Thursday, December 31, 2009

Creative Brain Freeze

During November, within the NaNoWriMo epidemic, my writing went to great heights. Not only was I writing nearly 1700 words a day (most days), but I was also doing daily blog posts of at least 500 words. I also wrote several 500 to 750 word essays for school during this timeframe. I was a word-spitting writing machine gun. When December came, all of the fight drained out of me and I developed a brain freeze.

I expressed my feelings about my dilemma to my Twitter friends and one of them, Janel Porter {@soulwindow,} came up with the idea of us creating our own contest. We came to the realization that during NaNo it was easy to keep up with our word count because we had a goal. After we had crossed the 50,000 word finish line, our writing was in limbo. So to get out of our creative rut, Janel and I agreed that the month of January would be our month to finish and begin editing our NaNoWriMo novels.

We’re hoping that this will help us change our writing habits by incorporating writing into our daily lives all year round instead of every once in a while.

Wish us luck!!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Novel Editing Tips

During my NaNoWriMo recovery over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been catching up on my blog reading. I’ve read a number of articles that offer suggestions on editing manuscripts. Depending on your preference, you can either proofread and make your corrections on-screen http://writingforward.com or you can print the work in progress out and make small changes on the manuscript but write more detailed edits in a spiral notebook http://hollylisle.com. There is also a page on the NaNoWriMo site called “I Wrote a Novel, Now What?” http://nanowrimo.org. One of the contributors to the site suggests that you use post-it notes and a purple pen to make notes all over the hard copy of you novel.

No matter what method you use, it is very evident that editing and re-writing is just as important, if not more so, than writing the first draft. Even if you think you are the next Sue Grafton or James Patterson, it is not a good idea to send your novel to agents and publishers without making sure it is exactly the way you want it.

1. Make sure all of your loose ends are tied up. Explain what happens to each person that is important your story before you come to the end of your novel.

2. Check for grammatically and spelling errors. Don’t completely rely on the spell and grammar check in your word processing program.

3. Don’t be repetitive. If you find yourself using the same word over and over again, pick up a thesaurus. Your prose will flow so much nicer.

4. Keep the reader’s attention. Make readers feel something for your characters, good or bad. Indifferent is not good.

5. Make every word count. Don’t just have your characters talking just to be talking. Everything that is said or done should advance the storyline.

6. Do another read-through. Once you have made all of the corrections you need, let the manuscript for two weeks to a month. If will almost as if you are reading the story for the first time. You’ll be able to make sure you improved your work in progress instead of making it worse than it was before.

7. Get friends or family involved. If you are not fortunate enough to have a best-selling writer in your midst, you are bound to have someone in your circle that loves to read the type of book that have written. Only solicit comments from those you feel will give you honest feedback.

Happy editing! It will be hard work but you’ll be very proud of yourself when it’s all over.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Causes of Social Media Addiction

I’m trying to figure out when my two year old son became a football fan, because I don’t know if I’m ready for this. It’s Sunday, so I was trying to watch a little TV, but every 30 minutes, D asked if he could watch football. Because I’m kind of sneaky, I would turn the channel to football and when he started playing with some of his toys, I would change the channel. Of course he would notice that the game was not on and he would ask to see it again. After about 6 times, I got sick of it and went into my office to catch up on some blog reading and do some research for my Social Media Addiction-Solution essay for English class.

Now I enjoy using sites like Facebook, Twitter, even YouTube; but I’m always conscious of the amount of time that I spend online. I am a true believer in the adage, “Time flies when you’re having fun.” This means that I know I could easily spend 4 to 6 hours playing games, tweeting, and watching silly videos. Last week I turned in an essay about the of Social Media Addiction-Causes, which in my opinion is 50% boredom, 25% loneliness and 25% avoidance.

Boredom
We all get bored sometimes but there are a lot more things to do besides sitting in front of a computer all day, especially if you are not doing anything constructive. First of all, you could read a book. Maybe you could watch something on TV. Get out and go for drinks with friends. You could even learn to crochet a sweater for your dog. But spending 4 or 5 hours sending notes and posting comments on MySpace gets old after a couple of days. Yes, the games on Facebook are very appealing but you should try to win (or lose) some real coins by taking a trip to the casino.

Loneliness
A lot of people that are addicted to social media are online to make friends because they don’t have any friends in real life. These internet fanatics feel comforted by the fact that they have an endless number of people that listen to their rants and raves. They feel that no one ever listens to them but their Facebook friends by commenting on all of their status updates. This internet empathy that is received is not real because real friends tell you the truth, for your own good, but internet buddies just tell you whatever you want to hear or because it sounds good to the rest of your audience.

Avoidance
Social media addiction affects an addict’s daily life in so many ways. The house is always a mess, their kids have eaten nothing but Happy Meals for 6 months, and they are late or have missed work more than once on a weekly basis, why? Because they felt that updating their blog or sending a tweet every ten minutes was more important than fulfilling their real life obligations. This is not a good way to live. The house will get so dirty that they won’t be able to find their laptop. All of the kids will be 20 pounds overweight and develop high blood pressure. If they do not go to work, eventually they will not have the money to pay the utilities or keep on the internet service.

When social media is used properly, it can be a great business tool or a nice way to entertain yourself. But when used improperly, it can cause problems in your everyday life.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Day 28 of NaNoWriMo


I got up at 8:00 am to work on my novel. The first 1,651, that I wrote while D was still asleep, was pretty good. It answered a lot of questions that I should have answered from the beginning. Now the last 10,226 was partly backstory but mostly gibberish that I’ll end up taking out during the editing stage. I must admit that part of my dad and my weekly conversation found its way into the story. My dad is a funny guy. He is usually the prototype for most of the older male roles in each of my stories. He doesn’t mind because he knows that I’ll share the wealth with him.

Excerpt
I was still staying at my aunt’s house on Christmas Eve. Aunt Essie and I sat side by side on the couch in front of the fireplace. We had a pitcher of Crown Royal laced eggnog on the coffee table, for easy access.

“Professor, do you ever get lonely. I mean I don’t ever remember you having a steady boyfriend. What do you do when you’re feeling…antsy?”

My auntie threw her head back in laughter. “Well, darling, I haven’t been antsy in quite a while. But when the desire comes, I have a friend that I like to visit.”

“You’ve never told me about a friend,” I said before a hiccup escaped my lips. “Who is this dude? I need to check him out, make sure he’s not a killer or rapist.”

“I’ve already checked him out, about 20 years ago. And darling, when I’m done with him he doesn’t have the strength to put his pants back on let alone to go out and killing and raping.”

“Ohhh, my auntie is freaky deeky. What’s his name? How come you’ve never married him?”

“His name is Bobby Harris. He’s great in bed but he’s not marriage material. I don’t think Bobby has worked at the same place for more than two years since I’ve known him.”

“Damn…sorry dog, auntie you got a freaky scrub. Haven’t you met any other guys you wanted to be with?”

“Yes, a few professors and a judge but they weren’t ready when I wanted a commitment, but when I had accepted the fact that they didn’t want to in a relationship and moved on, they changed their minds. I got sick of the love tug a war so I just decided that I would just settle for Bobby.”

“That’s sad Aunt Essie. You and me…You and I are going to have to find us some real men. We will not accept immix…imitations, lady.”

Aunt Essie giggled so much that she made me burst out laughing and I almost spit my eggnog across the room.


Word Count
51,045/50,000 WINNER!!!

Day 27 of NaNoWriMo

My sitter came to get D at 7:40 this morning, so I took that as my cue to get busy writing. To avoid the urge to return to bed I got dressed, packed up my laptop and notes and headed to Starbucks. It was 9:15 by the time I reached 636 words. I wanted to add a little more but it was time to head to work.

The cafeteria at my job wasn’t serving food today, so I had the entire space to myself. Armed with my notes, IPod, snacks, and a great writing utensil, I set out on my word count mission. I was able to add another 152 to my word count before my break was over.

D was gone someplace with my sitter when I got off so I was able to work on my writing uninterrupted for a couple of hours. I wrote my little heart out, trying not to think about D. It’s something how when your kid is around, you wish he would go to sleep and stop asking so many questions but when you are away from him, you feel like something is missing. I wrote 659 words while I waited for my little man.
I ran to the door as soon as I heard Mrs. B pull into the driveway. When I opened the door D was walking up the steps. As soon as he got in he grabbed my soda drank half of it before belching like a grown man. D made me bounce a balloon off his head a couple times while I keyed in 192 words.

My total word count for today was 2190. The creativity was waning as I became more and more sleepy. Three more days and 10,836 words to go, I hope to get them all in this weekend so I can relax on Monday.

Excerpt
“Shannon, I’m sorry. I had to get the laptop and I had to see if Joshua had hidden anything in the car. I didn’t want you to be implicated when all of the mess came to a head,” Mallory said headbutting Shannon and then kneeing her in the groin. I jumped out of the car just as Shannon hit the ground. The men had stop loading the trailer to watch the cat fight.

“You,” Mallory said turning to me. “Why did you have to stick your big nose in our business? I was going to leave the car someplace so the police could find it once we had searched it.”

“Why are you mad at me? You’re her friend all you had to do was offer to detail the car and search it then. You stupid.”

“Stupid? I’ll show you stupid.” Mallory said throwing a punch at me. When I dodged it she yelled and ran into me, knocking me to the ground.

“Ooo,” one of the guys exclaimed. I saw Shannon get up and walk over to where we were struggling. Mallory was on top of me trying to choke me when Shannon came over and kicked her in the side of the head.

“Damn, did you see that,” came from our audience.

Mallory fell off of me onto the concrete. I got up and ran to my car while Shannon talked more shit to Mallory. I hoped that the men wouldn’t think I was getting a gun and attached me. But they were too busy watching the fight to pay much attention to me. My cell phone was on the floor and I picked it up and called Marcus.

“Marcus, this Sassy, I need you and some of your boys to come take care of something for me.”

“Sassy, what are you trying to do now? You’re on parole you can’t get into any kind of craziness.”

“I’m just trying to clear my name,” I gave him the address and ran to get Shannon before she caught a valid murder charge.

“Shannon, it’s okay sweetie,” I said grabbing her.

Mallory’s face was swollen and bloody, a couple of her teeth were gone, and plugs of her blond hair were missing. Shannon was crying her eyes out and she was babbling something about the only gift he had ever given her being stolen her by her best friend. I walked her to the chair on the porch and helped her sit down.

The guys helped Mallory up, as they tried to keep their giggles from turning into hilarious laugher. A closer look at two of the three men revealed a family resemblance.

“Sis, you got your ass beat. I didn’t know that big girl had it in her.”
They looked at me quizzically. One of them asked who I was and when Mallory mumbled that I was a detective, they stopped laughing.

“Are you a cop?”

“No,” I said as the first of five squad cars pulled to the curb. “But I have a lot of cop friends.”


Word Count
39,164/50,000

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Day 26 of NaNoWriMo

This morning, I wrote a little over 1,000 words of gibberish before heading to my sister’s house for Thanksgiving dinner (lunch rather). I know my inner critic was supposed to be turned off this month but I had to correct some of the stuff that I wrote, when I got back home.

By the time I reached another 299, I was starting to get sleepy. My greedy-itis was catching up with me. Apparently the food had affected D as well because he climbed into my lap and fell asleep. I forced myself to stay awake until I had gotten to 2,693. I have 13,026 left to go which is about 3,258 a day over the next four days. It’s going to be tough but I’ve got to make it.

Excerpt
I did not sleep well that first night out of jail. Maybe it was because my mind had gotten used to my surroundings, which was definitely not a good thing. But they say humans can adapt to anything and that is what I had done subconsciously.

My already fitful sleep was interrupted by Michael Jackson singing “Never can say goodbye, no no no no I…” That was one of Jerry’s favorite songs and it was very fitting since I missed him so much. The crooning stopped and started several times before I realized that it was my cell phone singing. I forgot that I had changed my ring tone the day before.

By the time I got to the phone it had stopped ringing. Shannon number showed up at the top of my missed calls list, so I called her right back.

“What’s going on Shannon? Your boy doesn’t have you occupied at 3 in the morning?”

“Pearce isn’t here, that’s why I’m calling you. I’m so scared.”

“What happened?”

“I looked out the window to check on my car, like I always do, to make sure it was still there or to see if all of my wheels are still on. There’s been a lot of car theft in my neighborhood lately. Plus, I was making sure there were no more dead bodies in front of my house.”

“Okay, so was the car still there?”

“No, it’s gone. I saw someone in a black SUV pulling my car down the street on a trailer.”

“You’ve been off work for a while; could it have been the repo man?”

“No, Pearce makes my car payments. It was someone stealing my car.”

“Did you call the police? There’s not really much I can do. I don’t even know the first place to look.” The truth was that I really didn’t want to get involved in anymore of Shannon’s drama.

“I did call the police and they are taking too long. I was whispering when I called because I was trying to make sure no one had broken into the house and waiting to pounce on me. Maybe the police thought it was a prank call.”

I thought about the last 911 call I had made. “They usually send someone out to check on things anyway, just in case.”

“There’s something else Sassy.”

“What else?” I asked impatiently.

“My laptop was in the car. The book I was writing, my blog posts I was working on, my poems, everything. What if they tap into my Twitter and Facebook accounts and post all kinds of crazy things to make me look bad. Then I’ll lose all of my friends and followers. What am I going to do, Sassy?”

I didn’t think any of that stuff was as important as her car being stolen but what did I know? “Did you have your writing saved someplace else? And maybe you can just change the passwords on all of your accounts; Mrs. Alma’s granddaughter would probably let you use her computer until you can get another one.”

“I think I did put some of my chapters on a jump drive that I keep on my key ring. But that’s only part of it. I’m sorry to be bugging you will all of this Sassy, but Mallory has practically fallen off the face of the earth so I don’t have anyone else to talk to.”

Now that bit of information woke me all the way up. “When was the last time you talked to her?”

“A couple weeks ago, we were making plans to attend a Christmas party held by some of my former co-workers. We were supposed to go shopping for outfits but Mallory never showed up. She didn’t even call me and that is so unlike her.”


Word Count
36,974/50,000

Day 25 of NaNoWriMo

I guess you could say I was writing my book in my sleep, because I woke up this morning with a ton of ideas that I had to hurry up and write down. Why I don’t just record them in my recorder, I don’t know. I just feel that since my laptop is right there on the table, awaiting my arrival, why would I not take advantage of that. God knows how bad I want to finish this book and I think he’s helping me out. “Thanks, God, I promise not to put too many curse words in the story.”
My daily word count was at 685, before I put on the rest of my clothes so I could go to work. While I was at work I did get a chance to write a few paragraphs. I could have done so much more if I had not been socializing with co-workers and sending text messages.

Once I got home I had to take an algebra quiz that was due today. And thank God I scored a hundred. I hadn’t done that in a while. After getting D settle down, I finally got a chance to add to my word count. I tapped out a 1,145, which means I am 15,719 words away from my goal. I have got to pick up the pace if I want to get to 50,000 by Monday night. It can be done; I just have to focus a little more. It would be great if I could take my laptop into the closet and write in there but D would think we were playing hide and go seek.

Excerpt

A week after Jerry’s funeral, the police got an anonymous tip that Hinniyah’s body was in the dumpster behind my office building. It wasn’t surprising that I was fingered for the murder. The arresting officer worked closely with Marcus, so he knew my story. Mrs. Alma was super pissed but I told her that everything would be alright and that I was leaving her in charge.

“You have to keep Cole Slaw in line for me.”

“Okay, but she’s even more stubborn than you.”

I smiled as the officers lead me out of the building.
I agreed to leave quietly so the officer that was holding my arm waited until we had gotten out of my building before cuffing me. He told me that I had the right to remain silent which was a wasted statement because I was pretty much speechless as it was.

The investigators asked me a hundred questions about how I came to know the victim. I ran through Shannon’s case, finding Carl’s body in a hotel, how I was kidnapped at gunpoint and how I had kicked the dog mess out of Kadijah the same day Hinniyah carved my fiancĂ©’s chest open. Maybe my answers didn’t put me in the best light. It was hard for me to play the role of the helpless victim when I was so annoyed at being accused of mutilating the body of someone that I didn’t have the pleasure of killing with my bare hands.

The pictures of Hinniyah’s body were extremely gruesome. Her face was practically eaten off and one of her breasts was missing. They said that the only way that they were able to identify her body was by her fingerprints that were on file. As sad as it was, I couldn’t muster much sympathy. Hinniyah and her crazy twin sister had ruined my life and I was not sorry that she was dead. I didn’t say that out loud but apparently Detective Jeremy Wilkins thought that my nonchalance was a sign of guilt.
“Did you do this to Mrs. Muhammad?”

“Nope.”

“Where were you on the night of December 15?”

“Making out my Christmas list to mail to Santa.”

“Ms. Johnson, you do realize that you can be charged with first degree murder if we find enough evidence to convict you?”

“I’m not new to the system. Can I speak to Marcus Wilson? He knows me.”

“Detective Wilson is not assigned to this case, Mrs. Johnson. If you killed this woman it won’t matter who you know.”

I had enough of cooperating so I told Detective Wilkins if he wanted to talk to me anymore, I would have to be allowed to call my lawyer. He didn’t like that so I was escorted to a cell.


Word Count
34,281/50,000

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Day 24 of NaNoWriMo

I took most of the ideas that I had written down over the last two days and tried to come up with a few scenes that would push my storyline along. Even though I’m moving at a snail’s pace when it comes to getting to the 50,000 word goal, I’m happy to still be in the race. Today’s word count was only 919 but I have added yet another turn to my plot which is a very good thing.
If I can push out a few words on my lunch break tomorrow, maybe I’ll be halfway caught up. Thanksgiving will definitely not be a free day, I’ve had too many of those as it is. Got to keep going.

Excerpt
“Hinniyah, what’s going on in there?” She didn’t answer. “Hey boyfriend, if you hurt my little sister I’m going to skin your girlfriend alive right in front of you. Then I’m going to cut your balls out of the sac and hang them around your neck on a string.”

Kadijah had really gotten violent over the last few weeks. I guess jail did that to you. Of course since she killed her own husband, it may have been there all along. Kadijah made me get up from where I sat on the floor. I led her down the hall to the bedroom her gun was in the middle of my back. When we walked into the room, Hinniyah was lying on the floor at the foot of bed, with her face in the carpet. When I saw Jerry lying across the bed with a knife in his chest up near his shoulder, I ran to him, not caring if Kadijah shot me.

“Are you okay, sweetie?”

“Sure, just a little uncomfortable.”

I looked around to see where Kadijah was; she had put the gun down and was leaning beside Hinniyah. She picked up her sister and hugged her. Jerry had shot Hinniyah with her own gun; it was on the bed beside him. I grabbed it and got up slowly. Kadijah held Hinniyah in her arms as she rocked. She was humming and crying.

“Kadijah, we’ve got to get them to the hospital.”

She ignored me and continued to rock and hum. I grabbed the phone from the nightstand and dialed 911, I said that we needed the police and an ambulance and hung up. The operator had a bunch of questions to ask but I didn’t have a bunch of patience to deal with it. They would send help anyway, I could explain later. I couldn’t stand seeing the knife in Jerry’s chest but I knew if I tried to pull it out that would have done more damage than good.

“Stay with me, baby. You owe me a wedding and I’m going to hold you to it.”

“I’m a man of my word, you know that.”

Kadijah laid her sister’s head onto the floor and grabbed her gun. I was up, pointing my gun to her head before she had the gun cocked.

“Drop it!” She hesitated. “Now, unless you want to join your sister in heaven.”

Kadijah threw the gun down then she lunged at me, knocking her sister’s gun out of my hand. She punched me in the face, nearly pushing my nose in. I became dizzy with pain so it didn’t matter much when I head bumped her with my forehead and punched her in the eye. Kadijah fell over and I jumped on top of her and just punched her over and over until my hands began to hurt. I was so tired that I wanted to lie down myself. Even though the police station and the hospital were right around the corner they were taking their time getting there so I had to get out of the apartment to see if I could get some help. I was so lightheaded, didn’t trust my legs to get me to the front door, so I crawled on my hands and knees. It felt like hours before I got to the door. I heard movement in the bedroom but I figured I would be out the door by the time, Kadijah got up. The doorknob was my leverage to stand up. Thank God the keys were still in the door, so I turned the knob and opened the door.

“Going somewhere?” I heard from behind me. I turned and my eyes nearly popped out of my head. It was Hinniyah. She was very much alive and she was pointing a gun at me.


Word Count
33,136/50,000

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Day 23 or NaNoWriMo

I had to force myself out of bed this morning , so I didn’t get a chance to work on my novel before going to work. When I got home from work I was able to write about 6 sentences (79 words) before I remembered that I had to design a birthday card for one of my co-worker’s husband. The dreaded algebra homework was due by 11:59 pm so I had to tackle that so I wouldn’t miss the deadline (although I got frustrated and quit in the middle of it). My essay on Social Media Addiction is due in the morning so I had to add a few more words to it (that word count is short too).

I hate to admit it but I’m really starting to believe that I should not have started this challenge. Although I love the story that I’m working on, it’s just that when my ideas are flowing I don’t have time to write them down. When I have unlimited time, I can barely think of anything to write. Next NaNoWriMo is going to be so much better because I will know what to do (and what not to do) to be more prepared.

Do not think that this is my “I’m giving up” speech cause it ain’t. And it won’t be over until the clock strikes 12 on December 1. I am a survivor!

Word Count
32,217/50,000

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Day 22 or NaNoWriMo

D woke me up at around 9:30 this morning. He said he wanted to watch TV but since he played over his dinner last night, I’m sure he was hungry as well but didn’t want to admit it. After eating breakfast and putting a load of clothes in the washer and dryer, I sat down to attempt to get some writing done.

To keep D occupied, I let him listen to my IPod but you better believe I watched him closely to make sure he didn’t figure out how to hide all of my applications or delete my music. He soon got tired of messing around with it, so to amuse himself he decided to destroy the living room. Clothes, shoes, toys, and newspaper pages are everywhere, but I tried to ignore it for the sake of my writing.

After I had finished crying along with my characters at word number 1,864, my son began picking up all of his toys and putting them in the toy box. I guess in his two year old mind I was upset because he had made a mess. I thought that was so sweet that we went to get barbeque, something he had been wanting for a week.
Not surprisingly, D only ate two and a half French fries before he decided that he had had enough. This kid is hilarious. He made me help him take his shirt off then he crawled under my chair and fell soundly asleep under my chair. I put him in the bed and he slept about an hour.

When D woke up again he wanted to play with my IPod again. I should have never showed him the SpongeBob Squarepants game.

By 6:46 pm I was fresh out of ideas, but I had gotten to 2,667 so I felt pretty good about that.

One more week and NaNoWriMo will be over (sniff). So I still have time to get back on track. I’m going to have to push out 2,233 words a day to make it. Wish me luck everyone.

Word Count
32,138/50,000

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Day 21 of NaNoWriMo

I spent most of today at my dad’s house. He was yelling at my baby sister and my niece and I was yelling at my son. It was just a normal Saturday with the family. Before D and I went to Dad’s house I got a chance to write some notes to get me started on today’s writing. After eating lunch, I got in about 1,256 words. Algebra homework is due tonight so once I tackle it I will add a few more digits to the count.

Excerpt
“We’ve got some things we need to clean up and we thought that we’d start with you.”

Jerry was in the bedroom. He was a light sleeper and I wondered if he heard what was going on. Please get your gun; I tried to tell him telepathically.

“It’s so nice of you girls to stop by to help me clean my apartment but my boyfriend…”

“You have a boyfriend? I thought a tough girl like you didn’t need a man. Where is he?”

“He’s…” I hoped he had awakened.

“Hinniyah, go check out the bedroom.”

My heart nearly jumped out of my DDDs while we waited. Five minutes later, someone cried out and then there was a big thud as someone hit the floor.

“Hinniyah, what’s going on in there?” She didn’t answer. “Hey boyfriend, if you hurt my little sister I’m going to skin your girlfriend alive right in front of you. Then I’m going to cut your balls out of the sac and hang them around your neck on a string.”

Kadijah had really gotten violent over the last few weeks. I guess jail did that to you. Of course since she killed her own husband, it may have been there all along. Kadijah made me get up from where I sat on the floor. I led her down the hall to the bedroom her gun was in the middle of my back. When we walked into the room, Hinniyah was lying on the floor at the foot of bed, with her face in the carpet. When I saw Jerry lying across the bed with a knife in his chest up near his shoulder, I ran to him, not caring if Kadijah shot me.

“Are you okay, sweetie?”

“Sure, just a little uncomfortable.”

I looked around to see where Kadijah was; she had put the gun down and was leaning beside Hinniyah. She picked up her sister and hugged her. Jerry had shot Hinniyah with her own gun; it was on the bed beside him. I grabbed it and got up slowly. Kadijah held Hinniyah in her arms as she rocked. She was humming and crying.

“Kadijah, we’ve got to get them to the hospital.”

She ignored me and continued to rock and hum. I grabbed the phone from the nightstand and dialed 911, I said that we needed the police and an ambulance and hung up. The operator had a bunch of questions to ask but I didn’t have a bunch of patience to deal with it. They would send help anyway, I could explain later. I couldn’t stand seeing the knife in Jerry’s chest but I knew if I tried to pull it out that would have done more damage than good.


Happy writing, fellow NaNoers. I hope you’re in better shape than I am. Even if I don’t make it to 50,000 word mark by November 30, I plan to keep writing until I finish. This is definitely a learning experience and I plan to get all I can out of it.

Word Count
29,471/50,000

Friday, November 20, 2009

Day 20 of NaNoWriMo

When I was growing up, the neighborhood we lived in was full of gossiping, backbiting, backstabbing women. Mama and grandmama told me that ignorant folks always kept up mess. They also said when a bunch of women got together there was bound to be a catfight. The first few jobs that I had were in restaurants and warehouses, I was even a security guard for almost a year. In those jobs, the number of men and women was nearly 50/50. Once I began working at my current job, whose staff is probably 90% female, I hoped that I wouldn’t have any problems with any of the “educated” women. Humph, have you heard the saying, “Mama said there’d be days like this.” That statement has become the mantra of my life.

I’ve said all of that to say this, I wish there was more trust between the employees and managers. Managers not trusting the judgment of their employees, employees having to go behind management’s back to get things done; it’s all so chaotic. I know that there are a lot of people out there that wish they had a job, drama or not, but it’s wearing on me, has been for a long time. The day that I start making a living from my writing will be a weight off my shoulders. In order to get the wheels rolling, of course, I need to at least finish this novel.

I began on today’s word count after 8:30 pm. By 9:25, I had only written 70 words. I couldn’t concentrate because my son wanted to play. It didn’t look like he was going to go to sleep anytime soon. The morning is a much better time for me to write but I’m going to have to stop being so lazy and get up instead of pushing snooze over and over again. At 10:14 I was at 245, the writing was not going as well as it should have been. I decided to go to bed and try again in the morning.

Word Count
28,215/50,000

Day 19 of NaNoWriMo

Today was a pretty good day at work. In between responding to emails and updating reports, I was able to do some research and write some notes for my novel. The ideas that I’ve been coming up with lately are getting better. It looks like all of the mystery books I’ve read over the years are starting to paying off. For the last couple of years I’ve also read electronic books downloaded to my computer and Ipod. Audio books also come in handy while I’m driving around town.

I racked up 1,016 before my bedtime. I haven’t gotten back on track yet but I’m getting there. Since I solved my crime too soon, I had to come up with some material that can be added to the middle of the book.

Excerpt
“Well, I travel a lot and I noticed that my wallet was missing when I reached for it to tip the driver who had taken me from the airport to the hotel. I couldn’t have left it at home because I had to have my driver’s license when I picked up my airplane tickets from the desk. After that I put my wallet in my carry-on bag and put the boarding passes and my passport in my jacket pocket. I hate using the bathroom on the airplane so I left my bag near my seat and went to the men’s room. When I came back, my bag was still where I left it but one of the zippered compartments was open.”

“You’ve never noticed those signs all over the airport warning people not to leave their bags unattended?”

“Of course I’ve seen them but I had never had a problem before. I usually tell someone sitting near me to watch my bag but this time when I came back, no one was around and my bag was open.”

“Did you get a good look at the person that you asked to watch your bag?”

“Yes, but…s he umm…”

“What’s was wrong with her?” I observed Mr. Phillips’ uneasiness and guessed why the cat had his tongue. “She was black right?”

“Well, actually she was African. She looked like a really nice lady, it couldn’t have been her.”

I don’t even think he believed that himself, “What was so nice about her? Was she pretty?”

“Yes, very pretty, exotic. She looked well to do and had on some nice jewelry, like she had everything she could ever want.”

“Sounds like you had a crush on this African princess,” I smiled.
Mrs. Alma had been sitting at her desk pretending to file, but I knew she was listening intently. She giggled at my comment.

“Ms. Johnson, I am a happily man. At least I was until the bottom fell out. Do you think that you’ll be able to help me?”

“I’ll try. If only we had a way to get in contact with the woman you talked to.”

“She gave me her number. Don’t look at me like that, I’m in the jewelry business and we exchanged numbers because she said that she had a necklace that she wanted to get appraised or possibly sell.”

Mr. Phillips handed me the card the woman had given him. Hinniyah Bendele was the owner of a boutique on Elvis Presley Blvd in the Whitehaven area.

“Can I keep this card?”

“Sure, I have two.” Mrs. Alma giggled again. “She gave me two in case I lost one,” Mr. Phillips said in his defense.


Word Count
27,970/50,000

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Day 18 of NaNoWriMo

After work, I spent my writing time working on an essay about the causes of social media addiction. My word count needs to be 750 but I’ve only made it to 501.
I worked on my novel a little last night before going to bed and ended with 1069 words. Even though I have fallen behind I’m glad that I have not just completely stopped writing. All it takes is a couple of days where I get up to 2,000 or 3,000 words and I’ll be good.

Maybe I’ll be able to get in a little writing while I’m on break at work tomorrow. There are a few ideas in my notebook that I’m thinking about expanding on I just have to determine what direction to go in.

Excerpt
I called Cole Slaw and asked her if she and Marcus wanted to go out to dinner with me and Jerry. We figured that it would be better to pose our wedding suggestion face to face.

“That sounds like a good idea, we haven’t done the double dating thing in a while,” Cole Slaw said.

“Yeah, I know, but now we can call it double engagement.”

“What? You’re shitting me!”

“Nope, not at all.”

“I’m so glad. We’re both engaged, this is so cool.”

“I know right. We’ll see you later, hun.”

The parking lot outside of the Olive Garden was pretty crowded so Jerry dropped me
off at the door while he parked the car. We had just ordered our drinks when Cole Slaw and Marcus walked in. Our conversation about law enforcement and criminals along with the good food was excellent. I elbowed Jerry because he was the designated spokesperson.

“Say, uh, Sassy and I had an idea that we wanted to run by the two of you.”

“Okay, what’s up? You need help planning your wedding, right? I have all kinds of magazines we can look through,” Cole Slaw said.

“Well, yeah we need some help. We were wondering if maybe we the four of us could get married together. With the economy like it is we could save a lot of money.”

The table was quiet for what seemed like hours. I was starting to think that asking my friends to be a part of their special day wasn’t such a good idea. Then Cole Slaw and Marcus looked at each other and smiled. Marcus was the first to speak.

“Of course you guys can share our wedding day. I think it would be fun. You guys were going to be our best man and maid of honor anyway so now you get to dress a little better and help us pay for all of the food and flowers.”

We all got up and hugged each other. People at the tables surrounding wondered what all of the fuss was about. When we told them that we all were getting married everyone began smiling and saying congratulations. One family even sent us a bottle of wine to celebrate.


Word Count
26,954/50,000

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Day 17 of NaNoWriMo

Work was better today. It felt like I was pulling teeth instead of having my teeth pulled. I tried to think about my novel while I was in a meeting that I really didn’t want to be in. Yesterday’s word count was nowhere near what it should have been, so I wrote notes about what I could do to boost my word count today.

After we were finally dismissed from the meeting I checked my email and ran across and email from the Procrastinating Writer that states that sometimes we have trouble writing because we are trying to be perfect. She helped me realize that it’s alright for my first draft to be all willy-nilly because I can fix it later. My problem is that I have already solved my crime but I am only a little over halfway to the 50,000 word goal. So, what I think I need to do is come up with some scenes that give a little more details about the main characters and the other people that are important to the story. Some flashbacks that explain why my protagonist acts the way she acts may be good.

I had to work on a short essay on the importance of mathematics for my algebra class so I won’t be able to work on the novel until later. My notebook and voice recorder will come in handy for catching my loose thoughts.

I knew that writing a novel would be a lot of work because I’ve started and stopped a number of books but this is the first time that I have truly committed to finishing one. And I am going to finish. I just have to come up with some more material so I can make my book the type of book that I would want to read.

Good luck to my fellow NaNoers!!

Word Count
25,885/50,000

Monday, November 16, 2009

Day 16 of NaNoWriMo

My internet connection was acting up this morning so I had a hard time taking my algebra quiz. So I worked on today’s word count. I pushed out 384 before I had to go to work. Everybody at work was trying to make me lose my mind, and it took a lot out of me not to curse them with every bad word I could think of. I had to stop to get a Smirnoff Ice on the way home; I’m hoping to forget all of the craziness of the day. I finished the algebra quiz but I did so bad I probably shouldn’t have taken it at all. No it had nothing to do with the Smirnoff; I think there’s something wrong with the website.

By 10:10, I had gotten to 703. I fought the drowsiness for as long as I could, the Smirnoff was working. I'm going to be honest with you guys, I'm running out of material for this book. This next 25,000 will not be easy to come by, but I'll come up with something. And I’ll make up for the lack of words tomorrow.

Happy Writing!!

Word Count
25,885/50,000

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Day 15 of NaNoWriMo

I was able to write 929 words while I was at my dad’s house. My characters have really developed a mind of their own. My protagonist and both of my antagonists are doing so many things that I hadn’t planned.
After a trip to the bookstore, an hour spent on the phone talking to my best friend, and playing with my son; I made it to 1,824 words. Yippee!! I’m over the halfway mark. I told my friend about my book and she’s already volunteered to proofread my first draft.

Excerpt
“So, um, why was Joshua…Abdul killed?”

“Because of her,” Kadijah said pointing to Shannon.

“It wasn’t my fault. How was I supposed to know he was married?”

“Did you ask him? Do you always just screw guys without asking questions?”

“Well, he had his own place. How many married couples live in two different places?”

“Whatever, but he knew our arrangement. He already had two women, why did he need another one. A butterball that doesn’t know how to pick up after herself.”

“A butterball? I got your butterball. You black, African, b…”

“You shut up right now,” Kadijah said pulling a gun from inside her jacket and putting it up to the side of Shannon’s head.

Shannon didn’t say anything. I hoped that her tweets would start paying off soon. Someone was bound to get killed in there pretty soon and I was hoping that the killing could be prolonged indefinitely. Kadijah turned her attention back to me. Mr. Muhammad had two wives, two baby mama’s and who knew how many other women. For a guy that didn’t know how to use his you know what, why did all of these women want him? A dirty thought came to mind but I tried my best to suppress it. It was nasty to think of a dead man’s head between the legs of hundreds of women.

“So what are you going to do, Ms. Detective? Are you ready to start making some real money?”

“Can I get a little time to think about it? A week or two maybe?”

“You have an hour. If you do not give me the answer that I want, I will not be happy. You’ve seen what happens when I’m not happy.”

I thought about the pictures of Mr. Muhammad’s body and I shuddered. We had to get out of there but I had no gun and I didn’t stand a chance if I had tried to make a run for it with a cast on my leg.

“Kadi, did you forget about that appointment we have? It’s time for us to go.”

“Okay. You, make sure you keep an eye on these two. And don’t you try any funny stuff because we will find out,” Kadijah said to Shannon. My heart almost stopped when she reached in Shannon’s pocket and pulled out her cell phone. She pressed buttons but the screen did not light up. Shannon had been tweeting her butt off so the battery was probably dead. Kadijah figured the battery was down too so she put the phone back in Shannon’s pocket.

“We’ll be back,” Peaches said as she and Kadijah walked towards the front door. Kadijah hit her on the arm. “I’ve always wanted to say that. You make me sick.” Then they walked out, closing the door behind them.


I don’t know how I keep coming up with this stuff, but everyday something different comes to mind. I’m loving it!!

Word Count
25,182/50,000

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Day 14 of NaNoWriMo

My dad watched D while I attended a tax preparers class. They were showing us how to maneuver through the software (Tax Wise) that we will be using at the VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) sites next tax season. There is also a class that I have to take online to be a certified tax preparer but I have until January to complete that.

Once I returned to Daddy’s house, I did get a chance to write 244 words. I drove around until D fell asleep in the car, then I went home. I saw that the maintenance guys had not been to the house to finish their repairs so I called my landlady to let her know what was going on. She said that she would send her guy a text message and as soon as I had taken off my work/school clothes, so I could get comfortable, I heard the guys on the front porch. So I rushed to put on my handout dress so I could let them in.

I was kind of disgusted because all they did was paint over the molded spots on the wall in my office, but they still did not fix the rotten panel that had fallen out of the makeshift window unit “hole” in the wall. They will have to be back Monday.
My landlady said that I could keep part of the rent to replace my items but I’m not going to replace them until these guys finish playing around and complete everything on my maintenance list. I may just wait until I move, then I will feel more comfortable about it.

While D got his handsome rest, I continued writing. The smell of the paint the men had used seeped through two closed doors and was trying to put me to sleep. I had never smelled any paint like that but they said it was some special stuff that would keep the mold from coming back. I think they need to gut the house and start all over, but I’m just a tenant with plans to move, so I had no say so.

I had gotten to 804 words when I decided that I would take a little nap. Sleep did not come of course because of the chemical smell coming from the back room. I was tempted to check into a hotel room for the night but opted for using the ceiling fans in hopes of keeping the house a little more ventilated. Opening the windows would have been even better but I was afraid that I would fall asleep with them open and wake up, in the middle of the night, and find an unexpected guest helping himself to the TV.

It really feels like my life has gotten a lot more dramatic since I started writing this book. It may be that I’m paying much more attention to the things that are going on around me since I am trying to find new material for the book. I don’t know what it is but this is really doing something to me. I wonder if all writers go through this.

By 10:12 pm, I had finally made it to 2,258, which was my daily quota as well as what I lacked yesterday. I love when I get back on track. It helps me to fight the onset of writer’s bl… If you don’t say it out loud, it will not come.

Happy writing, NaNoers!!

Word Count
23,358/50,000

Friday, November 13, 2009

Day 13 of NaNoWriMo

Today was a pretty good day. I went back to work today after two days of being off. My son didn’t talk to me for the first hour after he got home from the sitter’s. I wasn’t sure if he was sleepy or mad at me, but whatever it was, he got over it. I alternated working on my novel and talking and playing with D.
I came up with a lot of ideas today but, I couldn’t figure out where to fit them all in. Today’s word count was short, only 1,088 words. But I’ve made a breakthrough that I’m going to work on tomorrow.

Writing this novel has been a lot of work but it has been fun. I hope all of my fellow NaNoers feel the same way.

Excerpt
When Cole Slaw and I walked into Pressure World, we turned to the left and saw teenagers everywhere. I scanned the crowd for my sisters and spotted them at a table in front of the windows. They had never looked so much alike until that moment, with their short black dresses and stilettos. The only difference was that Harmonye had her red hair, very similar to mine, wavy and hanging down her back. Melodye’s was a honey blonde upsweep. They looked beautiful.

As I made it through the crowd, I noticed another difference; Melodye had a tattoo around her wrist that resembled a bracelet. Harmonye had no tattoos. Both of them hugged me and thanked me for coming. They pointed to two seats at their table and Cole Slaw and I sat down. The music was a mixture of old school R&B and new school Hip Hop. Two guys came over and asked the girls to dance, to an R. Kelly song. They both looked at me and smiled; there would be no bumping and grinding with big sister in the house.

“This is cool,” Meosha yelled over the music as she sat down beside Cole Slaw.

“It is isn’t it? Did you bring the Hennessey?” Cole Slaw asked.

“Of course,” Meosha said pulling a huge bottle out of her bag.

I didn’t think that a bottle that size could fit in a purse, but there it was. There was a bucket of ice and some cups sitting on the table. I took one sip of the brown liquid and let it burn down my chest. Then it came to me. When I met Kadijah, she had a mole on the left side of her lip, but when I met Peaches there was a mole on the right. They had the same face, the same body, the same voice. But those moles, like tattoos were very distinctive.

Cole Slaw, Meosha and I tried to talk over the music for an hour. I nudged Cole Slaw signaling that I was ready to go. She nodded and finished up her conversation with Meosha before getting up to hug her.

On our way to my apartment, I told Cole about my discovery.

“I remember Peaches’ mold. It looked a little too perfect to be a birthmark. I think it was a tattoo.”

“I think you’re right. But what are we going to do about it.”

“Duh, we’re going to prove it,” I wanted to slap her.


Word Count
21,100/50,000

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Day 12 of NaNoWriMo

I will be taking Spanish this summer. The maintenance guys did more talking than working if you ask me and they still didn’t fix everything. Now it may be my paranoia, but I think they were talking about what they were going to come back and get whenever I go back to work. I hope I can be here when they come back to fix the other stuff. After that I’m changing the locks so they are going to have to kick the doors in to get in here. Hopefully, one of my neighbors will see them and call the police.

Still I was able to make the most of the day, by looking on the bright side—I had an extra day off. D was acting a fool so I sent him to his room. It wasn’t long before he fell asleep.

I got in 481 towards my daily word count but since I’d been wound up since 6 am, I took a page out of D’s book of toddlerhood, I took a nap.

D and I paid a visit to my father before I started back on my novel. I wrote a little over 800 while I was there. I talked to my landlady briefly and she said to take part of the rent money to replace my items that were stolen. She said that the maintenance guys would be back tomorrow to fix the other stuff. She advised that I should probably take my laptop with me when I leave. Now come on, did she really think that I wouldn’t take it? Be for real lady.

When D and I made it home, I started on my novel again. It’s my story and I can’t believe all of the twist and turns that are taking place. I love, I love it. I can’t wait until December so I can start my corrections and revisions.

My final word count for today was 2169, which puts me back on track. Here’s a little bit of what I worked on today:

A flight attendant and a maid, Mrs. Muhammad was a very busy woman. Two men, two jobs, two cities, and two kids. I wondered what kind of vitamins she took. Before I asked Carl to let me use the bathroom so I could check the medicine cabinet, Peaches walked into the house. I thought she was going to have a coronary when she saw me standing in her living room.

“Hello, Peaches, it’s so nice to meet you,” I said walking over to her and holding my hand out to shake her’s.

“Hello, Sassy, I’ve heard a lot about you,” she said shaking my hand, squeezing it like a vice grip. I continued to smile at her even though I wanted to scream bloody murder.

“Good things I hope.”

“Yes, of course,” Carl said coming over and putting his arm around both of us. “Would ladies like something to eat? Peaches is a great cook.”

“No thank you but can we have something to drink?”

“Yes, you can,” Peaches said heading to the kitchen.

I gave Cole Slaw a look and she followed Peaches offering to help. I didn’t want sneaky Peaches to disappear out the back door.

“She’s nice, Carl, I like her.”

“I’m glad you like her, she’s great for me. She reminds me a little of you, she keeps me straight.”

“Good to hear, where’s your bathroom?”

“Up the stairs and soon as you get to the top, it’s the first door you see.”

“Thanks.”

I hopped up the stairs one at a time. As soon as I got into the bathroom, I called the police. It was time to let them take over; I had done all of the hard work.


Word Count
20,012/50,000

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Day 11 of NaNoWriMo

I’m going to have to get rid of this chair. D hid my phone in it the other day. But you’ll never guess what he had stuffed in there last night. My coat, my keys, and the cup part of his training pot. He even fell asleep with half of his body stuffed into the side of the cushion. I realized this morning that my cell phone charger was missing and since it wasn’t in the chair with the other items, I assumed that the burglar took it with them. It’s a good thing I have a car charger.

According to my car’s built-in thermometer, it was 52˚outside. When I plugged up my phone, I sat there with the car running for a few minutes, then turned it off and went back into the house. I wasn’t sure if my car battery would die from the phone charging so I went outside every once in awhile to crank up the car and let it run for about a minute at a time.

In between running outside to the car, I was working on my novel. By 8:16, I had a total of 816 words, isn’t that something. Anyway, I was starting to get sleepy again, so I went into my bedroom to get a little more shut-eye. At 8:55, D made me get up because he wanted to watch TV. After eating breakfast, I snuck back on the computer while D was mesmerized by Clifford the Big Red Dog.

I had made it to 1,662 by 12:29, when I decided to take a break. That was only 5 short of today’s goal, but I still needed to make up for yesterday and the day before, which was another 1,947.

D fell asleep on our way home from picking up something to eat. I ate my salad and half of my pasta before jumping back on my laptop. I didn’t quite make it 1,947 but I did do another 1,453, a fact of which I feel pretty good about.

The sorry maintenance man didn’t show up today but they promised to come tomorrow morning. I’m gonna have to miss class for the first time this semester but I need to make sure I get my hot water tank replaced without any more of my other stuff coming up missing. I should be completely back on track with my word count tomorrow.
Happy writing, fellow NaNoers!!

Word Count
17,843/50,000

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

What Doesn't Kill Me Will Go in My Next Story

I was having a half-way decent day, thinking about my word count and how I was going to make up for yesterday. Unfortunately when I got home all of that flew out the window. I found my TV converter box, microwave and my son’s radio missing. The dressers had been riffled through in both our rooms, but I only had about five dollars in the house so that wasn’t a big deal. When I got to my office, I saw what had happened. My back door was open. Now this same door has been impossible to open since August but I guess the maintenance man forced it open and then opened the storm door to do what he had to do. My landlord said that she would replace my items. Good thing I was paranoid and took my laptop with me for the last two days, I would have had a harder time getting that replaced I’m sure.

After all of this, the maintenance guy still has to come back tomorrow. Thank God and the federal government for federal holidays, because D and I are going to be here monitoring the goings on. Even if I didn’t have the day off, I would have taken the day off. I’ve just got this thing about still having stuff to move when I get ready to move, I’m just funny like that. D is like a guard dog, he watches everything. And he will bust you out, “Mama, what man doing? Man break thang.” That’s my boy.

Since I’m off tomorrow, I will try my best to get back on track. Like my title implies, I may use my dilemma in my story. So don’t be surprised if my private detective has a fit about somebody breaking into her office.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Day 9 of NaNoWriMo

Since I had to work on my the presentation for my boss’s boss, I wasn’t able to work on NaNo this morning. Five hundred words gone down the toilet bowl, and I still had to continue working on it for three more hours once I got to work. Man, I’m too nice…almost. I wrote some notes for today’s writing while I was in a meeting. No one knew what I was doing because I continued to answer and ask questions, so they figured I was just taking notes.

I wrote 1,074 words before I got sleepy. I hate not meeting my goal for today, but tomorrow has got to be better.

Here’s an excerpt from today’s writing:

When Shannon stood to introduce us, I tried to hold in my surprise. Shannon left Kadijah and me in the living room alone. I watched the woman as she folded the laundry.

“I’m sorry for your loss,” I said looking at Kadijah. She stopped folding for a moment and then continued.

“I’ve been sorry for 10 years.”

“What do you mean?"

“He cheated on me for most of our marriage, and didn’t find out about all of the bastard children he had, until recently.”

“Did you know that Shannon was his girlfriend when you first started working for her?”

“Girlfriend, please. He had whores all over the city; she was just one of thousand.”

“So, did you kill him here or did you kill him someplace else and just brought him here,” She stopped folding then and got up. “Shannon, I believe my time is up for today. I will see you next week.”

“Um, okay, Kadijah,” Shannon said walking into the living room. She went over to the mantle over the fireplace and picked up an envelope. Kadijah took the envelope from Shannon’s hand and picked up her things from the corner. She looked at me, nodded, and walked out the door.

“I wonder what’s wrong with Kadijah; she never leaves in the middle of folding.”

I stood up and dragged my cast to the door, “Maybe it was something I said.”


Try to stay on track fellow NaNoers. You can do it.

Word Count
14,718/50,000

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Day 8 of NaNoWriMo

My boss’s boss needs me to work on a presentation for her that’s due Tuesday, and I don’t even know where to begin. I’ve folded so many little toddler outfits that I’m about to lose my mind. I spent an hour looking for my cell phone, which just happened to be stuck in the imitation lazy boy chair thanks to this little boy of mine. My landlord has me silently cursing her for not sending the maintenance man over TODAY!! This doggone house is falling apart and I am definitely planning to move at the beginning of the year.

Despite all of this, I made time to work on my novel. I wrote 529 words before the mess that my son had made of the living room began making me want to snap. I didn’t do a perfect job but at least I wouldn’t be ashamed for people to walk through my front door. Another 553 was added to my word count until I got an undeniable craving for some ice cream.

Back in front of the computer with a Butterfinger Blast within arm’s reach, I set out on my mission again. My final word addition for the day came out to be 621.
I am really falling in love with my characters. Even though I am still sticking to my basic outline, my muse is really working overtime when it comes to filling in the blanks.

Happy NaNoing!!

Word Count
13,654/50,000

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Day 7 of NaNoWriMo

When I woke up this morning, I immediately got my algebra quiz out of the way. I was thinking about what I was going to do to complete my English essay, when D woke up. Since it was still breakfast time at McDonalds, we got dressed and went up there for our sausage fix. Afterwards we headed to my father’s house. After sitting around and telling my dad about all the crazy things that had happened to me this week, I pulled out my laptop so I could finish my essay.

Too bad those 500 words didn’t go towards my word count. After rereading and tweaking my essay for about an hour, I finally started on my daily NaNo task. Despite kids running in and out of the house my dad asking me stuff and having to change my supposed to be potty-trained son several times, I was able to get in about 800 words. After eating and watching TV for a while, I packed all my belongings in the car (including the boy) and headed home.

D feel asleep in the car, which meant that I would definitely get a chance to meet my goal. As soon as we got home, I put the kid in the bed and grabbed my laptop. 867 words escaped from my pen before the cell door was slammed shut by a whining baby, demanding attention. Maybe I’ll be able to write more tonight once he goes back to sleep or exceed my goal tomorrow.

Happy Writing, NaNoers! One week down three more to go. You can do it!

Word Count
11,951/50,000

Friday, November 6, 2009

Day 6 of NaNoWriMo

I got up at 6:30 this morning. My brain allowed me to come up with 654 words before sleep settled over me again.

Halfway through my nap, my sitter called to say that she was coming to pick D up. I had to hurry to get his belongings together. Once she had picked him up and left, I allowed myself fifteen minutes to get a power nap, so I hopped back in the bed until 8:30.

Last night's outting was the inspiration behind today's word count. I generated 482 words before getting dressed for work. Then decided that I would email the work in progress to my work email so I could add to it whenever I got a break.

It was no big surprise that I never got a chance to work on my novel while I was at work.

When I got home, I wrote another 804. Here's an exert from today's writing:

There was a note taped to my front door when I got home. I opened it and read: “You will not continue to ignore me.” Was that supposed to be a threat? That damn Carl, I wouldn’t help him after that little stunt for all the rice in Hong Kong. I had a funny feeling when I walked into my apartment. My gun was in a shoe box under the couch, so listened for any type of movement as I made my way over to retrieve it. With gun in hand, I slowly walked down the hall to the kitchen and flipped the light on. I didn’t see anything out of the ordinary, so I walked on to the bathroom. I walked over to the tub and pulled back the shower curtain, nothing there.

When I reached the bedroom, I took a deep breath and turned on the light. There was Jerry, lying in the bed, sleeping like the dead. I walked over to the bed and poked him in the side, he grunted and rolled over. There was no sign that he was hurt or anything so, walked back to the door and turned out the light before closing the door behind me.

All of that excitement had made me want a drink. I had no gin but I’m sure there was orange juice in the fridge. When I opened the door, the most horrible thing looked out at me. Since I was a Halloween baby, I wasn’t easily scared, but seeing a dead cat sitting on top of the sliced turkey wasn’t a nice thing to look at. I pulled a plastic grocery bag out of one of the drawers and put it over my hand then and I picked up the cat and all of the food it could have touched. Everything was then stuffed into a 10 gallon garbage bag and dropped on the floor in front of the sink.

It feels good to have the first 10,000 behind me. Congrats to my fellow NaNoers who've made it to this point and beyond. We have to keep it moving.

Word Count
10,284/50,000

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Day 5 of NaNoWriMo

I got in 96 words before heading to school. I became a little caught up in my made up world, that is until I heard the baby fidgeting. Reluctantly, I had to call it quits for the morning.

For as long as I can remember, I've loved writing, but trying to meet this 50,000 word goal has been addictive. It's been a real job trying to come up with more material for my novel on a daily basis. Don't get me wrong, I am so not complaining. I've just never thought that I would have a writing schedule.

After work I went out for a drink with two of my co-workers. Then I picked up D and we headed home. He watched TV while I played around on the internet (I know, when I could have been writing-stop nagging me, Muse.) D kept coming into my office, climbing into my lap and then climbing back down. Finally, after an hour of this, he fell asleep in my arms. He had not done this in months, so I cherished the moment, briefly.

As soon as I laid the little bugger down, I grabbed my notebook and laptop and got to work.

Unfortunately, I only had 251 words in me. I don't feel too bad because I have a word count cushion that I had been building on over the last few days. So in actuality, I am still on schedule.

With no school and no pending homework due dates in the morning, I plan to reach my quota and build towards a new cushion.

Have a great night, NaNoers. Happy writing.

Word Count
8,344/50,000

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Day Four of NaNoWriMo

I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to write a whopping 1,745 words this morning, before my son woke up. After that, I had to dress both of us and drop him off at the sitter's before going to work.

Once I returned from work, I remembered that the rough draft for my evaluation essay for English class was due. Too bad I couldn't add those 300+ words to my NaNo word count.

Here's a little exert from today's writing:

“Spit it out, Carl, or this meeting is over.”

“I need you to find Peaches.”

“Who the hell is Peaches, a dog or something?”

“She’s my wife.” Look at the balls on this guy.

“Now why in the hopscotch hell would I help you find some woman?”

“I’ll pay you. It’s not like you have to do it for free.” Wow. This fool is crazy.

“I’ll think about it.”

“I really need you to help me. I…”

“I said I would think about it. Goodbye Carl.” He tried to hug me again but when I showed him my taser, he backed away.

“Did I ever tell you I was sorry?”

“What?”

“Did I ever say that I was sorry, for hurting you? I didn’t want to, I just couldn’t help it. You just always had a smart mouth and I just didn’t know how to deal with you.”

“You knew I was Sassy when you met me. That’s no excuse. Please don’t come to my office uninvited again. The police will be called next time.”

“I am sorry, Sassy. I hope you will help me find…” I slammed the door before he finished. What a piece of work.


What you think? Is it great or does it suck?

Currently, I am about 1,300 words ahead of schedule and it feels good. Not being connected to the internet while I am working helps tremendously.(Hint, Hint)

Keep it up fellow NaNoers.

Word Count
7,997/50,000

Day Three of NaNoWriMo

I wrote 668 words this morning between English class and work. I was at the public library and some guy asked me for my number. Maybe I looked like a business woman with my laptop and books spread out on the table around me. I gave him one of my numbers but I prayed that he wouldn't call or that he would just lose the piece of paper I had written it on. Sure it would have been easier just to say that I wasn't interested but where's the fun in that?

He asked if he could sit down and talk to me while I wrote but I told him that wouldn't be a good idea because I needed to concentrate. This was bull of course because I work in a place that's 90% black women and we talk all the time and still manage to get our work completed on time. I just didn't want to be bothered.

Once I got off work, I picked up my son and we went home. He fell asleep maybe ten minutes after I had put him in his pajamas. Thank God for that because I was able to write another 1,256 before calling it quits. I was so caught up in going over my notes that I lost track of time and didn't update my word count on the website until a little after 12:30 AM. No problem because I'm ahead of schedule anyway.

I may end up having more characters in this story than I can keep up with, but I'll remedy that after November 30.

Word Count
6,252/50,000

Monday, November 2, 2009

Day Two of NaNoWriMo

Last night I went from 1705 to 2627 but that was interrupted when I discovered that my two year old was decorating the kitchen and living room with mustard. I was so worn out from cleaning up his mess that I tweeted (Twitter) a little while before going to bed.

I was able to write 751 words this morning before leaving home to run errands and going to work. I could have written a little more but I had to do my algebra homework and then feed D when he stumbled out of bed.

My writing notebook and voice recorder were ready to catch loose story ideas, but I was too wrapped up with the goings-on at work to really think of some worthy material.

I wrote another 950 tonight but I'm going to have to call it a night because I have class in the morning.

No matter what obsticles encounter, I am determined to see this challenge through to the very end. I wonder if D's grannie would mind keeping him for the rest of the month. Humm... Just kidding. I'm have to make this work if I ever want to be a full-time writer.

Word Count
4,328 of 50,000

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Day One of NaNoWriMo

It's the first day of National Novel Writing Month and I have exceeded by daily quota of 1667 words by a whopping 38 words. I know that doesn't sound like a lot but to me, that's a miracle. In all my life I have never written 1705 in one day.

The ideas are just flowing from my pin like frappuccino. I think this is going to be a good story and a great learning experience for me. Tomorrow I'm going to try to write between 2000 and 3000 words. I may be pushing my luck but I'm going to put forth my best effort.

Here's the synopsis and a short exerpt...

Synopsis: Wrongfully Accused
Shannon Heard is accused of killing her four year's father and she has hired private investigator, Sassy Johnson, to find the real killer and clear her name.

Excerpt: Wrongfully Accused
“Why didn’t you invite the officer in?”

“He had on a uniform but he hadn’t shown me his badge, for all I knew he could have been a police officer impersonator.”

“Come on, Ms. Heard, if you really thought that, you wouldn’t have opened the door let alone gone outside to talk to him, if you thought he wasn’t a real officer.”

“Well…I didn’t invite him in because the house was dirty.”

“What do you mean dirty? Like drugs or something?”

“No nothing like that, I mean messy. My housekeeper only comes once a week and in between time my house looks a mess. I don’t like people to come over when it’s not tidy. Not even Pearce,” she pats his hand and he whispers that he understands, but I ask the question that I’m sure he’s asked or at least wanted to.

“Why don’t you ‘tidy’ it yourself?”

“It’s not that simple. I work a full-time job, I go to school twice a week, I have to run errands, and I have to tend to Nedra. She’s four and she is a hand full. It’s just so hard to find the time or the energy to keep the house clean. I hate doing dishes and folding laundry. I can cook more often since I have someone else to clean my kitchen. Kadijah does everything I hate doing when she comes on Thursdays. I love her. She never complains, at least not where I can hear,” Ms. Heard giggles.

This woman is accused of murder and she’s in here laughing, boy, and this is the type of person that demands that I file and pay my taxes every year. No wonder the government is screwed up. “So, Ms. Heard, can I assume that Mr. Bendele’s body was in this big bag that was at the curb in front of your house?”


As you can see, I took a few tips from J A Konrath and Janet Evanovich by adding a little humor to the story. I think is going to be really good. I can't wait to see what my characters do tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Appreciation

Everyone likes being appreciated, right? Well it depends. Mindy, the operations manager at my job, came up with the idea to have an appreciation party. It wasn’t anything fancy but to me it was the thought that was most important.

Mindy had a quick meeting with the department and team managers to decide what to have for the party. They ordered cakes, blew up balloons, printed certificates of appreciation and coupons for an hour off, and gathered various gifts for the employees.

When I arrived that Tuesday afternoon, the dayshift celebration had already taken place and it was nearing the time to set the room up for the night shift employees. A few of the workers were not enthusiastic about the cake, mixed nuts, mints and punch. For a last minute effort, I thought that the managers had done a good job. Now if you ask me, management did not have to spend their money on people for doing their job. They could have said, “Hey, you did your job. Your pay check is your reward.” If that had been said, many people would have felt slighted and, of course, would have had their lips poked out.

Every time I heard someone say, “Is this all the food we get?” I told them, “If you want, you can go pick up some hot wings for everyone.” They just looked at me like I was crazy and tried to get as far away from me as possible as if something was wrong with me.

It was like a graduation ceremony as each manager got up to thank their team before calling each employee up to receive their certificates. After handing out all of the certificates and gifts, the managers served the punch and other refreshments to us.
Mindy said, “We literally decided to do this yesterday, so there wasn’t a lot of planning time.” This was in response as to why so many different gifts were handed out. The tax examiners received stress balls or lanyards for their ID badges, the clerks got water bottles, and the leads and I received Bravo paraphernalia such as coffee cups, Post-it Note holders, and beverage coasters.

Lindsey, one of the leads, was nice enough to stand up and offer thanks to all of the managers for their part in helping us meet our goal, which was very happily received.
After the festivities were over, I helped the managers clean up the room and take down all of the decorations. Mindy took the themed balloons with “Congratulations” and “Well Done” on them and put them on a table in the middle of the work area. She was hoping that the balloons would bring a smile to the employees’ faces every time they looked at them. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that the majority of the people rolled their eyes when they looked up at one of our tokens of appreciation.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Life Got in the Way

This poem is dedicated to my best friend. Even though we've known each other 10 years, it feels as if we've been friends all of our lives.

We met through mutual
friends and have been
through thick and thin
ever since.

What happened to
those days when
we could go out
and treat
each other to dinner
even when we
had no dates
to double with?

But now that I
think about it,
sick parents,
needy children,
and job responsibilities
took center stage
in both of our lives.

Phone calls and emails
are the only way
we communicate
these days, because life
now dictates our
free time.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Getting Ready for NaNoWriMo


I've decided to participate in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) from November 1 to November 30, but it did take me a while to make this decision.

It is possible that I have been living under a rock since 1999 (when the competition first began) because I didn't find out about it until 2008. Being the procrastinating writer that I am, I've waited a whole year to find out what NaNoWriMo is all about.

One of the people that I follow on Twitter, who goes by the name ProcrastWriter, has been tweeting and blogging about NaNoWriMo since September. I signed up for her NaNo survival tips and set out on a journey to find out more about this 30-day-Novel-Writing-thingy.

Of course the first place I went to was the NaNoWriMo website. After checking out each page on the site, I was like okay this sounds cool. I still had to give it some more thought though.

And you'll never believe what happened that night. I had a dream about something I would have never thought would ever happen to me in a million years--I was falsely accused of murder but was acquitted and ended up on Oprah. Isn't that something.

Now I'm not the type of person that sits down and tries to interpret what my dreams mean, but I did wonder, "Is this a story I need to write?" The more I thought about it I finally came to the conclusion that I had to use this dream as the basis for my NaNoWriMo novel. So I went back to the website and created my profile.

Then I was at the point where I was trying to figure out how in the world would I be able to write 1,667 words a day for a month between taking care of my son, working (full-time mind you) and going to school two days a week as well as taking one class online. Now I know I spend a lot of time online, which is great because I get to network with new people and keep in touch with old friends; I'm thinking that some of that time (at least an hour a day) can go towards working on this novel.

I Googled NaNoWriMo yesterday and found a few more blogs that had some very helpful information. Paperback Writer posted a blog entitled "NaNoWriMo Ten". This article talks about finding character names, using a graph that monitors your novel word count, and gives information on outlining your novel in 30 minutes as well as a few more suggestions.

Spacejock.com created a progress form in 2008 that can be used to track your daily word count progress.


Writinghood.com
suggests finding someone to compete in the challenge with you.

All of these sites offer a wealth of information. I may find myself using nearly all of them before the month of November is over. I'm even considering purchasing a NaNoWriMo 2009 "Noveling Machine" t-shirt to keep me motivated.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Phone Tag


Why do you
Ask me for
My number
When you
Knew you would
Never use
It?

Those times when you
Do text,
it’s late
at night.

So I call
You early
The next day
and get your voicemail.

The only
thing we
Have in
Common are
Bedroom
Games.

Other than
That, nothing
Exists
No conversation
Unless we
Are about
To screw or
After we
Are through.

I need more than
That in my life so
when you’re
ready for the
real deal,
give me a
call when you
have some time
to kill.

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Death of My Computer


I am so sad...my computer died last night
I don't know why I was so upset
When I realized it.
I didn't write when I was supposed to.
No greeting cards or scrapbook pages
had been done in a while.
Sims and Diner Dash had been totally neglected.
But when I pushed the power button
and nothing happened, I cried.
All I could think about were all the things I could have done.
If only the computer would come on.
I switched out parts,
unplugged and re-plugged,
But still, nothing happened
and I'm really, truly sad.
When I get a new computer
I'm not going to neglect it.
I'm going to write until
my hands cramp.
I'm going to make greeting
cards for every day on the calendar.
I'll make a scrapbook with all
the crappy photos I didn't want
anyone to see.
And I'm going to play every
goddamn game on it including solitaire.
All praises due to the computer
and the folks that brought them into existence.
I don't know how I would function without you.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Overcoming My Fear of Public Speaking

When I was in school I was extremely shy, so whenever I had to do a presentation in front of the class, I nearly had a panic attack. I truly didn’t overcome my fear until I started working at IRS. The higher up the ranks, I’ve gone training other employees became one of my many duties. One-on-one training was fine, but I avoided classroom training like a guy with bad breath hides from Altoids until Dorothy, my manager at the time, forced me to do it. After a day or two of crying, begging, and a little bribing to get out of teaching, with no success of course, I finally gave in.

On the day first day of the four day class, I had all of handouts ready, the training books were on the tables, and I had a speech (of sorts) that I was going to use to introduce the class. I greeted everyone as they came into the room and exchanged ideal chit chat with those that I worked closely with. Everyone was all smiles and seemed happy to be there, including me, until I got to the front of the classroom.

When I addressed the group of 20, the voice trembling began. I asked a number of the students to read the material because I was practically speechless. As we went through the lesson, every question that I was asked, though I knew the answer, it was extremely hard for me help the class understand. The negative body language that I observed warned me to let the explanations go before I lost all of my creditability. Instead, I wrote down the questions and told the class that I would get back with them by the end of the day or the beginning of the next day at the latest.

At the end of the day, one of the people in my class called me over to them and said, “You did a good job for your first time. You’ll do better tomorrow,” then she handed me a sheet of paper. After reading the note Ms. Barbara handed me, I hugged her and quickly let the room.

That night I read over Ms Barbara’s note again, did some class instructional research on the internet, and prayed for confidence.

The next day, I had the answers to all of the questions from the day before typed up so I handed them out. As we went over the questions, I pretended that I was only addressing each person that had asked a question. My prayer kicked in when I began speaking freely to everyone like I had the first day when I greeted everyone as they came in.

Ms. Barbara’s note had helped me realize that talking to the entire group was really not much different than speaking to each person individually. After that training session, I have taught quite a few classes and have significantly improved with each one.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Last But Not Least



The Last Street Novel

Omar Tyree was one of the first African American authors I feel in love with in the early '90s. And this book right here will make the biggest critic fall in love with his no holds barred writing style.

Throughout this book, I kept questioning why I'm not writing full-time. And of course writing about subjects I care about like the main character, Shareef Crawford. This book is an inspiration to me and I think many people will benefit from these hard lessons taught from page one on.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

A Moment in History


Title: God’s Moment
Author: Franklin Howard
Publisher: Publish America, August 2008
119 pages, Paperback, $19.95
ISBN: 1606103717
Genre: Fiction

Rating: 4 out of 5

Annie Hershey is a small town woman with big issues. Unfortunately, quite a few young women today can relate to her.

The beginning of the story shows Annie and her boyfriend, Jubal Tucker, on a train from Corinth, MS to her hometown of Starry, TN. A very deep conversation takes place over the crying of Annie’s one month old son, Robert.

Annie says to Jubal, “I wish we could keep ‘em. I’ve given all my udda kids away. I really wish we could keep ‘em. He’s da baby.”

Jubal says, “You can keep ‘em. But, if you do, I’m otta here. We don’t need no babies holdin’ us down. And besides, dat li’l bastard ain’t even mine.”

Annie looks at Jubal in a pissed-off way. Then she shoves a bottle in the baby’s mouth and looks out the train’s window.


Juanita Hamm, one of Annie’s adult children, is at the train station awaiting their arrival. It had been years since she had heard from her mother and had been excited ever since she received the telegram saying that Annie was coming to town.

Annie sees Juanita and grabs the baby and runs to the door of the train. She hands Juanita Lil’ Robert, smiles, and then returns to her seat. Juanita is stunned. She says nothing. She looks at her li’l brother she didn’t know she had. Juanita keeps her eyes on the train until it’s out of sight.

Back on the train:

Annie says, “I love you, Jubal, and I’ll do anythin’ you say.”

Jubal replies, “I know, baby. Dat li’l bastard will be all right.”

Annie says, “I know, baby.”


Wow! Now that’s cold, but the statistics show that the number of children raised by other family members has increased at an alarming rate since the Pre-Civil Rights Era this story takes place in.

We hear so much about the so-called “deadbeat” fathers, but society rarely shines the light on the “deadbeat” mothers that plague our society.

Throughout this book, you learn more about Juanita and her family as well as her other siblings. It’s quite possible that Annie’s children turned out a lot better than they would have if she had raised them, while continuing to live the life that she led.

The main setting of this novel is Starry, TN. Most of the characters escape small town living by moving to big cities like Detroit or volunteering to see the world by way of the military. I like the fact that this story is told using the language and dialect of many people in the south in a way that seeks to inform rather than offend.

You learn more about Annie’s interaction with her family in the last few chapters of the book. By the time I got to the end I felt a little better about Annie Hershey. The statement, “We all have sinned and come short of the glory of God,” came to mind. And I realized that even though Annie started off as a very selfish woman, it takes a big person to admit when she’s wrong and try to make amends. Every time she made things right and erased some of the pain from her children’s hearts, a “God’s Moment” took place. And oh what a glorious moment that can be.

Reviewed by Susie McCray, writer & poet
***
Susie McCray is the author of a poetry collection entitled, “See What I See”. She also writes short stories that can be found on various websites. For more info, visit her at www.susiemccray.com or www.myspace.com/suzy2quzy .