(More) Lines To Be Inspired By

There are three days left in this month from Hell we call National Novel Writing Month.

If your’e participating this year, yay!

If you’re not but are writing anyway, also yay!

If neither apply to you, still yay! Because tomorrow is Turkey Day and turkey always warrants a yay.

As a final push toward the finish line, here are 5 more lines that have inspired me. Enjoy them. Or don’t (party pooper).

From GONE GIRL by Gillian Flynn

I feel a queasy mixture of relief and horror: when you finally stop an itch and realize it’s because you’ve ripped a hole in your skin.

From BY NIGHTFALL by Michael Cunningham (Literary master, this guy)

The family of women really ruined this poor kid, didn’t they? Who could survive having been so desperately loved?

And

The Mistake is coming to stay for a while.

From STRIP TEASE by Carl Hiaasen (a new favorite author of mine)

If you know your stuff, you could work a guy all night and get every last dollar out of his wallet. You didn’t have to blow him or screw him or even act like you might. A girlish smile, a sisterly hug, a few minutes of private conversation – Urbana Sprawl said it was the easiest money in the world, if you could get past being naked.

From THE LONELY POLYGAMIST by Brady Udall

[Sex] freaks him out. Which probably has something to do with his growing suspicion that sex is behind everything, that it is what drives adults to act in strange, unpredictable ways, that it lurks in places it should not belong, in church sermons and evening meals and daily family prayer, that it is responsible for the unreasonable number of brothers and sisters he has and is therefore responsible in some way for the state of his confusing and miserable life.

Go forth and make words, wordsmiths! 

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40,000 Words: The Unsung Milestone

Today, I reached 40k words in my latest WIP, SACRIFICIAL LAMB CAKE.

But, Katrina, NaNoWriMo rules EXPLICITLY DICTATE that in order to win, one must write 50k words.

First, author (and personal hero) Chuck Wendig has some choice words about “winning” NaNoWriMo. You can read them here.

Second, screw you. SACRIFICIAL LAMB CAKE was started back in September. If you want to get technical, I started the project back in 2010. It has since been rewritten 3 times. Third time’s the charm, right?

The point is that reaching 50k words is great and all, but there’s something to be said for hitting 40k words in a project. At 40k words, you know where your book is going. You see the potential in it and you’re excited. Typing that 40,000th word means that you WILL finish the project. You see The End peeking over the horizon and it’s fucking beautiful.

If you’re participating in NaNo and on November 30th, you’ve “only” got 40,000 words, you win. Don’t abandon your book. It still needs you.

So, if you need me I’ll be over here stuffing myself with leftover birthday cake and cheap wine. I’ll share if you’re nice.

The Blog Post That (Almost) Never Was

I had it all planned out.

A few months ago, before my sister, Allison (my TWENTY year old sister, Jesus Christ), got married, she called me. This in and of itself is significant because she only calls me when she wants to know how big my daughters are or if someone died.

I answered the phone, “Who died?”

I didn’t expect the tears and it only increased my suspicion that either my brother did something stupid (like that time he hiked the Appalachian Trail) or my mother had finally killed someone.

No one had died. Literally, anyway.

She said, “Now I know how you feel.”

My estranged father – asshole among assholes – informed her in his own passive-aggressive way (through HIS mother!) that he would not be attending his youngest daughter’s wedding because my step-father would be walking her down the aisle.

For those of you thinking he might be justified in being upset, my parents divorced when Allison was 5 or 6 (I was 12) and married my step-father shortly after. He’s the one who helped raise her. He’s the one she called “Dad.” And sometimes “Oatey,” which I’m still not sure as to the origin of. She’s weird.

Anyway, the blog post.

The wedding was on November 2nd of this year. Needless to say, my father didn’t show. A week later, I asked Allison if it would be okay if I wrote a blog post including her name, etc. about this shit in the form of an open letter, kind of like the one Sineade O’Conner wrote to Miley Cyrus. She gave her blessing and I started planning it.

Then I decided to work on my novel instead.

Then I planned some more.

Then I read a book instead.

Then I planned some more.

Then I did anything else instead.

See a trend? I wasn’t avoiding it. FAR from it. I just found better things to do.

And that’s when it sort of clicked in my head. This wasn’t the first time he’d done this to me or one of my siblings, but somewhere along the way, I found better things to do than seek revenge on a person who doesn’t deserve that much brain power.** This post you’re reading now I wrote in ten minutes while my daughters watched Mulan.

The lesson is this (and this goes for you too, Allison): don’t waste time worrying about people who don’t worry about you. It’s okay to be angry. In fact, it’s healthy. But you’d be surprised how quickly it goes away when you don’t encourage it.

I hardly noticed.

**this rule does not apply to people on THE LIST. Those people are SO doomed. *cackles*

Lines to Be Inspired By (because they’re better than anything I’ll ever write)

I’m one of those writers that rarely blogs but writes in her journal DAILY. My most recent moleskin is packed with things like interesting tidbits about psychology, family trees of infamous English rulers from the 12th to 18th centuries, fun facts (example: the dot above a lowercase “i” is called a tittle – I know, mind BLOWN), and lines from books I read that grab my eyeballs from their sockets with a frightening voracity.

In the spirit of NaNoWriMo – an event I recently decided to put off until December because life and because reasons and because you can’t tell me what to do – I want to share a few of these favorite lines with you in the hope that they inspire you the way they inspired me.

From THE KINGS AND QUEENS OF ROAM by Daniel Wallace 

So Helen remained and discovered in her sister’s absense what love and the loss of it is; she discovered both at the exact same time. It’s not just a feeling; it’s a real think inside of you made of paper-thin glass, and when it breaks the shards move through your blood and cut you to pieces.

 

From CASE HISTORIES by Kate Atkinson

Women seemed to him to be in possession of all kinds of undesirable properties, chiefly madness, but also a multiplicity of physical drawbacks – blood, sex, children – which were unsettling and other.

And

Sometimes she wanted to eat Olivia, to bite into a tender forearm or a soft calf muscle, even to devour her whole like a snake and take her back inside her where she would be safe. 

 

From I WEAR THE BLACK HAT by Chuck Klosterman

It’s not intelligence that people dislike; it’s the dispassionate application of that intelligence. It’s the calculation. It’s someone who views life as a game where the rules are poorly written and designed for abuse.

 

From BURIAL RITES by Hannah Kent (Note: This is a phenomenal debut novel by a young author with extraordinary skill.)

After the trial, the priest from Tjorn told me that I would burn if I did not cast my mind back over the sin of my life and pray for forgiveness. As though a prayer could simply pluck sin out. But any woman knows that a thread once woven is fixed in place. The only way to smooth a mistake is to let it all unravel. 

 

From DORA: A HEADCASE by Lidia Yuknavitch (Thoroughly fantastic novel.)

Then it’s her lunging at me inside the jeans donut, knocking me down to the Nord floor, it’s her lying on top of me and kissing me and I hope I die right that second. Her hair down on my face, her skin rain and trees her hips pushing against mine her dagger of black stone hanging down and touching the hollow of my neck. Let her neck-rock stab me and kill me. Please let me die like this. I shiver and pant and almost cry. 

 

From HUMAN CROQUET by Kate Atkinson

I wished to go by Carterhaugh, to kilt up my skirts, forfeit the fee of my maidenhead and walk on the wild shores of sexual passion.

 

From DOUGHNUT by Tom Holt (This guy is great. If you like humor in your fiction, you’ll fall in love).

The world is an unfair place. Blow up just one multibillion-dollar research facility, and suddenly no one wants to be your friend. Except me, and I’m dead. You, on the other hand, are going to have a really amazingly good life, thanks to the bottle.

 

From HOPE: A TRAGEDY by Shalom Auslander

Such is life, he thought as he unfolded the wooden attic stairs: you get to a point one day, where you are hoping to find crap; where the best possible outcome of all possible outcomes would be the discovery, Praise Jesus, of a pile of shit.

 

From THE END OF ALICE by A.M. Homes (If you haven’t read any of her novels, it is your DUTY to pick one up and devour it.)

Again, I try and imagine the graciousness of a girl, her spacious slit, the womanly wound that can swallow me whole. How odd it must be to have at your center a great gap, a poisonous pit.

And

The audience looks directly at me and recognizing my visage from its halftone reproductions is entirely atitter. I am the first pervert, the first lover of youth they’ve had on the show. I am honored. I am touched. When I think no one is looking, I touch myself. 

 

Now, go forth and create, word nerds.