Reflections in a Shabby Mirror – November 28, 2019

Hello again, everyone.

I figure it’s time for another update, so pardon the intrusion 

The biggest news I have this week is that I reached 50,000 words in my manuscript and “won” NaNoWriMo ‘19. Yay for me 

The story isn’t done, of course, 50k words is a bit short for a novel, but I’m confident it will only take another 35-40k to finish it. I know I said that with my last novel, and that didn’t quite pan out, but this story isn’t nearly as involved, so I think I may be closer to the mark this time.

I found it a bit easier, and less anxiety-ridden doing NaNo this time around. Last year’s attempt showed me that I could write 50k words at least in a month, taught me how to find the time to set aside to sit and write, and gave me the confidence to do so. It taught me that I don’t need to worry about how “good” the writing is, that the most important thing is just to get the story out, that I can go back when it’s finished and make the words pretty later. (That’s something I’m still working on – learning how to edit and re-write is a completely different animal than writing a first draft.)

While I’ll fully admit that this current work is yet another “pile of shit” of words, and it will need a lot of polishing, research, and work to make it readable, I am proud of the story so far, and it’s been a hell of a lot of fun working with one of my favourite comic-book heroes, adding to the story of the characters in that particular universe.

For this attempt, I decided to write what really amounts to a bit of fan-fiction and chose a story involving Canada’s greatest super-hero, Captain Canuck.

It’s the modern version of the good ‘ole Cap, re-vamped in 2014 for a new comic-book launch and tailored for a more modern audience. I love the old-timey Cap of the ’70s and ’80s, but the re-imagining of the character struck a chord with me when it came out, mixing nostalgia with updated technology and Marvel-esque adventure.

Back around 2016, the publisher of Captain Canuck, Chapterhouse Comics, put out a call to aspiring novelists to submit stories about the Captain that they could turn into books and sell through their distributors. I was extremely tempted, and a story began gelling in my head back then, but I didn’t have the confidence to submit anything.

They only ever put out one novel, which of course I bought, much to my disappointment. It’s not that the story isn’t well-written, which is something I wouldn’t know since, despite several tries, I haven’t been able to get through it.

It’s called “The Terror Birds”, and it’s as if they just printed out someone’s first draft, slapped a cover on it and put it out as is. There are so many spelling and grammatical errors, so much awkward sentence structure, that it’s nearly impossible to get through, and, frustrated beyond belief, I’ve put it down after only a few chapters every time I’ve tried to get through it.

It’s a shame, really, because if it had been a well-produced book, it might have sold a lot better and the novel initiative might still be going. I don’t know why they rushed it to print as they did, but I have a feeling the quality of the publication is a big reason that it’s the only novel they’ve put out so far.

Anyway, I decided to use my idea for a C.C. novel as my story for NaNo this year. That decision was a bit of a confidence booster, as I don’t think I can do much worse than what’s already been put out  I’m not sure if I can convince Chapterhouse to publish my novel if they are still interested in continuing with that program, but I figure I’d give it a shot.

Other than writing and “winning” NaNo, I’ve had a relatively decent week. I did a lot of work in my greenhouse, and have finally started assembling the parts I’ve been building for the mass-heater/rocket stove heating system to keep it warm during the winter. It’s been a messy, and wet, go, mixing air-crete in the chilly November weather, but the project is coming along very well, and I’m hoping before the weather turns really cold, to be able to fire it up and keep the greenhouse warm enough that I can grow “plants” during the winter months 

This past Saturday I went down to a “Local Author” Book Fair held at a local library and got to chat with some other writers. Most of the authors in attendance were self-published, selling copies of their various novels in various genres, though a few had their work published through Small-Press Publishers as well.

I have a policy of buying a book from any author who will let me bend their ear for advice on writing, whether I intend to read the book or not, and as long as they sign it. I figure the least I can do is support the efforts of people who might help me along the way. I had some good conversations with three of the authors there, who shared with me their methods for editing their work after they’re done their first drafts, and I got some great advice. When I do get back to editing, both my first novel and hopefully soon this current one, I have a better idea now of where to begin and how to go about editing.

This past Thursday I hosted my monthly “Social” event, and it went relatively well. I had to drag myself there a bit, as I’ve been in a rather “hermit-y” mood and wasn’t totally looking forward to leaving the house. I am glad I forced myself to go, as it was great seeing some good friends and having some good conversations.

There were a few new people there that I enjoyed chatting with as well, and a few people I hadn’t seen in a while that it was good to reconnect with. There was no drama to speak of, only one of the “problem children” showed and they behaved, so I didn’t have to deal with much on that end.

The only disappointing thing about that event is how often anymore I have to deal with disingenuous people, people who are only being friendly because they want something out of you. I don’t know if it’s a new trend, or if it’s been happening all along and I’m just noticing it more now, but it always brings down my mood when I go from talking with sincere people to those putting on a phony front. While dealing with that didn’t totally obliterate my good spirits that evening, it did put a bit of a damper on the night and made me struggle to bring my mood back up.

I’ve been in a really introspective, self-reflective mood lately. I’ve got a few big milestones coming up in the next few months, things that signify change and things that evoke memories and remind me how quickly time can pass. To be truthful, I’ve been in this mood for more than a year now, but it seems to be intensifying the closer these impending milestones get.

I’m not sure if it’s a sign of growth, or of growing up, or of growing old. The good thing to come out of these moods I think is they’ve helped me appreciate certain things and certain people that I’m learning to realize have always been in my corner, always supported me, and to recognize things, people and behaviours that have ultimately been toxic. I’m hoping this period of introspection is helping me make changes that will let me move forward with my goals with a confidence I may have been lacking until now.

Other than that, our family trip to Cuba for Xmas grows ever closer by the day, and with NaNo soon behind me, I’m hoping to soon be sitting at a small beachside bar, my Chromebook open, an ice-cold drink at my elbow, staring out at the ocean and hopefully finishing this latest “pile of shit” that I’ve spent the last month hammering out on these keys.

That’s it for me this week. Hope you’re all well.


Word Count – 53,426


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