the end.

Finished my NaNoWriMo novel draft. Final tally: 80,154.

I think it’s pretty good. I know it’s better now than it was around the 20k mark or so. I’m pretty sure I want to very heavily revise it, including possibly splitting the narrative POV, but that can wait. It’s all rough around the edges but there’s something in there to shine up and make pretty.

For now, though, it’s going to sit for a few weeks before I pick it back up and read it all the way through. I’ll miss it, I think. It’s the most I’ve ever written in a month so I’ve spent several hours a day with these characters so it will be odd to not have to follow them around tomorrow.

So, note for the ages: I finished the very first draft of THEREAFTER on Sunday, November 29th, 2009. We’ll see where it goes from here.

And since I shared my favorite Rapunzel pic found in researching stages earlier, here’s my favorite Little Red Riding Hood, by John Everett Millais:


where the sidewalk

where the sidewalk doesn’t end

Would you walk me home?

Now, while there is still light? Before the afternoon turns to dusk? The light is fading quickly, so I’ll need an answer soon.

Would you walk me home along that line where autumn brushes against winter, and golden leaves melt into evergreen?

Where the sidewalk doesn’t end.

Where gloves do not require fingers to keep hands warm. (And you may hold my hand if you would like.)

It is a quiet kind of walk in this light, at this time.

I would appreciate the company.

About flax-golden tales. Photo by Carey Farrell. Text by Erin Morgenstern.


Things I Am Thankful For in this, the last week of November in the year 2009

(an unnumbered list)

  • Kittens.
  • The husband, also known as the boy, also known as the bestest person I know.
  • Chocolate.
  • Lovely friends who live in my computer and listen to me babble about all manner of things via e-mail.
  • (Particularly Kaari, for the aforementioned e-mailing, and Carey, for the wonderment that has been flax-golden.)
  • New lovely people who live in my computer that I’ve virtually met this year and also, two of them make shiny things that you should buy: here & here.
  • NaNoWriMo in general and Chris Baty in particular, for giving me a framework in which to push my creative writing boundaries. (72k & counting.)
  • Azure Ray’s album Hold On Love, which is right music at right time right now.
  • BPAL‘s Now Winter Nights Enlarge, which is my new favorite scent even though it’s not really winter yet.
  • Punchdrunk & A.R.T.’s Sleep No More, which I get to see again next week.
  • The Absolute Write forums, particularly Purgatory, for helping me keep my sanity in this year of literary agent search crazy.
  • Mulled cider. Red Wine.
  • Fingerless gloves.
  • Everyone who reads this blog. Everyone. Seriously.
  • Lip balm.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone celebrating. Happy everything to everyone else. Have something with cinnamon in it for me.

angel meditation

angel meditation

Please do not disturb the angels in the garden.

You will find them sitting in the quiet corners.


Listening to the world as it grows.

Most weekdays from late morning to mid-afternoon.

You may sit and watch them, if you wish.

Thinking your own thoughts alongside.

Please don’t take it personally if the angels do not notice you.

They get lost in their thoughts quite easily.

Angel thoughts are heavier than you might suppose.

About flax-golden tales. Photo by Carey Farrell. Text by Erin Morgenstern.


Well, 51,132. And I have at least 20, possibly 30 more before the end will roll around. Going to try to get it done before December.

Bucket remains unimpressed.

unimpressed bucket

november pumpkins

november pumpkins

It is a sad thing to be a pumpkin after Hallowe’en.

No more light inside.

No more chasing away evil spirits.

No more revelry.

Only the crunch of leaves in fading light and the growing chill in the autumn air.

October past and gone.

Watching fallen comrades smashed to pieces, rotting on the ground.

Unable to close your eyes or look away.

It is a sad thing to be a pumpkin in November.

All they want you for is pie.

About flax-golden tales. Photo by Carey Farrell. Text by Erin Morgenstern.

november is for writing

Clearly, I fail at blogging during NaNo. This is probably not that surprising.

But now there are pretty little wordcount widgets, look!

Currently at 36k. Now have five different fairy tales (Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood, The Six Swans, The Twelve Dancing Princesses, & Bluebeard) incorporated and twisted around into knots. I’m guessing that this draft will round out around 75k, and I’m hoping I can get that done this month. I already have notes for things I want to change, of course.

And now, because I know y’all (& by y’all, I mean the approximately three people who read this regularly. Hi Paul!) are interested, a Great Agent Search update:

At the end of October I sent my revised manuscript back to the three agents who wanted to see it, and within two weeks I had responses & feedback from all three of them.

And… I get to go back to revisionland. Everyone say yay!

It’s really not that bad. I think this time I have a much clearer idea of what needs to happen and a slightly vaguer but still pretty decent idea of how to do that.

The unfortunate part is that it’s going to involve completely dismantling and reworking what I have. And I have no idea how long that will take. I’m hoping to do some structural outlining/planning during December and then start in on the new draft in January.

And when that revision is completed and beta’d and revised again, all three agents want to see it again. So it seems like there’s a good novel in there somewhere. I just need to figure out how to write it.

But other than occasional jotting down of notes & ideas I’m trying not to think about it too much at the moment. I have NaNoing to do. And the circus can wait while I’m busy wandering around my war-torn fairy tale mashup of a NaNovel. I am all Once Upon a Not-So-Happily-Ever-After at the moment.

Here, have my favorite illustration of Rapunzel that I’ve stumbled upon in researching:


Rapunzel by Isobel Lilian Gloag



There isn’t any water left in the well. There was, once, a long time ago. There was probably a bucket, too, but now there is only a rope.

Wells do go dry sometimes.

Can you make wishes in an empty well? Well, I’m certain you can make them, but can they be granted by bucketless emptiness?

Or does it need the water?

What water once was there is now buried in years of accumulated coins. Layers and layers of old wishes.

I suppose there can be too many wishes, even for a wishing well.

About flax-golden tales. Photo by Carey Farrell. Text by Erin Morgenstern.

exploratory noveling

It makes me very sad that the NaNoWriMo word count widgets aren’t working yet. So when I say, “I have 17,507 words!” that doesn’t get translated into a pretty little progress bar.

I Googled and I found one! Not the fancypants official ones, but still a visual interpretation of numbers and that makes me inexplicably happy:

17507 / 50000 words. 35% done!

I’m much further ahead than I’d expected to be. I might try to hit 25k sometime over the weekend if I’m feeling particularly motivated. It’s going well but I’m not sure what I think of it yet. But my characters are putting up with a fair amount of pushing them around, and they have a destination that I likely won’t reach for another 10k, and I have a general idea of what might happen after that.

I have more of an outline this year than usual, mostly because I’m structuring it on classic Hero’s Journey framework, so it has a general sort of shape to it. It’s building toward something, there’s all the fun traveling bits and stuff to encounter around the way.

It is sort of a fairy tale mashup, with my main characters taken from fairy tales and pushed far beyond their happy ever afters. So far I’ve pulled from Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood, and Six Swans. I’m likely using Bluebeard at some point.

It’s almost as though I have a map this year, only it’s written in fading ink and has bits missing, and I keep wandering toward those bits that say hic sunt dracones. Still exploratory, still not sure what I might find, but I have a decent idea of where I’m headed.

Unless of course I get attacked by pirates or something. Which has been known to happen.