoe ring — ends tomorrow (Tuesday)!

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