nanowrimo – day 19

I’ve finished 19 chapters of 43,853 words so far this nanowrimo. The last three days, during which I played father of the bride at my daughter’s wedding, were nearly writing free but the only chapter I have left to write is called “the wedding” so I’m pretty sure I can knock that out without issue. My head is full of details. Words come easily in that case.

So I should finish my first draft tomorrow. Then I’ll spend the rest of the week editing and then print up copies for presents. It’s such a good plan and I was able to stay on schedule. Huzzah!

And Thursday brings new MST3K! Life just keeps getting better!



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nanowrimo day eight

Today proved tough but I’ve managed to push my way through eight chapters, 21,129 words, of nanowrimo so far. The grind of trying to force myself to be creative day in and day out is starting to wear my vocabulary thin; I tell myself the repetitions of meaningless words is part of the narrator’s vernacular but surely there is a limit to how many times he can say “really” and not sound like a doofus. Which he is. It is all intentional. I meant to do it that way.

He was fouled!

I still love my novel and the story although I am beginning to wonder if anyone else will ever appreciate the fine needlework I keep adding to the prose. Those details didn’t just make themselves up. Stop looking for plot holes and focus on the cool little jokes I faintly alluded to. Yeez.

Tomorrow’s chapter is looking thin. Time to make stuff up …



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13,500 words and five chapters down. Steady as she goes.

The trick to nanowrimo, I think, is to think up a 50,000 word story a few weeks before it begins. My usual problem is my novels want to be 400,000+ words and it’s like climbing a mountain that keeps growing. The small story and quick deadlines are helping me keep things under control.

For me, the main thing nanowrimo provides is structure. I can easily write 2500 quality words a day without much trouble except that I too often don’t. My writing flourishes under the gun. Even a made-up no-consequence deadline like nanowrimo can push me into poetic action.

I get up in the morning and get my writing done. Then I spend the rest of the day filling up the next chapter with ideas and phrases.

And I love having a kinda dumb narrator – I can say anything any way I want even if it’s stupid and makes no sense. Blame the narrator!

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nanowrimo update

So far so good

I’m pacing myself at 2,500 words a day. With proper planning, I can usually get this done by noon. Then I spend the rest of the day planning the next chapter. The month gets busy for me, with my daughter getting married on the 17th, but I think I can get where I need to be.

My novel is dedicated, in part to my daughter and her new husband. And my wife. She’s the real witch.

My goal is to have a finished, polished novel by November 30. My secret plan is to print copies of my new novel and give the paperbacks to friends as holiday gifts. It’s a really sweet love story. People won’t expect that from me. 😉 is my writeblr for my nanowrimo novel, Witch is me on nanowrimo



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Witch – chapter 1 – nanowrimo

a novel
by Lord Malinov

Chapter One

I’m writing this book because I believe my wife is a witch, that she has magical powers. Looking back with twenty/twenty hindsight, I thought she was a witch right away, the very first time we met. In a way, she showed me right away, revealed her true form, so to speak. But my mind wasn’t there. I wasn’t open to the idea. I dismissed the idea, assumed the strange things that had happened were the result of an overactive imagination, fueled by a range of intoxicants and being over-tired. I thought I was a bit mad, long before I thought seriously about her being a witch. It just made more sense to me.

I guess having powers doesn’t necessarily make her a witch, but you know what I mean. She’s clearly a human being; she spends her days doing ordinary human things, so I don’t think she’s an alien or some other kind of supernatural being. I don’t think she shows any signs of possession. I haven’t seen her shape-shifting or anything dramatic like that. Sorceress, wizard, high priestess in some dark occult religion, perhaps. I’m just going to call her a witch. It suits her. I can wrap my head around that.

The thing is, the reason I’m writing all this down, is that lots of strange stuff has happened since I met her and I want to make a record of it, just in case. I don’t know what I mean. If something should happen to me, but I don’t think anything is going to happen. In case some one needs to understand what has been going on with her. I’ve been a front-line witness to years of witchy behavior. I just think I should write it all down.

At the very least, it’s an interesting story. Maybe its because I don’t have anyone I can tell it to. They’d think I was crazy or at least laugh at me. Married to a witch. I’m dying to tell someone about it. This will have to do.

Let’s get one thing straight: I’m not calling her out, not accusing her, not trying to bring her to justice or salvation or whatever I would be doing if I made her witchiness public. So I haven’t called any church elders; I haven’t been in contact with a witch hunter. Nor have I forbidden her from cleaning the house using magic. I’m quite happy, being married to a witch. It’s very nice.

I joked about the house cleaning but from what I’ve gathered witchcraft doesn’t work that way, cast a quick spell and the house is clean or transformed into a castle. That would be a good trick, of course, but it’s more of a Jeannie sort of thing. Witches are more subtle than that. They don’t make things happen as much as they smooth the path that leads to the goal.

I’ve seen a few weird things but you never know with that kind of evidence. Maybe I was seeing things. It’s not a big part of my case, anyway. But I have seen some weirdnesses.

Although I live with her, I can’t claim to know everything she does magically. All I can attest to is what I’ve witnessed, what I’ve seen, heard and felt.

I’ve never seen anything float, blink into or out of existence, talk or transform.  Just to be clear, there haven’t been any parlor tricks, no stage-type magic, no bright balls of light and big bangs. Nor does she ever wave a wand.

What I have seen, let’s say, is success. It seems like luck is always on her side. She can do things that I’m not sure she should be able to do, things I couldn’t do. She can foresee the future, too often for it to be mere coincidence; she always seems to make lucky guesses, have the right cards, so to speak. She knows things, things she shouldn’t be able to know, like what I’m thinking. She talks to animals and plants and clay and food. I think they listen to her. And I’ve never heard any voices but I suspect they respond. Stuff goes on that I don’t get.

Going back to the beginning, I think being a witch made my wife an incredible photography model, the best I’ve ever worked with. I still get inquiries about some of the photos we took. Weirdest session I have ever had, both of them, but they worked out in a way that only a witch can arrange. That’s my theory, anyway.

Being a witch certainly made her a superb business manager. Compared to me, no question. When we met, I was pretty much floundering, trying to get enough work to get enough cash to get my business started. I barely made rent, sometimes.

I would bug guys for weeks trying to get work. They’d usually tell me to come back next week. Sadly, that’s how I got most of my work, bugging friends and friends of friends and people I met at the bar until someone gave me a job, taking pictures, doing design work, arrangements, just like that. My popularity, not really my strongest suit, started really crumbling. Friends didn’t answer calls, respond to email, started to avoid me because they knew I’d have to say what I had to say, that I’d ask them for work and they’d have to say no.

Even so, I did all right, most of the time, but I wasn’t getting ahead. I had doubts about my career choice. I might have given up. Then I met a witch.

She’d call the guy up and hand me three jobs. Then she’d call another guy and I’d have five more. In the first week, she arranged more work than I had found in six months. There was hardly enough time to do it all. She kept me on track. I started to get ahead.

Then she started dropping names and talking about pie-in-the-sky kind of deals, million-dollar accounts and deals made where all we’d do is cash the checks. I thought she was getting happy and just dreaming out loud until she started bringing in the accounts, the deals, the checks. She knows her witchy business.

The grind of production started wearing me thin, so I told her that I wanted to change our direction, take me out of the trenches and start letting me provide the visions. Two weeks later, I had a new office and a whole new game plan. It was like she snapped her fingers and made it all happen. I didn’t even struggle with the transition. She told me what I needed to know, where to be and what to do. I paid close attention, did as I was told and the inevitable victory was won.

With a witch, success is just business as usual. When obstacles arose, she took care of them. I can’t swear there was magic involved but the way our troubles vanished was clearly incredible. Our deliveries were on time and our competition invariably failed. Her grasp of the details was nearly perfect. I don’t remember her ever missing a trick. Fantastic. Supernatural.

As a wife, as a friend, as a lover, a witch is where it’s at. She knows me and knows my needs and desires. She knows what to say. She knows how close I want her to be. She guides me through life casually, sweetly, delightfully. Every day is a pleasure.

Am I spell-bound? Am I under her control, voodoo hexed and enslaved? Am I happy because she has cast a spell that makes me happy? Am I her minion, her human familiar? Do I have any free will at all?

I’m sure I’ll never know. But I don’t mind.

Having said all of that, I feel a bit stupid, saying my wife has magic powers. I’m not a child, reading wizard novels about fairy tales and fantastical elf-lore. I don’t even like that stuff, really. Some of it, maybe, I mean, I’ve watched the movies but I don’t take it seriously. I keep my feet on the ground.

I don’t know if I’ve seen ghosts but I have felt some creepy paranormal stuff, hanging out with friends in abandoned buildings when we were younger, summoning spirits, waiting in the dark for EVPs and getting scratched. We’ve all had supernatural experiences. It’s not that weird. The world is full of dark energies.

I know what most people know about paranormal stuff, the occult, hauntings, vampires, wizards, all that stuff. I watch the shows, see the movies. Some of it seems cool but most of it’s just for fun. I’d never really given it any thought. I never really thought it would impact my life.

When I think about it, though, apart from Halloween witch decorations, I didn’t know that much about witches when this started. It wasn’t even a question I thought to ask, no more than I’d ask about zombies or mummies. Werewolves are cool. I wonder about them.

So, I used to work with this young woman sometimes. She used to help me when I was taking pictures. I didn’t know it at first but after a while, she told me that she was a real live modern day witch. I made some jokes which annoyed her but then she told me lots of stuff I never knew about witches.

Actually, she’s the one who first suggested to me that my wife is a witch. She didn’t help with the pictures we took, but she saw the witch pictures. The first time she met her, after she left, she told me that my wife was a really a witch too. I asked her how she knew and she told me.

Witches are people of the old religion. They come in every shape and size and nationality and walk of life. They are connected to nature in ways that the rest of us aren’t. They can do things, they know things, they can see things and foresee things. You may never know when a witch is around you, even though you see them every day.

What you will recognize, if you watch carefully, is an inner peace, a connectedness, a serenity that controls the world rushing in chaos around her. The energies she commands glides her though life, like a melody, like a summer breeze, like a rainbow on the wing. She may whisper and mumble, she may wave her hands and unfocus her eyes while you are talking to her, but she’ll know exactly what you mean and precisely what is really going on. Witch life is a style, a power, a production. We keep soaring higher.

After that talk, I watched more movies, shows, stuff like that, too, to learn about witches.  They have an interesting culture.

My wife owns an assortment of things any witch would have; there is no disputing that. But other women I have known have had the same kind of witchy things in their homes and I don’t think they were witches at all. Crystals and Celtic designs and Tarot cards and spirit bowls and incense and candles. What woman doesn’t have candles? I don’t think we can conclude anything from objects alone.

She has most of those things on a shelf. I call it her witch shelf. She never responds when I say things like that, like it isn’t worth responding to. Because it’s true or because it’s ridiculous, I’ll probably never know. I’ve tried to talk to her about being a witch but she either walks away, changes the subject or makes a joke out of it. I don’t know what that means but I am convinced that she will not talk about it.

There are other things she has on her witch shelf that are more damning, like the witch books. They aren’t very good reads, lots of circles and affirmations and goddess talk that goes round and round in, well, circles. She said they are research but I don’t know what she’s doing research for.  Having them on the shelf is not conclusive that she is a witch but it is evidence. Church ladies don’t have witch stuff on display.

Lots of popular culture shows witches hanging out in groups, stirring cauldrons and dancing in the moonlight. I don’t think my wife goes in for that kind of witchery. I mean, I don’t think she really spends any time hanging out with other witches.

Not that I’m aware of, anyway. I suppose she might be turning into a rabbit and hopping off for a coven meeting after I go to sleep. They say witches sometimes transform into animals so that they can do mischief without the limitations of human form. Or they fly on brooms. Lots of witch stuff is supposed to happen at night. I wouldn’t think I would miss her going out but I do sleep pretty soundly. And she may be casting sleep spells on me. Who knows?

But, seriously, she doesn’t have any friends like that, wearing witchy symbols or talking witch talk. She’s more of a loner. I’m pretty sure they have loner witches. That’s probably a thing.

So it’s not the company she keeps that makes me think she is a witch. It’s the way she behaves, some of the weird stuff I’ve witnessed and our continuing successes that make me believe she’s a witch. I guess I don’t really have any proof. Maybe she isn’t a witch. But it sure seems like she is.

Because its not all about the good stuff that has happened. There have been times when it frightens me. I don’t mean that she has caused me fear but thinking about her being a witch has scared me. I don’t know. I suppose she scares me. In a good way.

She’s always been good to me but her goodwill has always been important to me, because, if I’m being honest, I’ve always been a bit afraid of her. I sort of did that instinctively, from the beginning. I knew I did not want her mad at me. I’d seen enough to make that conclusion.

But I’ve also done business with her, watched her deal with people who did not please her. She can be very forceful when she needs to get her way and some people are foolish enough to stand in her way. There are usually two phases of her anger, when this happens. First I suspect that she causes them pain in ways that never quite come back on her. Then she foretells a terrible future for them.  And it happens. I’m not kidding. People get sick and die. I mean, I don’t know if she cast a spell and made them die but she did predict their demise. She tells me when deals are going to fall apart, when companies are going to collapse, when partnerships are doomed and she’s always right. It’s spooky. And scary.

Actually, to be safe, I long ago adopted the attitude that she’s always right. It seems like the best approach to life with a witch. Do what I’m told and enjoy the benefits. And it’s worked, so I’m sticking with it. I’m doing too well to jeopardize this gravy train of happiness. Besides, she is always right.

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Witch – outline

Witch is composed of twenty chapters – a prologue, three sections and an epilogue. Each chapter is about 2,500 words. Here’s a brief inconsistent outline of the chapters:

Art is accusation, expression, passion. Art is black charcoal crushing white paper.

Gunter Grass, The Tin Drum


  1. This Book

I’m writing this book because I believe my wife is a witch, that she has magical powers. I guess that doesn’t necessarily make her a witch, but you know what I mean. Strange stuff has happened since I met her and I want to make a record of it, just in case. I don’t know what I mean. At the very least, it makes an interesting story.

  1. The Witch

We set up a session and I told her to dress up as a witch. She asked me what that meant and I admitted that I didn’t know, so I told her to wear what she thought said witch. I figured I could ask her to change if it was too kooky. She arrived, dressed as a witch. I don’t remember what she wore, it has been so long and I suspect she has made me forget them. I don’t even know where I would look for copies. I had a paranormal experience during the session. The photos are a big success. She disappears.

  1. Return of the Witch

Given a  bonus, he sets out to find her and they set up another session. She dresses as a classic witch for the session. He has another paranormal experience during the session. The pictures turn out extremely well and he’s reluctant to sell the photos. He couldn’t sell the photos. She’d bewitched him.

  1. Beyond the Witch

He contacts her to tell her that he hasn’t sold the pictures, witches aren’t in season any more, so there isn’t any money to split but offers to pay her for the work. She seems not to care. He suggests they try her in a different costume. She declines to model, but suggests she could help him find work. They form an informal partnership. Witch ritual overtones. His assistant tells him that she’s a witch.

  1. Meetings and Jobs

She sets up meetings with classy clients and big budgets and despite his constant self-deprecating pessimism, she easily opens doors. Her charm and looks are part of her magic but he seems blind to that aspect of her game. He starts working and finally making significant money.

  1. Promotions

Weary of the production life, he wishes he had an editorial job. She says that she will take care of it. He’s given a job he never would have considered himself qualified to have. He makes more wishes, they happen. This is the beginning of the successful career he now has.

  1. Success

Everything she’s involved with, runs smoothly and pays off nicely. They go to dinner, to celebrate their success. He has a paranormal experience that sounds a lot like sex.

  1. Dating

They start dating. She gets along with his friends and yet sees their foibles. She seems to control them and they love it. I was getting lots of respect from my people.

  1. Getting Personal

They spend so much time together that they start to live together without ever saying anything, no discussion, no plans, it just happened. She has lots of witchy possessions, books, decorations. He asks her about them and she tells him they’re for research.

  1. Suspicion and Love

He starts to really suspect that she’s a witch, that everything has been accomplished by magic, that there may be evil forces involved and he may be going to hell. He may be under her spell, her puppet, her tool. She may be using him cruelly. He loves her.

  1. Proposal

Once the idea has entered his head, he finds it impossible to stop. He proposes. She seemed to already know. She knew all along.

  1. Family

I don’t know if witches come in families or what those families would even be like. Her family was full of characters. Any one of them could be a witch.

  1. Wedding

Witch ritual description of a basic wedding ceremony. Lots of love and lots of fun.

  1. Married

She became a different person. I became a different person. We were both stronger than we were before.

  1. Life Together

Everything went smoothly. We worked and played. When troubles arose, she disappeared briefly, tapped the computer, made some phone calls and our troubles were gone. I did as I was told; I felt I had to. I was rewarded for doing so.

  1. Proving the Witch

When times got tough and work had to be fought for, we continued to thrive, only slightly hampered by economic strife.  I was talking to my assistant, recounting some of our near failures that turned into brilliant successes, I came to the realization that my wife is a witch. It is the only reasonable explanation.

  1. The Deal

I became convinced when we had the opportunity to make a huge amount of money on a complicated deal that required everyone to come together in just the right way at just the right moment. I didn’t think it was possible. My wife felt certain. She wouldn’t tell me why.

  1. The Party

We went to a party with all of these big players, all of the people we needed to come into line, all together. My wife worked the room like a grandmaster, starting conversations, turning the flow of thought, introducing new players and new ideas. I’d never seen her like this. She kept me involved as well and I always seemed to say the right thing, as if she were telling me what to say without telling me.

  1. Success

The first answer was bad and for a moment, I saw my wife collapse, saw her vulnerability, saw her mortality. I realized that I was being foolish, this was no witch. She was just an incredible woman and I loved her regardless of the outcome.

And then the answer changed. We succeeded and our life changed forever.

So, yeah, my wife is a witch.

  1. Epilogue

I wrote this book forty-three years ago. My kids found it in my files, when they were sorting through our stuff, so I could move out. I’d forgotten that I’d written it. Those were strange times. My daughter thought I should share it. I thought it might be a bad thing, accusing her mother of being a witch but she said people would just see how much I loved her. I don’t know where she sees love in all that witch talk but what she says is true. I did love her.

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on Witch, my nanowrimo project

Starting from two recent short stories,  I have decided to try and put together a quick 50,000 word novel I call Witch. Here are some initial notes:

On the surface, the narrator believes his wife is a witch and has decided to anecdotally document his case. It can be read that way but why would anyone ever trust a narrator?

The fact that he believes, so strongly, in a supernatural explanation for his wife’s success defines the narrator. Although his admiration for his wife is boundless, there is an underlying misogyny to his attitude. He struggles to accept that a woman could be smarter than he is even though it is patently obvious to anyone. By assuming she using magical woman powers that are somehow wrong, he can buy in completely. She’s not just a woman; she’s a magical creature. No machismo rules apply.

We also glimpse a fundamental lack of morals on his part – he doesn’t care about the whole good/evil thing as long as he’s on the winning side. She brings him nothing but victory; blasphemy be damned!

That said, I don’t want the novel to have any religious commentary. Deals with the devil are not part of the discussion.

To be fair, however, it is also a personal limitation. It is difficult, if not impossible, to imagine the mental gyrations of someone significantly smarter. We may see her as simply smart; unable to understand smart, he sees magic.

More than anything, however, this is a love story. I want the entire novel to scream and whimper and bleed with the love that the narrator has for his wife. That he loves her and not just her power is the denouement of the story.

The other prevailing emotion, one that I have to keep from making comical, is fear. From the beginning, his wife appears to him as so powerful that he honestly and legitimately fears her – not for the things she has done but for the things he fears she is capable of doing. Some of this comes from witnessing her ability to be ruthless in business but mostly it is a projection of his weakness. His only real fear is doing without her.

Lots of forgetting. The narrator assumes that is a spell she cast. He’s not as bright as he thinks he is, she doesn’t seem to mind. He’s functional and cute and she can manage the rest.

Part of the magic he identifies is her ability to foresee and avoid troubles. She’s being sensible and reasonable but those words don’t mean the same thing to him. She anticipates and maneuvers; he can’t react until he recognizes a crisis. What she does seems magical to him because he could never do it. His mind doesn’t work that way.

What he’s really good at is visual design. He knows how to make a picture look good, to speak appropriately, to convey unspoken messages. She recognizes this minor but profitable magic in him. Part of the magic he sees in her is her ability to bring out good qualities in him. He’s a better person because she’s with him.

What makes this a really beautiful love letter is that the narrator doesn’t even know that’s the message. Art is accusation.

She has a cat – named TBD

Dolls, crystals, knives, incense, sage, jewelry, gems

I’m aiming for the gullible charm of a paranormal show host. He believes because he’s not smart enough not to believe. But he’s nice about it.



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