Category Archives: tango

NaNoWriMo 2013 Days 19-21

No words! However, I woke this morning with a new certainty about my main character, a piece of her story. I haven’t dreamed about her and that world for a long time, though I used to all the time. I woke up this morning feeling like I had a key to wrapping up the first section of the book. So, that’s impossible to quantify for a project like NaNoWriMo, but it’s worth everything. And something about NaNoWriMo, the heady, reckless pace, lets me slip back into that frame of mind where anything is possible, once more, for this overwritten book. Anything, like maybe being finished.

I’m going out of town for a few days, to celebrate Thanksgiving early with my family and to dance with tangueros in Atlanta. I probably won’t update again until I’m back, but who knows what I’ll have to say then?

Good luck to all of you writing, whether it’s for NaNoWriMo or not.

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NaNoWriMo 2013 Days 12-15

Work and tango on Day 12, no words. More work, lots of work, on Day 13. Managed a scant 562 during two word wars with Sis at the end of the night. However, since I’m not just counting words, I’ll say I’m happy with the character insights and sketches I gained.

Day 14 was the third installment of Tango X, which required a bit of setup and errand running and then, lots and lots of dancing. I got to assist during the class beforehand, which was so much fun. Overall, I spent about 7 hours at the venue and was wrecked when I finally got home. Wrote a whole 189 words, though. Count ’em and weep! Here’s a cool picture from Tango X:

Dancers at Tango X

Today, Day 15, I word warred with RedStickRedHead for a half an hour. At first, I was distracted and didn’t know what to write about, so I “wasted” the first few minutes. Then, in about 25 minutes, I cranked out 888 words and a pretty cool scene. I’m up to 9,323 words total so far.

My goal was to “finish” new words on The Winter Circus by today and move on to Tango Face for the rest of the month. I’m not finished with TWC, so I haven’t decided whether I’ll push on or if I’ll write new words for Tango Face in the remaining two weeks. What do y’all think?

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Filed under musing, NaNoWriMo, New Orleans, tango, writing updates

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

I’ve been invited to participate in The Next Big Thing Blog Hop, where writers answer 10 questions about their current project and then tag at least 5 other writers, as well as the writer who tagged them. There have been several rounds of this and recently, I was tagged by Karin C. Davidson. We’ve become friends through our work together for Narrative Magazine and I was excited to find out about her novel-in-stories. The blog hop, started by SheWrites, is one I’m glad to be a part of, since it gives writers a chance to talk about their projects and then highlight other writers they know and their projects. It has bragging on built into the process, so of course I dig it.

With no further ado, Emilie answers The Ten Questions:

What is the working title of your book? Tango Face: How I Became a Dancer and Became Myself

Where did the idea come from for the book? I’ve always loved to dance, but never had any official training until I started to learn tango in 2011. Pretty quickly, the lessons I learned in tango began to illuminate long-standing relationships and aspects of my personality, teaching me a lot about the person I had been and the person I wanted to be.

What genre does your book fall under? Narrative memoir, a coming-of-age story.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie/tv rendition? I would choose actors who loved the story and had the ability to dance or learn to dance. I like the idea of the movie/tv characters being very different from me and the other real people I’m writing about.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? A woman discovers who she has been and becomes who she is meant to be by learning how to tango.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? I will soon seek representation.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? I’m currently writing the first draft. I started out the year with the ambition of using Ann Patchett’s 32 days of writing resolution that Jamey has employed for several years. The writing has involved a lot of delving into the past. I wrote a few short chapters over the last year, one of which won the 2012 William Faulkner-William Wisdom Writing Competition in the essay category.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? The recipe for Tango Face is pretty much Wild meets What I Talk About When I Talk About Running with liberal dashes of How to Be a Woman and Eat, Pray, Love plus a some of my own special ingredients.

Who or What inspired you to write this book? All of the people who have danced with me, as well as the people who haven’t. Also, the person I have become because of these experiences.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? You might learn a thing or two about tango and dance communities, but I consider my book to be about the transformative
qualities of passion and it will be accessible to people who might not initially think to read a woman’s memoir about learning to tango. I think the places I go will surprise most readers. I’ve certainly found myself surprised by the process.Now for the links! The bragging on begins:

I was tagged by Karin C. Davidson, who is writing a novel-in-stories called Sybelia Drive, and with whom I read submissions over at Narrative Magazine. Check out Jamey’s answers here from when she did the Blog Hop.

Additionally, James Claffey, Ashley Berthelot of The Continental Cajuns, Helen Krieger of The Hatchery Media, Nick Fox and some of the writers of Shortbread Stories be answering these 10 Questions about their projects and stories over the next several weeks. Click on the links now to check out their blogs and check back later for their answers.

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My end of 2012 homework

In 2010, Jamey assigned me some homework, ordering me to reflect on everything that I accomplished that year. So, I did and I wrote a post about it. It was really helpful. So helpful that I did it again last year and I’ve been writing 2013’s homework in my head pretty much all year long.

The 12 Achievements of 2012:

1. I turned 30. I watched the Saints-Lions game at a neighborhood bar with a bunch of friends who decided the only way to make me feel 30 was to encourage me to drink like I was 21. The Saints won, I got to spend time with friends while celebrating the start of my thirties and everybody was happy. At least, we were all happy that night. Darker times were ahead for the Saints. But, thus far, my thirties are still going well.

2. I got my 5th tattoo and “finished” my birthday tattoo project, undertaken between the pivotal years of 25 and 30.

3. I attended a local premiere of 21 Jump Street with cast and crew, which was a really fun experience and the movie was hilarious. Then, I spent the first three-fourths of the year working on two more movies I’ve very proud to have been involved with (#1 and #2).

4. I went on a road trip with Mamma Mia!, after I evacuated for Hurricane Isaac and stayed with some friends. Since we visited both of my grandmothers in Columbus, Ohio and Chicago, I called it The Grandma Road Trip. Not only did we get to see a lot of family members we hadn’t seen in years since we’re all so spread out, but Mamma Mia! and I spent more time together than we had in probably a decade. And we both survived.

5. I wrote a skit for The NO Show, Helen Krieger‘s new-school old-fashioned radio show, then got to see it produced. Helen was looking for material, I said I might have have some and next thing I knew, we were writing a 5-minute version of my idea. Then, there was a table reading and a “punch-up” draft with the actors and other funny people. Then, one of our actors couldn’t make the re-scheduled recording and I had to step in and voice one of the characters! It was a rollercoaster ride, a fun one, and I hope it keeps going.

6. I freelanced for the last quarter of the year. It was really tough, but it was also one of the most important things I’ve ever done. I continued to write for 225 Magazine and also continued some editing work I’ve done for a while. I worked for a friend of my dad’s in the industry I grew up in (conventions and trade shows) and discovered I’d picked up a lot more as a kid than I’d realized. And I wrote. I freelanced on another movie and recently accepted some new work on a tv show, which I won’t be able to talk about for a long time.

My obsession with tango continued. There were a lot of firsts this year.

7. I bought my first pair of tango shoes. This coincided with me dancing as much as possible, at least once or twice a week, and sometimes more, so my dancing improved a lot.

8. I danced in new communities, in Atlanta (three times) and Chicago (once). I hope to go back and dance with them more in 2013, and also, I plan on checking out new places to dance as well.

9. I performed for the first time. I almost didn’t, then changed my mind at the last minute. It was a terrifying and utterly satisfying experience and I hope to do it more. I’m glad I made the decision to be bold and dance.

Photo by Shari Stauch

Photo by Shari Stauch.
Partner is Casey Mills.

10. I won NaNoWriMo. This year, it was easy. I was freelancing, so I had the time to commit. I had a great, fun story. I watched Saints games, tv shows, movies, went out with my friends. Even with voting, Thanksgiving, my shower exploding and getting sick, I still finished early.

11. I won my first major literary prize. My essay “Tango Face” won the essay category of the William Faulkner-William Wisdom Literary Competition. In my “end of 2011 homework” post, I said I was submitting my work diligently and promised I would brag on myself when the submitting paid off. So, as promised, when it paid off, I bragged on myself.

12. I achieved better balance. Literally, with my dancing, I achieved better balance, working on my core and maintaining my own axis. There’s still lots of room for improvement, but I’ve come a long way. Figuratively, I sought out and achieved better balance in my life, between work and play, between paying the bills and passion. I fought for and found better balance within myself. I talked about balance in both my 2010 and 2011 end-of-the-year homework assignments, each time with more clarity and cohesion. I mentioned balance by accident in 2010, unaware of it’s importance. I knew I needed balance in 2011 and I was looking for it. In 2012, I achieved it for glorious patches of time, which convinces me that it’s attainable. It’s still the goal.

2012 was a banner year, not only because of my 12 personal achievements, but also because the world didn’t end. And since it didn’t end, I’m looking forward to all the experiences and achievements 2013 has to offer.

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NaNoWriMo 2012 Day 26

I wrote 175 words after updating last night, just to get my Day 26 started. Today proper was spent on some freelance work, then I went over to tango with the Mandeville group and had an absolute blast. Didn’t get home until after 11 p.m. and got immediately to work, trying to cram those words in. “I can write at least 1,000 words in a half hour, I told myself.” And, I did! I got 1,061 words written. Still ahead, still on track to finish a few days early, with any luck. Hurrah!

Day 26 word count: 1,236

Total word count (so far): 46,290.

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NaNoWriMo 2012 Day 20

Today was the Day of Roadblocks! Spent most of the day doing freelance work, then my shower exploded and I had to deal with that and then I went to tango. Mostly because I needed to dance! And also, to see some folks who are in town.

I got home just in time to write 237 words, so that I could keep up my streak of writing some words every day this week. Don’t worry, I’m going to try to get some more written before I pass out.

Day 20 word count: 237

Total word count (so far): 32,337.

 

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NaNoWriMo 2012 Day 15 + Day 16

Day 15:

Still sick, lots of work today. Only 411 new words tonight.

Total word count (so far): 23,259.

Day 16:

STILL sick! Errands and work took up most of the day. And, I went to tango, so by the time I went home to write, I was pretty tired.  I wrote by hand in my notebook, falling asleep before I could update here or on the NaNoWriMo site.

Day 16 word count: 387

Total word count (so far): 23,646

I’m about 3,000 words behind.

 

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NaNoWriMo 2012 Day 11

Distraction city! Woke up a bit late after tango last night, read some and ate breakfast, watched the first half of the Saints-Falcons game, then finally got started. Went to the tango picnic at the Keller library branch, which was a lot of fun. Here’s a picture, just to keep things interesting:

Tonight, when I was writing, I kept thinking about a conversation I had recently where someone asked me about my NaNoWriMo project and I told them it was a zombie book. The person I was talking with cocked their head, thought very hard for a moment and then asked, “So, is it sci-fi or fantasy?” Good question. “No,” I answered. “It’s very realistic. Except that there are zombies. It’s as if zombies were real and it all went down tomorrow.”

I’ve had a couple interesting conversations about this year’s NaNoWriMo novel. One of the most interesting and helpful of them was with Bill Loehfelm earlier this week.

Day 11 word count: 2,017

Total word count (so far): 16,260.

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NaNoWriMo 2012 Day 10

After updating last night, I continued to write and managed 506 more words before I had to call it a night. Today, I volunteered at the library and ran a few errands, watched Rock of Ages and wrote a very little bit. Tango is calling, but I’ll probably have to cut out a lot of these distractions next week. Tomorrow’s going to have to be a big word day.

Day 10 word count: 619

Total word count (so far): 14,243

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NaNoWriMo 2012 Day 6

Another slow day, between voting and the distraction of working near my polling location, in view of everybody else who was voting throughout the day. I did see quite a few of my neighbors and friends, since they also vote at the same place. All very distracting. But Jessica and I did do one word war, around lunch time, so it helped me stay on track. It’s also a tango night, so in between dances, most of us were checking our phones for updates on the election.

I’m proud of America’s democratic system. That sounds pretty dorky, but it was cool to meet people who get excited on Election Day, as I do. And I did see a few folks today beaming and excited, inspired and energized. I think it’s amazing what we can do together and for the record, I’m very happy that President Obama gets four more years to solve the problems he inherited and to dig us out of the deep financial, social and educational holes we’ve been buried in for decades.

Before I sign off:

Total Day 6 word count: 636

Total word count (so far): 10,656.

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