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I love your poetry and I made you another picspam for narcissa in the forest+

 

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Such beautiful pic spams that Noelle has made.  She is a gem.  I am going to print them out and put them in a book along with the poems they illustrate.

I have been finally getting my engine in gear to write my story for the Bookshelf Challenge by @beyond the rain, because it takes a looming deadline for me to put my writing up to the top of the priority list.  Still, yesterday I got about 2640 words written which, If I kept up that pace. would enable me to finish a NaNoRiMo this November.  (This is the year to do it, with no Christmas parties, parades, bazaars, caroling, etc.  Not even Christmas baking because you're not supposed to cook food for other people!)

This story is going to be too long, the longest one-shot written in rather a while, but we all know how stories do that -- they expand like a marshmallow in a microwave oven. Noelle @la_topolina knows how that feels 😁  Still, it's important to me for a whole lot of reasons, and so I need to write it for me even if for nobody else.  I have been attending a conference via Zoom over the weekend, logging on just to say I showed up, but listening to the speeches with only half an ear, while I continued writing in longhand on my blank paper, which was sitting just outside the view of the computer camera.

Today I worked from 12:30 to 6:30 p.m., first chopping up a whole bunch of pruned branches so that they would fit into three yard-debris bins for pick-up tomorrow, and then digging up a whole bunch of parsley from my garden to take to the food bank (digging, washing, breaking off roots and wilted leaves, bagging them in plastic bags until it's too dark to see outside any more...)

But at least while I work outside doing mindless yard work, I think intensely on my stories and come up with good stuff.  Today I figured out how to deal with the sticky plot point of how the abbott was persuaded to allow the arctic fox to be kept at the monastery as a pet.  Brilliant solution, and it adds another dimension to the plot.

Now it's time to go back to my story.  Have to keep writing a few more densely-written pages to keep on pace.

Love to you all.💝

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I have been working almost every day on my story.  Occasionally there is a day when I have stuff to do (go to work) and a dozen to-do's and errands, and when it's finally all behind me, I feel too tapped out to write.  But today I was on a roll, wrote 5229 words, and that's with a short dentist appointment fitted in.

Interesting that when you have an outline of your story and you know what's going to happen, and then you sit down to write it, and you realize that each scene is so rich that it needs thousands of words to do it justice, and that's not about adding in plot elements that you hadn't originally thought of, it's just that the story is denser, greater, more profound that you had realized.  (With more warnings than you first realized it would need.)

That's what I'm dealing with right now.  I feel confident that I can get it written by the end of November 1, but no way ready to put it into the queue because first I have to transcribe it from longhand into a document, and then I am going to send it to my two Gryffie commentators.  It's waaay too long for The Bookshelf Challenge, although I have written past the point where the provided prompt line has been inserted neatly into the story at a pivotal point.  Hard to guess the word count at which it will top out (my estimations are almost always way off).

So I won't be doing an official NaNoRiMo this year, I think, because I won't be able to start on November 1.  But you know, if you could schedule just 10 days in the month when you do nothing but write, and you knock out 5,000 words in each of those days, it could be done.  Hmmm.

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It occurred to me that there's an easy way for me to complete a NaNoWriMo -- just plan to write a one shot, and voila! the problem takes care of itself.😁

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I am going to try to write 50,000 words in November, working on two stories.

First, I want to finish Tiramisu, which is the story I started on October 15 for Bex's one-shot Bookshelf Challenge (due date today), and which is up to 33,000 words already (what in the world made me think that Tiramisu was going to be a one-shot?)  It will go over 40,000 words for sure.  When I finish, I will get back to work on The Crofter and the Snake.  So I think that I can write 50,00 words easily.  It won't all be on the same story, and I'm not sure I could finish The Crofter and the Snake  within 50,000 words (probably not), but it will be interesting to see how this all turns out.

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Spent the evening doing research on how one would make a trip by horse and wagon from York, England, to Edinburgh in the year 1348.  The roads, the towns, what is in each of these towns. how far apart they are, if they even existed in 1348.  The English and Scots were in more or less constant war, and the towns would get sacked or demolished from time to time.  Of course, I could just make it all up -- would anyone know if it was accurate or not?  Better be safe.  Someone out there would know. And the towns are actually pretty interesting.

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9 minutes ago, Oregonian said:

Spent the evening doing research on how one would make a trip by horse and wagon from York, England, to Edinburgh in the year 1348.  The roads, the towns, what is in each of these towns. how far apart they are, if they even existed in 1348.  The English and Scots were in more or less constant war, and the towns would get sacked or demolished from time to time.  Of course, I could just make it all up -- would anyone know if it was accurate or not?  Better be safe.  Someone out there would know. And the towns are actually pretty interesting.

Ah, gosh, after my own heart, Vicki! I'm writing a story set in an historical era and definitely trying to walk a fine line between it being accurate and 1) accessible to most readers, but also 2) not spending 23 hours a day researching random facts (even though I definitely do research a lot of random facts). It's so true, though -- someone out there will know! And if they know, they're sure to make a comment about it.

Which of your fics is this for?

What's the weirdest or most obscure thing you've ever researched for your writing?

Can you tell us a little bit about Tiramusu?

I know you've been working on The Crofter and the Snake for some time. How far into are you now, and how much do you have left to go?

Happy NaNo! 💚

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22 hours ago, RonsGirlFriday said:

Ah, gosh, after my own heart, Vicki! I'm writing a story set in an historical era and definitely trying to walk a fine line between it being accurate and 1) accessible to most readers, but also 2) not spending 23 hours a day researching random facts (even though I definitely do research a lot of random facts). It's so true, though -- someone out there will know! And if they know, they're sure to make a comment about it.

Which of your fics is this for?

What's the weirdest or most obscure thing you've ever researched for your writing?

Can you tell us a little bit about Tiramusu?

I know you've been working on The Crofter and the Snake for some time. How far into are you now, and how much do you have left to go?

Happy NaNo! 💚

Thank you for these questions.  It's so nice of you to ask. 😊  

The historical material I have been researching is for Tiramisu.  Tiramisu is the name of an arctic fox who was brought to medieval England by an Italian trader and left at an abbey in Surrey to be the pet of two young boys who were placed in the abbey by their families.  One of these boys is the main character.  It is a story of loss, grief, calamity, survival, spirituality, and ultimately there is a connection to the canon.  It's an important story to me because it originates ultimately from experiences in my own life, not in substance but in spirit, and expressed in the poem I wrote several years back, My House is Empty and My Family Dead, which is posted on these archives and the banner for which is my signature.  (In case anyone ever wondered why I never changed my signature.)

Weird or obscure things I've researched?  I'm sure there have been plenty.  Medicinal herbs in Scotland.  Herbs with blood-thinning properties.  Floor plans of castles, abbeys, public buildings in British cities, floor plans (and amenities or lack thereof) of working class housing in the industrial midlands in mid-twentieth England, types of tombstones, what meteorites look like and sound like just before they fall on you, the major hurricane that traveled across Scotland in January 1969 and caused a lot of damage (details thereof), surgical treatment of testicular cancer and the floor plans of London hospitals  (and the location of the sperm-freezing service), to name a few.  A bunch of medieval stuff for Tiramisu, including the Rule of St. Benedict that prescribed the conduct of monastic life in the Middle Ages.

I worked on The Crofter and the Snake some last year while recuperating at my daughter's house after having had surgery in France.  I wrote about 15,000 words of that, in two different sections of the story, and have a lot more written in my head, but with linking sections still obscure/vague. One thing I have learned while writing Tiramisu  is not to be afraid of these gaps because with a little effort and digging, the material for the gaps all falls into place.  I was facing that a few days ago, when I suddenly realized that the distance from Surrey to northern Scotland was a lot longer in miles than I had been imagining, and I had to get my character from here to there, but I couldn't just have him walk all that distance, especially since he didn't have any logical reason to go there.  Moment of panic, and then I got to thinking and figured out clever, interesting ways to get him there (in four stages) and logical reasons why he would do that.  Some of this comes from the research; you run across interesting nuggets of fact that supply the plot progress that you need (e.g. Aberdeen was pretty much destroyed by the English in 1336 during the ceaseless fighting between the Scots and the English -- bingo, a plot hole filled in).  So I have been in a state of catatonia with The Crofter and the Snake since last summer, but I think that Tiramisu is helping me get back into the groove.

I'm so glad you asked about my stories.  This pandemic season has been a good time to hunker down and write.  I told my daughter what to get me for Christmas: a large, really detailed map of the British Isles.  She said she would. 😁

 

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Hi, everyone.  Reporting here for what I have accomplished since Sunday.  I didn't do any writing on Sunday, just research, but it was necessary, so then I knew what I was going to write.  Went to work Monday morning, came home at noon, wrote 1811 words on Tiramisu, then had all day today pretty much off, set a goal to write enough to make the first 3 days of November average out to 1667 words per day, bested that by a little bit, even with constantly hopping up to do internet research, some of it long and dragged out.  So the results are:  Tiramisu is up to 37,662 words in 20 days of writing (since October 15), and I have written 5035 words in the first 3 days of November.  It will be a huge edit job when I finally get the initial draft of Tiramisu finished, fixing all the awkward sentences.  

What's not getting done: housework and yard work.  I just hope the snow holds off this year.  It usually starts snowing around Thanksgiving.

Best of wishes to everybody else who's doing this mad project 🤪

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2875 words today, 7910 words so far in November.  Total words for Tiramisu are now 40,545 since I started it on October 15 (21 days of writing on this story.)  Went to work in the morning, wrote in the afternoon and evening.  Tomorrow is entirely free, except for some ordinary chores.  Martin is now in Edinburgh, will try to get him to Aberdeen by tomorrow night.

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Update. Total words written today 3204.  Total words written in November: 11,114.  Total words written on Tiramisu since October 15: 43,749.  Done writing for today.  Started at 8:05 a.m. and wrote steadily, with brief time-outs for lunch, washing a few dishes, and some internet research.  Medieval cargo ships, anyone?  Now I am fried, depressed (my poor main character, nothing goes right for him in the long run) (but there's hope), and ready to do anything else.  Paying bills would be more fun.  Now I'm thinking it's such a downer that no one will want to read it, or perhaps I'm simply overcome by the effort of creating this stuff.  Maybe just reading it would be easier. 

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Update.  Words written today: 2434.  Total words written in November: 13,548.  Total words written on Tiramisu  since October 15: 46,183.  Martin has not arrived in Aberdeen yet, but at least he is on the boat.  Worked in the morning, then came home at noon, started writing.  So I had only a half a day's worth of writing time, did pretty well.  One thing surprised me: when Martin wanted to board the boat, the guy at the gangplank didn't want to let the fox on the boat, so Martin had to pay him a bribe; I wasn't expecting that.  I was feeling bummed by my story yesterday evening, thinking it was 45K words of garbage, tortured sentences and endless misery, but then I went back and started reading large chunks of the manuscript and decided it wasn't so bad after all, so I felt perked up.  Don't suppose that happens to anyone else.

Love and support 🤗 to everyone else who is doing this colossal job.😬  Keep chugging away.💥

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Words written today: 3097.  Total words written in November: 16,645.  Total words written on Tiramisu since October 15: 50,280.  If I were ever to write a novel, I would never have guessed it would be Tiramisu.  Martin is now on the boat from Edinburgh to Aberdeen, and there were some brief amusing sections (how he got the cook on the boat to feed the fox along with all the crew members and passengers, and the business about the dead rat) along with the more serious and poignant stuff.  They will arrive in Aberdeen soon.  Bex @beyond the rain, see the monster you released!

I was in on the Willamette Writers' Saturday morning Zoom Coffee Klatch today.  We just log on and talk about writing. Today we got to talking about how people from one environment (say, the big city) can be very uncomfortable in a different environment (say, the rural country) because it's so different from what they're used to (say, they're worried about bears and cougars, or the woods look like something out of a horror movie, or they feel unsafe without lots of people around).  One woman (Katherine) said that the unease that a person feels in an unfamiliar environment can be used in story development, and I thought Yes.  Martin will soon be marching through Aberdeenshire, which looks very different from the southern England he is used to, and he will be feeling more keenly his loss of his home, family, and all that he has ever known, and the repeated rejection/loss he keeps experiencing during his search for a refuge.  So I told her, "The idea you just mentioned will work perfectly for my story, at just about the point I am writing." (The story would have worked okay without that element, but that concept makes the story richer.)  She was pleased to know that her suggestion had taken immediate root.  :) 

Good to lurk among people's Novel Nests and see how many of us are keeping up with this project.  Love to you all.  May you all receive a big map of the British Isles for Christmas.🎁

Vicki

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Hi, guys.  Update.  Today:  3141 words.  In November:  21,652 words.  Tiramisu (Since October 15):  54,685 words  Spent much internet time hunting down the floor plan of the Church of St. Nicholas in Aberdeen in 1348, managed to locate a very useful site that gave me a lot of detail, more than I needed, but saved me from the faux pas of accidentally describing the church as it looked in the 1500's.  Wouldn't want to do that, heavens no!  Now Martin is on just about the last leg of his journey.  Not many more days of writing on this story, and then I switch over to The Crofter and the Snake. Won't be able to start typing Tiramisu from the manuscript until November is over.  It's gonna be a bear when I start typing.  Not looking forward to that.

Drinking a lot of tea.  Trying to do at least a little bit of yard work.  Dug all my carrots on Sunday afternoon (did well with carrots this year), raked a lot of leaves, chopped a bunch of brush and put it all into the yard-debris bins for Monday morning pickup.  So Sunday was not at all a high-word-count day.  Hoping the weather continues to hold.

Thinking of you all as we frenetically write.  ✏️

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Vicki, I'm so excited for both of these stories, and I'm really glad that you're persevering! I think Tirimisu sounds fascinating, especially because I know how well-researched it will be. A detailed map of the British Isles sounds like the perfect present :)Really both of these stories are such good ideas and I'm cheering for you as you make progress on them. (Now you know my secret for churning out words--I let the housework slide)

How old is Martin? What spurned him off on this journey? What parts of The Crofter and the Snake are you most looking forward to writing?

Happy writing!

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Hi, Noelle!  To answer your questions:  Martin is 15 years old.  His father made a promise to God, when his wife was in a difficult labor with her first child, that if God spared her life and the baby's life, then he (Martin's father) would give a son to the church. (This was in 1328.)  She survived, and so when her third son was 7 years old (and his father had saved enough money to pay the entrance fee), the little boy was taken to a monastery two days' journey away and left there.  At the monastery his name was changed from Gerard to Martin (for St. Martin).  He gains a best friend, a same-age boy named Tom, who was also left there by his own father, for a different but no more sympathetic reason.  When the boys are 12 years old, a visiting Italian trader with goods to sell to the monastery also has a tame arctic fox, which he leaves (by unusual and inexplicable procedure) at the monastery as a gift for the two boys.  In 1348, when Martin is 15, the bubonic plague arrives in the south of England and spreads northward, reaching the town where the monastery is located and eventually killing everyone in the monastery except Martin.  He flees north, looking for a place that will take him in.  Much happens to him along the way, always driving him further north.  He meets and interacts with various people, but the one constant in his life is the fox, Tiramisu.   The story has laugh-out-loud scenes and heart-wrenching scenes.  I'm coming close to the end.

I have some disconnected sections of The Crofter and the Snake written, so I am looking forward to getting those connected up, and then a lot of the middle, to keep the pace going.  The end (the Battle of Hogwarts) is written a lot in my mind; I tend to focus on the exciting or shocking (by my tame standards) scenes, and then have to figure out how to make it all work together.  There is a lot of stuff (events, dialogue, etc) from a much earlier short draft of the story that can be slotted in  But my success with Tiramisu is giving me confidence that I will be able to fill it all in.  The nice thing about historical settings is that in the course of the necessary research, you can run across all sorts of useful information and ideas.

Thank you for the questions, Noelle. 😁

Update: Total words for November: 25,146.  Total words for Tiramisu (since October 15): 58,179

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Update.  Total words for November:  29,816.  Total words for Tiramisu (since October 15): 62,849.  So I did write more than 50,000 words in a month, and the story is close to done.  Working on a tricky long conversation right now, so it will be a slow page or two until I get past this point.  Takes a while to figure out what the characters are going to say (what and how much they will reveal, the points they will try to make in the conversation), so I will be pushing these lines around for a while.

Wishing you all good luck, and hoping that the plot elements will all fall into place.  🥰

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Here it is Wednesday, and I haven't reported on my writing for a few days.  My word count for November (all on Tiramisu) is 34,351.  My total word count for Tiramisu, begun on October 15, is 67,378.

 I saw a remark that Noelle @la_topolina wrote on someone else's Novel Nest (don't remember whose) in which she said that her custom is to write a first draft and then to retype the entire story into a new document, using the pages of her first draft as a template which is spiffed up in the second typing, and I thought to myself, "My gosh, that's a lot of work."  Then I realized that I do the exact (almost) same thing, but my first draft is all hand-written, and when I type it into a document I spiff it up.  So right now I have this big stack of paper, which is my manuscript in the most literal sense of the word, sitting on a clipboard, waiting to be turned into a typescript.

I ran into a slow-slogging spot, a significant conversation between two people, and I wasn't sure how to deal with it, so I just put that scene on hold and went onto the next scene, which is the final section of the story.  I am letting my subconscious work on the section that I have set aside, but that section serves as a link to what came before and how the story ends, so when I have the two bookends of this final section,  it will be easier to fill in the conversation.  Like putting up towers on either side of a canyon and then building the suspension bridge that links them.  So you see that I am close to done.

A cheery wave of the hand to everyone who is chugging along on this journey.  May you be pleased with and proud of whatever you end up with.🥰

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Here it is Sunday.  Wrote 2234 words today on Tiramisu for a total of 42,232 words in November.  Total written on Tiramisu since October 15:  75,310 words.  Almost done (but I keep saying that, don't I?)  Actually, the story does keep proceeding towards its end slowly.  It will end before I reach 50,000 words in November, so I will have to switch over to The Crofter and the Snake to finish out the month.  I am going to go to my daughter's house for Thanksgiving. It's only two hours away by car, and it will just be her and her two children, all of whom work and/or do school remotely, so I am going to dare to make the journey.  Who knows what the country will be like by Christmas?  She wants me to bring the manuscript of Tiramisu and read it to her, but no way I could read the whole thing aloud.  It will be a little longer than Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone  (but not making any comparisons as to quality). 🤪

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Posted Tuesday.  Wrote 3554 words today, for a total of 47,189 words in November.  2811 words to go to reach 50,00 in November.  Total words written on Tiramisu since October 15:  80,267.  No more than a thousand words to go -- I'm on the tail end of the final scene.  Then I switch over to The Crofter and the Snake to fill out the 50,000.  

I found a spot on the internet which answers the question 'How long does it take to read Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone?'  The answer was 5 hours 20 minutes if you read at 300 words per minute.  Now this is for silent reading, not reading aloud.  If you double that for reading aloud, I could read the manuscript to my daughter and granddaughter in 10 hours and 40 minutes!  (Probably not gonna happen.  Maybe the first 10,000 words max.)

A wave of the hand to all the first timers in NaNoWriMo (self included) who are managing to do more than you ever thought you could do. 👋

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Hi, guys.  I have finished Tiramisu.  It topped out at 82,195 words, of which 49,117 were written in November.  That means that I need to write only 883 words more on The Crofter and the Snake in order to reach my goal of 50,000 words.  I will do that after Thanksgiving.

This has been an eye-opening experience for me -- how much I can do when I set my mind to it, and how one idea can expand to fill a whole novel.  I have learned so much about the life of medieval England, especially the monastic life.  It has been great.:)

My best wishes for you all to finish strong.🥰

P.S. The format here today is wonky.  All my badges are lines up in a vertical column, and there's nothing below them, no place to indicate reactions.  Hope it will restore itself soon.🤪

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Hi, everybody.  I'm back from spending Thanksgiving with my daughter.  She read the manuscript of Tiramisu and liked it very much, but she mentioned two points in the story where she would have liked to see a bit more development, not changing the story but just expounding on these two points a bit more.  So I will do that when I type it up.  So now I have to write 883 words more of The Crofter and the Snake to make 50,000 words in November. I tried to jot down some ideas for how I want to handle the next chapter, but it's still missing that special something.  So we worked on a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle instead.

It is hard to switch mental gears.  Tiramisu was pretty very intense, and by comparison anything else seems less worthy of effort.  But perhaps if I just reread what I have written so far for Crofter/Snake, I will get back in the mood.  

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I reread my chapters of The Crofter and the Snake, but I can't get back into that.  After Tiramisu, nothing else seems to matter.  So I finished out my 50,000 words, plus some extra, by expanding the two parts that my daughter thought were a little hasty and thin. Now I will start typing the manuscript, doing little polishes as I go, and start putting the chapters up on the archives.  This has been quite an experience.  My daughter said that she thought that this story could be published, but I said no, because the editors would say that I should change the title, cut out the fox, and add a bunch of explicit sex scenes because that's what readers are looking for.  She said that it could be a YA novel, and I said really, something as gruesome as this?  And she said that YA novels nowadays are pretty hard-hitting, and she gave me some examples of the kind of stories that are being written for children my granddaughter's age.  And, she said, the editors would not insist on a string of sex scenes.  Still, my characters are living in a culture (the 1300's) so far removed from ours, with basic assumptions so different from ours, that it could be hard to relate.  I don't know.  But it's a story I had to write.

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Congratulations Vicki!! I'm so proud of you ❤️

It sounds like Tiramisu is a very special story. I can't wait to read it, however you decide to publish it. The archives are always here, however if publishing professionally is something you would like to try I encourage you to go for it. The YA genre is more about type of story than about targeted age group. If there's anything I can do to help, let me know.

Awesome job!

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