Monday, 31 December 2012

The Weekly Wrap 12/24

Monday 12/24 - At my makeshift office at my parents' house. Had some trouble focusing this morning, but got through some of chapter 2. Keep being interrupted by family, but it is what it is. At least they can see I'm working and not just talking about it!

A good pic of Boo, finally! She really is a pretty dog, I swear. 

Headphones to get me in the right mindset (and block out people talking). 

Tuesday 12/25 - It's Christmas, y'all! There's so much build up but on Christmas Day, once the presents are opened, there's plenty of time so I squeezed in some revision. 

Books off my Christmas List!

-On Writing By Stephen King - a really good book on writing that I've only read essays from before. It has some great anecdotes and really solid writing advice. 
-The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater - I hope this book lives up to the hype. 
-Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor - I loved Daughter of Smoke and Bone and can't wait to start this. It's the kind of book I'd stay up all night reading just to see what happens next. 
-Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool - Sounds wonderful and it won the Newberry Award in 2011. 

Merry Christmas! 

Wednesday 12/26 - Happy birthday Mom! Chugging along through Chapter 2. 

Thursday 12/27 - Chapter 2 completed! Obviously this one was a bit longer than Chapter 1 (or needed more work). Only like 10 or 12 more to go. Wee! I've been using a voice recorder app on my phone to record myself reading what I've written so I can play back the tricky parts and hear what sticks out like a sore thumb. It's pretty cool. You never sound like you think you do so it's like having another person read my story and I'm able to get lost in it in a way that I never have before. I highly recommend it if you are writing. 

I also put together a recap of my life in 2012 for You Should.

I've been banished to the dining room, probably from all the eye rolling and heavy sighs every time I'm interrupted by a family member. 

Friday 12/28 - A full day open to me! I wrote up a little something fun, took my doggie for a morning run, and got some revising finished.

Here's a little something my friend Sara got me:

It's fun to get writing related stuff that isn't another Moleskin or stationary. 

Saturday 12/29 - It's a rainy Saturday morning, perfect for coffee, working, and reading. Ahh, such a life. I am LOVING On Writing by Stephen King. I blew through 200 pages of it yesterday, sad it's so short. I loved the section about his life because I'm a dweeb and want to know, but his writing advice is solid. Gotta practice, gotta dedicate yourself, gotta work. It definitely isn't a walk in the park. 

Sunday 12/30 - My, my. It's been a busy morning running around, trying to get organized before I have to go into work. I did a little something something on You Should, bought ink, and printed out the rest of the chapters I need to work on. So here it is, Momentum:

I've done the blue paper clips. Still need to do the red (and yes, I color coordinate my chapters depending on whether or not they've been revised). 

And now I'm off for NYE. Have a Happy New Year, y'all! 

Friday, 28 December 2012

10 Odd Bookish Habits

Reading can be an obsession, and as with any obsession, we all do it a little differently. I thought I'd share some not-so-normal bookish habits that I have.

1. I read more than one book at once. I know this doesn't sound too strange, but for most people, they tend to stick to one book at a time before moving on to others. Unless it's a novel I read in one session, I typically have three to four books that I'm reading at one time. For example, right now I'm reading Stephen King's On Writing and Different Seasons as well as Life of Pi by Yann Martel and a couple other stragglers where I started them and somehow lost interest.

2. I read while I'm blow drying my hair. No joke. It's totally weird but blow drying your hair is such a boring monotonous task and I try to squeeze in reading time whenever possible. I've also managed to put on makeup and do my hair while reading. Skillz.

3. I have a system for how I dog ear pages (and I'm not a purist where I never fold a page, sorry, not sorry). Typically, you see people dog ear pages at the top right, but I fold in the bottom corner of passages where I loved the writing and I fold down the top right one to mark where I am in the book. I rarely use bookmarks - I have a tendency to lose them - and I hardly ever keep a book jacket on the book, unless I'm using the front flap to put in between pages.

4. I can listen to music while I read. Sometimes, I prefer it. I'm fortunate that I don't get motion sickness so on long car rides, I fire up my iPod and get some reading done. It's like the book has a soundtrack. I love it.

5. I almost never reread books. Unless it's a beloved childhood favorite or one where I need to reflect, I typically finish a book and that's the last time I see it. It's hard for me to recreate the magic of reading something for the first time and I don't want to be disappointed if the book doesn't have the same effect it had as the first time. I will go back and look at parts that I really loved (see #3).

6. When I buy a book, I read the first sentence and the last sentence first. To me, it's important to end with something meaningful, just as it is to start. I've had people tell me that ruins the book. 1) Authors almost never give away the entire book with the last sentence. That sounds like terrible writing. The book should evolve naturally. 2) By the time I reach the end, I've forgotten what the last sentence was. It's like rediscovering those words and after having spent a considerable amount of time with the book's characters, the ending and last line feel that much more satisfactory. 3) As a writer, you want to see how others do it - how they pull the reader in and how they put the bow on top at the end. It's basically research.

7. I love big chain book stores, particularly Barnes and Noble. I know! I'm learning to patronize smaller, local brick and mortar shops, but Barnes and Noble has a special place in my heart. It's where I learned to love to read, where I spent a lot of time writing (I'm a walking cliche), and where I finished my first manuscript when I was 20. When I was a kid, toys and candy were privileges, but my parents never told us no when it came to books. I distinctly remember coming out of Barnes and Noble, my arms cradling my newest haul, with a coffee (this is probably where my caffeine obsession came from). Going into the bookstore makes me happy (new stories!), exhilarated (one day, my book will hopefully be here), intimidated (omg, one day my book will be here), and angry (really, Snooki published another novel).

8. I confuse characters and plot lines constantly. I have a voracious appetite for reading, but a terrible time keeping everything straight because I read everything too fast. I never finished Harry Potter because after I read the 5th book on a two-day bender, I couldn't remember what happened the next year when the 6th one came out. So I gave up.

9. Some books I simply cannot read in public because I will sob. Mostly, anything written by John Green, the end of a beloved series, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, anything about the Holocaust, etc.

10. As of right now, I do not have a library card. Instead, I prefer to spend obnoxious amounts of money buying books, when I have neither the funds nor the space. Books are kind of sacred to me, so it's hard for me to part with one after I've read it even if I'm not going to read it again (#5). I know, it's absolutely insane and completely cost ineffective. Now, I can say it's because I want to support the author, since I'll hopefully be in the same boat one day, but honestly, I just love having a lot of books.

Here's some research for my Future Unsuspecting Significant Other:

You give me a library, I'll marry you on the spot.


Anybody else have any strange book quirks? Tell me I'm not alone! 

Monday, 24 December 2012

The Weekly Wrap 12/17

Monday 12/17 - Some wise (funny) words from Mr. King today:

"The road to hell is paved with adverbs." 

True story though. Adverbs can be the death of you when you're still learning. If I feel the need to use one, I normally stop and think, is this really necessary? I mean, just try saying "unceremoniously" out loud. If you stumble saying it, you can be sure as hell your reader will.

Spent the morning working through Momentum before Christmas shopping forced me out.

Tuesday 12/18 - No words of wisdom today. At my other office, also known as the bar I work at while on my break between shifts. Go through a chapter and half of Momentum. Getting close to finishing this slow read.

Wednesday 12/19 - A day of freedom!  Started out with some funny biz from J.D. Salinger:
"What really knocks me out about a book is that, when you're all done reading it, you wish that the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn't happen much, though." 

Yeah, most of my favorite authors I want to sit down and have a cup of coffee with. On a different note, I got through the climax of the story and I have to say, I think it's pretty good! Intense. I was surprised that my characters can still bring out that kind of emotion in me. I think it's a good thing.

Thursday 12/20 - Today's quote dealt with something I encounter a lot:

"And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy of creativity is self doubt." - Sylvia Plath

Today I finished up marking and thinking about where I want to edit. It's the first full read-through I've done since finishing writing it so it was interesting to go back over those places. Thoughts: it's good but needs some work in places.

I found in my workshops that when I revise, retyping what I've written is a pain in the ass, but necessary. It helps me get back in the flow of how I felt when I was writing it for the first time, and keeping the issues I have with the piece in mind, I'm able to smooth out the writing and expand. So I cleared off the chalkboard wall, made a giant list of the things I wanted to accomplish in the first chapter and got to work retyping. It sounds tedious, but really it's a good way to get my rhythm.

Friday 12/21 - Oh hey! The world didn't end. I celebrated by not doing anything writing related. In other unrelated, non-procrastination news (ha!), I got an iPhone. Bliss!

Saturday 12/22 - Today I was on the move, packing up my belongings to go and stay at my parents' house for the next couple days before Christmas. Their fridge actually has food in it. Unfortunately, that took up most of my morning, but I got together my materials so I can do some work at home.

Of course my printer crapped out after three chapters so I'll need to buy more ink before printing the rest of it.

Sunday 12/23 - Ah, home at last. I've got a sleepy dog, coffee, and a fire going. Time to get some work done. The first chapter sounds about finished. I'm pretty happy with it.

Monday, 17 December 2012

The Weekly Wrap

So I thought it might be interesting to catalog what I do each week as it pertains to writing. You might not be aware, but my time isn't always spent writing. There's editing, writing blog posts, networking, "feeding my muse" (also known as creative procrastination), brainstorming, etc. I spent a couple hours last week excited to organize a filing cabinet. It's a crazy life I lead.

I thought of this idea a little late, so I'm missing this past Sunday.

Monday 12/10 - I'm a bit of a weirdo and often cannot write at my desk. I don't know why. I like rituals though and preparation, so I've found that if I change when and where I work, I don't get bored. If I had all the money and time in the world, I'd be a total cliche writing in coffee shops. Something about the hustle and bustle of everyday life tends to cancel out my erratic thoughts, much like white noise, and it forces me to focus. So Monday, I'd gotten a small Starbucks gift card and spent two hours crammed into the corner, doing some revising on Momentum. I'm in the process of going through every chapter and marking what I don't like/what I want to change/plot holes. I got through two chapters that night.

Tuesday 12/11 - On my work days, I have to be industrious about my time. I couldn't sleep so I was able to get up at 7 and sit down to work. I've started creating positive habits for beginning to write and one is to update the chalkboard wall in my apartment with an inspirational quote. Today's dealt with revision and is from Truman Capote (author of In Cold Blood):

"I'm all for the scissors. I believe more in the scissors than I do in the pencil."

It was a dark, cloudy morning which meant I was able to chug through two more chapters in Momentum very quickly.

Ah, 7 AM and my favorite coffee mug :)

Wednesday 12/12 - I was a slacker today. Spent most of the free afternoon sulking on the couch. That's important for writing too, right?!

Thursday 12/13 - I was on the move today! Wrote in the morning, at my parents' house, and while at the garage getting my car inspected. Unfortunately, I tend to get ideas when it's inconvenient for me to actually use them, so I scribbled some stuff down in a handy dandy notebook my girl Sara bought me because I'm a weirdo and have an obsession with pugs.

Yes, it says "Pugs & Kisses"

But I've got a couple posts planned so look for them in the near future! Also, wrote up the FAQ section of this website if you want to check it out. It's all the questions no one ever asks me.

Friday 12/14 - Today, I had planned on getting a lot of writing done. I got back from work and had the whole afternoon open, but as I made lunch, I turned on the TV and saw what happened in Connecticut. I was deeply saddened and horrified by the news of the shooting and I couldn't stop thinking about all the little children who now will never get to open those Christmas presents their parents had been squirreling away under the tree.

Saturday 12/15 - Did a little muse-stimulating today. Met with my entire family to go see The Hobbit in IMAX 3D at the children's museum downtown. I've been waiting for this for a really long time. The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings hold a special place in my heart. The Hobbit is the first bedtime story I can remember my dad reading to us as kids. We still have the book too and it's just like I remember - hardback with a bright green cover. The film was amazing, so much so that I was dizzy half the time because I'm afraid of heights and the characters spend most of the movie poised on a precipice or about to fall off a cliff. Sure, Jackson pumped it up theatrically, but it was so much fun to be back in that world, to see the new sets, to meet the dwarves, and to see, finally, the Riddles in the Dark. It's by far the best part of the movie.

Sunday 12/16 - Today's words of wisdom came from Charlotte Bronte:

"I'm just going to write because I cannot help it."

I finished the Weekly Wrap, wrote up a bit for You Should, and got through three and a half chapters in Momentum. Feeling good about it today!