The Manhattan Project--2016 A to Z Theme

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Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween! Tricks and Treats Coming My Way

Happy Halloween!

        Tricks and treats are afoot as the cooler weather closes in and another November is about to bring us ever nearer to the end of another year.

        Some of my personal treats are that I've enjoyed a wonderful visit with family in Tennessee, but now it's also a treat to be back home with my dear wife, my computer and office, my own bed, and everything else that comes with being home.   Getting away can be nice, but there's no place like home.

         National Novel Writing Month will be a treat for many of us during November, though it might be a trick keeping up with the progress and meeting the 50,000 words required at the end of the month in order to walk away and claim a win.  I'm going for it again this year.  I may have a few tricks in the way of challenges that may hinder me at times during a busier November than I've had in the last two years, but in the end I hope to be treated with the beginnings of another novel.

            The special treat of attending the BlogWorld Expo 2011 at the Los Angeles Convention Center will be coming this week-end November 4th and 5th.  It might be a bit of a trick to make it around to everyone who will be exhibiting and soak up all the information I can.  You can be assured that I will be reporting my experience to all of you right here on Tossing It Out.

             Those of us in the United States will have the treat of Thanksgiving Day in November.  Many of our Canadian friends were tantalizing us recently with stories about their Thanksgiving Day treats.  Now it will be our time.  I love Thanksgiving dinner.

           Finally, I have a little treat in honor of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).   My recent cross country drive between Phoenix and Tennessee inspired some thoughts about how planning out the writing of a novel might be compared to planning a trip.

Planning a Trip vs. Planning a Novel

Know where you're going--  Where is my story going to end.

What is the purpose of the journey?-- Why do I want to tell this story?

How are you traveling? -- What will be the genre, point of view, and style of the story I'm going to tell.

Where are you going to stop (stay) along the way? --  What do I what to do when I need to get away from my story for a while.?

When are the best times to stop to take a break?--  What will be my writing schedule?

Watch the road signs -- Spell and grammar check are great tools for me when I write.

Obey the traffic laws -- Write right.

Dealing with road hazards and detours --Think about the story problems as I run into them and try to deal them before I get hopelessly lost.

Learn to read a map --  I like using tools like time lines and character sketches, but outlining is one that I should try to use more often.

           Will you being doing NaNoWriMo in November?   Do you have any big plans for Thanksgiving?  How will you spend Halloween?



  1. Yes, I will, although I am afriad I can't keep up with the pressure. We will see.

  2. Writing and driving are similar! Don't forget navigating around all the idiots. (As in, idiot words.)
    No NaNo this year. I think I finally have an idea for the next book though.

  3. Happy Hallowe'en, Lee!!

    And simple as your road guide is, I am taking it to heart in the coming weeks, especially the first three and the last.

    Thank you.

  4. I'm psyched for NaNo this year --going at it with more detailed plans than before. Anyone can feel free to become my writing buddy there (nickname: geniuswaitress).

  5. Happy Halloween to you too buddy. The last part of your post comparing planning a trip with planning a novel is pretty interesting so I actually bookmarked this post for future reference. Great stuff as usual.

  6. I'm in for NaNo - this year I'm going to be a NaNo Rebel and continue expanding and then finishing my Camp NaNo novel from July.

    Good luck to all the NaNo-ers! :)

  7. Hi Lee - glad you're safely back .. and I love the Planning a Trip v Planning a Novel thoughts ..

    No - I won't be doing NANO - perhaps one day .. not this year ..

    Enjoy the process and being at home .. cheers for now - Hilary

  8. Yes...NaNoWriMo will be tricky, that is for sure- to be honest I am a little scared, but that is usually the beginning of something good- so I am going for it! Will be watching for news from the BlogWorld -that sounds excing!

  9. I did NaNo in 2009 and met the challenge. Last year, I was only a few days in when I got a call from a panicked friend. She'd queried a few agents about her completed novel and then freaked out when one of them actually wanted to read the thing. I agreed to give it one last editing before she sent it off, so I stopped my NaNo novel to get hers all polished up. This year, I have other writing plans for November, so no NaNo for me.

    Today, I'm looking forward to visits from the grands and all of the other neighborhood ghosts and goblins. Love those little candy beggars.

  10. Gonna have a look at that NaNo. I am writing a book-it may just be the kick in the tail that I need.
    It snowed all over us this Halloween! Yikes. Can't imagine what Christmas will be like.
    Let alone Boxing Day.

  11. I like your analogy very much. I'm not doing NaNo this yeas and Thanksgiving, as always, will be quiet as it's just my hubby and me.

  12. Most interesting and a good way of planning a trip through writing.


  13. Miranda -- You don't know til you try. I know you can do it.

    Alex -- Couldn't help but go to the driving analogy with my recent trip in mind.

    Suze -- Any organized writing is a mental journey.

    Kelly -- I'll look for you on the NaNo site. I go by "wordleeness"

    Yeamie -- It's a compliment to have a site bookmarked. The writing journey is a pretty simple process once you approach it with organized logic.

    Madeline-- Rebels have been known to change things in a big way.


  14. Hilary -- Yes, I'm home again and it feels good, but I sure did have a nice trip.

    Sylvia -- Maybe you're thinking scared, but it's probably more excitement and apprehension. You'll do fine. BlogWorld report coming next Monday.

    Word Nerd -- You are a good friend to make a sacrifice like that. So did your friend's novel get accepted?

    Al -- Heard about that snow! That is downright nuts! Hope you have a happy Boxing Day.

    Bish -- Haven't thought too much about Thanksgiving this year. Guess my wife and I will have to decide what we want to do.

    Yvonne -- In any journey I take I like to have a good plan in place to make things go as smoothly as possible.


  15. Fabulous tips, Lee!
    Poe also agreed that before we begin we have to know where we are going!

  16. Know where you are going, huh? Good advice and i plan to use it this time around.

    Last time I didn't I just had a spark and ran with it. It's amazing how hard it is to get to the end when you don't know where you are going.

  17. This will be my third year doing NaNo! What's your NaNo profile name? Mine is Sunshine21. Add me as a buddy!

    These are terrific questions to consider. I think I'm well-planned out and it'll be another successful month. :)

    My plans for Halloween are to eat the candy I'm handing out to trick-or-treaters, haha. And for Thanksgiving, I don't know yet. A yummy turkey dinner with family of course! I don't write my NaNo novel on Thanksgiving. It's a day of rest!

    Good luck with NaNo, Lee, and Happy Halloween!!!

  18. I loved your comparison of traveling/novel writing.

    NANO - This will be my first year participating. Thanksgiving - I'll probably be working on my NANO project, but I'll definitely find time for family and pumpkin pie. :)
    Finally, Halloween - I had a root canal. :o(

    I enjoyed your post!

    Author of Concilium, available July 2012
    Concilium: The Departure, November 2012

  19. I've signed up for the first time this year, and I'm quite excited. No Thanksgiving to distract me here in England !

  20. It was a last minute decision but no NaNo for me this year. Timing just wasn't riht. Maybe next year. Good luck.

  21. I'll be attempting NaNoWriMo for the first time this year... best of luck with your writing:) I love halloween even if I do live in Australia.. held a halloween tea party at my place on Sunday...lots of scary fun :)

  22. Brianna-- If we don't know where we are going, it's easy to get lost and not even know we are lost until we've wasted a lot of time going in circles.

    Liza -- Thanks!

    Southpaw-- If you don't know where you're going you might not end up in the right place.

    Laura -- My NaNo name is "wordleeness". I'll try to buddy up with you when they get the buddy thing fixed on the NaNo site. Right now the buddy function is down.

    Michelle -- Root canals are not fun at all! Have a great NaNo November.

    Sarah -- I wish you well on your November novel.

    LD -- Sometimes life comes before NaNo. I'm planning to participate, but who knows what life will dish out to me.

    TFW-- I think you will enjoy the NaNo experience. After your first year of blogging NaNo should be a breeze for you.


  23. I can't imagine starting a manuscript and not knowing the ending.

    Thanksgiving will be spent with in-laws, so I'll be all about the road travel then.

  24. hope you're having a nice Halloween, Lee!

  25. Now I know what this Nano thing means...I've been seeing it around and was too lazy to google it! :)

    Sounds like a pretty amazing thing for aspiring writers.

    Well, this Thanksgiving I really want to try to make my mother's jello salad using Coca Cola....I've had the recipe and never tried it.

    Have a great week!

  26. I sure sound dull when I answer your questions. I am not participating in the hop you mentioned and neither Thanksgiving nor Halloween are celebrated in NZ. But it will be a busy month as I turn 50 on Sat :)

  27. Really, some of us care only about the tricks on halloween, hee hee hee.
    Get me?

  28. Belated Wishes! I am glad to turn the calendar....
    I love your writing list; A Writer's MapQuest is a great idea!

    I am considering the writing challenge, best decide today ;D

  29. Happy Hallowe'en, and I hope you have fun this weekend. I need a bit of a roadmap for my writing.

  30. I love how you outlined road trip vs. writing. So true! I'd planned on doing NaNo but need to pull out now. I wish everyone the best of luck!

  31. Haha! Lately I've barely had time to read a novel let alone write one! I guess it would be a good way to start a kick in the pants..I was wondering what this NaNo thing was that everyone was talking about...I felt a bit like I'd landed in the middle of the meeting of some secret society..thanks for clearing it up Lee! As to the other questions...Thanksgiving was in October for me (Canadian), and I spent Halloween ogling the cuteness of my grandchildren and making sure they had lots and lots of candy! Hope you had a great time too!

  32. Diane -- I've tried to just write to see where a story takes me, but I always have to stop and decide where I need to go.

    Dezmond-- It was a quiet Halloween in our home, but the streets outside were pretty active for a couple hours.

    Scarlett-- I've had Jello salad made with Seven-up, but I don't think I've ever had one made with Coca-Cola.

    Doris -- Thank you for stopping by.

    Rhonda -- Well, Happy Birthday! If I stop having birthdays you'll soon catch up to me.

    Trickster -- I guess it depends on whether you are tricked or doing the tricking, but tricks can be fun as long as they are not malicious or destructive.

    Ella -- I think the biggest challenge is if you start at the last minute. That's the way I've always done it.

    Talli -- Organized planning helps in any endeavor.

    Ciara -- I hope I can make it through NaNo this year. I've got a lot to deal with this month and writing a novel may take a back seat to the other things.


  33. Eve -- I know how you must feel about NaNo. Lots of people write about it without explaining what it is. I was puzzled the first time I started seeing mention of NaNo.


  34. Welcome back. There's a lot going on in November!

    Is NaNo a treat? Sounds like torture!

    Maybe January would be a better month. It's cold outside!

  35. Nice! Great suggestions and I love the metaphor. :)

  36. Hi Lee .. love what you've done here for everyone .. and so pleased you had a happy time in Tennessee .. and time to think - and evaluate aspects that need that space .. driving is certainly an advantage in these circumstances.

    Great to be home - home is where the heart is .. and now this weekend - the Blog Expo - it'll be such fun to read all about it from you ... looking forward to that.

    Cheers Hilary

  37. I didn't do NaNoWriMo (again, I forgot about it!) My plan is to use its guidelines to get cracking on my work-in-progress, though. Poor thing has been suffering from neglect.


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