Wednesday, November 1, 2017

A Word on Wednesday: Novel

Novel, noun: 

a fictitious prose narrative of considerable length and complexity, portraying 
characters and usually presenting a sequential organization of action and scenes.

Writing a novel has eluded me. And it's not for lack of want. It is, to be honest, for lack of wanting it enough. I am, you see, a real fine starter. I'm 36,000 words into to one book, 6,000 words into another, and outlines on half a dozen others.  

But alas there has been no novel completed from this desk. My reasons and excuses are many and uninteresting. I didn't dig deep enough. Commit long enough. Focus clearly enough. Sacrifice greatly enough. Pursue purposely enough. Imagine creatively enough. And on the story goes. 

Enter November 2017. Now. This very minute.  
NaNo, NaNo, NaNo ..... 
BATMAN! (This sounds really dumb and cliche and what does it even mean? But, I won't delete it, because if I delete every sentence I write I might not ever finish. AND, NaNo is all about finishing!)

NaNo, NaNo, NaNo .... National Novel Writing Month

Well, actually the full acronym is NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo just doesn't have the ring to it that NaNo does. This online writing challenge was founded in 1999. In short, writers all over the world take up the challenge to complete an entire novel in a month. You can read more about the nonprofit and register your story here.

NaNo defines a novel as 50,000, although that is far shy of a published book. NaNo considers the challenge to create first draft. Perfection is not stressed. This equates to roughly 1,600 words a day or more simply, 2,000 words daily if you take five days off -- Saturdays and Thanksgiving for example. For non word counters, approximately 8-10 pages each writing day.  

So cheers to NaNo. Raise a pen to word counts and habit forming. My nieces, ages eleven and nine, say, "You got this." or "Come on, you got this." 

To my fellow NaNo-ers, "You got this!  See you at the finish!" 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

A Word on Wednesday: Because

The generation of Kyras and Kaylas use because as a proposition rather than as part of a clause because, you know, millennials.

And these now fully-employed adults are showing up in waves at fully-realized careers. I read the lead article in a recent issue of "The Writer" written by a 26-year-old woman who used because in this way. So, I wonder if I need to accept this use of because, because mainstream publishing has.

I mock like the snob I am. I think they use because this way because texting, or because attention span, or because entitlement. Seriously how hard is it to use the word "of."

I realize and love that language is organic, alive, dynamically moving with time. This challenges me as a writer to clearly and concisely use the contemporary most right word. Still, using because like this is jarring to me.

But, maybe that is because old school. At another look, it could just be shorthand and efficient. Using because in this way is grammatically correct, even though I find it flippant, lazy, and too casual.

Alas, I must conform to the rhythm of prose today, because they do.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

A Word on Wednesday: Stylus

Stylus: noun. An instrument of metal, bone, or the like, used by the ancients for writing on waxed tablets, having one end pointed for incision the letters and the other end blunt for rubbing out writing and smoothing the tablet. Today, people picture a plastic pen-like tool for use with electronics. 

Stylus: proper noun. The name of our Sabre 38. 

Naming a boat is a tradition born of practicality. Modern practice seeps in poetic license. License to honor those loved, admire the greats, boast of success. Yacht names, in particular, often have a story and a cleverness to them. 

As a non sailor purchasing a cruising sailboat, I approached naming it with the seriousness of naming a child. The previous owner named the vessel "Twilight," which brought up images of after hours and YA vampires. Scrubbing it from the stern was a top priority. 

I forget the runners up, but it was a fairly quick conclusion that "Stylus" would make suitable moniker. I liked the idea of the boat being an instrument for my family to use to write our story on the Great Lakes. 

This season's stories have been washed away with the lapping waves, faded in the UV rays, and lost at sea.