Cake– no, Novel or death!

Okay, okay, I’m jumping on the bandwagon. Prodded by people like Syp and Scarybooster, and several others I’m not awake enough to remember yet (oh hai Rivs!), here I am.

Qualifications? Who needs ’em! But as it happens I’ve got some degrees and they might have to do with literature in two languages, which makes me educated enough to have no clue about anything. Also, I’m really mean about books that are poorly edited (let alone poorly-written — everyone’s a critic and that includes me), not to mention books in which the foreign-languageyness is incorrect. If you’re going to include French or German or some other language I can read in your book, make sure you get it right or Ysh will smash. The French really don’t spend all day saying “Oooh la la” — in fact they pretty much never say it at all. It’s not a French expression, at least not in the way it’s used in English. And while I know French conjugations and tenses ain’t easy, that’s absolutely no excuse for a professional publication to get things wrong.

(Oh yeah, you should see me yelling at TV shows too. YSH SMASH!)

All of which means that if I have the balls James Mason gave a fly, I’ll put my money where my mouth is and join up. Wait… the whole body parts association thing in the previous sentence isn’t sitting well. Eh, never mind, I can come back and edit it out later.

screamThe rather precarious excuse I gave last week was that I’d be snowed under with words — err, work. I was slated to have 70,000 words to translate in November and adding 50,000 of my own to that didn’t really appeal. (Why yes, it was a yeller-bellied, lily-livered pansy-ass excuse, but we’ll pretend it was valid.) However, said work has been delayed and my excuse vanished.

You’d think the karma pixies were conspiring or something.

Just as well there’s a couple of days to go because I have almost no idea what I’m going to write or how I’m going to write it. I’ve also been one of those pretentious suffering blocked types for many many years, which I won’t bore you with other than to mention in passing that putting pen to paper has gone from being as basic as breathing to me to being something that will break me out in a cold sweat, literally. Fortunately, NaNoWriMo actually provides a workmanlike, no-nonsense “just write something, dumbass!” attitude that’s much more helpful in these situations than any kind of coddling.

So we’ll see.

I’m pissing my bland-white unisex MMO undies already.

28 thoughts on “Cake– no, Novel or death!

  1. Last year was the first year I did NaNoWriMo, and I loved it. I’m excited about all the bloggers this year who are taking part! You can always add me to your buddy list by doing a search for MorrowS and adding me, we’ve got a nice support group going at this rate!

  2. Glad you joined the crazy-house. It should be awesome. I have no idea what I am going to write, but I am excited to start. I guess I should figure out atleast one characters name before Sunday. Good luck and most of all, have fun

  3. Muhahahah ONE OF US ONE OF US

    And if it makes you feel better, I am doing feck all in the way of planning and pretty much winging the entire thing.

  4. Yesssss, join us, Ysh, join us !

    The timing is off. I’m leaving my job end November, so m last working month coincides with the NaNoWriMo , gaaaah!

    I have an idea of what I want to write, I failed last year, worked on it mentally this year, so let’s see what we can do.

    And, yeah, being fluent in 2 languages can lead to bouts of ranting when seeing some translations, such as most sitcom’s sub-titles (Oooooh la la, Friends, or Buffy, or Scrubs, or…)

    J’ose? J’ose. Il m’arrive d’utiliser Oh la la dans la vie de tout les jours. C’est pas constant, j’admets, mais ça arrive ;). Bon couraaAAAaaage !

    1. Oh la la ce n’est pas un problème, le problème en vient de l’utilisation. Oh la la, c’est oh mon dieu pauvre bougre, ou aie, ça va faire mal — et non “comme c’est risqué!” — that was what I really meant. 😉

      1. Oh and speaking of which, I was watching something the other day (can’t remember what — may have been House) where everyone was saying something in French incorrectly except for one of the actors who defiantly kept saying it correctly. Go minor rebellions! 😀

  5. I’ll never understand why Chris Baty choose November for this event. Of course he fully embraces doing it in any 30-day period you choose but he picked November and that’s why the circus of NaNo is.

    I’d choose January or March in the north hemisphere (Winter, no traveling holidays). Feb. is too short.

    I also never got the group mentality behind it, either. It’s you and the paper (or screen). What’s a bunch of other sweaty bodies have to do with it? (I’m talking more about these NaNo gatherings that happen in coffee shops and book stores than online support groups.)

    Anyway good luck, and remember what Hemingway said: The first draft of everything is shit.

    1. What Modran said. Peer groups are a proven way to get that first book written, though obviously it doesn’t work for everyone. I suspect NaNo is an outgrowth of that kind of idea.

      As usual I’m ambivalent about the whole peer group idea, but many authors I deeply respect (U.K. LeGuin among them) admit it can be very useful under the right circumstances — and indeed have taught workshops and the like.

      So who knows. At worst, I won’t do anything. At best, I may write 50,000 words and break a 10+ year block. In my case I’ve got very little to lose.

      1. My anti-NaNo snarkiness, believe it or not, is born out of compassion. I just don’t want to see people getting caught up in the hype and ending up disappointed in themselves for not ‘winning’ NaNo.

        I don’t mean to *discourage* anyone, particularly. I just want people going into it with their eyes open (which I’m sure you are) and read to forgive themselves if they fail.

        As I said to you privately, I’ve got a NaNo blog post that’s been rattling around my head for like a week. I just need to find time to get it out.

        And that right there is reason enough for me not to participate!! If it takes me a week to find 20 minutes to spew out a post that’s more or less written in my head, carving out 60-90 minutes/day for the next month is pretty unlikely. 🙂

      2. Sounds like you have enough on your plate!

        And yeah, I understand what you’re trying to say. Since I never get into anything to “win” (especially MMOs, which has led to some head-butting in the past), it wasn’t even something I thought about, but you’re right that some might come away wondering what they did it for.

        For my own bad self, I just want a kick in the pants. There’s nothing STOPPING me from writing except this giant block, and I’ll take from NaNo just enough to hopefully get me past it. Sometimes a deadline and a public commitment are helpful — as I’m hoping they will be in this case.

      3. “Sometimes a deadline and a public commitment are helpful ”

        That’s a very good point.

        If you need any help from me, just say the word. I’m excellent at periodically asking about word counts and such. Some folks find that helpful, others just find it annoying. But I’ve ‘coached’ some friends that way in the past.

    1. I guess I’m projecting a lot. I can’t write with people talking around me, so for me that sounds horrific. Now a group for sharing & critiquing things we’ve *written*… I’m all for that. But when its time to get words out of my head and on paper, people are just a distraction to me. Emphasis on “to me” though, so I should probably just hush. 🙂

      1. They are to me too. And yet sometimes I find it extremely soothing and/or inspiration to hit a public place (like a coffee shop) and write there. The difference in that, for me, is that I’m surrounded by people but none of them are saying “Are you done yet? Are you done yet?” or comparing word counts. 😀

  6. Interesting idea. I may do this (I guess I have today and tomorrow to think about it :P) as it may help to get me to be not lazy, but I’ll be moving in the middle of November 🙁 Ah well…

  7. Ahhh, NaNoWriMo, how you taunt me! Dragon Age: Origins is coming out next week and part of me really wants to make a few modules (I miss the hands-on designing), but part of me wants to take that other part out behind the woodshed and bludgeon it with a typewriter, then write about the experience.

    “And while I know French conjugations and tenses ain’t easy, that’s absolutely no excuse for a professional publication to get things wrong.”

    So true. Minor pet peeve: people who pronounce “forte” (“strength”) as “for-tay”. Il n’y a pas d’accent aigu la.

    Oh, and… heh. “Ain’t” is a contraction of “am not”, and is properly only used for the first person singular. There’s another form, “am’n’t” which didn’t really catch on. For all the other tenses of “to be” there’s already a common and popular negation (i.e. aren’t, isn’t). The sole exception is the archaic second person singular (thou), which lacks an elegant negative contraction. All these verb forms of course have a second contraction, except for “thou” which only uses the second form and lacks the first. The second form is the contraction of the pronoun with the verb, followed by “not” – i.e. I’m not, thou’rt not, he/she/it’s not, we’re not, you’re not, they’re not.

    In modern use the word “ain’t” is slowly becoming acceptable as a contraction to replace the negation of basically any form of “to be” (e.g. we ain’t, they ain’t, you ain’t). That’s progress, I guess. The progress of rank ignorance! Well, ok, languages do change over time and it’s silly to try to stop it, but nonetheless education is always good, and anyhow I reserve the right to be silly.

    Knowing is half the battle, after all. From what I remember of my G.I. Joe, blowing things up is the other half.

    * coughs * Sorry. Carry on. 😀

    1. Trust me when I tell you that my malapropisms are intentional. 😉

      Ain’t in particular has become acceptable usage through pop culture and music.

      I’m not as much of a language snob as I make out — I don’t at all mind stuff being used inaccurately if it’s done intentionally, and I’m a firm believer in ignorance being a good excuse when it comes to correct usage.

      What bothers me is when people who should know better (e.g. paid editors and proofreaders, English teachers), don’t.

      Language is a malleable and forever evolving beast — we say things now that were utterly incorrect (and/or rude and/or used entirely differently) a century or three ago, but that’s how things go.

      1. There ain’t nothin’ wrong with usin’ language the way ya wanna, ‘specially if it’s also the way others use it modern-like. 😀

        I’m a stickler for *knowing* how grammar ought to work (n.b.: I have no truck with people who tried or try to force one language to follow the rules of another. English is not and never was Latin, and I’ll bloody well split infinitives and end sentences with prepositions if I feel like it.) Once one knows, one’s free to disregard the stuffy old-fashioned rules in favor of modern usage. Strewth!

      2. Woot, another infinitive-splitter! Examples abound where NOT splitting the damned infinitive makes the sentence either ludicrous or downright nonsensical, and I get irked every time I see people sticking to it like they’ll get shot if they don’t. Which, given how it seems to be taught here in the States, is probably what they fear will happen.

        If we didn’t split infinitives, the Enterprise would never have boldly gone! 😀

      3. I have my particular (or peculiar) linguistic rebellious streak as well. I will never put a period inside the quotations at the end of a sentence if the period doesn’t belong to the thing being “quoted”. MLA can bite my… um… elbow.

        I’m as allergic to lazy writing and poor editing as the next bibliophile, but far too many of those “writing rules” are arbitrary and nonsensical. I’ll write with my own voice, thanks, and not strain at typographical gnats as I weave my textual tapestries.

        As to the nanowhatzis, I really *should* get around to writing my Great Teshian Novel one of these days. As one who intentionally spurns the crowd, though, I’ll probably do it in March.

      4. I put a punctuation mark at the end of a sentence inside parentheses if a) it’s in quotes and is a full sentence (in which case the period belongs inside the quotes, regardless of what surrounds the quotes), or b) there are two or more full sentences inside the parens (I do so out of personal preference. I don’t do so because it’s a formal rule.)

        I also have a fairly unique rebellious streak; I use traditional and not modern spacing in every sentence. That is, I double-space between sentences, because it just looks better to me.

        I confess I also mildly abuse punctuation used for lexical pauses… ellipses, semicolons, and hyphens all have their own feeling and I plop them in whenever they look best to me.

      5. I love double spacing. Single spacing just looks so cramped to me. 🙁

        When the internet truncates my spacing, it makes me grumpy.

      6. I’m torn between being sad that my unique typographic rebellion isn’t in fact unique, and being heartened that someone else sees it the same way. Double spacing is just… right. The sentences need room to breathe. 😉

        I’m gonna write the damned novel next month anyhow. Dragon Age can just wait I suppose. I’ve been putting this off for too long already.

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