About Anita S

I specialize in "poor judgment"

I feel like updating again

… so I will! I’ve topped 32,000. This quite boggles my mind. Not to toot my own horn too much — or maybe I will. The thing is, this is unheard of for me. Even if I quit today, I would be far, far ahead from the brief stories I’ve written in the past. Oh, I did write a fan fiction story that had about 46 chapters, but they were very short chapters, and it took me a year and a half almost!

So this is a Big Deal for me. Because I am bipolar, I am notorious for starting things but not finishing them. This past weekend I did have problems. I got bogged down, or bored, or something. I just felt I wasn’t interested anymore. But I pushed myself through, making use of some tips they gave on the NaNo website. For example, if you run out of things to write, do something like interviewing your characters or describing one of the locations. One of the cool parts (to me, at least) in my story is when a character reads a book that explains how everything changed from Now until Then. For example, it explains why the former United States is now broken into pieces. I’m not saying this is the best way to write. But it is an easy way to write, then later, I can go back and try to incorporate some of that information as flashbacks or other “show” instead of “tell” passages.

The writer who wrote this week’s pep talk said she’s won NaNoWriMo three years (winning means reaching 50K words) and published all three of the novels! But, she pointed out, not until about the 20th version! The point is, you will have to edit anyway. No one can write without editing — except possibly Isaac Asimov. But not on his novels.

So I am here to say…



Second week of NaNoWriMo

The second week is past now, and I have reached the 25,000 word mark! I’m halfway there. Of course, I only made 25K yesterday, so I’m a little behind at this point. No matter; I will keep on writing, and I hope to get caught up today.

It was a very busy weekend, and I had trouble finding / making the time to write. Another part of it was plain procrastination. Also, I have this habit of shooting myself in the foot — if I’m feeling bad because I haven’t done something, then I avoid doing it even more, which is the exact opposite of what I could do to help myself feel better. Crazy, eh?

All I can do is to be accountable to myself (and my therapist) for doing the Next Right Thing.

Excerpts from the budding novel:

[The cover suddenly flipped away, and the man said, “You can come out now, Seth. It’s safe.”
“What?” He sat up, knocking sand off him. “How do you know my name? Who are you?”
“We know your name for the same reason that you knew what Stacy was going to do to you,” the woman said. Then, like a door opening, he could see into their minds and feel what they were feeling.
A huge sense of relief washed over him. “How did you do that?” he asked. “How do you control it?”
“You’ll learn,” Evan said — that was his name — and Audrey agreed. “We’re taking you to the training place, then you will go with us to Dallas.”
Dallas! His heart leapt with excitement. He had hoped to get into Texas, but Dallas was one of the most difficult city-states to gain entrance to….]

[They were not 6 feet out of the room before Sarah spoke. “Ms. Hayes, your little girl isn’t doing well. Her oh-two sats are dropping — that means she isn’t getting enough oxygen — because her lungs can’t take in the oxygen she needs. That makes it hard for her heart to pump.”
Dr. Woodley and a man Reba didn’t know were waiting near Darlee’s isolation room.
“Ms. Hayes, I’m Dr. Cambrey,” the man said. “I’m the cardiovascular specialist for the ICU. Dr. Woodley and I are very concerned about Darlee’s oxygen levels, because they keep going down, and we’ve done all we can at this point. We’ve put her on 100% oxygen, and even tried a ventilator, but the problem is that her lungs are simply not healthy enough to allow oxygen to go into her bloodstream.”
Tears began to prick Reba’s eyes as she thought this was Darlee’s death sentence. But Cambrey wasn’t finished.
“We have one more thing we can try — we can hook her up to a heart-lung machine, also called ECMO. It will do the work so that her body can rest and get well. She must be kept heavily sedated so she won’t fight the machine’s functioning. After a week or two, she should recover enough to go back to less invasive forms of treatment.”
Reba stared, feeling numb. All she had really heard were “heart-lung machine” and “rest and get well.” “So,” she said at last, “do I have to give consent or something?”
“Well for God’s sake get me the form and a pen! Whatever needs to be done, I want you to do it as soon as possible!”]

First Week of NaNoWriMo is Over

So far I’m doing fine! I’m actually surprising myself! As of today, I have 16, 390 words written. I still have a long way to go, of course, but I’m on schedule and a little ahead, actually.

So far –

  • Karri and Lydia, who are taking a mother and daughter on a tour of Big Bend National Park, have been through a strong storm with flash flooding, and the next day one of their horses slipped in the mud and broke its fetlock (ankle). This is very bad for a horse; they are basically in the middle of nowhere and cannot get help.
  • Seth is planning to run away from home
  • Reba has adopted Darlee and Jake so she can take them to Dallas for medical help. It’s fairly certain now that Darlee has a serious case of fulminating tuberculosis
  • Norma and Tad are becoming better friends — Norma is trusting him more — and he is going to let her read a book about the Accidents
  • Steve’s unit is patrolling the area around Big Bend to prevent illicit border crossings

In other words, everything is going exactly as planned! ;-D

Next update, on or before the 15th.

First Novel Writing Day!

Today is the first day of NaNoWriMo — National Novel Writing Month! All over the world people have started writing, beating their inner critics to achieve an admittedly arbitrary 50,000 words in one month.

I plan to update my word count every day.

Today’s count: 2,256. I need 1,667 words every day to finish on time. I hope to stay ahead a little bit.

Two More Days…

Still outlining and researching facts for the novel. I’ve read up on fulminating tuberculosis, Big Bend National Park, horse first-aid, ICBM locations in the United States, and more. This is nothing if not educational! :-)

Although in the beginning the characters are scattered, at various points they converge on Dallas, where they will join with the resistance movement (or whatever I decide to call it). Along the way they are aided by members of a kind of Underground Railroad. Norma and Tad (who are teenagers) have to travel from the Disputed Territories (e.g. Wyoming), but the other characters, so far anyway, are all in Texas. Of course, it isn’t easy getting into Dallas because it is a “closed” city, protected by force field and by very stringent entrance requirements.

The Dallas skyline with a poorly drawn force field:  ;-D

Dallas skyline with force field

Three Days ‘Til NaNoWriMo


I’m starting to get excited! I find myself thinking up plotlines when I lie down to nap. One ironic thing is that I’ve started having ideas about other stories as well! Not new ones, but continuation of old ones.

Some info on the title: it comes from a poem by James Fletcher:

The Gates of Damascus

Four great gates has the city of Damascus
And four Great Wardens, on their spears reclining,
All day long stand like tall stone men
And sleep on the towers when the moon is shining.

This is the song of the East Gate Warden
When he locks the great gate and smokes in his garden.

Postern of Fate, the Desert Gate, Disaster’s Cavern, Fort of Fear,
The Portal of Baghdad am I, and Doorway of Diarbekir.

The Persian Dawn with new desires may net the flushing mountain spires:
But my gaunt buttress still rejects the suppliance of those mellow fires.

Pass not beneath, O Caravan, or pass not singing. Have you heard
That silence where the birds are dead yet something pipeth like a bird?

My interpretation regarding the story is that the last line refers to the state of North America when the story begins. But there is still hope; this is the sound of the bird, which they can hold onto.in the midst of everything.

Four days until NaNoWriMo!

We’re getting down to the nitty gritty now! I’m still outlining my novel and collecting information that is pertinent, i.e. what does the Texas-Mexico border look like. And I made a cover. I’m not especially happy with it, and may change it later, but according to the folks at NaNoWriMo, participants who make a cover are 60% more likely to complete their 50K words. And I need all the help I can get!

book cover2

What it’s like to be a Christian

My mom sent me this today and I liked it so much, I decided to share it here!


A woman was asked by a coworker,
‘What is it like to be a Christian?’

The coworker replied, ‘It is like being a pumpkin.

God picks you from the patch, brings you in,
and washes all the dirt off of you.
Then He cuts off the top and scoops out all the yucky stuff.
He removes the seeds of doubt, hate, and greed.
Then He carves you a new smiling face and puts His light
inside of you to shine for all the world to see.’

This was passed on to me by another pumpkin.

Now it’s your turn to pass it to other pumpkins.

NaNoWriMo 2014

Yes, I’m giving it another go this year! I’m not sure how many years since I last tried, but I remember there was one time I actually wrote one chapter. It was “The Misanthropic, Xenophobic, World-Savers Travel Club,” and the first chapter was about an epidemic and it explains how the club started. I’ve never really gotten farther than that, though I did do a bit on the 2nd chapter.

This year I’ve titled it “Yet Something Pipeth Like a Bird” which is a quote from a poem. It starts as a dystopian story in which a lot of things in the (former) United States have gone terribly wrong, some of which are natural events or accidents and others that were intentionally caused by people.

There are several “main” characters who live in different areas and face a variety of challenges, but by the end they are brought together and somehow (I haven’t figured this part out yet) they start a change which will lead to recovery and improved quality of life.

I still have almost 2 weeks in which to plan before time to start writing. I have some paid assignments I’m working on, but not so many that I have no time to write my own stories.