Sunday, November 24, 2013


“Carving the turkey is a fine art, my friend.” John moved the sharp knife up and down with great proficiency, stripping the bird to the bare bone. The thin slices of meat piled up on the edge of the tray, invitingly. The interplanetary exchange student observed silently. He dared not utter a single word, although he fervently wanted to. “See.” The guest did see. Suddenly, the horror, right next to the slices of meat was one of John’s fingers. I saw that coming, thought the guest, this is a strange art. I am glad we don’t have this type of thing in my planet.

Sunday, November 17, 2013


Sea Salts

The old man threw his books out the window, one by one. No one loves books anymore, he thought. He walked downstairs and lit up the first book, turning it left and right, watching its hardcover burn slowly. Suddenly a kid walked up to him. “Don’t burn it. I’ll keep it for you.” The old man’s eyes teared up. He put the fire out and sat on the floor. The kid sat beside him, holding the half burnt book like a treasure. Many others joined them, each grabbing a book. The old man was never so happy to be wrong.

Sunday, November 10, 2013



His fingers slid over the keyboard, barely touching each key. Soft sounds echoed in the concert room. He closed his eyes and traveled through an avalanche of sounds, from one piece to the next, from one composer to another, from time and space to silence, the audience suspended in a timeless stillness. He stood up and took a deep bow. You could hear a pin drop. The audience looked at him, mesmerized. “I took you on a voyage. I hope you enjoyed it,” he said. A roar of applause erupted. They were not the same anymore, and they knew it.

Saturday, November 9, 2013


Canary Beck

... asks Canary Beck in her post at her blog Songs from the Coalface about the flash fiction story I wrote a few weeks ago for iRez. Time flies!

The starting point was a set of amazing photos taken in Second Life by several virtual photographers, among which Canary Beck.

Becky's photo is impressive and it was one of the first I really wanted to include in this project. It seems I saw something just beyond the surface!

I'd like you to drop by her blog. Her photos are exquisite and her posts are very well written, becoming a powerful framework that invariably take us on voyages through Becky's experiences in the virtual world.

Sunday, November 3, 2013


Throughout the day, people complained furiously about the relentless rain. It was annoying; it was infuriating. The screeching of cars at a distance got mixed with the hustle and bustle of a normal afternoon, preparing to close the day. No one knew it yet, but this would be the last day of their lives. The alert came over the radio. A shattered voice announced the unexpected tragedy, stuttering. It never completed the last sentence. A massive wave of water and debris killed all communication, turning cars into weightless toys. The irony… What was a bit of rain compared to this…?

Saturday, November 2, 2013

NaNoWriMo Log

Milk Wood

This log has the purpose of serving as a work document for future participations in NaNoWriMos. 


November 1 - Prompted by the Word Scrimmages Wednesday, where I am the host at 2pm GMT, on Twitter, I plunged into writing furiously. It only seems appropriate, considering my profile. My main difficulty at the moment is to start writing at a fairly paced velocity immediately; it usually takes me the first 15 minutes to write up to 200 words. After that, the pace picks up. I need to constantly stop myself from rereading what I wrote!

November 2 - There was a write-in at the Writer's Camp in Second Life's Milk Wood. Two hours of writing amongst fellow Wrimos. I can already spot a few weaknesses in the sequence of the plot. That means that in the editing process, I must shuffle a few chapters around. Note to self: stick to one character's point of view per chapter for now.

November 3 - Write-in at Milk Wood went well. I managed to increase the word count considerably. This sentence got me energized "You are the light that the morning brings. Believe in you. I do." LJ  Thank you! Finally, I added an unplanned chapter to give a bit more depth to both the hubby and the nosy neighbor characters. I think it works. More tomorrow!

November 4 - Today's chapter was a tough one and a bit of a struggle, but I managed to achieve my goal for the day! It was a central part of the story and I think I may need a few additional chapters before this one... Note to self: Prepare plot structure a bit more thoroughly next year! I did want to do it. However, I tried not to go into too much detail so that the sequencing didn't look too rigid. The trick is to find the right balance between planning and not planning, I guess! Day 5, here I come!

November 5 - I started late today, had to do a bit of researching for names and character development. The result was... drum roll... not enough words! I also had to be veeeery careful not to give in to info dumping. It's so tempting to simply throw everything I have on a character - physical and psychological details - into a paragraph! Not a good idea! It turns into boring reading, not to mention... writing! Tomorrow, we have the Word Scrimmages on Twitter (I host at 2pm GMT/ 6am SLT) and that will help! In the meantime, Mickey Mouse, No Nose Barboza and Ralph The Barber. Yes, this is what I had to research! LOL At least that was fun!

November 6 - Reshuffled a chapter. It makes more sense now in terms of pot sequencing. Smarty pants nosy Eugenie took over today. The chapter was fairly easy to write. The Word Scrimmages helped a ton. I'm still amazed at how much they boost the word count. The major issue of constantly feeling tempted to edit and re-edit is slowly behind me. I write like crazy. Let all those sentences monsters in the text sleep for a while longer! I'll poke them out of their holes later!

November 7 - The affair! And another reshuffle! Note to self: REALLY prepare the sequence of chapter A LOT better! It will save time!

November 8 - Today's dilemma was... move on with the story or add (yet another unplanned) chapter to create even more confusion... aham... I mean doubt in the mind of the reader. I went for the second option, go figure!

November 9 - Went to the Virtual Writers Inc. write-in in Second Life, but kept dragging my feet. Slow writing, although I knew exactly what to write. Sooo, ended up writing below the word count for the day. No biggie... I'm still ahead of the game. My private motivational speaker (LOL!) spent 2 hours talking about my lifelong writing path, anticipating my future too! Note to self: Make sure you have your own cheer-leading team ready for slow moments! As to the story, I didn't manage to write the chapter to the end. Tomorrow, I'll work on that at the write-in (noon SLT/8pm GMT). Also, there will be a workshop at Milk Wood about character development - "Questioning your characters" with writer Diana Hunter, 3pm SLT/11pm GMT. It promises to be very interesting!

Milk Wood

November 10 - Today's writing was much easier. At the write-in, I managed to finish yesterday's and write one whole new chapter. The workshop was very interesting. I found out that one of my rough detective characters likes romance novel, she slips and reveals that to her colleagues. They won't spare her! BUT because of that characteristic, she'll find something very important! So, there!

November 11 - Slow writing, not because of being stuck, but because of issues that have nothing to do with writing. I must be patient. Wrote half of the word count for the day. Note to self: It is a good idea to write as much as possible when I can actually do it.

November 12 - Good writing pace. Finished yesterday's chapter and wrote today's fully. In come the police! Should I worry that minor new characters keep popping up, wanting to come to life?! Tomorrow, Scrimmage!

November 13 - Word count for the day is done. This part of the story is the hinge point; the players are on the board and now it's time to move them.

November 14 - It's amazing how some characters surprise you. Diana Hunter, in her workshop a few days ago, defended that the characters make the story. I must admit that my first reaction was... uhmm... the story is pretty important too. But I see now what drove her to say this. If a character becomes "richer", the/his/her story will develop in a much more interesting fashion, influencing each of the other characters and, in turn, the rest of the plot. Interesting.

November 15 - Halfway through!! \o/ Today, there is the write-in at the Virtual Writer's Milk Wood sim in Second Life. That will help with the word count. I need to get going with the story! 20k words left and so much to tell still. I may need to go over the 50k. According to the NaNoWriMo site, I am ahead of the game 6 days. These will be very useful!

November 16 - I did go to the write-in! This and that happened and... well, I ended up not write more than 100 and something words. Good thing I have been writing more than need! Today, I'll hopefully go back on track at the write-in. Note to self... again: Write as much as you can, when you can. You might need those extra words to cover for a slower writing day.

November 17 - Write-in went well. I managed to write above the daily average and progress in the story. This part has a lot of dialog and I am struggling a bit to resist the temptation of going into a dialog--description--dialog--description pattern. I am starting to feel the need to go back and read it all from the beginning. Advantage: It could help with consistency. Danger: Kick-start my inner editor who is a tyrant!

Borgatti - Private Estate
November 18 - Started a chapter. However, I think I may needed to rewrite it and/or add a character. Word count was good.

November 19 - I didn't do much writing today (ca. 400 words, so a lot less than the 1600 something I should have written), but this was a much needed pause. Rewrote parts of yesterday's chapter and concluded it. Tomorrow, Scrimmage on Twitter.

November 20 - Scrimmage went well. Word count done. The story is progressively moving towards the end. Right now, I feel that there are a few loose ends and that the text is less consistent. Note to self: Review that and text pace.

November 21 - Day off. No writing AND I have resisted the temptation of rereading what I have been doing. Tomorrow, I'll be back to work. It's time to start thinking about wrapping up.

November 22 - Back to work! Did a lot of writing. My main concern now is wrapping up. No more adding. Wrap up!

November 23 - Ca. 8000 words to go. Hard to believe it! I had a write-in today, which always helps and I am a bit more comfortable writing chapters out of order. I could never understand how writers did that. Well, guess what, I am doing it too. *rolls eyes*

November 24 - Wrap up, wrap up! Do NOT add! I have less than 5000 words to get to the finish line. Wow. The Write-In at Milk Wood helped a lot, as always. There are some plans brewing for more write-ins and edit-ins. That will be great. As to the story, here we go. The end is near and I need to tackle it! Be brave, my pirates, as I used to say to my students at school when they had a paper to write. That always made them smile. :)

Borgatti - Private Estate
November 25 - Done for the day, I think. 2300 words to go. Sinatra's song keeps echoing in my mind... And now, the end is near/ And so I face the final curtain. How melodramatic! There's a lot more work to do in the editing process, but that is ... for the editing month(s)!

November 26 - About 1000 words away from the end. I'm wrapping things up mercilessly, which means I may need some heavy editing later on to smooth the edges.

November 27 - Done! 50k+ and story! DONE! I made it! Tomorrow, a few conclusions for future reference!

Borgatti - Private Estate
Final Considerations:

Negative Aspects

1. Plunging into the task of writing 50 000 words without any sort of or minimal preparation seems quite inviting. However, it presents its challenges later on, as we try to keep up with the number of words for each day. How much can we actually blabber aimlessly?

2. Having a sense of the story, beginning and end is not enough. There's a middle for a reason and, more often than not, the middle is the most important part. Carefully establishing what happens, before/after what is paramount.

3. The characters come alive before we start writing. Improvising names and surnames, character traits, quirks, past relations, and so forth while we are writing is dangerous! It opens the door to mistakes.

Positive Aspects

1. Having a routine helps us keep up and not procrastinate.

2. Having X amount of words we must write daily motivates determination in reaching that goal.

3. We know we can write a book (at least I knew it, and I am not trying to brag) but we always feel it's something we'll never do, because it won't be good enough (I majored in Modern Languages and Literatures - English and German, so imagine the pressure!). Doing it regardless of how good/bad the result is becomes extremely liberating.

4. Many people, all over the world, are doing the NaNoWriMo challenge. We can exchange ideas, take part in writing events, learn!

5. Going through the process in a fast-forward motion stops us from over-thinking. We go for the jugular and just do it!

6. Editing is for later! We must repeat this over and over again. And once we go past that first feeling of discomfort of most likely writing a lot of rubbish, we can actually feel OK with the idea!

7. When you have someone who keeps telling you that you can do it, that you are doing great, sending you emails with amazing words and images of encouragement, sending you text messages, talking to you for hours and listening to you for hours as well, keeping your spirits up when you're beat, is the difference between continuing and simply giving up. Having a cheering team for the rough moments is essential, well sometimes it's a whole team of one (thank you, you know who you are, again, you're my rock!).


I found this an extremely interesting experience from which I have learned so much. It was another important step taken in the direction I have chosen! Writing, writing and writing!

Borgatti - Private Estate
And it was time to celebrate! Fireworks, music, dancing and a lot of laughing! Great fun! Thanks! :))

UPDATE, because I was asked why :) : Right after I finished the NaNoWriMo challenge, I decided not to validate the novel. I saw a lot of people making it a point of showing the "Winner" badge to the world. I respect their decision, but that is not my deal. I set a goal for myself, to write 50 000 words in 30 days. I wrote almost 52 000, and I have a gut feeling that after the editing process, it'll be a bit longer than that *rolls eyes*!

Achieving my goal is my validation. :)