30 November 2010

Thoughts on Winning, in 50K words or less...

I chose the picture above for today for several reasons. One, it's just as cold here today as it was when I was standing there on Bamburgh Beach almost two years ago. From what I'm hearing, this sort of cold weather and SNOW is here a bit early this year. I can't remember, to be honest. My memories of last winter here in the UK are that it was freezing cold and there seemed to be snow from November until about April. I might be exaggerating, but I'm not sure I'd thawed completely before we were hit with the white stuff again.

Two, there's a castle in the background that reminds me in no small way of the one I just spent the last month writing in and out of in my NaNoWriMo work. I mentioned in a previous post that I was writing a piece of Everquest fan fiction, and I wanted to tell you a little bit about it here so that it doesn't pass into oblivion. That was a lot of work for nothing.

When I played Everquest my main character was a wood elf druid named Ginolwenye. Years ago I started a blog for her where I recorded the stuff we did in game as though it was an unfolding fantasy novel. Well, that might be tooting my own horn a bit, but I wrote in first person as Ginolwenye and it was a fun little project for awhile. Later on I turned some of that into a few disjointed prose files, which lead to a larger project that I worked on now and then over the past seven years. I started my NaNoWriMo with a totally new idea, and couldn't get anything going, so on day three I switched back to writing a new chapter for Gin and her friends and BAM, game on. The best part was the day that I discovered I was not writing a continuation of the seven year novel, but a sequel...that happened around day 15 or so.

Three...I'm alone in the photo. NaNoWriMo has fab forums that you can join and talk to others on the insane quest for 50k words in 30 days. You can get help when you're stuck. You can adopt characters that others have created but can't use. There are pep talks and commiserations. Beyond cyber-help, there are people setting up Write-Ins and Word Wars where you meet up and interact with others working on the NaNoWriMo quest. I read a lot of stuff and even posted a few things (I'm sure that those following me on Twitter will be glad when this month is over!), but for the most part I finished my 50k (a few days early, I might add!) like I started it. Alone. Just like me standing on that beach in the photo.

I'm already looking forward to Script Frenzy in April and next year's NaNoWriMo. Hopefully I can get together something that I can actually publish next November...and I will have learned how to reach out and join the community that is at the heart of NaNoWriMo. For now, though, I am going to sit back and be proud of what I've accomplished.

Well, until December 1st when I start looking at it with a critical eye and a virtual red pen that would make my English teacher mother proud...

25 November 2010

Just wanted to say that...

As of 1:00am GMT, I've reached the 50K point on my NaNoWriMo novel!!!
(It's not even really CLOSE to finished, but still...)


14 November 2010


Originally uploaded by Nancy Dunne
I can't believe I forgot to mention that I've gone completely insane and am participating in National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo. You can follow the progress of my novel with this widget which will update, allegedly, as I update the website on my progress. My project is the continuation of ... don't laugh... an EQ Fan Fic novel I've been working on for a few years...and we'll see if I can get it to 50k words by the 30th of November.

13 November 2010

On perfect shots and even better holidays.

Originally uploaded by Nancy Dunne
Simon and I have just returned from two weeks in the US and currently the evil that is jet lag is keeping me wide awake, well past my bed time. The photo in today's post is my friends Katy and Kurt's daughter Ellery, and it's an example of the photo journey this vacation became. It seemed like everything we pointed the camera at became photo gold...well, almost everything. Okay, not even almost everything. We have loads and loads of blurred and similarly Susan'ed photos that I've been weeding through to get the perfect ones for uploading.

Did I mention jet lag? 1:45am GMT. Me=awake.

The holiday seemed to simultaneously last for a month...and a minute. We'd just arrived, and we were back in Philly on the way home. We were in Greensboro on a Monday, rejoicing that we'd have another Monday in the US in a week's time...and now I'm staring down a Monday back in the UK in under 24 hours. But I think holidays are always like that...time speeds up and slows down and folds over on itself.

We arrived in Atlanta via Philly on the 28th, and took a VERY long MARTA (because it's SMARTA, natch!) ride north to meet my parents. We spent the night there, then on Friday headed to Greenville. Katy and Kurt and Ellery were kind enough to host me, Simon, and Leah, and a good time was had by all. Seriously, if I could covet someone's life/house/etc etc it would be theirs!

By the way, just in case anyone was wondering, it is not at all legal to turn left on red in the US, even when you're 99% sure that the green light you see includes your left turn lane and completely miss the fact that the lane has it's own light. Moving on.

Saturday we hit the last Greenville Farmer's Market of the season, ate lunch at my fav downtown restaurant (Blue Ridge Brewing Co) and then Simon, Leah and I dropped in at the Bark in the Park to see our friends in Greyhound Crossroads.

Saturday night we went Trunk or Treating with about a million other people. After Ellery's successful climb to the top of the bouncy slide (and Kurt's rescue of same when she decided sliding was not for her), amid rumors of candy shortages at the event, we headed back home for lots of laughs, even though Katy was feeling absolutely pants with an oncoming head cold.

Sunday morning we headed north to the Carolina Renaissance Festival. It's all I can do to walk through that gate as a patron because my heart is there, in the group that I helped found. It wasn't right to be there without a greyhound at my side, but the group has grown and done so so well...I can't wait to be a part of it next year. Many kudos, much love, and a whole lot of chemise dancing to Debbie for taking the reins and running with them in my absence. I can't wait to see where she will take the group in the future!

Sunday night saw us following Leah up to Greensboro, and Monday we got to see the house that we hope against hope she will be able to buy and move into very soon. Anyone who knows me and Leah knows that we watched Talladega Nights while we were there visiting. "Just one more shot, Ricky. One more shot..."

Tuesday we headed back to Greenville to meet with a realtor and saw a few houses. Tuesday night Katy and Kurt again opened their home to us, and we had more of the same..."Fun, Food, and Conversation!" Thanks unending to everyone that put us up for the night on our Carolina Excursion!

Wednesday we were off to Georgia to spend a night with my parents before going to Atlanta on Thursday to spend a night with my sister, her husband, and the most perfect niece anyone could EVER have, Joy. She has grown up so much since I last saw her in March! Part of what sucks about being an expat is that I feel like I have missed so much.

Friday night we headed back to north Georgia, and on Saturday we drove over to the gorgeous Unicoi State Park to meet my college classmate Heather and her new husband for lunch. To be filled under Weird Things That Only Happen When Nancy and Heather Are Together, the Georgia Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf was having their conference at Unicoi that same weekend, so the place was overflowing with interpreters.

Sunday we went to church with Mom and Dad, and Sunday night we again imposed on Katy and Kurt so that Monday morning we could meet with the realtor again to see more houses. This time, the first one we saw not only ticked ALL the boxes for us but was literally right around the corner from our friends...but it is under contract and we wouldn't be ready to buy yet if it wasn't. We had a good experience with Suzanne, our realtor, and look forward to working with her in the future.

Thanks to Anne, we had SUSHI Monday for lunch...mercy was that delicious. After she spent a very harrowing weekend looking for a lost bloodhound, I was so glad that we got to actually sit down with her for a meal. That is going to become a HABIT when we live there. Suuuuuushi.

Sorry, where was I?

Monday night saw us back with my parents, and Tuesday we drove down to meet my Aunt for lunch and hit a few outlet malls. We are nothing if not overly aware of the exchange rate being in the favor of those coming to the US from the UK. Wednesday Simon and I went up to my grandmother's house with my father to start cleaning things out, but that experience is another blog post for another day.

Thursday we bought groceries, we packed our bags, and we generally mourned the fact that we'd be leaving the US on Friday. Friday morning we were up before the sun, we drove to Atlanta, and before we knew it we were at Hartsfield on our way back across the ocean. While it's been good to get back to Daisy and Mills, my heart splinters a bit when I think of Joy hugging me, trying to give me a kiss and saying "Bye Bye, Auntsie! See you!"

When Jet Lag finds someone else to annoy I will better be able to reflect without floods of tears on a fabulous two weeks. For now though, I'm just so very motivated to get us on track to move back. Bye bye, America. See you!!

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