Category Archives: writing

NaNoWriMo Update 1

Appeal Request from Lenny Bruce v. Hon. John M. Murtagh, Criminal Court of the City of New York: Special Sessions: County of New York: Part 2B: Frank S. Hogan, The District Attorney of the County of New York, 12/15/1964
Well, now that November is 12 days old, NaNoWriMo is ending the second week. With a goal of 1,667 words a day, I should be completing just over 20,000 words today.

But I’m not. I should make it well past the 3,000 word mark today. And though that’s not on track for winning this year’s NaNoWriMo, I’m actually very pleased with myself.

So far, my NaNoWriMo story (with the terrible title Mars Attack [it desperately needs to be finished so it can tell me a better title]) is the longest work of fiction I’ve written. I write a lot of very short stories and rambling blog posts, but I don’t usually write even short-stories. The only other venue I’ve written so many words in was the MA, but even there I ranged on the short side of all the writing. My thesis, the giant paper that I spent almost 2 years researching and writing in order to get my degree, was short at almost 70 pages.

Continue reading NaNoWriMo Update 1

NaNoWriMo 2010

Well, it’s November again. All Hallows Eve was spent watching black and white horror movies, Rocky Horror Picture Show, and Walking Dead.

And when the clock rolled over to mark the beginning of November, National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) kicked off. And for the second year, I’m attempting to write a novel length (50,000 words) story all in the month of November.

Last year was my first attempt, and I think I set too high of a goal for myself then. But this year I have a longer story mulling in my head and acceptance of my limits as a writer. But I also want to challenge myself to get better, and the only way to do that is to try tasks that I think are just outside of my ability.

And so I’m on attempting NaNoWriMo again. We’ll see how many words I put down this year. I’ll post updates here, for people not signed up on the NaNoWriMo site. Or you can friend me there. I go by the handle EnglishN3rd.

If you’re headed into a month of furious writing – good luck. If you’re sitting out this year – don’t feel too bad if all the writers you know are absorbed in their projects. November isn’t that long, so we’ll all be back before you know it!

Apocalypse Hub

Taken near ZonnebekeI have a new place to write! I’m still writing here about whatever random stuff enters my head and whatever stories I can get together enough to post.

I’m also still writing (quite frequently) at PopArmy, because I need someplace to write about the TV shows I love and the movies that drive me nuts.

But now I’m writing about apocalyptic/post-apocalypse anime and manga at I will honestly take any excuse to write about another of my favorite forms of entertainment, and when I found this one, I knew I had to take it. I thought of literally 7 series instantly, and new with just a tiny amount of research, I would find more.

It’s a weekly(ish) column on a great website. It’s not all doom and gloom, it’s mostly the funny things we’re creating for the end of the world. I think with all the world insanity, some people have overreacted a little about the end happening all around us. This site highlights the best elements of that shared crazy.

So check it out, have some fun, and be prepared for the end of the world. Or at least see how other people are getting ready. I’ll have the icon off to the side always linked there, so you’ll never have to look far. Enjoy the apocalypse!

Pop Army

This is just a quick update about where I write. I’ve started writing for Pop Army, a pop culture website about movies, tv, and the celebrities that tie in there.

Jennifer Hudock and James Melzer, friends I’ve made through Twitter and other online forums, started it as an outlet for their passion about entertainment. They were kind enough to let me start writing for them, and so I have. Mostly about the about the tv shows I love, which is something that never fit very well here. So it’s a win all the way around.

So if you’re looking for a place to keep up with all types of entertainment news and pop culture, check out the articles there. The icon will be in my sidebar, so you’ll always know how to find it.

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I dwell in possibility

I haven’t been writing recently because I couldn’t. Journaling led my mind down unhelpfully distracting bunny trails; stories stagnated after the first line or two; frustrations over minor setbacks roadblocked my blogging.

Maybe you’ve been in this kind of situation. You think it’s writers block or something only mastered by pushing through and continuing to write. That’s what I thought, but when my inability to write only grew, I knew the reason was something I’d never encountered.

So I followed the only logical path and stopped writing. I hardly even tweeted original thoughts, leaving my feed to pass along information from other people I wanted to share. I embraced the lack of writing in my life (although begrudgingly) and opted instead to think through the potential causes, to reconnect with friends I made not online, to make new friends.

The distance from my current way of life showed me that the possibilities were happening so fast they were overwhelming my ability to organize my thoughts. TCA moved so fast that I had more opportunities than I knew what to do with, new options for sharing my writing kept appearing, everyone had a great idea that I wanted to help with all at once, and I had so many stories running through my head I couldn’t tell them apart.

I know for many people these kinds of moments make life exciting. And it was exciting. But I hadn’t prepared for the onslaught of possibility, and so I was overwhelmed.

But the time away from everything, especially those that I love and make my life fantastic, gave my brain the space it needed to get itself organized.

So now I can dwell in possibility, embracing life and what I love.

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On the willing suspension of disbelief

I read mostly science fiction and fantasy. I watch a lot of fantasy and science fiction movies and tv shows. And I listen to mostly science fiction and fantasy podcasts (with a darker, horror bent).

And I’m telling you that so you know I am very willing to suspend my disbelief.

You want to throw someone out of an airlock and pick them up alive in 30 seconds, I’m with you. I’m not tied to hard or soft science fiction; I love  both. Want magic and elves and faeries and Dream to be real characters interacting with everyday people? Sweet. I’m very well versed in the lore and am looking forward to seeing what you do with the conventions. I’m even willing to go with changes to the rules that have been set up over the history of writing, if you’re doing something interesting (I’d put up with sparkly vampires as long as you can kill them with a wooden stake and don’t break your own rules to tell a stalker story).

But what I’m finding is that I don’t like to discover what genre you’re in half way through your work. If your work is  a short story, then I can go with the whole thing and find out at the end, but that’s because you aren’t a significant time commitment.  And I generally pick up books in the science fiction/fantasy section, which gives you more time too. But if you’re a movie or a tv show, I better have the same idea you do in the  first 15 minutes or the first episode.

And as I come across more stories, I find that I need to have a better idea of what kind of science fiction or fantasy you are. There are different rules, and I need to know what to falls under the contract of willing suspension of disbelief in your story.

I realized this last night when I was watching the finale of Lost. I watched the first couple of seasons, but then left the show, as the lack of answers was too frustrating. But since I knew everyone would be talking about the finale, I made an effort to see it. I caught most of the recap, and felt prepared enough to watch the end without being too confused over all the new characters and plot developments.

And I as I watched the final episode, I kept thinking of the fifth book in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy trilogy (you read that right) where the brackets all start closing and the variables become constants. And it dawned on me that Lost was not primarily science fiction, like I’d initially thought, but it was fantasy.

I’d never thought Lost was hard science fiction, because really what actual scientific explanation could there be for an island that doesn’t exist on the maps with all the satellites in orbit and Google maps . But the idea of the magnetic field, and the company that worked on the island seemed to fit into soft science fiction. And I can go with that. That’s more like Eureka, and while there’s some scientific basis, it’s really mostly made up. Like hard science fiction and fantasy had a kid.

finish the rambling

Dark Side Anthology Project

Are you a writer of short stories or poems? Does your work tend toward the other side of the mirror and carry a slightly twisted bent?

Then you should submit a piece of your work for the Dark Side Anthology. Edited by Jennifer Hudock and Pat Pillars, this collection is looking for new works by new and recognized authors. The deadline is the end of May, and you can find all the detailed information here.

Seriously, if you have something you want to share, you should submit it, you never know what could happen!

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653, or NaNoWriMo Day 1

It’s a sad word count to start, but that’s the number of words for my first day of my first NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).

There are numerous excuses for why my word count is pathetic, but excuses are for suckers.

What I’m loving about this project, besides the forced deadline (which I will put off like all other deadlines :)), is what I’m discovering about how I write non-school work. I know my process for short stories – write whatever comes into my head until something else attracts my attention and then come back to the story long enough to smooth the end into something I can live with.

The novel so far is running the same way. Since there is less to distract me currently, I am writing longer stories. But I have yet to hit my general word count for other stories, so I’ll see what happens when I work more tomorrow.

I know there are many other writers who are part of NaNoWriMo who have plans. I follow authors who actually have people buy their books in stores and they use this time to write first drafts of novels they will sell.

I am not in this category. Right now my story is dialogue. I’ve never written this way before. I have no idea who my narrator is. I don’t even know if this novel will be 1st person or one of the 3rds. 2nd doesn’t seem to fit. I don’t even know where the story is going.

It’s all rather fun.

I’m enjoying the discovery part. I have no pressure for this novel to work. I expect it to completely suck. So my plan is to enjoy this time and learn more about how I write and see if I can cobble together enough to refine it into a decent story. Oh, and listen to all those albums I’ve been hearing about recently and pick some up. Listened to The Dresden Dolls “A is for Accident” tonight; solid beat with words that only occasionally stood out. Music I’d like to learn the lyrics to sometime but too difficult to sing without more effort. Perfect writing music.

So here’s the beginning of my novel writing month. Because everyone should have that novel they wrote that one time in a drawer somewhere.

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No, it’s not a Simpsons reference. Its the National Novel Writing Month. It’s a support community for writing a complete (50,000 words) novel in the month of November.

I signed up because I think giving this a go will be entertaining and a good challenge now that the MA is done. I’m sharing because I’m sure that I have at least one friend who needs a push to just sit down and write. This is fast drafting at it’s best.

Leave a comment to let me know if you decide to join in the insanity.

M.A. Project “Continuing the Conversation”

After all this time researching, complaining, writing, avoiding, editing, and drinking more coffee than can possibly be good for a human I have finally finished my M.A. Project*.

My project basically argues that the communication technology available today is blending the lines between author and reader. This isn’t a bad thing. So I hope you enjoy it!

Continuing the Conversation (heads up – it’s a Microsoft Word .doc)
Creative Commons License
Continuing the Conversation: How Communication Technology Impacts Traditional Roles by Chandra Jenkins is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License

I have to thank Cory Doctorow and Scott Sigler because my project couldn’t have worked without them. And if you’re a neglected family member or friend, I owe you way more than a thanks on my blog!

*Yes, it is basically a thesis. Yes, there is a really boring, technical reason why the English Deptarment at CSUF can’t call it a thesis. No, I don’t really know what that reason is.