Wednesday, October 10, 2012

I Was My Own Mystery (Or, NaNoWriMo's Coming Up!)

I'm gearing up for National Novel Writing Month, which I highly suggest you give a shot if you haven't yet. The goal is to write 50,000 words - a short novel - between November 1st and November 30th. It really helps you practice getting a complete draft out without freaking out about how good or painfully terrible it is (because you really don't have time to edit). I've done NaNoWrimo 4 times, and every time, I've had a premise in mind, a jumping-off point that I got really excited to write about beforehand:

2007- A middle grade-ish mystery based on a question: if a whole town revolves around one person, what would happen if that person were removed? What if the removal was either because of suicide or murder?

2008- A sequel to my main WIP. I've found that the best way to stay excited about my WIP is to keep writing the same characters.

2009- In the form of a diary, one New Adult's (well, the genre wasn't really a thing I knew about yet) journey to uncover the mystery of why five promising teenage actors started disappearing off the face of the earth when they reached adulthood.

2010- A la CSI, an investigation team looks into the murder of legendary characters such as Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. (Don't worry, they came back to life easily.) Kind of like the show Grimm, but more holiday-based.

The 2010 novel was the only time I "lost" NaNoWriMo, probably because in November:
-I was in a play
-I sprained my wrist during said play
-My laptop fan broke, rendering my laptop out of commission

Even with that against me, I churned out over 30,000 words. But it wasn't finished. So although the other 3 NaNo Novels have gone through many edits and reworkings, I haven't really revisited the 2010 one in the two years since. *dramatic pause* Until tonight.

And man... it's weird.

I had a lot of "Oh YEAH!" moments while perusing the manuscript - i.e, I totally forgot I named the MC "Phil Morane" - which might have been a reference to Phillip Glass and Robert Moran who wrote the opera "The Juniper Tree." And I came across a scene involving music and wine that I remembered was really significant to me at one point - and I described the music as "almost folksy but had a dark edge to it. When the singer entered, his voice was low and pretty gravely." Which seems a lot like this song, which I recall being obsessed with, probably around that time.

But mostly? I don't remember the novel. Which weirds me out. I usually stay very close to my characters in my WIPs, even the NaNos. So was this just more stream-of-consciousness than usual due to lack of sleep? How much of the characters' rants are things I was actually thinking and feeling at the time? Were their wants my own?

To some degree...yeah, looks like it. It's so bizarre.

My point of this whole thing? I'm really excited for NaNoWriMo 2012, especially because I opted out of doing it last year. Even if the new premise in mind is really weird (it's sort of a semi-surrealist speculative look at my generation in ten years) and even if nothing else comes of it past November, the frantic writing will say things about Tome in November 2012 in ways far better than a diary could. So even if you don't think you can "win" NaNoWriMo, I really think you should do it. You'll surprise yourself.

Have you done NaNoWriMo before? If yes, what do you think of your MSs now? If not, do you think you'll try it?


Friday, October 5, 2012

New Template. How's it Working for Ya?

My old template here on TWILS was being buggy about links so I decided it was about time I revamped it, also addressing a reader's concern that the white text on black background was difficult to read.

Therefore, I changed a few things. I apologize for aspects of past posts that don't jive with the adjustments, and hopefully I'll amend all those at some point so they stay readable.

It's not that difficult to change blog settings, I've found, despite clicking the word "Advanced" to change colors of individual pieces. So if something looks weird to you, anything from "this is really jacked up on my mobile device" to "that color is just gross," let me know and I'll look into it.

Thanks everyone!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Bad Advertising?

A popular theory among advertisers seems to be that if you make your product as visible as possible, people will try it out, and you'll get to sit at the popular kids table. So in the thick of Fall TV, every show wants people to tune in and give 'em a shot, which means lots and lots of advertising.

I've been spending a lot of time in a big city, one with billboards stacked on billboards, so every day I see ads for new TV shows. Perhaps the most prevalent ad is for 666 Park Avenue. They even have devoted a method of public transportation to this by decorating the seats and interior to look, I dunno, classier, I guess, in honor of this show.

The tagline for 666 Park Avenue is "New York's most seductive address."

Like I said, I see ads for this every day. But do these ads tell me about? Not even remotely. Here are the things I've gleaned from such ads:

-It has that dude who played Locke in Lost
-It has fancy beautiful people, so they must be wealthy
-There will probably be kissing.

And, oh yes- there will be stairs.

Also, I'm not sure how their tagline ties into their show. "Seduction" seems like a really huge understatement after "666." You can't tie The Devil's Number, Sign of Vicious Evil into mere seduction and tell me it's not a stretch.

I caught the last few seconds of a commercial for this show once. It looked like something supernatural was going on. Uh...what?

Finally, I read a blurb about the show. Here it is, from

Combine the eeriness of Lost with the ruthlessness of Desperate Housewives and you get this adaptation of Gabrielle Pierce's book series. A melting pot of ABC alums, the supernatural drama stars Dave Annable (Brothers & Sisters) and Rachael Taylor (Charlie's Angels) as an innocent Midwestern couple who get hired as resident managers of The Drake, a tony Upper East Side apartment building owned by Lost's Terry O'Quinn and his wife, Housewives's Vanessa Williams. The catch: The residents have all made deals with The Devil to have their deepest desires fulfilled.

Dang. Now that told me more than any of their advertisements did. And hey, deepest desires? Maybe some reference to The 7 Deadly Sins? I'm interested. But I would not have gotten that from seeing the same people on all the billboards try to stare into my soul.

So yeah, I know the name of the show from all the advertisers' efforts. But did that make me want to watch it more than the shows that had fewer, but clearer, advertisements? Not really. It might be an unpopular opinion, but I personally don't think that if you slam people with the same thing over and over that will automatically make them like it.

Have you seen the show? What are you watching this Fall? (It seems like everything I watch is in its Farewell Season...)

Let me know!