Monday, November 16, 2009

Wild goose chase (part one)

Current word count: 26,153
Where I have to be by the end of the day: 26,672

Piece of cake. :)

This past Sunday (as in, not yesterday but the one before that) I attended the NB Writing Retreat - organized by Freddy Words - during which we wrote for eight-ish hours more or less nonstop. I managed to write almost 10k that day alone, and it's a darn good thing I did, because otherwise I'd be extremely behind right now. You see, quite a few... non-NaNoWriMo... things have been going down here lately.

I know.

The most important non-NaNo thing that's going on right now is school. I only have, like, not even three weeks left of this semester before final exams start, and I had two exams last week, so you can understand there have been a few days where I've not even been able to TOUCH the computer. I mean, even today, right after I finish this (because I hadn't updated since October, I figured it was probably a good idea to throw a post your way), I have to finish my statistics homework (blech - understand why I'm procrastinating?). Hectic-hectic!

Speaking of hectic, the Christmas season has started at work. -_- And yeah, they called me almost every day this past week to pick up shifts. I had to refuse a couple of them because of NaNo and school - because apparently, they don't realize a university student who's writing a novel can't work every freaking day - but I did take one on Thursday because I felt bad. So I ended up working four days in a row. And wanted to shoot myself.

Those are the major reasons I haven't been doing as much writing as I would have liked to this past week, but I guess it's to be expected from a university student working part-time. But thanks to the NB Writing Retreat, I seem to have it more-or-less under control. Which is really, really good - and quite unexpected. I thought for sure I would be behind by at least a couple days at this point in the month, but I'm not behind at all. Because I'm pretty sure I can cough up 500 words at some point today. :P

There is one other thing, besides school and work, which has been... I guess you could say, preoccupying me.

... Let me explain.

Now may be a good time to tell you that I am pretty much addicted to horror movies. They are pretty much the only thing, besides the comedy network, "Grey's Anatomy" and "Intervention", I ever watch on TV. They are, but for a few exceptions, the only movies I really like. Hannibal Lecter is my husband. Jason Voorhees = coolster. And though I'm almost convinced there is no movie I could ever love more than "Fatal Attraction", one series of movies in particular is pretty freaking high up there on my list of "Movies I Get Ridiculously Pumped About Watching" - and that is the almost hideously long "Halloween" series. Like, yesterday I actually went to my chain-smoking grandmother's teeny-tiny apartment (my chronic bronchitis and all) to dig out my eccentric aunt's entire storage cabinet in search of "Halloween" movies. I am not shitting you.

Where am I going with this, you ask?

Okay. Well, long story short, the other day I found out that there was a novelization of the first "Halloween" movie. I pretty much flipped my lid, because this is a big deal. Because the novel has a perfect rating record and allegedly follows the movie to a tee while expanding on the plot and backstory. So immediately, before even checking it out, I decided I HAD (HAD) to read this book. And I'm one of those people that once I get something into my head, it's almost IMPOSSIBLE to get it out until I achieve it.

Mistake number one.

So all happy, I headed on over to work to figure out just how quickly I could get this freaking book. However curiously, the thing was not even in our system. "What the hell"-like, I broke store rules and headed over to to figure out what on Earth the meaning of this nonsense was.

The good news is, I found the book on Amazon. The bad news is, it was published in 1979. Like most books, it stayed around for about ten years before it went out of print. So it's been out of print since, like, the late 1980s. As a result, this mass-market book is now classified as "extremely rare" and is worth approximately one hundred dollars (see for yourself - click the title of the post!).

I said, "NO!"

So because I am hugely stubborn, instead of just giving up hope on ever reading this awesome-sounding book, I have devised a few plans to find it.

Plan A: Call my eccentric aunt Linda and see if she owns it. (Which failed - Linda has all the movies, but has never read nor owned the book. Silly Linda.)
Plan B: Lurk used bookstores around Moncton in the vain hopes that perhaps, just perhaps, someone may have it, not be aware of its value, and sell it to me for like three dollars (which we are doing today).
Plan C: Sell 100$ worth of my crap on Ebay, thus "exchanging" it for the book. I seriously hope it doesn't come to this. XD

So my plan for today - lurking used bookstores, then returning home no later than seven o'clock to get at least my 1,667 words for the day done! Wish me luck on my wild goose chase!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


I'm taking a break from my intense philosophy studying (and surprisingly, that's not even sarcastic. Philosophy is freaking DEMONIC.) to explain my plan for how in the world I am going to get to the end of Chapter 60 for November 1st.

Yes, I do have a plan!

Why do I need to get to Chapter 61 for November 1st, you ask? Well, as all of you writers out there must know, National Novel Writing Month starts on November 1st. Currently, my NaNoWriMo profile's Novel Info states that I will be undertaking "Life in Black and White, Part III" as this year's project. And Part III of Life in Black and White starts at Chapter 61.

Where am I now, you ask? Since I had to do an entire revamp of Chapter 42, I am currently working on Chapter 45.

I swear to God, I have a plan!

And I know my plans haven't exactly always worked wonders in the past, but I will get to Chapter 61 on time if it's the last thing I do. All writers need to learn to work with deadlines at some point, right? This'll be good experience.

Also, since I have my NaNo Travel Mug, I'm all set. Bring it on!

So however am I going to pull this off?

Well, this Friday is my last day of school before I'm off for an entire week. And since NaNoWriMo starts that Sunday, the timing couldn't have been more perfect.

So here's my plan. It was devised with the assumption that I won't get any writing done this coming weekend, which I doubt will be true. I have to give myself some room to move around, though, in case something unexpected happens!

So... here goes:

Monday, October 26th: Chapters 45, 46 and 47.

Tuesday, October 27th:
Chapters 48, 49 and 50.

Wednesday, October 28th:
Chapters 51, (beginning of chapter arc (my chapter arc is already about halfway written) ->) 52 and 53

Thursday, October 29th:
Chapters 54, 55 and 56 (<- end of chapter arc)

Friday, October 30th:
Chapters 57 and 58

Saturday, October 31st: Chapter 60, preliminary Part III planning.

Before you ask, yes, I am going to be holed up in my living room all week like a recluse. When you're a novelist on a mission, there are certain sacrifices you sometimes have to make!

Wish me luck! :)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

This is the book that doesn't end. :)

We're back from Montreal.
It was a greeeeeat concert. <3
I'm just dropping in to say hi.
I don't have much time.
I have to do the dishes, and then...
I'm off to work on Chapter 45. :)

Friday, October 9, 2009

It's A Wonderful World

Today, I've come to the realization that as horrible and shitty as my book seems now, serious editing will make it better. And one day it will be a beautiful thing, a true work of art, if it's the last thing I do.

I've been a bit novel-depressed the past couple days. See, currently I'm writing a short series of chapters which contain quite a few law elements and other things involving the judicial system (before you ask, G is not a serial killer. He's just kind of... rebellious. And besides, most of this law stuff has nothing to do with him), which I know barely anything about, and so the chapters are extremely hard to get accurate, speed-writing as I am. Despite the fact that it's only my first draft, instances like this one never, ever fail to make me feel like a grossly incompetent, sloppy writer. I just cannot seem to get it into my thick skull that there will be editing, and lots of it. What I'm writing right now is most certainly not what I'll be sending in to my publisher.

Feeling like a horrible writer makes most writers' confidence go down a few pegs, and I'm sad to say that I didn't escape this predicament. I was uninspired. I wanted to take the printed chapters of my book and throw them against the wall. Yesterday, I actually asked myself if the story was too far gone down the crappy route to be continued, and the fact that I would have even for a mere millsecond considered breaking my pledge to Never, Ever Abandon "Life" scares me to no end.

This morning, I still felt pretty crappy about my story. But when I got home from class, something weird happened. I thought to myself, perhaps subconsciously, "Maybe I need to stop forcing it. Maybe I just need to concentrate on something else for today. I can forget, just for one day, that I'm a writer."

So that's what I did. Today, I wasn't a writer, but rather an activist.

I spent the entire afternoon, from half past noon till five o'clock, getting things done for the BPD Feature Project. I fixed the group's name, pasted the link on a few websites, drafted a letter to Randi Kreger (founder of BPD Central), and last, but not least... made a video to Dr. Phil. That last one took me about two hours, but it was two hours well-spent.

At the end of the day, I was left with an accomplished feeling. I felt good about what I was doing, and rather like I could move mountains, if I tried.

Am I really going to let three "difficult" chapters stand in my way? No. No, I am most certainly not. I will write these chapters, and they might be awful... but they're not written in stone. I have to remember that, or else I'll never move forward.

I realized another very important thing today: that although I am perhaps not the person most gifted with words, and wording, and phrases and expressions; although I am not the best writer out there; although I sometimes feel like my writing and chapter plots are sloppy and amateur, even despite it being the first draft... I do know one thing for sure.

All clumsiness aside, I can tell one hell of a story.

And you can call it bragging if that's what you want to call it, I'm perfectly fine with that. That knowledge is what keeps me going sometimes, and to me, that's all that matters.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

6 days till Montreal, or the dilemmas of a pre-med novelist.

Things to do:
- French assignment due tomorrow
- Statistics homework due Friday (technically next Wednesday, but I kind of won't be in the province...)
- Go to the mall and get money out for cafe with WFA/bus tomorrow
- Figure out what bus to take from university to cafe with WFA
- Make an appointment with the Dean of Sciences to ask him if I need to take those 10 extra pre-med courses or not (I'm hoping NOT, because the list contains math)
- Read the next chapter of psych
- Re-read my anatomy notes so that I actually don't fail my next test.
- Draft an e-mail to BPDcentral for the BPD Feature Project (the BPD Info site has generously agreed to forward it for me)
- Do dishes for mom
- Figure out whether or not WFA wants to come with me to the NaNoWriMo writing retreat in Fredericton
- Make a packing list for Montreal
- Find someone, ANYONE to switch my 12-8 shift next Saturday with
- Work on Chapter 42!!

See what happened there? Writing is the last thing on my list. Lately, it seems like writing is ALWAYS the last thing on my list. And I really need to fix that, to make time for my story, if I want to have the slightest chance to have Part II done by November 1st.

What I need is better time management. But how do I make time to find ways to manage time when there's barely enough time to do everything else? *rubs temples*

One thing's for sure: university students always need to juggle things. It becomes more complicated, I'd say, when the university student is question is trying to get into a graduate medical school that only accepts 30 people a year. Oh yeah, and she writes books, too!

Sometimes, writing HAS to take the back burner. It's part of "growing up", in a sense. When I was in grade 11, I had little else to do but write. Now, I have responsibilities. I have homework, tests every other week, and studying that I actually need to do. I can't just slip by like I did in high school - those days are over.

So I accept it. I do what I need to do, and sometimes, I steal away a few precious minutes to write down a good idea. To imagine a scene between friends, enemies, or lovers, or wannabe-lovers. To tell myself, "the weekend's coming! You can sit down at the computer with a nice cup of HT and write all day."

I accept that now, writing's not the only thing - and hell, it may not even be the most important thing. I accept it... but very seldom do I like it.

I'll update again later, hopefully having crossed a few things off that epic massive list!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Too busy to think of a title for this post

Mood: Wired

Listening to: MIKA - I See You

Wants: - A new phone
- To work on Chapter 42/43

Is stuck doing: Anatomy and psychology revision

Needs: Another coffee

Should: Be doing something productive and not be writing up this blog post.

Tired of: - Studying
- The thought of having to go to work tonight. -_-

Wishes: Statistics class did not make me want to shoot myself in the head.

Loves: - G + J <3
- Libaw
- The fact that I will be en route to Montreal in 8 days
- My cat, who is currently petting my arm

*smiles, closes window and reluctantly shuffles off to the whiteboard to study*

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Back from work, and victory. :)

So I just got home from work and duly noted that literally my whole house is now decorated for Halloween. O__o We know what my mom did today!

Before work, I finished Chapter 41! :D It took a little longer than I expected, because I had to revamp a scene that just wasn't working AT ALL. But now it's all cute, fluffy (not in the cheesy romance sense, mind you!) and depressing, as typical, and I'm quite happy with it.

Finishing Chapter 41 is kind of a small victory for me, because it contains a "milestone" of sorts for G that I've been really quite reluctant to write (and just in case you're as dirty-minded as I am, no, it's not that :P). But I sucked in my ridiculous amount of affection for him and just wrote the damn thing. I made sure to write it all in one shot, as it is quite upsetting and I knew I would avoid finishing it forever.

So now, it's done. And I feel better prepared for all the heart-wrenching scenes still to come.


In other news, I just got an e-mail from Sharon Joseph at, in response to my great, huge, all-consuming, borderline-creepy desire to join her WRITERS CLUB! :D I am so very excited at the prospect of finally, finally, FINALLY joining a writers' group. Like, you don't even get how excited I am.


Haha... now THAT was borderline-creepy. Sorry. I'm just uber-excited.

Chapter 42 and anatomy revision, here I come!

Publication and Plea

Click the title to see the webpage of Scribblers and Ink Spillers, LLC. Their October issue of Emerald Tales magazine was just released, and it contains my poem, This Mask I Wear. :) This is my third poem to be published, and I'm excited about its release! Emerald Tales also contains several other wonderful, compelling short works, so if you would like to purchase a copy, please visit the webpage! The magazine is available in both print and electronic formats.

Things are going somewhat slowly on my end, but well nonetheless. School has started up again, so my time for writing is limited. However, I'm not about to let my fancy-snazzy psychiatric studies stop me from getting to Part III of the novel in time for National Novel Writing Month! Which I do religiously every year! (This year's profile: http://http//

So, just as soon as I've finished this post, I'm off to finish Chapter 41-Chapter 42. I have two hours and twenty-five minutes left before I am forced to get up and get ready for work, but I'll let you know how it goes. :) Chapter 41 is very nearly done, and Chapter 42 is about halfway, so unless some sort of natural disaster happens here it really should be no problem.

I'm pumped!

I can't wait for NaNo, absolutely not!

And apparently someone up there really, really feels my urgency to get to the end of Chapter 60, because my mom and I have managed to score two tickets to go see MIKA in Montreal. You know what that means...

MIKA? YAY? - Well, that too.

But mostly, it means that the drive from N.B. to Montreal is approximately 10 hours. And the drive from Montreal to N.B. is also 10 hours. So that, my friends, means 20 hours of absolutely nothing to do but WRITE. PART. II. And listen to my grandparents' forties country music in the van, but that's an utterly different story.


I'm excited.

As long as I have my coffee, I CAN STAY AWAKE. Which is why I will be ordering this: with much due haste. Because I CAN DO IT.

So my goal is to finish at least up to Chapter 45 before October 13th, when we leave for Montreal. And considering I'm almost done Chapter 41, I CAN DO THAT, TOO.

Yay! Realistic goals ftw!

Alright, guys... so before I go, there's one more thing I wanted to mention.

The link above will bring you to The BPD Feature Project's Facebook group. If you would like to help bring awareness to a severe mental illness, please join us. Our goal is to convince Dr. Phil to feature borderline personality disorder (G's mental illness) on his show. If he does, that would certainly kick up the general knowledge a few knotches! So again, if you have Facebook, please join. It's a very simple process and won't take a lot of your time.

And with that, I'm off to write! :) Have a nice day, everyone.

Love, N.L.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Inspiration is found in the strangest of places.

It's G's birthday in four days. So since I failed to finish Chapter 39 for last Wednesday, August 8th is my new, hopefully final deadline. I know, I know, I should be writing instead of updating on here. Shoot me.

I have a question for anyone who might happen upon this blog. Where do you get your writing inspiration? For me, it happens in all sorts of places and all sorts of times. I'll often get a good idea in the wee hours of the morning, on a short day trip (on which I have NOT brought a writing pad, of course, because I'm just that lucky), or in the shower. One of my most important subplots came up in the shower, actually, almost fully-formed.

But for the most part, my inspiration comes from music. I've always been that loser who makes soundtracks for her stories. Simply put, when I hear a song that reminds me of my novel in any way, it motivates me to write. When I hear a song that reminds me of a certain part or chapter, I want to write that part or chapter. I listen to music every waking moment, or at least almost.

Currently, I am quite in love with the new Black Eyed Peas hit "I Gotta Feeling". Mika's new "We Are Golden" is also a huge one for me right now (it certainly helps that Mom is Mika's hugest fan and basically stalks him). If we're talking long-term, though, Gordon Lightfoot's "Carefree Highway" is my personal favorite novel-fitting song. And those are just a few of the tunes that have inspired me over time.

What inspires you? What motivates you?

In other news, I have completed Chapter 36. Moving on. :)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Update before I watch Big Brother!

Big Brother is on in ten minutes (yay!), but seeing as I haven't posted in a few days now, I thought I would just drop it for a few moments and say hi.

So, hi!

As far as writing is concerned... progress could be worse, but it certainly could be better. In my defense, I've just completed three consecutive eight-hour shifts at work. Chapter 36 is almost done, which is wonderful, and really, all I care about at this point.

Yes, I failed to complete up to Chapter 40 for last Wednesday. Shoot me.

My Writing Friend A (WFA) is coming over to watch a couple episodes of Mental tomorrow, and afterwards, we shall head over to the Starbucks attached to work to get a bit of writing done. She is also in the process of writing a rather psychological novel. We were actually talking about the striking similarities our protagonists have today, and it's true - they do have a lot in common! G and her character are both male, mentally ill and not heterosexual (her character is gay and G is bisexual).

Since the day was extremely long at work (it was, after all, Sunday), WFA, WFB and I also made fun of diverse genre romance character names. Our favorite author is Katie McAllister, whose characters have highly amusing, unrealistic names like "Pia", "Drake", "Theondre", etc. Ironically enough, G also shares his name with a Katie McAllister cover-hottie. But his name is normal, and not Theondre-like. G's name is hardly worthy of a Katie McAllister novel, I say. Because of this, however, WFB predicted that my novel would, somewhere along the way, become a genre romance about sailors. I do agree that G would make an excellent sailor, but honestly, take me out back and shoot me dead if my novel ever becomes even somewhat reminiscent of a genre romance. To each his (or rather, her) own, but those books absolutely drive me up the wall.

Anyway, Big Brother's starting! So I have to go, but I will try to post again tomorrow!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Allow me to introduce my cast of characters, who will undoubtedly be much talked about on this blog. Because I love them so. This is really just to avoid confusion (read: and because I love to talk about my characters), which would be completely inevitable should I not write up this post.

My Lovely Characters:

G - My beloved protagonist. The novel covers fifteen years of his life, from the age of five to twenty, and throughout these years he goes through many issues, from compulsive spending to "OMGWTF UR A JERK/BITCH!!1"-type confrontations. It might be a good idea to mention that G is profoundly gifted, and also that he is severely mentally ill. That last one is especially good to mention considering his mental illness is kind of the whole point of the story.

I - G's legal guardian. How she became his legal guardian is an immeasurably long story.

DR - G's psychiatrist. He dislikes the nearby psychiatric institution and wants it closed. He also dislikes G a little bit when G takes yet another immature fit along the lines of, "My life sucks and no one loves me."

C - G's psychologist, an expert in his disorder, who never, ever dislikes G no matter what his mood's like, who manages an entire therapy group of people like G twice a week for two hours, and who therefore has much, much more patience than I ever will.

J - G's love interest (love interest being the understatement of the year), who does not return his feelings and who is also a registered sociopath.

Y - One of G's three best friends.

Z - One of G's three best friends.

A - A young girl who lives in Sackville, New Brunswick, Canada, who appears to have absolutely nothing to do with this story but really, really does.

V - Said young Sackville girl's older brother.

S - G's twin sister. She has learning disabilities.

These are my most major characters. Other characters may come up in a post, but I will make sure to clearly label them and explain their role when and if they do.

Monday, July 27, 2009

First Post

This is the part where I introduce myself.

My name is N.L. LeBlanc. I'm 18 years old and live in New Brunswick, Canada. I graduated from high school in June and am attending University in September as a psychology student. After completing my bachelor's degree, I plan on going to medical school and pursuing a career in psychiatry.

My passion is writing. I am a published author (poetry) and have been working on my beloved novel since June 2008. Before I started writing Life in Black and White, I wrote the beginnings of two other novels (at ages 15 and 16), completed one previous novel (age 13) and two novellas (ages 11 and 12). None of my novels were published at those ages. The completed novel won't be, as it was the first of a series and I have no interest in continuing in. But I do plan on someday reworking the novellas and hopefully putting them out there.

If those novels were "happy relationships" while they lasted, then Life in Black and White is the love of my life. I've been working on it for a year and two months, and giving up has never been an option (although I am currently sifting through annoying filler... but it'll end soon enough :P). Basically my life's ambition is to get it published and for it to hopefully become a bestseller.

Which is why I am working on getting smaller things (poetry, short stories) published, so that I can have a nice list of previous publications to impress an agent with. :)

Why on Earth am I blogging instead of writing my novel?

Well, kids, sometimes a writer needs a break, you know? Take today, for example. I told my mother I would be able to give her chapters 33-39 by tomorrow night, so I spent basically the whole day working on chapters 36 and 37. Now I'm pooped.

Although I always tend to feel guilty when doing something other than writing my book, the truth is that blogging, to me, is basically a writer's therapy. I love talking about my book. I especially love talking about my characters, who have a mind of their own. Blogging, I hope, will give me a good outlet to do that, even when it feels like no one is listening.

And once I've made my daily (or at least regular) post, I can plunge back into my work a refreshed, motivated me.

Or at least that's what I tell myself.