Taking steps to write a novel through November

My Writing Group are planning on writing a novel during the NaNoWriMo month of November. We are going to get some pre-planning in and then be ready to start in November. I have all sorts of plots and scenes playing out in my head but how to put it all together is going to be the challenge. I am hoping I can keep the word count up.

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Rainy day

I live in a place where mountains disappear.

They shroud themselves in misty clouds that trail lazily in the furrowed landscape.

Deep blue-black curtains move ominously towards my window hover and retreat.

The light sinks into muffled dimness and the land turns to sepias and grey.

The rain comes thickly blotting out distance until all that is left of my mountain vista is a few meagre metres.

The morning finds them shouldering new cloaks of tattered white.  Crisp air bring distances to my window that I can almost touch.

The mountains have reappeared again

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Adding photos to my blog

I have spent most of today adding photos – heavily cropped – to my blog. I am not sure how it looks. I can’t seem to get a picture to relate to a story which would be good if I could. Trying to get more active.

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cart in winery Tuscany

I spent a month in Tuscany in May 2013.  It was a painting holiday; painting in watercolours.  We had three excellent tutors who helped us  draw and paint the beautiful buildings, scenery and people that crowded round us.

We tried Chianti Classico the famous wine of the region.  I’m afraid, although a red wine drinkers it was too dry for me.  This photo of a cart and paraphernalia is from one of those visits.

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I belong to a great writing group.  It is such a stimulus to hear about other people’s struggles and wins.

We give ourselves a new challenge each fortnight and the variety of short stories each time is amazing.  We talk about the authors we admire and sometimes emulate their style or try to write in a very different style to our usual.  It is a safe place to try new things and share a bit of ourselves that may not always be allowed to be shown to the world in general.

I find I don’t start writing till I have a story starting to happen in my head.  The process of getting it on paper, i.e. computer, is where the characters seem to take over and live their brief lives through my ‘cursor’.

Funnily enough but logical really is the fact that when I feel like painting a picture I seem to follow the same process.  I become excited by a scene / a collection of objects or flowers and start the ‘plot’ of how to create them on my paper, real in this instance.  The same process of following the lead of my creation occurs as the shapes and colours dictate the final outcome.

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why so friendly

We went to a Motor-home Rally on the week-end which after two days of rain the grounds were in ankle deep mud.  So the Rally-goers’ footwear was an interesting combination of wellies, normal shoes with plastic bags wrapped round and plastic clogs oozing mud out of their designer holes.

The Rallyers pride themselves on friendliness and I must admit after a while we started to walk around trying not to catch the many Rallyers’ eye as we had a limited time and our first two encounters had tied us up for an hour.  They were very proud of their homes and we discarded our muddy wellies and looked around the different combinations of lounge, kitchen and bathroom facilities.

This friendliness intrigued me.  I acknowledge that Kiwis are a very friendly race but this seemed over the top to me.  We had merely greeted a lady standing in her door-way and before we had exchanged an, ‘Isn’t it muddy?’ her husband was craning his head out of the back of the motor-home and asking us ‘Where are you from and isn’t it muddy?’

They insisted on giving us advice on whether to re-furbish or buy new or second-hand and we discussed the options until the subject seemed thoroughly examined.  We departed with difficulty only to be button-holed by a gentleman who had written a guide-book to motor-homing.  Couldn’t remember the name but said it was full of all sorts of useful hints.  That encounter gobbled up another half hour and we marched on head down as quickly as the sticky mud and heavy wellies would allow.

As we drove home I wondered at this excessive need to engage in conversation with anyone passing and decided that it was a syndrome known as ‘too much time locked up in a motor-home with the wife/husband’.  The longer the trip and time at out-of-the-way places the worse the symptoms are.

The question is, do I want to spend time putting my mental health at risk participating in the past-time?  Not sure.

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school lunches

Facing a blank screen I read ‘Five Posts to Write Right Now’ so I will explore the school lunch idea. Going to school in England during the fifties and sixties there was the wonderful tradition of cooked school lunches.   The set menu was the same every week – mince on Monday; stew on Tuesday; back to mince again on Wednesday; stew on Thursday and boiled fish on Friday.  Puddings had more variety, semolina on Monday; tapioca on Tuesday; rice on Wednesday; steam pudding on Thursday and stewed fruit and custard on Friday.  The vegetables didn’t vary at all from my recollection it was always mashed potato and cabbage.  The quantities were generous and all us girls looked like book-ends. I then went home to bread and jam and cakes with my cup of tea and two sugars.  Before bed was supper of cheese on toast or baked beans on toast. Of course my mother sent me off to school with a ‘good’ breakfast inside me to get me through till 12 o’clock lunch.  A bowl of cornflakes with milk and lots of sugar; either kippers; bacon and eggs with fried bread; scrambled eggs on toast and followed by 2 slices of toast with marmalade. My stature was impressive both vertically and horizontally.  A bit like the cuckoo who has outgrown its parents I towered over both my mother and father.  As playing sports was not considered important I never got to run all these extra calories off.  My Aunt and mother would contemplate my size and mutter ‘It’s just puppy fat.  She’ll loose it all soon.’ It wasn’t until a mouth infection prevented me from joining my fellow pupils for the gourmet meal prepared for us each day that I shed pounds of weight as I couldn’t be bothered to go home. And to my surprise I discovered a new sensation … getting hungry.

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