Hi gang! I’ve had a day that came off the rails. I thought I’d be spending this Monday catching up on NaNoWriMo but, instead, I ended up helping my son register for too many credits at the community college, then going to work, even though it was supposed to be a day off. It wasn’t a bad day … just not what I expected. Consequently – and somewhat surprisingly – I’m now drinking my third beer, and I have to admit I’m feeling a little squirrely. That’s your warning that I’m feeling informal and chatty. Stay or go as you desire.
First, let me share a couple of personal pictures. (Because I just posted them on my real-life FB, and they are cute.)
This is my husband. In the last 18 months or so, he’s lost a LOT of weight (because he decided it was time to do so.) Now he looks pretty much the way he did when I married him. I sometimes wonder if he’s not secretly some kind of immortal. Otherwise, how could he still look so young? I haven’t yet decided if he’s vampire or were.
This is my son, who let me make him up as a version of my hypnotist clown for Halloween. He’s REALLY didn’t like me messing with his eyes – and he was kinda squirmy in general – so I couldn’t get the clean lines I wanted, but it didn’t turn out too bad.
There. With that out of the way, I can settle in and share the bits ‘o news I have.
WriMoProg / NaNoWriMo
A couple of nights ago, I updated my home-grown writing challenge / tracker page (WriMoProg) with this month’s goals which – for this one month only – pretty much equate to NaNoWriMo. I detailed my plans there, but the gist is that I’m joining in on the insanity for the first time. I’m behind at the moment, but I have 3000 words done. The intention is to catch up tomorrow (now that I’ve thrown my hands up for this one evening and commenced to screwing around.)
We had a pretty good holiday, though not nearly enough trick or treaters came to our elaborately decorated apartment door.
Do you see those brown paper boxes stacked up behind the treat-filled book? Those were filled with a set of construction cards that my son had outgrown. Our intention was to give this special prize to the first witch or wizard who came to the door. My boy was pretty excited about the whole handing out treats thing … he had never had the chance to do it before, because we lived so far out in the country.
We got a basketball player, a firefly, a girl in an orange shirt, a generic super-hero, an Arabian princess and a bug. Then there were no more.
Once we thought the festivities were over, my son and I decided to tour the building to see if anyone else had gone all out. (Nope.) When we were returning to the apartment, however, we were delighted to hear “I can’t believe I got the special prize!” We rounded the corner and saw a 12-13 year old girl, in full Hogwart’s regalia, showing the boxes to her mom. My beloved had awarded her the cards. She was thrilled. And so were we.
On his Facebook page, my son later posted, “Getting trick or treaters might be the best thing ever.”
By 10p, we had disassembled all of our decorations and packed them away. I carved two more Jack-o-lanterns, just because I could.
Then Halloween was over.
Except, it’s never really over, is it?
The must-see horror movie list
I’ve been making some progress on my required viewing. Thanks to a tip from Hunter, I settled in with The Cabin in the Woods a few nights ago. It will absolutely go onto a list of the best, I just haven’t yet figured out which one. I’ve also seen The Mist (which was pretty good, then pretty awful, then mind-blowingly amazing) and Repulsion (which was a challenging but rewarding slog, and destined to go onto the psychosexual horror list that I STILL don’t have enough entries for.) I’ll be puttering and updating the lists when I’m done here.
Sometimes I think I should make a whole new blog just for detailing the goings on at the hotel. Right now I’ll settle for one quick update, for those who are following along. Remember the guy that told me cleaning elevators wasn’t my strong suit? Yeah. He completely lost it. Within a couple of days of my post (on October 17th) he had alienated every resident and staff member at the hotel. He checked out. Then he came back and claimed that he’d left valuables in his room: a pair of shoes and a box full of winning scratch off tickets – hundreds of dollars worth of scratch off tickets. He was convinced the housekeeping staff had rejoiced at their good fortune and absconded with his property. Then he made some racial slurs to back up his theory. He wanted to call the police into the situation.
It came to a head on a day I didn’t work. My boss acquiesced and phoned the cops. The officer, I was told, attempted to make peace by suggesting that the guest (Joe) be given one free night’s lodging, in exchange for refraining from haranguing hotel staff while other guests waited. After that, we thought it was over.
Except, it wasn’t.
He showed up a few night’s later, while I was working. He seemed to be back to his old self. Calm. Competent. Sane. He rented a room for just one night, at full price, with no argument. I should have known that wasn’t a good sign.
Several hours later, I was approached by a set of three parents who wanted me to help find their underage children, whom them knew were in the hotel somewhere. They were sure there was drinking, and possible drug use, going on. While they were talking to me, one young boy made the mistake of visiting the snack machine. He was recognized by the parents and questioned about the room in which the party was taking place. He lied repeatedly, offering up a variety of random room numbers (which did not actually exist in the hotel.) When he’d rattle off a room number, I would subtly shake my head, and the questioning would continue. When he said they were in the room Joe had rented earlier, I shook my head again. Tired, worn down, he insisted that was really the correct room. The father in the group of parents went up with him as the boy proved his claim.
Even after the father returned, it didn’t work in my head. I had to go up there myself. Four girls – by appearance, none of them older than 15 – were still in the room. I gently questioned them about the adult that had rented the room for them. They described Joe to the smallest detail. Apparently, they had approached an “old man who was hanging out in the parking lot.” He’d agreed to rent the room for them.
Epilogue: Two days later – when I was working again – Joe strolled into the lobby, bold as brass. He came to the desk, greeted me, then asked, “Is it true that I’m no longer allowed to rent a room here?”
With some satisfaction – because I don’t like to be told I am not good at cleaning anything – I said, “Yes. That’s true. I’m not to rent to you again.”
He was outraged. He wanted to know why we had harassed his guests.
I looked at him for a few seconds, then said, ” Because they were underage maybe?”
He insisted I call the police. Which I did, happily. He sat in the lobby for about ten minutes. Eventually he stood up and exclaimed, “I don’t have time to wait around for the useless cops to show up. I’ll be back. With my lawyer.”
I haven’t seen him since.
Plans for the blog
Now that I’m dedicating most of my time to generating fiction, I expect to update here a couple of times a week. Currently, I’m drafting the telling of what I saw in room 217 of the old hotel, and its companion ghost story movie list.
And that’s it, a long, rambling post on a Monday night. Please forgive me and try to remember that this is about as close to a weekend as I get.
During Christmas vacation, I succumbed to a New Year-driven frenzy of tidying and fussing over my blog.
I tweaked my backstory (about) page, and created a sidebar graphic that links to it. Notice that it prominently features my name. The name I’m planning to publish under. The name that potential readers will need to remember when they want to buy my book. Thank you, Kristin Lamb – author of We Are Not Alone – for making me realize that my platform needs to be branded with my name. (Yep, I did some reading over vacation too.)
If you tour my freshly scrubbed blog, you’ll see all sorts of small changes. For example, thanks to more of Kristen’s advice, I took a deep breath and joined Twitter. Which I really don’t get yet. But I will. Let me know if you’re already out there, so I can follow you. You can find me @RRudeParanormal.
I also have a YouTube channel all to myself. Go to http://www.youtube.com/user/RRudeParanormalist to view a little video snippet of me talking to a tree, which you haven’t seen. (Unless you followed the link I posted at The Paranormalist on Facebook – where I’m resolved to posting some little “bit ‘o creepiness” most every day from now on.)
Probably the most exciting thing I did during vacation is this:
Part of the process was determining the rough equivalent of NaNoWriMo when one is trying to develop an ongoing writing career, (as opposed to to simply getting 50,000 words written.) Looking at those numbers sobered me. The following chunk of text comes at the end of the WrMoProg Homepage, but I thought I’d share it here too.
If you look at the WrMoProg Challenge button/badge, you will see I worked up some numbers that might be equivalent to a successful NaNoWriMo stint. Because writing speed varies so much, I made my best guess as to the amount of time writing a manuscript page takes.
My numbers are otherwise based on this equation:
Word count: based on 25 lines per page in Courier New 12 pt. averages approximately 250 words per page. 20 pages, an average chapter,=25,000 (sic); 200 pages=50,000. Most books are between 50 and 100,000 words long. Publishers estimate by pages, including the white space. A computer count of 50,000 words may be 65,000 in publishers’ terms.
–Daphne Clair/Laurey Bright
So, here are some additional factoids to help you set your writing goals:
- Full time writer = 40 hours per week / 160 hours per month
- Half-time writer = 20 hours per week / 80 hours per month
- Average non-fiction book = 50,000 – 85,000 words = 200 – 340 hours
- Average novel = 50,000 – 110,000 words = 200 – 440 hours
- Ideal FIRST novel = 80,000 – 100,000 = 320 – 400 hours
- Average Novella (good for e-books) = 20,000 – 50,000 = 80 – 200 hours
- Average short story = 1000 – 7500 words = 4 – 30 hours
I followed my own instructions and set up a page to track my progress. If you want to see my plan develop – and how I’m doing on meeting my goals – check in at The Paranormalist’s WriMoProg Page once in a while.
Next post: back to paranormal stuff, I promise. Thank you for your patience.
Secret WriMoProg note: 0 + 7 = 7/200