NaNoWriMo: Day 14

Monday, November 14th, 2011 by Rachel

I’m behind. I’m a lot behind. November has taken over, as it always does, and knocked me off my feet. I got blood drawn. I got sick. I got the results of my best blood work in four years, and all of my cholesterol levels are FINALLY in the normal range. I/We did a lot of celebrating. In a completely random and awesome act of perfect timing, I got to see The Foo Fighters with Phillip and Tammy. This is the first concert I’ve been to since before I even met Derrick. Dave Grohl (or as I typo-texted mid-show to Derrick, Dave Growl) rocked it. I’ve gotten student research paper topics approved and rough drafts graded and returned. Those comparison/contrast essays were put on the backburner, but I hope to catch up on those later this week. We had a fantastic visit from MOH Katie and her boyfriend (an artist! Woo!) this past weekend. I need to start packing for our move. I need to work on all this grading. I need to focus on finding jobs, on resubmitting rejected poems, on making Christmas presents, and most importantly writing this novel!


It’s not impossible. I think that with the right motivation (i.e. no more papers to grade!) I might be able to knock out a lot of this thing in binges and spurts. I don’t want to reveal my word count at this point. But I have a LOT outlined. I have a whole structure in place. I have chunks written at the beginning, middle, and end. I need to build characters and establish relationships. I need to figure out how to set up memories and dream sequences. But the plot is there. With this in mind, I feel already like NaNoWriMo has been a success for me. This will get written sometime. But the more I get done this month the better. I still want to reach my original 50,000 word goal. Send me positive thoughts. I don’t seem to have any NaNoWriMo buddies out there…


Monday, October 31st, 2011 by Rachel

For those of you who don’t know, Nanowrimo is National Novel Writing Month. It always takes place in November. The goal is to write 50,000 words during the month of November, about 1,666 a day. I first learned about Nanowrimo two years ago when an Engl. 1101 student named Sarah asked me if I was doing it. I’d never heard about it or noticed it. I guess, as a poet, I sometimes block out that strange fiction animal. Sarah had been involved with Nanowrimo throughout high school, thanks to an inspirational teacher, and I really appreciate that she made the effort of trying to inspire me. That semester, I “didn’t have the time,” with the chaos of finishing up my first MFA semester, as well as dealing with the unexpected news of Uncle TJ’s death.


I’ve never written a novel. During my time at NAU, I planned, outlined, and began a campus novel. This is a project that I hope to continue at some point, perhaps when we return to Asheville and I am able to spend some time around the campus that inspired my story.


This month seems like the perfect month to try Nanowrimo for the first time. I’ll NEVER “have the time” to try something like this, especially in November. I can’t make excuses, despite that pile of comparison/contrast essays that need to be graded, the jobs that need to be applied for, the house that needs cleaning, the poems that need submitting, the packing up of stuff that will be soon moved to a new location, the planning of a first pescetarian Thanksgiving, the making and buying of Christmas gifts, etc, etc, etc. Everything always gets done. This will be the ultimate exercise in time management.


Nanowrimo says to start from scratch. So I will. I’m not worried about those supposedly important writing devices like plot or setting or dialogue. I’m just going to make sure to write every day. I can always rearrange or revise later. And on top of that, I hope to post regular progress on here. I want this to work out. I want to make it through the 30 days of writing, not just for me as a wannabe fiction writer, but for me as a person and a poet. Wish me luck.

I think I’m a man on the inside

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009 by Rachel

might be a man

Haha! Maybe not exactly. I hope you appreciate my attempt at turning myself into one though.


This is something that I never quite noticed I did until fiction workshop a few semesters ago. I’d submitted this story, “H2O Intolerance,” for workshop. Someone pointed out that because I’m a woman they assumed the narrator was a woman and was surprised when they got to the second page and realized that the narrator was in fact a man.


I never realized that people normally write from the perspective of their own gender. It just never occurred to me. My story needed a male narrator, so I created one. Even my long neglected novel follows a male professor. I knew from the moment I started writing it that my hero was, in fact, a man.


Last night, in poetry workshop, we had an in class exercise. It wasn’t anything fancy, just write a 10 line poem in 10 minutes following a set of certain stipulations (use some sort of saying/adage/proverb that you’ve manipulated in some way, then use five from a list of eight words that Laura put up on the board). I wrote it the way I do any poem, and I didn’t have a hard time doing it.


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