NaNoWriMo 2017: Progress Report

Screen Shot 2017-11-14 at 2.20.23 PM.pngWithout a doubt, this has been my best NaNoWriMo experience so far. I started with an outline, which I am only kinda sort of following so I keep discovering new things about the story by writing it, but still using as enough of a guide that I don’t get lost. I also started a little ahead of the curve with some prologue pieces written in advance, and with that in there as a very encouraging buffer I have only failed to meet the daily 1667 minimum twice — once by only eight words, and another time by about six hundred because I got a lil drunk. (Even so, that wasn’t bad for typing most of it into my phone while actually at the bar.) None of my word counts are astronomical but they’ll get the job done.

As far as the story goes, my main character is desperately trying to stall coming out of the closet to himself. The love interest is kind of interested but mostly wants to back off to keep their budding friendship intact. The beard girlfriend is still waffling on deciding whether she wants an actual relationship or to just keep it as an extended fling between friends. The main character’s dog (golden-lab mix) and the love interest’s cat (tricolor Maine Coon) haven’t met yet, but are destined to be BFFs and go swimming together.

… I am going to need a lot of beta readers when this draft is complete. Or whatever the proper term is when it isn’t actually fanfiction.

(Fun fact: The main character was originally a very minor character in an AU fanfic idea where the cast of a cartoon show I used to like were played by live actors. Kind of like RPF, only fictional. FRPF. Furpf. I’m sorry, it’s November and I can’t stop the word vomit. THE WORD COUNT FOR THIS POST IS 312 WORDS!)

There’s a GIANT ZUCCHINI in my kitchen

One of the local farm-to-table restaurants has a crate outside their front door with a sign on it that says feel free to take one. I’ve done this once before, and took home something I was hoping might be a very pale butternut squash but I think was actually closer to spaghetti squash.

Last night on a whim I brought home a zucchini almost as long as my arm. And you know what happens when you google “how to butcher a giant zucchini”? My top hit was of someone cutting a large zucchini (not as large as this one, score one for me) while background spectators yelled encouragement and various suggestions. It was not actually helpful.

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So, this post is going to serve as a collection of resources for WHAT TO DO WITH THIS THING. I haven’t yet taken the time to try or even really read through these too critically, so I will probably keep coming back to this post and adding notes.

Do you have a recipe or any other zucchini-related notes, anecdotes, or adventures? Let me know! Continue reading “There’s a GIANT ZUCCHINI in my kitchen”

A Month in Review: October 2017

It’s beginning to feel a lot like autumn. We’ve gotten a fair amount of rain in the past few days, and now that the fires in Sonoma and Napa counties have simmered down, the focus is starting to roll over to flood prevention/preparation. California may not have a lot of weather compared to states that get hurricanes, blizzards, and tornadoes, but when we go for something we go at it hard.

But it’s cozy inside. We finally gave in and moved the big baseboard heater from our bedroom to the living room. I don’t know why it kept blowing out the circuit in there but hasn’t been a problem out here, but there you go. In between phone interviews and sending out resumes I’m trying to enjoy the rain and the fact that if I lay on my back long enough, a cat will come lay on my stomach and purr at me for a while. Currently it’s our youngest cat, who just turned a year old yesterday.

Halloween was a bustle of activity for me, but not the expected holiday kind. I had a morning face to face interview, then continued from there to the South Bay for a meeting with my/my parents financial advisor about the current state of my investments. We bumped some things up from conservative to moderate-conservative and moderate risk, since I have no plans to cash those out soon — it’s all rather baffling, to be honest. Then I went home and made reduced sugar, accidentally low sodium pumpkin cupcakes for my Grandma’s birthday dinner. They turned out delicious, and the cream cheese frosting with honey is really easy to spread and my new go-to for my Dad’s red velvet birthday cake I need to make in a few weeks.

Here’s all the other things I am currently:

Writing

… A novel!! I got my act together towards the end of October and wrote an outline/timeline for this revision of last year’s project, and I’m so glad I did. There are some small ways in which I haven’t bothered to follow it but that’s half the fun of writing, isn’t it? To let the story discover itself as it unfolds? I also cheated a little and had a 3k prologue written in advance that I counted on November 1st, but that was the only day I didn’t knock out at least 1667 new words.

My partner and a friend each independently said that they could see this story as a movie, so I guess I’ve got my work cut out for me.

Planning

… For the holidays. With three cats, driving down to visit our families for a long weekend gets a bit more complicated. My parents are not pet people, and I’m not entirely sure I trust them not to accidentally let our indoor cats sneak outside. (I’m also pretty sure that they knee-jerk don’t trust me to clean up after them, which is bs but to be fair they do try to quash that first instinct for my sake.) my partner’s parents are a lot more pet friendly, but that’s because they already have two large dogs (who are big babies that refuse to make eye contact with all but our oldest cat, who they’ve known the longest). When the pets outnumber the people, you’re basically living in a zoo. To top it all off, my aunt is flying back from Michigan for Thanksgiving and she’s bringing her two cavalier King Charles spaniels. In a fight between our cats and those dogs, I am convinced the dogs would start it but the cats would finish it, and the whole thing would burn up all my remaining patience with my aunt.

So I guess we’ve got to go with option zoo, at least for Thanksgiving night. Sorry future in-laws.

Making

… New recipes. Have I raved here about the mango cashew fried rice I made yet? Because it was AMAZING, and that was just with dried mango that I rehydrated sounds could use up the last of that. It would be stupendous with fresh!

I will admit to using kitchen experiments as an alternative to finding and spending money I don’t have on a therapist. Eating healthier is good for me too!

Anticipating

… Hearing back about some promising interviews this week. Fingers crossed! 🤞

Reading

… Fanfiction, lol. I’ve fallen back on some old favorites that I know share some similar vibes to what I want to write. Does anyone else out there like a good James Bond/Q fic every now and then?

Watching

… Lots. We typically have one of our three comfort sitcoms on in the background, and right now we’re still on Friends. I also found a random Netflix movie that I liked enough to watch twice — it’s called Infini and if you’re a sci-fi fan I recommend it. (Watch it with subtitles the first time through though.) Plus, my partner and I just finished watching the most recent season of Grace & Frankie. Love that show. At some point we’ll get to the new season of Stranger Things that everyone is raving about… I just want to rewatch the first season again first.

Feeling

… Really excited about how NaNoWriMo is going. This challenge is an exercise in word vomit, but I actually don’t dislike most of what I’ve written so far.

Needing

… More sleep. I don’t know what it is, but it’s like I spent so much time beaten down by my job, I was exhausted and usually got to bed at a reasonable hour. Now that I have the energy to write and be creative again, suddenly I have insomnia. I can’t get my brain to switch off until somewhere around two in the morning.

Loving

… The friends we’ve made up here in the past couple months. It’s so cool to be able to go out with people and do fun stuff, like lounge around the pool at Francis Ford Coppola winery in between magic shows during a Halloween party, snacking on free kettle corn and candy while sipping (not free, but more affordable than mixed drinks) sparkling Sophia.

Hating

… The recent devastating events in our area. Many people have lost their homes, businesses, workplaces, safe spaces. It’s awful.

My partner and I have been trying to donate as many resources as we can, but one of the outcomes is a significant blow to wine country tourism.  I can speak from my partner’s  experience that tasting rooms are currently experiencing long stretches of nothing happening. So I say, come to Northern California, people! Lots of wineries are donating portions of their proceeds to relief and rebuilding efforts, and staff hired for their ability to chat with anyone about wine, the universe, and everything. They are lovely people, come talk to them!

Hoping

… To at the very least not gain any more weight over the holidays. I’ve been holding steady recently and trying to eat better, be more active, etc. The boot camp stuff I was doing kind of fell through because of the fires disrupting everything, but I swear that as soon as I have income again I’m going to find a Pilates class. Positive thoughts, positive thoughts.

Stopping in the middle of NaNoWriMo to draw a floorplan

Thank you, Internet, for providing me with the means to look up a colonial house layouts with a specific square footage that I can base this on. The characters are going to spend a lot of time in here, pulling out carpet and replacing it with hardwood floors.

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First floor
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Second floor

Fun times when I realize I forgot to put in the door to the master suite. You enter by climbing in through the bathroom window!

Also, that unlabeled space across the hall from the master bath is a walk-in closet.

Research Help Needed!

I posted this on the NaNoWriMo forums as well (here), but…

I’ve decided to set my novel in New Hampshire despite never having set foot in the state. I also live in California and don’t really know what real weather is. Please help with the following!

  • What’s the weather like in July, August, October, November, and December?
  • What baseball team(s) do people follow?
  • What styles are most of the houses?
  • What is the LGBT scene/atmosphere  like?
  • Slang people use
  • Anything else I should probably know

IWSG Post #11

NOVEMBER QUESTION: Win or not, do you usually finish your NaNo project? Have any of them gone on to be published?

I haven’t finished my past two NaNo novels, although I did hit the 50k words mark on both. This year I’m working on the second draft of one of them, with the eventual aim to publish.

Actually, I’m cheating a little. I started writing the prologue a little early, with all new content before I get to the point in the story where I started it last year. But hey, if it helps me finish, I don’t care!