It’s January Already!

So, so, so, welcome to the second day of 2014! It’s sunny and seventies in AZ, which might make a lot of you jealous, but I really wouldn’t mind some clouds and snow and a roaring fire and some hot chocolate. I am drinking black currant tea with cream, though, so that’s something!

On the roster for 2014:

  • I’m turning 30 in twenty-five days. That sounds really old. 0_o (Obviously this isn’t a goal, just an inevitable event.)
  • Whale and the Tree revision. Hoping to be finished circa April, although this draft will need at least another pass after that. Really proud of my changes so far! I think it’s already a much stronger manuscript.
  • Another novel. Possibly another revision, possibly a reworking of last year’s short story idea, possibly something completely new. We’ll see!
  • I have a ton of books I want to read, including but not limited to: The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Sorrow’s Knot, The Bitter Kingdom, Shadow and Bone, The Fault in Our Stars, Unthinkable, The Name of the Wind, The Night Circus, Reflections (Diana Wynne Jones on writing), and whatever else has yet to tickle my fancy! (Book suggestions always welcome!)
That’s it for now. More later if I think of anything! Also, my tea is gone, so it seems a fitting place to end.
Go forth and be awesome, everyone!

1/11/11

So happy 1/11/11 to all and sundry!

I am very sorry to announce that I have been doing absolutely nothing in the realm of noveling lately. Haven’t worked on anything since November and am developing a serious need-a-creative-project twitch, so I’ve decided to attempt that revision of Whale and the Tree I’ve been meaning to get around to since, you know, July. Got as far as officially upgrading to Scrivener 2.0 this evening before getting distracted, but that’s a start, right?

Just started reading Rosemary Sutcliff’s The Lantern Bearers, which is the third of her loosely-connected series of books set in Roman Britain (the first of which, The Eagle of the Ninth, is hitting the big screen next month!!). Finally finished Pegasus, which I had mixed feelings about, and am also partway through Beowulf, which, embarrassingly enough, I’ve never actually read before. Awaiting an Amazon package that has gotten lost somewhere between Phoenix and Mesa but will hopefully show up soon—it contains my very own copy of StarCrossed, and the fourth Bartimaeus book, which I’m soooooooooo excited to read! I keep meaning to do a “Best of 2010” book list, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet…

Here’s to a challenging and rewarding 2011!

Re-reading

I’m a hardcore re-reader and re-watcher and 99.9% of the time order exactly the same thing at restaurants and coffee shops and ice-cream parlors because I like repeating fantastic experiences. Well-loved books and movies (and sandwiches) are like old friends. You can always count on them to look and feel (and taste) the same, to move you in the same ways.

I’ve been re-reading Megan Whalen Turner’s Attolia series over the last week or so, and while, admittedly, nothing is quite like the first time through, with all those wonderful startling revelations and aha! moments, I still very, very much enjoyed them. In fact they were still eliciting audible reactions from me, to the point where my roommate looked up from her important doctoral studies to remark, “You do realize you’ve read that before.” 🙂

Another reason I re-read is that if I don’t read a book at least twice, details tend to fade, and I’m left only with vague impressions of I liked it or didn’t like it, which isn’t ultimately very useful. And some books stand up to multiple readings more than others; some I find kind of “meh” on a second read, some I find as amazing as I remembered, and some—like, for example, the Attolia series—you almost have to read more than once to soak up all the awesome and intricate things that are going on.

And then there’s mood to consider. As much as I love them, sometimes I’m simply not in the mood to adventure into a brand new book and unknown territory. There’s a certain amount of comfort in knowing exactly what’s coming and looking forward to parts I already have completely memorized and revisiting beloved characters and just experiencing the story again.

Man, now I want to go re-read Lord of the Rings. It’s been a few years…

What about you? Are you a habitual re-reader?

A long bank of cloud

So I guess I did sorta drop off the face of the planet. Or at least the blog-o-sphere. Or something.

I have been writing. Okay, not so much this last week, but I’ve definitely made progress since the last post, and I did pen two whole scenes today. I’m currently in the middle of Chapter Thirteen, and am struggling to get the middle bits of my novel to make some sort of coherent sense. The last two chapters I’ve found myself straying from my revision outline because the novel seemed to demand it, so that’s thrown me off a bit. But I think it’s for the best. Hopefully. Currently Draft #2 stands at 82,256 words, which is 12k longer than Draft #1. I’m kind of thinking it’s not going to get a LOT longer than that, as I’ll be deleting as well as adding material in future chapters… But as always, I really have no idea. I just want it to be over already. Did I mention how much I hate revising? ‘Cause I do.

… Which is why every once in a while I sneak off to work on On Journeys Bound, which I still really, really want to finish. I’m all the way through Chapter Twelve now, and up to 55,796 words. Long ways to go yet, but I’m definitely flirting with the middle now.

On the reading front, I recently finished Rosemary Sutcliff’s Dawn Wind, which is a gorgeous historical fiction set in Britain in the Sixth Century AD. I really love her storytelling and characters and her talent of letting you hear and see and feel the things in her books. Her prose is quiet and lyrical and compelling, as shown by the opening paragraph:

The moon drifted clear of a long bank of cloud, and the cool slippery light hung for a moment on the crest of the high ground, and then spilled down the gentle bush-grown slope to the river. Between the darkness under the banks the water which had been leaden gray woke into moving ripple-patterns, and a crinkled skin of silver light marked where the paved ford carried across the road from Corinium to Aquae Sulis. Somewhere among the matted islands of rushes and water crowfoot, a moorhen cucked and was still. On the high ground in the loop of the river nothing moved at all, save the little wind that ran shivering through the hawthorn bushes.

 Lovely, lovely stuff. The kind of writing I aspire to!

I’m also about halfway through Heroes of the Valley, by Jonathan Stroud (author of The Bartimaeus Trilogy), which I like a lot so far. It’s kind of about Vikings, which is awesome.

Let’s see, in other news, BBC’s Merlin is back for Series Three, the first two episodes of which were Epic and Awesome and Lord of the Rings-esque. I can’t wait to see how the storylines and characters are going to develop over the rest of the series! Going to be interesting, for sure.

And that will about do it for now. I think I’ll go work on my novel… or read… or goof off on the internet… one of those. 🙂

*sings* "Monday, Monday…"

Okay, so I don’t actually know anymore of that song. I think it’s from the sixties? At any rate. This morning, for the third consecutive week, I got up Ridiculously Early (as in 6:20 AM) to meet my best bud Jenny for a Monday Morning Before Work Writing Session. Anyone who knows me understands this to be quite shocking. I am the furthest from a morning person anyone could possibly get–I loathe getting up as much as I despise onions and temperatures higher than 85 degrees. But somehow, working on one’s novel at seven in the morning on a Monday is a fantastic start to the week. And for all that griping about getting up, I do actually quite like being up early in the morning. Everything seems quieter, and the light is softer. So much possibility. Or something.

I finished editing Chapter Six of The Whale and the Tree this morning. Current word count is 108,940, nearly 5k more than the rough draft. I’m not sure how long this is going to end up being, as I already know I’ll be adding a lot, especially to the latter half of the book, which wound up really rushed as a result of hurrying to finish by the end of Nano, I mean November. I am cutting stuff, too, but nearly all the cut scenes are replaced by new scenes, so I’m definitely going to end up with more than I started. Aren’t novels supposed to get shorter when you edit them? Because mine definitely don’t.

Back in the day, when I was 15 or so, I went to a writing conference with a couple of friends. We were very definitely the youngest ones in the room, with at 30-60 year age gap between us and everyone else. I remember asking a question (in front of everyone in the room, which is no small feat if you happen to be an INFP and 15. Wow, I was brave. I hardly ever piped up in classes during college.), and the question was this: How in the world does one go about writing long stories? I’d written a number of short stories at that point, but how anyone could possibly ever write an entire novel was beyond me. I received this insightful reply: Get your characters into a lot of trouble. Then get them out. Then get them into trouble again. Repeat as necessary.

It took me a while to apply this useful principle, but it definitely seems to have worked. I’m quite certain all my characters hate me at this point, and I don’t exactly blame them, either. But really, who wants to read a story about lots of nice things happening to people? No one, that’s who.

*ahem* Anyways. Currently my love triangle is gearing up and will be firmly fixed into place during the next two chapters. The triangle becomes a square in Part Two, which of course makes things much more interesting. 🙂 No one has heard from the Countess for a while, she’s still up in the tower, and Talia is busy falling in love with Caiden, the elder brother of the guy she’s actually supposed to marry… This is one of the things I’m working with during the rewrite, building up their relationship more gradually and (hopefully) naturally. It’s much better this way. Kudos to Jenny (and I know there were more of you, too) who pointed this out to me. What would I do without those brave souls who read my first drafts?

So that’s what’s what on the writing front. Imrahil and I are working on Chopin’s Ballade No. 2–it’s nearly memorized now. *loves Chopin* Gotta get back to Ye Olde Beethoven soon. *shudders* That man was unusually cruel.

Currently reading: Myst (recommended by Danielle), Inkheart (rereading, ’cause it’s been too long and the third book and the movie are coming out in the fall), and The Princess Academy which I’ve barely started and just got at the library today. I’m also reading Danielle’s novel (which I haven’t forgotten about, promise!), and have A Passage to India out from the library as well. I’ve put myself on a strict no-buying-books-check-them-out-from-the-library ban until I start building up the fundage sacrificed for my dear Imrahil’s adoption. I never used to actually buy books until I *shudder* worked at Borders for six months. The only good thing about that job was the discount, which I put to good use. I have yet to recover from the actual experience of working there. Who knew that spending 8+ hours surrounded by books could be such acute torture?

Bed time. I was going to curl up with a book and read for a while, but I blogged instead. Lucky you.

Night all!

Gamwyn