the Unending Journey of the Wandering Author

A chronicle of the unending journey of the Wandering Author through life, with notes and observations made along the way. My readers should be aware I will not censor comments that disagree with me, but I do refuse to display comment spam or pointless, obscene rants. Humans may contact me at thewanderingauthor at yahoo dot com - I'll reply as I am able.

Location: New England, United States

I have always known I was meant to write, even when I was too young to know the word 'author'. When I learned that books were printed, I developed an interest in that as well. And I have always been a wanderer, at least in my mind. It's not the worst trait in an author. For more, read my writing; every author illuminates their heart and soul on the pages they write upon.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

NaNo Diary: Day Twenty-Six

I managed a pretty good spurt today. I still don't want to do a victory roll, just in case that fans the fire in my starboard engine, but I can see the airstrip from here, and I still seem to have power. I can probably even glide through tomorrow without writing anything, although if I get the chance I'm going to put fingers to keyboard.

Today's Total: 3,798 words
Days Left: 4
Cumulative Total: 48,179 words
(4,837 words ahead of target)

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

NaNo Diary: Day Twenty-Five

As I've found before, desperation is often a great spur to writing. I seem to be coming down with something, but before I felt too awful, I managed to write enough words to at least get me out of immediate danger. I still won't say I'm sure of a safe landing, but I have the damage under control. I also have only a few days left. We'll just have to see how things turn out. Of course, it helps that I've hit an exciting part of the story...

Today's Total: 6,096 words
Days Left: 5
Cumulative Total: 44,381 words
(2,706 words ahead of target)

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NaNo Diary: Day Twenty-Four

Yesterday's trip was long and grueling, and I am still worn out (and somewhat dehydrated). Also, in the "it never rains but it pours" department, one of my cats was sick, nothing serious but enough distraction to keep me from writing until late. I managed a bit, but not nearly enough to catch up. I am dangerously far behind right now. Still, I plan to keep writing. If I lose, it may as well be by as slim a margin as possible (although if I hit the deadline with 2 or 3 words to go, you may hear my scream even if you live on another continent...).

Today's Total: 1,055 words
Days Left: 6
Cumulative Total: 38,285 words
(1,723 words behind target)

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NaNo Diary: Day Twenty-Three

As I expected, I got nothing done. The crisis was averted, thanks to the efforts of Senator Reed's staff and a very helpful gentleman who worked at the JFK Airport in New York. Still, the overnight drive down there, and the subsequent return, left me far too tired to write. Sigh.

Today's Total: 0 words
Days Left: 7
Cumulative Total: 37,230 words
(1,102 words behind target)

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

NaNo Diary: Day Twenty-Two

Today, I did manage to get some writing done. Not as much as I'd hoped, but at least some. I'm still (technically) ahead, but that's going down the drain tomorrow. As I write this, after 10:00 PM, I am within minutes of leaving on a long, weary overnight journey to New York City, to (hopefully) rescue my son-in-law from being entangled in a mistake that isn't his own. Thanks to Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island and his staff (yes, I live in Massachusetts, but my daughter and son-in-law live in RI) there is some hope of that. Otherwise, the same government that trips over itself to hand billions to the very executives whose stupidity and greed caused a financial meltdown couldn't be bothered to correct their own errors in time to spare one ordinary, decent person from suffering. All of which means that I'm going to lose any chance of writing tomorrow, so I really only have seven days left - at best. Still, I'm only seeing black smoke pour from my wings, and not flame, as I try to guide this novel in to a safe landing at Fifty Thousand Words Base.

Wish me luck!

Today's Total: 1,964 words
Days Left: 8
Cumulative Total: 37,230 words
(565 words ahead of target)

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NaNo Diary: Day Twenty-One

Between rushing around trying to get things done that absolutely had to be done, and being upset, I didn't manage to write a single word... I just destroyed most of my lead in a single day. I can smell the smoke pouring off my wings as I spiral down in the air...

Today's Total: 0 words
Days Left: 9
Cumulative Total: 35,266 words
(259 words ahead of target)

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

NaNo Diary: Day Twenty

I had a good day today, and finally built up a lead. I am tempted to say I smell victory in the air, but I remember the video of the bicycle racer who threw up his hands in victory just before the finish line - and crashed, only to have someone behind him cross the finish line while he was struggling up. With that in mind, I don't want to get too cocky, but at least today was a good day. I hope to have more like it. I have two more days before I lose a day, and I'd like to make the most of them.

Today's Total: 3,548 words
Days Left: 10
Cumulative Total: 35,266 words
(1,926 words ahead of target)

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

NaNo Diary: Day Nineteen

Today I had to run some urgent errands, and didn't do as well as yesterday, but I did hit an important milestone. Today I caught up, and actually have a few words over the ideal target of where I should be. Still, I have only eleven days left, and at least four of those are days when I won't be able to fit in any writing. That leaves me at best seven days to write almost 20,000 words if I want to win. I'll need to average almost 2,700 words per day. Well, we'll see. To my well wishers and commenters: I hope you understand, until this madness is over and I've won or fallen short, I am not likely to have any time to visit your blogs and thank you, but I do appreciate your visits. Special thanks to DBA Lehane and Wolfbaby, two old friends who have let me know they're in my corner. Those of you I don't know, I'll drop by and visit you once this race is over and I've caught my breath...

Today's Total: 2,490 words
Days Left: 11
Cumulative Total: 31,718 words
(45 words ahead of target)

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NaNo Diary: Day Eighteen

Today, in spite of disruption, frantic preparation, a looming crisis, and the knowledge that I will lose at least four more days, two at the very end of November, to depress me - in spite of those things, I managed to close much of the gap. I wrote a fairly decent amount, and I have some idea where I'm going, so I may manage to do well tomorrow as well. Still, wish me luck. This isn't going to be easy even if I do start to pull ahead. This weekend, I'll not only miss at least one day's writing, I'm going to end up so exhausted I'll be lucky to get back on track at all. Still, I plan to forge ahead, and hope.

Today's Total: 3,649 words
Days Left: 12
Cumulative Total: 29,228 words
(778 words short of target)

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

NaNo Diary: Day Seventeen

With potential disaster staring me in the face, the crisis I've mentioned before took up enough of my attention I barely managed to hold my own today. I'm going to have to do much, much better in the next few days to make it past the finish line in time. I need to close the gap entirely, and to forge well ahead of where I "ought" to be, assuming I wasn't going to lose at least 3 more days of writing time in the next two weeks. (In other words, I need to close up the gap completely, then quickly build up a lead of at least 5,000 words. A tough order, with so few days to go.)

Today's Total: 1,691 words
Days Left: 13
Cumulative Total: 25,579 words
(2,760 words short of target)

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NaNo Diary: Day Sixteen

As I'd planned, I went to help a friend, and got back home too late to do any writing at all. I fell behind again, of course, but I'd planned for this and normally I wouldn't be too worried. I could probably handle it without trouble. The crisis I mentioned, however, is going to cause me to miss a few more days. So the outlook is very uncertain.

Today's Total: 0 words
Days Left: 14
Cumulative Total: 23,888 words
(2,784 words short of target)

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

NaNo Diary: Day Fifteen

Well, despite an awful day and too many errands, I managed to keep up and not fall further behind. The only problem? Tomorrow I will be going to see a friend; plans I'd made weeks ago. I doubt I'll manage to write a word. And I'm still behind, a little bit. So I'll be far behind on Monday. The worse problem, of course, is not only Thansgiving (I was planning on that, and on tomorrow) but a get-together the weekend after Thanksgiving, and a need to deal with the crisis I've mentioned next weekend - leaving me with four days during November I'm not likely to be able to write. And I'm behind... I suspect I'm doomed, but I'm going to keep trying. Wish me luck.

Today's Total: 1,828 words
Days Left: 15
Cumulative Total: 23,888 words
(1,117 words short of target)

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Saturday, November 15, 2008

NaNo Diary: Day Fourteen

Today was marked by so many interruptions and disruptions I was sure it would be a total disaster. Yet when the dust settled, and I looked at the final counts, I didn't gain any more ground, but came only 8 words short of holding my ground. Not too bad, for a day I thought would set me back all over again. We'll see what tomorrow brings.

Today's Total: 1,659 words
Days Left: 16
Cumulative Total: 22,060 words
(1,278 words short of target)

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

NaNo Diary: Day Thirteen

Today everything went well, and I find I am now less than a single day's word count short of where I ought to be. In other words, the gap is closing rapidly. Since I don't expect to be able to write Sunday, I don't dare grow too complacent, but at least I have improved my situation. I'm beginning to think I might really win this thing, and the result might even be worth editing into something I send to a publisher.

Today's Total: 3,637 words
Days Left: 17
Cumulative Total: 20,401 words
(1,270 words short of target)

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

NaNo Diary: Day Twelve

While not as good a spurt as yesterday, I still managed to write a fair amount today, and whittled down my shortfall some more. I hope to somehow pull ahead in the next few days, as I'm expecting to be unable to write at all on Sunday, due to a prior commitment. Some people just don't understand NaNo, after all... At the very least, I'm hoping to catch up before then, so my shortfall will be one day's quota at worst. We'll see. The best laid plans of mice and men... Then again, when all looked hopeless in 2006, I managed an incredible spurt and got my 50,000 words before November was over.

Today's Total: 2,487 words
Days Left: 18
Cumulative Total: 16,764 words
(3,240 words short of target)

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NaNo Diary: Day Eleven

I not only managed to write today, I actually wrote enough to make up for missing yesterday, and even whittled down my shortfall from earlier days, at least slightly. If I can write so many words again, I'll be nearly caught up! I'm still in the running, even if the outcome isn't certain yet. Wish me luck, since I think this cold is going to settle in for a while.

Today's Total: 3,652 words
Days Left: 19
Cumulative Total: 14,277 words
(4,060 words short of target)

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

NaNo Diary: Day Ten

Day ten was a disaster for me. Too busy fighting off a nasty bug, and fending off swarming crises, to add a single word. I'll have to struggle even harder now to make it to the finish.

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Sunday, November 09, 2008

NaNo Diary: Day Nine

Well, I'm battling a cold, so I didn't do as well as I would have liked, but I did manage to keep from doing too badly.

Today's Total: 1,752 words
Days Left: 21
Cumulative Total: 10,625 words
(4,378 words short of target)

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Saturday, November 08, 2008

NaNo Diary: Day Eight

Despite the fact that I seem to be coming down with the nasty cold that is going around, I managed to chip away at my shortfall, however slightly. I'm still not happy; I won't be until I have at least some safety margin ahead of the goal. Still, whittling down the amount I need to catch up is a step in the right direction. I don't plan on going down without a fight...

As things stand right now, if I manage 1,870 words per day for the rest of the month, I will win. That is worse than 1,667, but not horribly so. Still, that would leave me no room for any problems that might crop up, so my strategy is to write as much as I can manage, and hope to get ahead of the goal, instead of falling behind. Nevertheless, it is heartening to see that I'm not impossibly far behind.

Today's Total: 2,412 words
Days Left: 22
Cumulative Total: 8,873 words
(4,463 words short of target)

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NaNo Diary: Day Seven

I was discouraged after yesterday, errands took forever, it was a nasty day, and when I finally tried to write, it was one interruption after another. I know! You've got to get past all those issues to make a success of NaNo. Well, the first time I fell behind for a while, and still managed to catch up, so I still have hope. Still, I want to forge ahead so I have some margin for things to go wrong later in the month. Tomorrow is another day; we'll see how I do then. Wish me luck!

Today's Total: 269 words
Days Left: 23
Cumulative Total: 6,461 words
(5,208 words short of target)

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Friday, November 07, 2008

NaNo Diary: Day Six

Today's setback has a dual cause. I've already mentioned a crisis: I don't believe it would be wise to blog in detail about a situation that may be best handled quietly, but I will make one observation. Considering the awesome power the government holds over the lives of ordinary citizens, when they originally make a mistake, that mistake is called to their attention, and they correct it, it is ridiculous to think they could allow that same error to persist and prompt action which could potentially ruin someone's life, and which even if corrected has still caused so much stress and heartache. I am not even the person worst affected by this situation. So, in very large part, if I fail to finish NaNo successfully, it will be "thanks" to a careless bureaucrat who didn't care what harm their sloppiness might cause.

The really sad part is, while I doubt I'm doing it justice, I really like my idea. It has potential.

In addition, I learned a valuable lesson: either avoid writing a science fiction novel for NaNo, or figure out all the things you'll need details on ahead of time. Suddenly discovering I knew too little about space elevators and Dark Sky Stations or StratoStations left me scrambling to learn more. And more. And more. Where can they be sited? What are the geological, meterological, and political factors which might affect them? And so on, and so forth. Little writing, much research.

I really hope I can pull this off somehow. I am seriously thinking of trying to edit the finished novel for submission to a publisher. I know a lot of NaNo novels turn out junk. I know the ones that don't still require a lot of work, and I know this will need that work. But I actually think it might turn out to be an interesting book when I'm done. If I can manage to do it justice.

Today's Total: 108 words
Days Left: 24
Cumulative Total: 6,192 words
(3,811 words short of target)

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Thursday, November 06, 2008

NaNo Diary: Day Five

It was an excellent, warm fall day here. My cats desperately wanted to get out, so I made the decision to spare them an hour. I don't regret that. They were ecstatic, and enjoyed sniffing about in the leaves, leaping up trees, watching dead leaves blowing in the wind, and thinking cat thoughts.

However, after that, plumbing problems cost me more time, and aftereffects of the crisis I already mentioned cropped up, and the hours slipped away. My word count isn't horrible, but it didn't even meet the minimum target, either. So I'm falling still further short, again. I begin to fear I'll end the month very close to the goal but not quite there. I'll try to use that fear to spur me on. I want to make this work. This new novel is fun; I want to see where it takes me.

Today's Total: 1,255 words
Days Left: 25
Cumulative Total: 6,084 words
(2,251 words short of target)

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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Thoughts On Today's Election

I gladly celebrate the fact that it seems at least most Americans have finally figured out a person's skin colour has nothing to do with their fitness to be President - but I do not and will not celebrate the fact that any President has any particular colour of skin, no matter how many or how few of like colour came before him.

That is a minor point, but a very important one: until we have all learned that skin colour matters only for a physical description, we still have a long way to go. It is also a point far too many people, even those in the media who are supposed to know better, seem incapable of appreciating.

I sincerely hope that those most in need of learning that lesson, the idiotic white supremacists who believe just because a man has darker skin they are obligated to hate him, and seek to harm him, will either grow up and realise just how full of crap they really are (I'm not holding my breath waiting for that to happen), or else die of apoplexy when they see the election results, and leave the rest of us alone. They are much worse than the more common idiots who vote on the basis of skin colour, or gender, or any other totally irrelevant issue. They are filled with hate, which is far harder to combat than simple stupidity.

Personally, I didn't really support either candidate, not because of superficial issues, but because I believe the political machinery we have in place is not capable of producing any candidate who will offer real change. They all offer only one side or the other of the tarnished coin we've had all along.

However, despite my lack of personal enthusiasm, President Obama has been elected President. He has as much right to the office as any other man. If you disagree with him, write editorials, campaign for his defeat in the next election on any rational grounds you choose, and I will still respect you. Drag his race into it, and you will lose my respect. So much as suggest it might be reasonable to attack him for such an absurd reason, you prove yourself no better than Hitler, Himmler, Heydrich, Goebbels, Goring, Eichmann, or any other rabid, monstrous Nazi.

I'm sure my regular readers (if any of you are left out there) don't need to be told any of this. I wish there was no reason to write it. But, considering the recent arrest of a couple of young idiots who know nothing better than hatred, I think it is important to stand up publicly for what's important. Even those who don't think President Obama will have the ability to usher in some new Golden Age should still be willing to stand up, speak out, and make one thing plain. He may be no better than the general run of Presidents, but he is no worse, either. He is a man, with all the rights any man has, including the right to live in peace.

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NaNo Diary: Day Four

Today, now that I have my beginning more firmly on track, I was able to get back to writing. Voting, and watching the election results, distracted me a bit, but I still managed to do much better than the past two days. I'm not on target yet, but I've managed to at least narrow the gap, and it is still early in the month.

I have time to catch up, as long as I'm not foolish. The one hazard ahead: there are one or two days I know I will be lucky to manage a handful of words. I need to not only catch up, I need to build up a comfortable margin, so I can afford to lose ground a day or two.

Today's Total: 2,385 words
Days Left: 26
Cumulative Total: 4,829 words
(1,839 words short of target)

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NaNo Diary: Day Three

At least today I managed to finish editing the first day's beginning, and may be able to move the story forward. Of course, I had to trim a lot of words I'd already written. During the past three days, I have written quite a few more words than the number that shows up in my total. That's why you're supposed to save the editing for later. The trouble is, especially in the beginning, it is easy for a story to drift off course. With luck, I'll pick up some speed tomorrow...

Today's Total: 428 words
Days Left: 27
Cumulative Total: 2,444 words
(2,557 words short of target)

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Monday, November 03, 2008

NaNo Diary: Day Two

Although the crisis that threatened to derail me yesterday may not be as serious as I thought, I didn't get in nearly as much writing time as I would have liked. I also spent much of that time trimming words I'd already written yesterday, and tweaking my opening. Result?

Today's Total: 250 words
Days Left: 28
Cumulative Total: 2,016 words
(1,318 words short of target)

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Saturday, November 01, 2008

NaNo Diary: Day One

I began the 2008 NaNo challenge today. The idea is to write a novel (or at least 50,000 words of one) in a month. I started with an idea and a few notes, but no outline and my worldbuilding woefully unfinished. I'll have to try to manage it by the seat of my pants as I write.

The idea is a killer one: if I can make it work, I will have slain two of science fiction's sacred cows: the Turing Test, and the Singularity. The trouble will be keeping up the pace; to "win" NaNo, you need to write 1,667 words per day. If you miss just a day or two, that daily average rises alarmingly. Well, I managed it in 2006 - I tried in 2007, but my friend's death was just too recent, and I never had the slightest chance.

Typically, the first day was not promising. I began unprepared, and while I love writing and have some good days when 1,700 words or so is an easy target, the need to do research, worldbuilding, and plotting on the fly cuts into the time I have. A family crisis struck without warning in the afternoon: I seriously considered that I might need to drop out. Well, I decided to stay in, anyway.

I am also a poor candidate for NaNo for several other reasons. While any real veteran of NaNo would scorn some of the sleaziest tricks advocated to "win" - tricks that make you nothing but a phony who is only pretending to be as good as those of us who have won at least once, such as copying someone else's work from the Net to "prove" you "won", I go much further. Whereas many NaNo veterans will at least make zero effort to curb their wordy tendencies, in hopes that will help push them over the top, I continue to attempt to write passages that will require as little later editing as possible.

Worse yet, I cannot bring myself to follow the typical NaNo advice: to save the editing for December. I keep skipping back to polish sentences, trim stray bits of scene that aren't necessary, and so on. All of that, of course, wastes time and trims my word count severely. So I find myself running twice as hard just to reach the same finish line.

Despite those problems, I thought up a passable beginning - no real "hook", but at least something that might stir a tiny bit of interest in the reader's mind. I set up the scene, and began to set up the premise of the entire book, and I managed a total of 1,766 words. I find the inversion, 1,766 instead of the minimum 1,667 needed, amusing. Stay tuned for more episodes in the saga: will the Wandering Author trip while running with a pencil and stab himself, or will he manage to pull it off?

Today's Total: 1,766 words
Days Left: 29
Cumulative Total: 1,766 words

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