Sunday, November 28, 2010


After 27 days of writing fury, I crossed the finish line!  I completed the 50,000 word count for NaNoWriMo, submitted my words for verification and have been declared a winner! I have the badge to prove it proudly displayed on the right side of my blog and the certificate from the Office of Letters and Light.

Hillside the Novel, as it is called in my Word document, is 50,118 words long.  That will certainly change as I combine, delete and add more to it over the next months/years.  I have a 3 inch notebook full of chapters, history, character sketches, pictures, and landscape and garden information. It was amazing how much research I had to do to include things like seeing eye dogs, retinitis pigmentosa, gypsy history, spells and charms, antique pendants and rings, University of Connecticut Landscape and Design program, Farmington Connecticut, Miss Porters School for girls, Careers in Landscape and Design, pictures of what I thought my characters would look like, plants and animals of Connecticut, 55 Ford Pickups, how to build a Gazebo (my builder/car buff  husband helped with the last two), and most of all the awesome HillStead Museum in Farmington Connecticut.  My story takes place at the site of a Manor House turned Museum over 100 years ago and HillStead is my inspiration.  I used information and pictures from their website  to create my fictitional Hillside Museum.  It's a beautiful place that I hope to visit one day.

This month was an amazing experience, one that I will most likely attempt again.  Thanks to all my blog buddies for their encouragement and support.  I truely appreciate your friendship.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Hillside NaNo Novel

The fog in her mind cleared for a moment, just long enough to remember what she needed to tell Nate.  The letters in the desk compartment.  He needed the letters.

With trembling fingers she felt for the button inside the drawer.  The back compartment wall opened forward.  Inside was a  manila envelop. She cautiously opened it and took out three letters.

"Here they are," she said to herself.  She looked at each letter, then put them back inside the envelop.  The fog was coming back. She hoped she would remember.  She returned the envelop to the compartment and closed the door.

As she rose from the desk, she heard Diesel growling from the kitchen.  Out of the corner of her eye she saw a man come through the front door.

"You're coming with me."

When Diesel came into the room barking, the man kicked at the dog, then grabbed her arm pulling her outside and shoved her into the van.  He drove them quickly out the back exit of the Museum grounds.

She heard Diesel barking and thought she saw someone watching from the Volunteer Office inside the barn as the drove away.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Scene It Before

I’m a very visual person. I can’t call up a picture in my mind and remember it well enough to write about it, especially if it’s very complicated. My mind doesn’t work that way. (Well, sometimes my mind doesn’t work at all.) So for my story I drew what I thought the setting would look like so I would know how my characters moved around in it. I was lucky to find a real location and a real Museum (thank you Natasha) to use as the basis for my story. Using pictures and information from their website and plot lines from my story, I drew the fictitious Hillside Museum grounds complete with gardens, out buildings, parking lots, meadow and trails on a grease board. It is propped up behind my computer. Now when I write that Nate walked from the caretaker’s cottage to the museum or the sunken gardens, I walk with him on the drawing to see what he would see. It's helped me a great deal.

Here's a picture of my workspace.  And my ever present helper, Bella