Been there, done that… no t-shirt

I blame Kathleen.

She and Charlie throw the best Halloween<slash>birthday parties, so naturally we’re obligated to attend for the momentary elevation above our lowly (literary and otherwise) station that’s in it. Go ahead, parse that sentence. I dare you! Now you know my dirty secret: I took just enough high school German to confuse myself predictably, I did.
NaNoWriMo winner

Which brings me to Excuse of the Week for babbling blather which, again, is Kathleen’s fault. It started with Scrivener, which is not her fault at all, or at least it wasn’t until Halloween. Or Hallowe’en, for the traditionalists among us; either way, that’s the Date of Blame.

Scrivener is a sorta-kinda writing program, if you use the sense of the word “program” that is more akin to a Kalifornia self-help guru’s program for effervescent life improvement than the (rather dull, I always thought) sense that involves software. I mean, since when did software ever show any sense at all? But I digress.

Which is precisely where Scrivener comes in. It flat sucks as a word processor (more ugly associations apply here, such as “food processor” and “your application is being processed”), but is wonderful at helping to organize the various digressions, snippets and bits, flotsam and errata produced by working (seriously?  Writing is work?  Well, it sure as hell is when I do it — you’re probably better, though.  Let’s hope so, anyway) writers.

If you shovel up a big pile of words over in MS Word, you can carefully funnel it into prismatic little spice jars inside Scrivener, then fastidiously arrange, rearrange and re-rearrange them until they’re as adorably perfectly placed as Hummel figurines on Granny’s show’n’shine shelf. This is a bit of a boon to the brain-torn. I’ve been waiting  two years, since my initial discovery and subsequent breathless fanboy researching of Scrivener, for the release of a Windows version since sadly, I am not a Mac daddy.

Kathleen insisted I try it.  I demurred (see “no Mac daddy,” above).  She said, “I think they’re coming out with a Windows version. You should check out their web site — they’re just the nicest guys.”

While not a fan of nice guys generally (bastards keep finishing first, despite my consistently cynical insistence otherwise), I deeply respect Kathleen.  She can write me under the table well before the serious drinking begins, so I looked over their site.

Wonder of wonders, they just released a Windows beta for the low, low price of free provided you don’t sue them in the event that it “processes” your words.  Yeah, that’s write:  Macsters are moving onto the 2.0 platform, while we poor deluded hacks on bug-assailed Windows craptops are relegated to a crusty pre-release version.  Ya know why?  Because Mac ladies need their artistic little hands gently held while being rubbed with essential oils in order to function at all, while we Windows workmen fear no OS reinstall.  Hell, we do that twice a day.  How else would we get a coffee break?  We’re WORKIN’, heah.

So — and this is the really exciting part; I’m so giddy that I can hardly express myself in words (yeah, shut up; I know you already noticed, but I hadda-lotta coffee today, alright?): the Scrivener scribbler’s site announced that you could get a fifty percent discount on the first commercial release of Scrivener’s Windows version (allegedly compatible for XP, Vista and Win7) if you manage to complete NaNoWriMo.

Eh?  NaNoWriMo?  Off to Google then… oh.  That.

NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month.  Write a novel in 50,000 words or more between November 1 and November 30, and Scrivener would give me (carry the double sawbuck…) TWENTY BUCKS OFF a copy of their luvely software.

Man, what I wouldn’t do for twenty bucks.  Apparently, the list doesn’t include “well, I sure wouldn’t attempt a novel in four weeks for 20 bucks — what kinda idjit would try that?”  Hey, in Seattle, twenty bucks is almost four coffees.  Fancy ones!

Not the hook you were looking for?  Well, try this one:  two years ago, I told Pretty Wife that, from the look of it, Scrivener was exactly the kind of thing that would help me write longer, better organized, world-changing pieces… maybe even write a novel someday.

“Someday” was comfortably over the horizon, until those inconsiderate rascals at Literature&Latte enticed me with their irresistible dangle of twenty whole dollars for a month’s work.

“What the hell?,” I thought, then added the Lewis shrug-and-jump philosophical afterthought, “how hard could it be?”

Kinda tough, as it turns out.  Work your fingers to the bone, what do you get?  First draft of a crappy beach book.

And a twenty-dollar credit toward a piece of software that doesn’t really work very well yet AND it removes my best excuses.

I downloaded Scrivener on 03NOV, thought about it while doing other things for a few days, then started drafting furiously on 08NOV on a story based around Pretty Wife’s morning rant about GMO politics.  It’s loose, filled with plot holes, and it rambles in three different styles.  Well-developed characters appear, then amount to nothing.  Flat characters change the world.  The dialogue is wooden when it’s not corny, and clichéd when it’s not absurd.

It’s got a beginning, some stuff happens, a few other things happen, subplots bump into each other and cry out in pain, then all of this is followed by an ending of sorts.  Beat on the draft enough, and it might even turn into a real novel.

It runs 50,067 words, so I win.  What do I win?  Twenty bucks, the sure knowledge that I can write a novel (hey, you can be the last one to finish a marathon, and you still get to call yourself a marathoner), and a novel that I’ll absolutely, positively never show to Kathleen.

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  1. Some of already knew you could write a novel… I saw the manuscript 🙂

    WAY AWESOME on finishing NaNo, though — that’s a great achievement by any account.

  2. My 17-year-old writing friend has done Na-No-Wri-Mo 4 or 5 times now. This year she set a goal of 100,000 words for herself which she completed yesterday. She is a scary, but delightful kid.

  3. Conga Rats! And with two days to go! Now for the machete of doom…

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