I WON NaNoWriMo!!!

I may keep some, ditch many, and re-use some of those words in different stories, but now, thanks to NaNoWriMo, I know that I can write about 200 pages worth of words in a month if I try hard, and I know it’s possible to write a lot more if I’m playful and organized about it too. These are things I did not truly believe myself 31 days ago.

30 days, 50,000 words later and I can honestly say that I WON NaNoWriMo 2012, my first-ever!!!

It was touch-and-go there at times, and there were times when I thought I’d never finish. It was disheartening and discouraging.

In Week 1, barring the first day where I made par (1,667 words), I was averaging only 200-300 words a day after missing a few days due to volunteer commitments, with maybe two to three hours worth of work per day. When I saw those totals, I despaired ever catching up. But once that weekend was over, I was able to sit down and focus at home or at the library and just concentrate on writing something. It was the first time I had broken 3,000 to 4,000 words per day, and I was able to catch up.

The first time I broke 10,000 words total, I didn’t even notice it until after I submitted my word count for the day. When I was averaging daily word counts in the hundreds, it seemed like such a far off target.

In Week 2, I was able to keep up with the daily quotas, either hitting them or staying just behind or slightly ahead of the pace. I was able to free up 2-3 hours per day to work on that. Life was good.

Then Week 3 hit and all hell broke loose. I had to devote myself fully to work and volunteer commitments, and I had very little time to write. I managed to eke out 50 or 100 words here and there, but I fell behind BIG time. It couldn’t be helped. In fact, you’ll notice that I didn’t even have time to write a Week 3 recap.

I figured I’d be able to make it up somehow during Week 4. But that weekend, I managed to get a nasty sinus infection, that was quickly working its way into something worse. In fact, I’m still sick even as I write this, although not as badly as I was then. I was down for the count for three days. Three whole days of lost productivity, and when I was feeling well enough to tackle NaNoWriMo again, I was already 12,000 words in the hole and counting.

It was at that moment that I felt like giving up. Mid-week, I was averaging 3,000 to 4,000 words, but it was nowhere near what I needed as a daily pace to catch up, and I was still so far behind.

So in desperation, over the last few days, I dropped everything from my schedule, locked myself in a room, turned off the Internet, told my inner editor to shut the hell up and wrote like crazy. Forget about a Week 4 recap, I had to write. I wrote scenes out of order, moving on to new scenes that I knew had to happen in order to advance the plot if I felt like I was stuck. I didn’t even bother to revise anything. I used the crappiest words I have ever written, words so crappy that some of my favourite Language Arts and English teachers growing up would have cringed and chastised me for using them. But I didn’t care! I needed to make quota.

Miraculously, on Day 29 I wrote a record 10,300+ words. I had not only managed to catch up, but the amount of words I had left to reach the 50,000 word target was less than the recommended daily quota. The damn thing was within reach!

But I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t kill it off on Day 29. 1,100 words left to go, three minutes to midnight and I was stuck. I had already written an ending (but most likely not the ending I’ll use) and I had run out of scene ideas.

This morning, on Day 30, I went through my entire manuscript and fleshed out scenes that were a little bare. Here and there, bits and pieces added up until I was finally able to validate my manuscript on the NaNoWriMo website at 50,082 words.

Are they the best 50,000 words I have ever written? Hell, no. Will I end up ditching or re-writing most of them? You bet. The ending no longer matches the beginning, the theme I had originally started with morphed into something different, scenes don’t match up or contradict things I’ve written before, and I’m probably going to ditch my working title. But that doesn’t matter. After 30 days, I’ve got 50,000 more words than I would have ever written otherwise, and that’s all that matters to me.

I may keep some, ditch many, and re-use some of those words in different stories, but now, thanks to NaNoWriMo, I know that I can write about 200 pages worth of words in a month if I try hard, and I know it’s possible to write a lot more if I’m planful and organized about it too. These are things I did not truly believe myself 31 days ago.

So what are my immediate next steps?

  1. Get well again. I know my body well. I’m still sick and I haven’t hit the fever phase yet, so I’m a week or two away from full recovery. I may not have even experienced the worst of it yet.
  2. Re-organize my scenes so they make some kind of chronological sense. I wrote them out of order, and may have gotten my details mixed up, having characters refer to events that haven’t happened yet, didn’t happen according to how I said they did, or scenes that I still have yet to write.
  3. Formally timeline my story. As I was writing it, the pacing felt off and it feels like it took place in about five days. Realistically and logically, that’s probably not possible so I’ll need to figure out a proper timeline.
  4. Flesh out my characters. My characters are likeable and funny as hell, but if I’m honest with myself, they’re kind of flat. I haven’t determined their motivations or backstory in any intricate detail, so I need to figure that stuff out first and then weave in those elements throughout the story to give them some more depth and hopefully make this whole thing a bit more interesting to read.
  5. Write my missing scenes. It would be fair to say that this thing has plot holes aplenty.
  6. Massage everything so that it fits together and it’s all consistent. The pieces don’t quite line up and the flow is all messed up. It’ll need some polish.

Once that is all done, then and only then will I consider myself to have my true first draft from NaNoWriMo. When I have that, then I’ll probably take a bit of a break for a couple of weeks, return to my manuscript and start the revision process in earnest. Hopefully, I can have this thing ready for publication somehow early in the new year.

So while it’s true that I won NaNoWriMo this year, I know that my novel is nowhere near finished yet. Other WriMos have managed to turn something in that may be publishable with a little extra work, but not me, the beginning novelist.

That said, I would like to thank NaNoWriMo and The Office of Letters and Light, the non-profit organization which administrates the program, for the opportunity for me to take a chance to follow a dream I’ve had ever since I was a little kid. I’d also like to thank and congratulate any WriMo out there in the world that started on this journey this month, whether they ‘won’ or not. Reading through the #NaNoWriMo hashtag on Twitter was inspiring, seeing so many people who either met their goals or were short but were working so hard to catch up. I was able to draw encouragement or inspiration to keep going, and I was able to give some to others as well.

I’m really considering doing this again next year, although I’m debating whether I should plan ahead of time so I’ll be prepared, embrace the whimsical nature of the program and just write whatever whenever it comes up, or if I should do something similar to what I did this year and start with a loose idea and see where it takes me.

Although I guess I should finish what I’ve started first, before moving on to the next thing. Before that though, some chicken soup and a nap.

P.S.: This blog post is about 1441 words long (according to WordPress) and took about an hour and a half for me to write. It’s not perfect and I probably could have spent more time editing it, but it proves that it’s possible to hit 1,667 words per day if you apply yourself, and 50,000 words in a month easily if you can dedicate a chunk of time each and everyday to do so!

MakeFashion – AF-Calgary’s November 2012 Grant

Awesome Foundation – Calgary’s final $1,000 micro-grant before the Mayan Apocalypse went to Shannon Hoover and MakeFashion, a collaboration of great minds who want to demonstrate that the convergence of Technology and Art can result in a form, fashion and community brand new to Calgary.

According to Shannon, Calgary has an image problem. To much of the world, we’re considered to be a city of oil barons and cowboys but to those of us who live here, we know that it simply isn’t true. We’re a young city of highly-educated entrepreneurs with a culture of getting things done and we’re starting to come into our own, culturally speaking. This leads to opportunity.

The MakeFashion initiative seeks to merge technology and fashion, utilizing our city’s technical strengths by bringing together tech-savvy programers, engineers and fashion designers with the goals of showcasing the true innovative spirit and creativity that Calgary has to the world.

Artists and designers often find that they have to leave Calgary to find work. MakeFashion is working to change that by creating a project that will encourage emerging youth to find inspiring work right here in our city.

MakeFashion wants to give Calgary a leg-up and the people working in this market a head start in the next evolution of computing, wearable technology. Within the initiative, all of the time spent by the engineers and designers is donated, so 100% of AF-Calgary’s $1,000 no-strings-attached micro-grant would be used to purchase the raw materials and electronics for the designers to use in their amazing creations.

MakeFashion is holding a kick-off event on Friday, January 25, 2013 at Endeavor Arts and Event Space and all are invited to attend. For more details, see here.

Love padlocks and an End of the World bash were a couple of the other ideas vying for November’s $1,000 micro-grant at Awesome Calgary’s Thousand Dollar Thursday. To relive the night’s event, keep an eye on our blog or read about it on <a href="

The FINAL Awesome Calgary Thousand Dollar Thursday before the Mayan Apocalypse (also known as November 2012’s AF-Calgary Pitch Night) was held at the Central branch of the Calgary Public Library, in partnership with the library’s “One Book, One Calgary” program.

The FINAL Awesome Calgary Thousand Dollar Thursday before the Mayan Apocalypse (also known as November 2012’s AF-Calgary Pitch Night) was held at the Central branch of the Calgary Public Library, in partnership with the library’s “One Book, One Calgary” program.


Source: The Awesome Foundation

A day in the life of a NaNoWordSprint Shift

Sometimes, when I get stuck in my NaNoWriMo writing, I look towards NaNoWordSprints for inspiration.

Sometimes, when I get stuck in my NaNoWriMo writing, I look towards NaNoWordSprints for inspiration.

I’m not sure who the people behind the account are, but I admire them greatly for the work they do, and their willingness to work shifts at all hours of the day, even overnight.

Here’s a sample of one of the shifts that happened last week. I have NaNoWordSprints in my Twitter feed, and when I saw that this leader was mashing up Science with Romance Novel cliches, I wanted to make sure I saved the writing prompts. I didn’t have time to work on them then, but I do now.

There’s some good stuff here, and I have to resist the urge sometimes to lurk at all hours during the day to see what they’re up to. Part of me wishes I could save all of these tweets for to look at later during the in-between times. Who knows what other cool prompts I’ve missed?

Our FINAL set of Top4 Finalists and Honourable Mentions for 2012!

This is it!  It’s time for the FINAL Awesome Calgary Thousand Dollar Thursday of 2012.

First off, here are Awesome Foundation – Calgary’s Top4 Finalists and Honourable Mentions for November 2012, in no particular order:

Top4 Finalists

  1. Locked into Calgary by Sarah Hbeichi:  “Love padlocks adorned to public art that declares ‘I Love Calgary.'”
  2. Make Fashion by Shannon Hoover:  “Make Fashion – Showcasing wearable technology by local designers.”
  3. End of the World Music Festival by Kenna Burima:  “The question posed to all Calgary musicians: If you had one last show, what would you do?”
  4. The Dybbuk-A Modern Day Dance by Jenna Shummoogum:  “Incorporating interactive media projection, contemporary dance fused with the technical grace of ballet, and opera in an immensely theatrical presentation, La Caravan’s newest awesome creation, set to premiere in January 2013, “The Dybbuk” is a hypnotic journey of love, obsession and surrender, that illustrates the importance of transcending our belief systems and revealing what is left beyond the body and beyond our thoughts.”

Honourable Mentions

  • Battle City YYC by John Nguyen:  “The first ever city-wide battle of the quadrants, i.e. the Stanley Cup of Calgary breaking (breakdancing)!”
  • LUNCH’OUR’ LAUGHTER by Noelle Rees:  “Host massive lunch hour laughter yoga sessions for lots of downtown corporate stressed out folk in a convenient central space.”
  • UAS White Dwarf Gallery by Sally Raab:  “United Art Society launches a brand new exhibition space featuring community-oriented programming.”

BIG Congratulations to all of our Top4 Finalists and Honourable Mentions for November, and thank you so much to everyone who submitted an idea for this month!  (Tip:  Did you know that you can still submit your ideas for future months as well?  Just resubmit the form!)

November’s AF-Calgary Pitch Night is held in partnership with the Calgary Public Library’s One Book, One Calgary program and as part of their Centennial celebrations.  The book this year:  The Book of Awesome.

  • What:  The FINAL Awesome Calgary Thousand Dollar Thursday of 2012, held in partnership with the Calgary Public Library’s One Book, One Calgary program!
  • Where:  Calgary Public Library, Central Branch (616 Macleod Trail SE), Main Floor – South Open Area
  • When:  Thursday, November 22.  Doors open at 6 p.m., pitches at 6:30 p.m. and AF-Calgary Awesome Hours/Meet & Mingle reception afterwards.
  • RSVP:  Eventbrite, Facebook or Yelp

Everyone is invited to come and watch the pitches and stay afterwards for a Meet & Mingle reception.  Some refreshments prior to the event will be provided courtesy of the Calgary Public Library, and some of our previous Top4 Finalists will be in attendance to showcase some of their AWESOME SUCCESS, whether they won the $1,000 grant or not.

The Central CPL also has a Community Art Wall where people can submit art pieces for inclusion.  The wall will be on display for the entire month of November, and for this event, the library will have a table set up with various art supplies that people can use to create some AWESOME art either before or after the event.  So make sure to add your mark to this awesome art exhibit!

AF-Calgary Trustees will also be around before and after the event holding an informal Awesome Hours session where you can pick our brains about all things Awesome Foundation.  If you’ve ever had a burning question about how the whole Awesome movement works, or need some inspiration about what projects or ideas are eligible for funding through our chapter or have been funded around the world (To date:  59 chapters, 12 countries on 6 continents!), feel free to ask us or to speak with previous Top4 Finalists and AF-Calgary Fellows for advice at our event!

So read up on The Book of Awesome, tell the library you did so, and help us end 2012 here at AF-Calgary with an Awesome BANG!

Finally, we’re accepting submissions for our January 2013 micro-grant.  If you have an Awesome Idea that you’d like to submit for consideration for the new year, fill out this handy-dandy web form!

Hope to see you out tomorrow!

Plaid, Rocks, Saxophones and Affirmations

October 2012’s Awesome Calgary Thousand Dollar Thursday returned to its normal schedule of the fourth Thursday of the month, and we headed back to class as we held it at the Bissett School of Business at Mount Royal University.

The emcee for the night was Brian Singh, a Founding Trustee of AF-Calgary.  He had the privilege of hosting four super-awesome ideas, all attempting to convince the Trustees and audience why their idea deserved AF-Calgary’s November $1,000 no-strings-attached micro-grant.

Pitch 1:  Gratitude Rocks!

First up was Gratitude Rocks! by Susanne Alexander-Heaton.

Susanne’s idea was to get artists at the Calgary Drop-In Centre (who are also residents) to paint one of 26 different powerful words (Examples:  Harmony, balance, love) on approximately 450 rocks.  A pay-it-forward process, these rocks would then be given away to people who they feel most needs the words on the rock.  The person must then share their story when they give the rock away.  This way, the artists at the Drop-In Centre can see the impact they have on people with their creations.

The $1,000 would go towards paying the artists at the Drop-In Centre directly for their time in painting the rocks as well as for materials and supplies to pull off the project.

Pitch 2:  I am. We are. We will.

Second was I am. We are. We will. by Kaitilin Roth.

An enthusiastic Calgarian herself, Kaitlin’s idea is to create a wall of affirmations from fellow Calgarians highlighting who they are as a person, who they are as a group of Calgarians, and what they will do as a city to continue in their Awesomeness.

Three large canvases would be decoupaged with written affirmations, as well as with various photos taken around the city of Calgarians in action, serving their fellow Calgarians through various AWESOME acts of humanity.  Finally, a mirror would be placed in the middle of each canvas so that no matter what you look at, your awesome self will be reflected as you contemplate on how you have and can serve Calgary better.

The majority of the $1,000 would be used to pay for the materials needed to pull of the project.  Any leftover money would go towards light refreshments and other goodies to be given away at the official Hanging Ceremony where the completed project will be displayed.

Kaitlin would love for the project to be ultimately displayed at City Hall or one of the universities, and would aim to have the project completed by July 2013.

Pitch 3:   A Song for Westwinds

Third was A Song for Westwinds by the Westwinds Music Society, accompanied by a lovely performance from one of their saxophonists.

This year is the society’s 25th anniversary, and they hoped to commission pianist Matt Harris to write a piece of music to commemorate the special occasion.  The piece would be premiered with a Big Band Dinner Dance at the end of the year that would be open to the public to enjoy.  The piece of music would be kept in the society’s music library, and possibly made available to school and community bands everywhere.

The $1,000 would go solely towards the commissioning of the piece.

Pitch 4:  The 2nd Annual Log Driver’s Waltz Gala – A Plaid Party!

Last was The 2nd Annual Log Driver’s Waltz Gala:  A Plaid Party! by Karilynn Thompson on behalf of the GIRAF Animation Festival.

A Plaid Party! is a wholesome plaid-themed party hearkening to the days of National Film Board animations on CBC television in the 1960s and on.  The Log Driver’s Waltz Gala is a family-friendly event featuring GIANT retro-animations projected onto the five-storey tall side of the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, along with fire-pits, lots of free hot chocolate, animation workshops, DJs, food trucks and more.

The name of the gala was inspired by the famous piece of Canadiana, Log Driver’s Waltz, an animated short by the NFB created in 1979.

The $1,000 would be used towards helping to pay for the projection equipment needed to run the event.  That way, Karilynn would be able to ensure that the event could be kept at low-cost to no cost for the public to attend.

And the Winner is…

AF-Calgary’s October 2012 no-strings-attached $1,000 micro-grant went to Karilynn Thompson and her Plaid Party.  Congratulations, Karilynn!

This month, each of our AF-Calgary Top4 Finalists received an Awesome Foundation – Calgary T-shirt as well as a $250 gift certificate from Gilmour Ph
that the finalists can use towards highlighting or showcasing all of their awesomeness, in whatever form it takes.

Thank you to Mount Royal University for allowing us to host our event on campus.

Also, a BIG Thank You and heartfelt thanks and appreciation to ING Direct for sponsoring our latest batch of AF-Calgary T-shirts.  The only way you can get one is if you’re a Top4 Finalist or a Trustee/Volunteer with Awesome Calgary, so they’re super-extra limited edition.

If you’d like to relive the night’s events as they happened, check out our recap on Storify.

And with that, we look forward to our FINAL Awesome Calgary Thousand Dollar Thursday event of 2012, being held in partnership with the Calgary Public Library and their One Book, One Calgary program on Thursday, November 22.  For more details, see here, and if you’re coming, make sure to RSVP on Eventbrite, Facebook or Yelp!

Photo Copyrights:  Brett Gilmour / Eleni Tsaprailis

NaNoWriMo Week 2 Update: On the road to 25,000

Yesterday was the first time since Day 1 I made/beat the daily recommended word quota with 22,020 words total (target was 21,666). Were they the best words I have ever written? Hell, no. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if I had to re-write all of it. The words might be garbage, but the ideas are on the page, and I’ve learned that is the most important thing.

Tomorrow is the mid-way point of NaNoWriMo and to keep pace, by end of day all participants should be at 25,000 words.

Yesterday was the first time since Day 1 I made/beat the recommended daily word quota with 22,020 words total (target was 21,666 for Day 13). I’ve been averaging 3,000-4,000 words per day over the last few days, which is why I’ve been able to catch up.

Were they the best words I have ever written? Hell, no. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if I had to re-write all of it. However, the words might be garbage, but the ideas are on the page and I’ve learned that is the most important thing for me right now.

I like to walk. And when I walk, I think. And when I think, sometimes I have some really cool revelations. The problem is that by the time I get to my destination, sometimes I forget about them. And sometimes I never recall them again.

This is why I’ve realized that it’s important for me to record things and why I’ve decided to stop caring about the words I write for NaNoWriMo, taking meticulous care in order to save myself some work later on. I already know that while my plot may be interesting, my story might be weak. My characters, while loveable and funny, honestly don’t have much depth. I’ll have to do some character development on the backend and introduce some backstory later on. So chances are, I’ll have to re-write the whole damn thing anyway. In that case, best get the plot ideas on the page before I forget things entirely.

I’ve also started carrying a voice recorder on me, just in case I get any interesting insights on my adventures. I haven’t had to use it yet, but who knows? At the very least, I’ll be wearing a wire, which may or may not come in handy one day if I’m ever caught in some sticky situations.

Yesterday was also the first time I started outlining. I found an old calendar pad, ripped out the pages and started to make notes on scenes I have yet to write to move the plot around. I think I got to around 17 pieces of paper before I decided to stop as I had run out of room on the table to lay them all out. So even though I’m at 20,000, I may end up needing more than 50,000 (at this point) to tell the story I want to tell. Or at the very least, get my characters to where I want to get them.

I’m hoping that by sketching some things out ahead of time, I’ll continue to have productive days of 4,000 words. If I get stuck, I can just pull an unwritten scene from the old TO-DO list and keep going. December will be when I worry about massaging everything so that it fits.

This is fun. Exhausting. Sometimes daunting. Sometimes scary. But fun. Anyhoo, back to my self-imposed exile. Let’s do this!


NaNoWordSprints are a great way to bust through Writer’s Block. They are little writing prompts with a time limit that encourage people to incorporate them into their writing during that amount of time.

Fast and effective and usually fun, it’s a great way to experiment.

NaNoWordSprints are a great way to bust through Writer’s Block. They are little writing prompts with a time limit that encourage people to incorporate them into their writing during that amount of time.

Fast and effective and usually fun, it’s a great way to experiment.

Ketchup, Catsup, or Catch Up?

Going to put my Captain Obvious hat on for a moment:

“Writing is tough.”

Going to put my Captain Obvious hat on for a moment:

“Writing is tough.”

No, I’m serious. Anyone who says that they can bang out a perfect first draft is kidding themselves, not to mention borderline arrogant.

Every writer worth his or her salt, whether they’re a fiction writer, non-fiction writer, blogger, reporter, speechwriter or poet edits and revises at least once, even if it’s just proofreading for spelling and grammar.

That said, I also believe that writing is like art, that it’s never finished, only abandoned. One can revise and revise and revise and still feel that it isn’t finished. Sometimes you just have to settle for “good enough” and fire it off or just keep moving.

That’s the struggle I’ve had lately with my NaNoWriMo project. The perfectionist in me is at odds with the fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants side of me and when the tension is too high, I sometimes get stuck, wanting to perfect what I’ve already written rather than move forward with the story.

Or, I get stuck with writer’s block and just don’t know how to proceed.

That, combined with missing three days worth of writing due to other commitments like meetings and such, have led me to fall behind the recommended daily quota.

I’ll admit: A few of days ago, I was panicking. It seemed like I’d never catch up, and when my stats page indicated that at my current rate, I’d finish some time in January, I almost decided to give up.

But Thursday and Friday I decided to sit down and see where the process led me. I’d just write whatever, trying my best to stick to the direction I was aiming for, and see what came out.

And as I started to write again, I was surprised at what I began to discover about my plot and my characters.

  • I’d write a line about one character inquiring about another, and then realize that maybe this person has a crush on that person.
  • I’d start writing a speech for a corporate big-wig, and realize that he may be a part of a power struggle in the upper levels.
  • I’d write a line about a character having to excuse herself, and discover that perhaps she may have an ulterior motive for ducking out at that moment.

And sometimes, out of nowhere, scenes like this one would magically pop into my head:

And she just walked off?


Well, that was rude. Will said.

You better believe it. Didn’t even get the chance to apologize properly. What’s up with that? Bobby took a sip of his coffee.

I know. Will poured himself another cup of tea. So, was she cute?


I said, Was she cute?

Dude, didn’t you hear a word I said? She ran off before I could get a word in edgewise. I didn’t even get a good look at her! Could have been a kid, for all I know.

Bobby, Bobby, Bobby. Don’t you know this is how all great romances begin? It’s so cliche! The man and woman meet in an unexpected circumstance, just like yours. Sparks fly, they run into each other again some time later, then they keep on running into each other, and before you know it Boom! Matrimony City.

Right. And you’re basing this on?


Uh huh.

Listen, I’m a prophet. You’ll run into that girl again. In fact, I’d be willing to bet she’ll play an important role in your life. Five bucks. You wait and see.

Whatever you say, Will. Whatever you say. Bobby helped himself to another piece of scone. So have you considered my proposal?

Or this one:

Ok, are you going to tell me why you look like you’ve been hit by a bus? Will said.

What do you mean?

Ever since the announcement, you’ve been acting strangely. Well, stranger than what’s normal for you, of course.

Ha ha. Bobby stopped walking. It’s weird. When I talked to Sheridan last night, he seemed all excited at how Inspiration was doing. Never got the sense that he was going anywhere.

Whoa, whoa, whoa! Whaddya mean you talked to Sheridan last night?

Oh, didn’t I tell you? When I got home last night, Sheridan called me. Wanted to know how I was doing with my various projects.

What? How come I never get calls like that? What else happened?

Let’s see. We talked a bit about that consumer product that came out of BioChem recently.

You mean that disgusting thing they’ve developed with that bacteria stuff that they’re now spinning as a dishwashing product?

Yeah, that one. But honestly, that’s all. Just some small talk, a status update on some of my projects, and that was it.

Hmm. Maybe he wanted to touch base on various things before he left. Or maybe he got fired for meddling.

Fired? He was the last of the original Inspiration employees, a founder. You don’t fire a founder, not without a lot of strife, which we probably would’ve heard about by now if that were the case.

Assassinated, then.

Get real, Will. Anyways, this feels way too sudden.

Maybe. Or maybe it’s all part of the plan. After all, who are we but mere rank-and-file employees? How can mortals such as ourselves expect to be privy to the whims of those above us?

I guess. I suppose we’ll never know for sure, will we?

When I broke through 10,000 words last night, I was ecstatic, even though I was still behind. When I first started this thing and noticed I was only making progress with 200 or 300 words at a time, I never thought I’d reach that.

Today is Day 10 of NaNoWriMo and I’m currently at 12,540 words and the target word count for today is 16,666 to keep on par for 50,000 by November 30. I know I still have a long way to go to catch up, and I have a few other commitments coming up that may detract me from my writing, but I figure I’ll deal with that when I get there.

I already know I need to revise (some of my dialogue is definitely clunky), but I’m barrelling forward regardless. Plenty of time in December to prune things or hack this thing down. The good news is that I have a clearer picture on where this is all heading, and I’m anxious to see how I get my characters where they need to be.

Only 20 or so more days to go and time’s a-wastin’!

A Plaid Party! – AF-Calgary’s October 2012 Grant

Awesome Foundation – Calgary goes retro, lumberjack style, as we’re pleased to announce that Karilynn Thompson is our $1,000 micro-grant recipient for the month of October with The 2nd Annual Log Driver’s Waltz: A Plaid Party!.

The 2nd Annual Log Driver’s Waltz: A Plaid Party! is a wholesome plaid-themed party hearkening to the days of National Film Board animations on CBC television in the 1960s. The Log Driver’s Waltz Gala is named after the iconic NFB short Log Driver’s Waltz created in 1979.

The gala is a family-friendly event featuring GIANT five-storey tall retro-animations shown on the side of the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, fire-pits, hot chocolate, DJs, honky-tonk bands, food trucks and much, much more. You can even learn some basic animation techniques yourself courtesy of workshops happening that evening too.

As a part of the GIRAF Animation Festival by the Quickdraw Animation Society, this event creates an excuse for families and friends to get together over a burn barrel, roast marshmallows and watch nearly-forgotten animations, all of which are important parts of Canadiana.

AF-Calgary’s $1,000 micro-grant will allow Karilynn to rent the 35,000 lumens projector needed to display the animated shorts on the side of the auditorium. By using the money to cover equipment costs, Karilynn can ensure that the gala’s expenses remain low and that the Plaid Party remains a free or low-cost event for all Calgarians to enjoy.

If you’re in the Calgary area, the 2nd Annual Log Driver’s Waltz takes place outside the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium (1415 14 Ave NW) in the north lobby and parking lot on Sunday, November 4 from 7 p.m. to midnight. It’s an all-ages event, so make sure you wear your best plaid and get set to enjoy some retro Canadiana cartoons!

Four great ideas were pitched to the AF-Calgary Trustees at our October Awesome Calgary Thousand Dollar Thursday Pitch Night event, including a nice serenade by a saxophonist courtesy of the Westwinds Music Society. To see what other kinds of Awesomeness were on display that night, check out our recap on <a href="

Awesome Foundation – Calgary’s Thousand Dollar Thursday event for October 2012 took place at Mount Royal University in the main study area of the Bissett School of Business.

Awesome Foundation – Calgary’s Thousand Dollar Thursday event for October 2012 took place at Mount Royal University in the main study area of the Bissett School of Business.


Photo Copyright: Brett Gilmour

Source: The Awesome Foundation

No turning back now (Or: What the hell have I gotten myself into??)

Yesterday was the first day of NaNoWriMo and somehow I survived it. I managed to bang out 1,745 words and to be honest, I’m not quite sure how I did it.

Yesterday was the first day of NaNoWriMo and somehow I survived it. I managed to bang out 1,745 words in about four hours and to be honest, I’m not quite sure how I managed it.

At this stage of the game, I still don’t have a “plot” per se, although I’m tentatively calling this story “Standing Idly By” (I reserve the right to change it later). All I started with was a theme (To act or not to act? And if so, how far is one willing to go?) and the beginning parts of a scene in my head. In my mind’s eye, this scene takes place near the end of the story during the lead up to the climatic battle (or at least, what I hope will be the climatic battle), and since I had nothing better to go with, I decided to start there, writing a scene that takes place near the end of the story first (which is a bit typical of my personality; for example, when problem solving, I like to start at the end and work backwards, beginning with where I want to end up so I can figure out what I need to do to get there).

In doing so, I realized just how much work I’ll need to do to get my protagonist up to that point. And it’s A LOT. I still haven’t figured out what the main conflict is about so I’m not quite sure how everyone got to where they were. I did discover that I needed more than the protagonist and antagonist in the scene, so I managed to whip up a couple more people and chuck them in there. I may add some more in later, depending on how the rest of it goes. And I discovered that the protagonist’s best friend will end up playing a big role in helping him prevail, at least in this draft.

At the very least, my characters have names now. I just used the first names that popped into my head. ”Vigilante Guy” (which should give you a bit of a hint on where I’m ultimately going to take this story) is now known as “Bobby,” “Best Friend” is now known as “Will,” and “Asshole” is still known as “Asshole” but he’ll also answer to the name of “Anton.” I haven’t settled on last names yet.

I figured I’d throw in the potential love interest in there too, and for a while, I couldn’t decide between naming her “Diana” or “Amanda.” I ended up settling on “Amanda” only because I’ve met lots of Amandas in my life, but never a Diana. The Amandas out there can fight over which one I’m actually naming her after. I have a loose idea on how she gets to be there, but it may change as I flesh out the back parts. She was kind of an afterthought.

The scene is nowhere near finished and I stopped writing in the middle of a big fight scene. I actually could have kept writing from that point, but I decided to hold back until I figured out how they got there in the first place. I know that the whole theme of this program is “No plot? No problem!” and the point is to explore where the creative process takes you, but I would hate to put tons of effort into a super cool fight scene only to trash it later on because I couldn’t figure out a way to get everyone to that point, especially because time is of the essence (only 29 more days to go!) and I didn’t want to have to force myself to maneuver the story in that direction if I stumbled upon a better path later in the month either. Besides, by that point, I had already reached my daily quota of 1,666 words so I decided to call it a day.

Anyways, after yesterday’s little exercise, I have a little bit of a better idea on where I want this story to end up. Sort of. Starting today, I’m going to have to start the difficult task of starting my protagonist down the road to get there. Who knows, in 30 days time he may end up at that point, or perhaps he’ll end up somewhere completely different. And that’s what makes NaNoWriMo so fun!

Going forward, if I have any good words left over in my head at the end of the day, I’ll try to blog about that day’s experiences here, but if I can’t, I’ve added a widget to the sidebar that tracks my NaNoWriMo progress. That way, you can follow along even if I don’t write anything here. Wish me luck!