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Archive for February, 2014|Monthly archive page

Dreaming Novel Things: How To Prepare For The End Of A Beloved Series…

In Uncategorized on February 25, 2014 at 12:29 pm

Great advice!

dreamingnovelthingsDreaming Novel Things is a feature in which I discuss book related subjects, but in a creative way. I’ll use interviews, narratives and lists to talk about book trends, book opinions and bookish matters. If you have any book related subjects you’d like to see me discuss just leave me a comment below!

You wake up and it’s a normal day. You eat breakfast, brush your teeth and go on with your day like any other. You’re just coming back from your lunch hour (a little late because the line at Subway was ridiculously long) when the guy who sits in the cubicle behind you asks for the date.

You look at the calendar on your desk to check, slightly annoyed because no matter how many times you tell that guy to get a calendar he insists he doesn’t need one. Your finger searches the calendar and lands on today’s date…

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Fleshing Out My Characters

In My Writing on February 23, 2014 at 11:59 am

With the demise of Novel 1, I’ve been putting all of my efforts toward Novel 2. Here’s a little bit of background on what I’m doing.

Novel 2 is based on mythology from various African nations/tribes/cultures. I’ve taken bits from these various sources and am combining them to create a story that is uniquely mine. I’m setting all of this in a world of my own making so that I can create my own geography and rules of nature. If you’ve read Lian Hearn’s Across the Nightingale Floor, you’ll totally get what I’m doing.

Before you ask, no, I’ve never visited any country in Africa, although I would love to one day.

Because I’ve never been there, I have to rely on pictures from the internet to give me a feel for what I want to write. I’ve been surrounding myself with pictures that express what it is that’s in my head. You see, I’m basing the aesthetics on African art rather than on realistic pictures of landscapes. In my head my entire story plays out as an animated feature or a graphic novel. I imagine my characters with graceful, elongated bodies and facial features that aren’t fully defined. I imagine brightly coloured landscapes and highly stylised animals. It’s quite beautiful in my head. I’m going to do my best to convey that beauty onto the page.

No pressure.

As I mentioned previously, I’ve learned a lot from my oh-so many mistakes in Novel 1. One of the things I’ve learned is that I can’t have a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants approach to structure. I’m the type of person who needs an outline. I need to know what’s going to happen and where the story needs to go.

I also need more consistency in my characters. The ones I had in Novel 1 were kind of flat and boring so I’ve set about making more detailed character profiles for this story. I’ve also gone a step further and have cast my characters as though there was going to be a film version of my story. This may seem to contradict what I wrote about not having characters with fully defined facial features and such, but I want to make them feel like fully fleshed out human beings. This is purely for myself in an effort to make them more real for me. So, no, I won’t be sharing my casting choices with you. It’s for my edification only.

So, that’s where I am with Novel 2. (Sorry, no working title yet.) It’s chugging along slowly but steadily and I feel really good about it.

Reading Rut

In Library Day on February 16, 2014 at 3:52 pm
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I think I’m doing it wrong.

 

So, I’m in a bit of a rut when it comes to the books I’m reading at the moment. It seems like I keep having to put down things that look really good but have turned out to be super dull. Obviously, I’m not going to name names. That’s not how I roll. But it’s starting to be a big problem. Nothing seems to be gripping me and I don’t like it.

If you don’t know this by now, reading is kind of my thing. It’s my favourite past time (and it’s pretty much the only thing that makes my commute bearable). Lately, I find myself listening to music and staring into the distance rather than reading and it makes me really sad because I’m not sure what the problem is.

The beginning of the year started out great and at one point, I was 7 books ahead of my reading schedule on Goodreads. As of this very moment, I’m 2 books behind schedule. That is very un-Buffy.

I’ve been giving it some thought about why this is happening and hope to get to the bottom of it. I think that one of the problems is over-saturation of a certain genre that I was once in love with. I’m looking at you Steampunk. There are so many of these books on my tbr list and lately I’ve just been picking them up and putting them right back down. I’m not sure why. I love Steampunk! Perhaps it’s the selection lately. The ones I’ve picked up seem a bit samey and not at all thrilling. There was one I was really keen on reading and I finally bought it (BOUGHT it, mind you. It’s not from the library!) and it turned out to be super disappointing. I think that I’ll have to leave the Steampunk books alone for a while. Perhaps if I move on to something new, I’ll be able to come back to it with fresh eyes another time.

As you may remember from last week’s post, I recently abandoned editing my first novel and the genre is, you guessed it, Steampunk. So perhaps there’s something psychological going on there.

Whatever the problem is, it’s getting tedious. I want to read a good story, no matter what the genre is.

Hopefully I’ll get this sorted out soon, my bloggy friends. I want to be able to talk to you about books!

Sometimes You Just Have to Let it DIE!

In My Writing on February 9, 2014 at 6:01 pm

Of course, I’m talking about my first novel. You may remember a few months ago I dusted off Novel 1 in an effort to re-edit and make it publishable.

Oh my days…

As it turns out, it’s not very good. That’s the cold, hard truth I’m afraid. I’ve given it several drafts in an effort to crush that piece of coal into a spectacularly shiny diamond. But as the saying goes: you can’t polish a turd.

It might sound like a harsh thing to say about my very own piece of work that I’ve worked on for such a long time (two years and a bit), but I feel that I must be honest with myself if I’m going to grow as a writer.

I found myself staring at the words at a complete loss as to how to make them better. This then made me reluctant to work on it at all. I came up with all kinds of excuses to avoid writing. The result being that I haven’t written properly in a couple of months now. It also made me lose my confidence. How can something I’ve worked on for so long still need so much work? I started questioning whether or not I would ever write anything good. I also kept thinking about Novel 2 and how much I really wanted to work on that.

The truth is that I’ve learned so much from this project and I’ll be able to apply that knowledge to Novel 2. I think that it’s time that I let this one go.

Pull the plug. Do not resuscitate.

Maybe one day I’ll drag it once more into the light of day, but for now I think that it’s best left alone. It was a difficult decision. We’ve been through a lot together, me and Novel 1. We’ve hashed it out during my commute, had lunches together, spent lots of time in coffee shops, late nights, weekends… We even took several holidays together. I don’t put this down lightly. In fact, it was kind of like breaking up with that boyfriend who is super nice and you don’t want to hurt his feelings but you have to do it because he just isn’t THE ONE.

It’s important to know when enough is enough.

I feel much better having made this decision. I’ve once again picked up Novel 2 which is in its early stages and guess what… I’ve actually been writing!! I’ve also reread what I’ve written so far and am pleased with it. It almost sounds like a real novel. Obviously, it will need a lot of work and polishing as it’s in its infancy, but I feel good about it. My confidence has been restored. I still have a lot to learn, but I’ve attacked this novel from a different angle based on the mistakes I made whilst writing Novel 1.

No more excuses. No more dithering. Novel 1 is out; Novel 2 is full steam ahead.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

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