My NaNoWriMo

night writingEven on my best day I don’t think I could manage more than 10k in a single day, so I had a pretty good idea I wouldn’t be making it to 50k again this time.

Probably the deciding factor came out of my conversation with my son when he called on my birthday. He asked me if the words I had written were good words…and in fact, they are. I am quite pleased with how this year’s novel is going. And I knew that had I killed myself to scratch up 10k in a hurry, they probably wouldn’t have been very good words.

What NaNo has done is gotten me writing again, even with the political bumps. So here’s to a NaNo experience that worked well for me!


A Quickie

The weather has had climate change stamped all over it, but even so, this has been a terrifically busy summer!

has highlighted the importance of guarding our privacy, but I still haven’t mastered PGP.

Over the summer there have been great changes to my main social network,, so I’ve joined the StatusNet federation. (I’ll blog more about that later.)

And of course, Social Media becomes more important all the time. Which is why, after years of resistance, I’ve finally spread out to LinkedIn.  But the fact remains: one of the big problems with this type of online activity is the ancillary sacrifice of our personal privacy.  I find it best to give out as little personal information as possible, but it’s difficult.

One way I deal with the privacy creep is to lump all of the members of all of my social networks together: whenever I’m forced to categorize, I designate everyone across the spectrum ~ from close friends to total strangers ~ as “friends.”

Why should I tell Google we became friends on, even though we’ve never actually met in meat space?

Mr. Zuckerberg, it’s none of your business whether we’re second cousins once removed on my mother’s side, or if we’re total strangers sharing an interest in Free Culture.

And Linkedin needn’t be privy to the fact we volunteered together, or went to the same High School.

You and I know what our relationship is, and that’s all that matters.

But I am starting to realize I am not Wonder Woman.   Yesterday I took the time to transcribe Edward Snowden’s important statement to the Chaos Computer Club.  But my problem is that there simply isn’t enough time for me to write reams of blogs and publish my own novels.  And at this point, publishing my own novels is the priority.

Which is why I’m regrouping, working out how best to reduce my blogging and finish my second novel, which I still hope to publish before NaNoWriMo 2013.

But even with all of that, the single most important thing today is that my chick will fly from the nest, take up residence in another city for a third year of university.  Like last year, I know we will all live through it, but it doesn’t get easier.

It’s a Mom thing.

Mother and baby duck - at Victoria Park, Kitchener

[note: edited for style, not content]

NaNoWriMo Stand-Ups

‘Tis nearly NaNoWriMo time-o again, folks. I’ve an idea and I’m putting together an outline, so I’m getting pretty excited.

I’ve blogged about my NaNo participation previously, here, here so you can read that if you don’t know what NaNoWriMo is…

But this post is for people who participate in NaNoWriMo Write-Ins.

One of the fun things about NaNoWriMo is community. NaNo writers can write in public, sometimes alone, sometimes in groups. The regional Municipal Liaisons arrange scheduled Write-Ins, and there is a special kind of ambiance when everyone is writing and the energy is paplable.

Anywhere any NaNo novelist works on a novel during the month of November can be considered a Write-In.    In the Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge region it has become traditional for NaNo writers to announce on the forums when they know they will be writing at this library or that coffee shop. The more advance notice, the more chance other NaNovelists will be able to join them in impromptu write-ins.

To make it easier for writers to recognize a Write-In, a few years ago I cobbled together a couple of NaNoWriMo graphics to make 4″ x 6″ stand-ups, which can be folded and placed on a table during a Write-In.

If you can print a 4″ x 6″photo, you can make your own vanilla NaNoWriMo standup or Write-In standup from the graphics I’ve posted in Visual Laurel

Happy NaNoWriMo!

NaNovember and Inconstant Moon ~ Update

Orwell at NaNoWriMo social, Symposium 2010

I seem to have gotten horribly behind on my NaNoWriMo manuscript. Heck, I haven’t even got cover art yet. (Irony: I had basic cover art for the contenders I decided to pass on. C’est la vie.)

If this was my first NaNoWriMo, when I wasn’t sure if I would be able to manage to write fifty thousand words in the month of November at all, that would have been serious cause for alarm. But for me in the here and now, I’m fine with it. Having done it twice, I am aware that I can do it, and in fact would be able to make the count if I devoted myself to it. So knowing that I may not make the 50k in during NaNovember is in the back of my mind, but just getting a good start on my third novel this year will be enough of a return for my 2011 NaNo participation.

I’ve been to a few write-ins and will attend a few more, and NaNoWriMo can certainly be a valuable experience even if you don’t finish it. This year my region’s ML’s have decided to help our Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge-Guelph mascot, Orwell the Piggy Bank, to try his hoof at writing a novel. So people are taking turns at writing bits of the chain story for the little oinker. So far, not me. I am so far behind that I can’t afford to write for Orwell, until/unless I manage to get my wordcount caught up. Hah. How’s *that* for motivation 🙂

There are just too many other things I have to do this year, particularly in regard to launching its predecessors. What is happening with the new book, “Sans Seraph,” is that the story is coming together and the characters are beginning to grow into their own voices, so that’s alright.

a graphic banner reads Inconstant Moon. rendered in the Rebel Caps font with a gibbous moon nestled between the words

But the first November over-scheduling casualty was the Thursday special feature for the Inconstant Moon blog. Ouch!

That comes from having a too tight time budget, without any contingency to allow for sickness. Although it’s possible to write/blog with some illnesses, migraine is not one of them. So when my brain recovered enough to allow me to turn on a computer last night, I remembered that today was Remembrance Day but forgot my Inconstant Moon Special Feature! I could probably cobble one together in a rush, but since Friday’s half gone, I think I’ll just call it a miss, and undertake not to miss a deadline again.

Today’s email was cause for a happy dance; the New York Times best selling author of LEAST WANTED and IDENTITY CRISIS, hard boiled fiction writer Debbi Mack told me she enjoyed reading Inconstant Moon and has agreed to write a cover blurb! That is fabulous news. It will surely be a terrific addition to the cover art when I release the re-engineered versions (fingers crossed) of Inconstant Moon in December.


[Now I need to go write something on the order of six thousand words…. ]

“Inconstant Moon” update ~ CC by-nc-sa

Inconstant Moon BANNER

Glyn Moody directed me to an article taking aim at non-commercial Creative Commons licenses, miscellaneous factZ: Creative Commons and the Commons.

Rufus Pollock makes some interesting arguments, and points out a possible problem in the Creative Commons organization: that it is an independent hierarchical organization, and unaccountable to anyone, really. Still, what was most ironic to me was his interest in removing data(base) material from the public domain (which impacts on his work) while advocating elimination of the noncommercial option from CC licenses (which impacts on mine).

my choice

As a writer about to self publish my first novel, I have considered carefully, and chosen to license it with a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 Canada, or CC by-nc-sa.

Creative Commons by-nc-sa button

This license allows any type of remix desired save commercial. I think all cultural material should be absolutely free for personal use.  Personal use must be sacrosanct for culture to grow.

Since I’ve been mulling over and learning about copyright over the past few years, I’ve become an advocate of free culture. I’ve learned a lot, beginning with the copyright consultation submissions made by thousands of Canadians (who were led to believe that the government was interested in what citizens felt to be important in any new copyright law*), and from reading, and having online discussions with many people.

challenging perceptions

Drew Roberts is a multi-disciplinary creator who passionately champions free culture, going so far as to publish his NaNoWriMo novels as he writes. His credo is “Free the Art and Free the Artists.” Although I admire his bravery, for myself, no one reads a word I write until I am satisfied with it. In his inimitable way, the eminently reasonable Drew has gently encouraged me to release Inconstant Moon without the non-commercial restriction.

I’ve also had discussions with copyright abolitionist Crosbie Fitch, who naturally looks askance at the very idea of self publishing, as he feels that all published art and creativity rightfully belongs to everyone, and should be firmly in the public domain. Not that he thinks artists should be denied the opportunity to make a living, just he thinks that they should be paid properly first, but once art is released into our culture, it should be free to copy.

Both Drew and Crosbie are highly intelligent, informed, committed and passionate about the issue, and I’ve learned a great deal from them both. But still, these are radical ideas. Change is difficult. It takes time for new ideas to be understood, and take root. So like many other independent creators today, I am feeling my way in an attempt to decide what combination works for me.

Yet I believe very strongly in the importance of the public domain and the commons.

I may at some point decide to venture the release of a novel without the noncommercial restriction, but not this time. The law of my land (Canada) places all IP under full copyright by default, and contrary to what our American neighbors contend with their absurd USTR propaganda, existing Canadian copyright law is both “stronger” and more restrictive than is good for our culture. Canadian culture is fighting its way to freedom from all the restrictions imposed by both corporate special interests and copyright collectives wanting to lock down our culture even further through the imposition of bad laws and DRM.

If creative commons licensing did not exist, the only choice available to me as a creator would be to publish my novel under full copyright restrictions. I don’t want that. But again, I am trying it on, seeing what’s what, whistling in the dark.

Creative commons double c enclosed in a circle, with black text at right reading Creative Commons and in red dot CA

Lately there has been talk floating around that Creative Commons licensing is too confusing. It is certainly more confusing than outright copyright abolition would be. Some people feel more strongly about various elements of Creative Commons licenses. Like Rufus Pollock, many people think that the Noncommercial restriction should be dropped altogether. Others, like @openuniverse, believe there is no place in the Creative Commons for a “no derivatives” restriction. Others feel share-alike is too restrictive.

Rufus suggests that since most Creative Commons licenses are designated noncommercial, we should be dropping it altogether. He thinks people are dazzled by the Creative Commons “brand” and thinks that it should all be perfectly interoperable. But what Rufus doesn’t look at is the only way for all IP to be perfectly interoperable is Crosbie’s way: through the abolition of all forms of copyright. Crosbie is perfectly correct: the only perfect cultural interoperability is to be found in the Public Domain. Because for some, even a compulsion to provide attribution is too onerous.

[I confess I am looking forward to sinking my teeth into Crosbie’s “The 18th Century Overture · A Crescendo of Copyright, Natural Finale and Reprise” as soon as this novel distraction is in hand.]

Inconstant Moon Cover Art

The point is, it shouldn’t be up to Rufus or anyone else to tell me how I can or cannot release my own creative work.

Existing copyright has long since ceased to be beneficial to creators (if it ever really was). And it is because existing copyright law is both dictatorial and stifling that creators have begun to reject it. Creative Commons licensing offers a work-around that allows creators to get free of the yoke of copyright.

The reason Creative Commons is so successful is precisely because it offers all these choices. It is the variations in licensing that gives creators the confidence to release our work in this fashion, in the way in which we feel most comfortable, rather than allow the status quo of full copyright.

Something to remember is that once work is licensed, the license can only be altered to make the work more free. So in many ways, it seems more natural to begin with a more restrictive license. After all, it can always be lightened later.

As beneficial as I believe Creative Commons licensing to be, my concern is that restrictive license provisions will remain in place as long as the current copyright terms. Which can only be a disaster for the Public Domain.

And one of the most harmful aspects of existing copyright law is the ridiculous terms. It shouldn’t outlive the creator, nor should it be transferable, particularly to inhuman corporations. That’s a large part of why copyright has become such a problem today; corporate interests do not coincide with creator interests.

So I’ve decided to put my money where my mouth is. I really don’t know what will happen.

Although I believe it to be good, “Inconstant Moon” may or may not generate income.

Either way, it is my test case. Regardless of how well it does,

“Inconstant Moon” goes into the public domain 5 years after publication.

Creative Commons Zero or Public Domain logo

I want to do this for two reasons.

First: because I truly believe that a strong and healthy public domain is essential for all of our shared culture as human beings.

But my second reason for emancipating my work is far less altruistic: I want to give my creative works a fighting chance of surviving me.

* The later unveiling of Bill C-32 indicated a total disregard for the feedback provided by Canadians in the Copyright Consultation.

Image Credits
All Creative Commons logos licensed by Creative Commons with a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License

Inconstant Moon banner and cover art Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0)

Title Tracks: Inconstant Moon

Monkey Blog Badge for NaNoWriMo 2010 Participant

I’m still working to self-pub last year’s NaNoWriMo novel, Inconstant Moon. I had hoped to be done before NaNo began so I could start serializing it during November, but there just wasn’t time.

When I decided to get down to it and finally write a novel for NaNoWriMo last year, it was a last minute thing. I didn’t have much time to think about it, and so I pulled the title out of one of my favorite lines from Shakespeare. This line was important, because my debut novel is partly a coming of age story, and it’s a little bit crime fiction, with a look at relationships, and a bit of suspense, the real underlying theme for me has always been honesty.

Juliet cautions Romeo not to swear his love on anything as changeable — untrustworthy — as the moon. She’s telling him he bloody well better not lie to her.

Although I most certainly would have read Larry Niven’s story of the same name, and probably still have the paperback of his Inconstant Moon collection somewhere since I was a voracious science fiction reader and a big Niven fan back in the day, it was a huge surprise to be told that my debut novel inadvertently shares the title of a Larry Niven short story and collection. It’s been so long since I read it that I had forgotten Larry Niven used it as a title.

"Gibbous Moon" used on the cover of my INCONSTANT MOON

But of course, he will have swiped the phrase from the same source I did: “Romeo and Juliet”. Niven would have chosen the title because it references the physical moon, I chose it because Juliet’s speech from the balcony scene was wonderfully appropriate. Funny thing is that my big worry was that people would read my title and look at my book cover and think it was a vampire story.

My Inconstant Moon isn’t SF or a vampire story either…. at least not in the literal sense anyway. Not that I haven’t read my share of both, just that it’s not.

😀 It’s amazing how many titles the Bard has provided.