The Girl in the Photo

The Girl in the Photo

It’s that time of year again. The leaves are falling, my wormy quinces are lying under the trees waiting for me to collect them and the temperatures are slowly backing off. It’s time to think about making pumpkin pie and the guest list for Thanksgiving Dinner, right. Noooo! Not for writers, anyway. They are sharpening their pencils (or would be if anyone did that anymore) and girding up their loins for the fray because November, in case you didn’t know it, is National Novel Writing Month!

National Novel Writing Month, you say. What is that all about? Well, go to and you can find out. All you have to do is sign up and in the month of November you too can write 50,000 words of what is sure to be the next best seller, maybe.

50,000 words in a month? Is that really possible? What if you aren’t retired or independently wealthy and actually have to work for a living? Can it still be done? I am here to tell you it can. All you have to do is come home from work, belly up to your computer and bang out 1,612.90 words a day to get you to the magical goal of 50,000 words in a month. Then you upload your work onto the NaNoWriMo site to prove you’ve actually done it. They provide a nice visual for you in the form of a rising graph (if you are writing) and encouraging e-mails to keep you from throwing in the towel (or jumping off the roof). They don’t charge anything for their platform or their cheerleading though you do pay in the form of your own blood, sweat and tears (not to mention a lot of teeth-grinding).

It is an interesting exercise, writing 50,000 words in a month and working a full time job at the same time, one that allows you to experience such philosophical dilemmas as: “Do I write ‘she went home’ or do I write ‘she went to her house?’” The latter phrase will get me two words closer to my daily 1,612.90 goal so I can get up and go make dinner, or far more likely, pour myself a stiff one.

Surprisingly, people actually do keep on and complete their 50,000 words. What doesn’t happen so often, and where I failed miserably, is for people to then go on and write the other 50,000, or 30,000, or 20,000 words,  and turn it into a proper book.

This is what my friend and colleague, Wally Wood, has done. He has just completed his second full-length novel, a book entitled The Girl in The Photo (available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble) and will be discussing the process of starting a novel through the NaNoWriMo process (and then bringing it to fruition as a sleek, professional self-published novel). This discussion will take place at the Newtown Public Library in Newtown, CT on October 30th at 7 p.m.

Come one, come all, to hear what it’s like to just sit down and do it. Come and hear what in heaven’s name you do after you’ve done it. Whom do you contact? How does a book get put together? What will the whole process cost you? What can you actually earn from it?

Come if you want to meet like-minded people, hear Wally talk about not just his book, but also his path to writing fiction (it was a wayward one), have a drink  and nibble on fall goodies. Candy corn, anyone?

The Girl in the Photo is a novel which came out of Wally Wood’s experience of Japan, things Japanese and what it’s like to be an American G.I. stationed far from home. It is a novel about love and longing, regret and renewal as a brother and sister discover a surprising secret after the death of their father, an eminent Cleveland surgeon. Long ago, years before he married their mother, he had an affair with a Japanese woman during the Korean War, an affair he wrote about in the autumn of his life, in secret, an affair that his two children, Abbie and David, who find this secret manuscript, must now somehow come to terms with, for it wasn’t just an affair. It was an affair which produced a daughter.

Wally Wood has a M.A. in Creative Writing from the City College of New York and a B.A. in Philosophy from Columbia University. He speaks fluent Japanese and wrote another novel about Japan: Getting Oriented, a hilarious account of an ill-starred tour of Japan by a group of typical Americans.

Do come on the 30th if you can. (To my readers on other continents, please do not feel obligated!) Or go online and check out his blog at

Happy reading.