I’m still alive and writing!
The workshop which started in January has been a surprising amount of effort (In a good way!) and between that and my own writing efforts, I haven’t been updating this blog as much as I’d like. I will miss it (and the folks in it) when it ends.
Thankfully I’m up at Stupid O’ Clock this morning and the munchkin is fast asleep and I’m in a procrastinating mood (I should be working on either my outline or my assignment). It’s a perfect time to write an update!
So what’s going on?
1 – The Writing Group I started has begun to meet again. We are all working on novel length manuscripts intended for publication. The energy there is wild and powerful. I’m very optimistic. I’m working on an extremely detailed outline of Revenant for a full rewrite (It’s been 6 years and I’ve learned a lot, time to put it to work). The kicker here is that we’re setting deadlines for each other, which frankly is the only way I’ll ever get things done. I have a deadline of March 14th.
So far my outline is several thousand words. I’ve done outlines before but never this detailed and thorough. It’s an experiment. My hope is that if I know exactly where I’m going I’ll be able to focus on the craft more and turn out a more nuanced, professional work.
The awesome part is that I’m finding myself incorporating more than a few ideas from the workshop as well as concepts I’ve learned there (or rather hammered home there).
Tonight I plan to lose a few hours of sleep and push to get the rest of the outline finished to give me time to go over it before Wednesday’s deadline.
2 – In a previous post I was pledging to read only new (ie: unread by me) novels and since then my reading habits have done nothing but picked up in speed! I’ve been reading up a storm. I’ve been exploring authors that I’d never heard before and some I love but who have stories I haven’t gotten around to yet. Some books have been bad, some were good, all have had something to show me.
Some of what I’ve read in the past month:
- One Hundred Thousand Kingdoms – N.K. Jemisin – I did not really enjoy this book (the first of a trilogy), the premise is sensational but I didn’t find that it was fulfilled to my satisfaction. This might be because I expected fantasy and got more of a romance novel. Sadly I found that it fell in the middle by being weak in both.
- Sandman Slim: A Novel – Richard Kadrey – A nice supernatural psychotic romp. Very popcorn and very enjoyable.
- Marco and the Red Granny – Mur Lafferty – Now I’m a fan of Mur Lafferty and I enjoyed her first book “Playing for Keeps” and this novella was ok. I enjoyed it but the ending fell flat for me. It could be because I wanted more and a novella tends to be too short for my tastes.
- Alice in Deadland – Mainak Dhar – This one caught my eye from the Amazon daily deal, so I took a shot. It’s a loose re-imagining of Alice in Wonderland in a post apocalyptic future where the remnants of human civilization are at war with zombies. Sounds cool right? It failed. I found the writing a little weak in places and the plot dragged for me. I would say, stay away.
- The Hunger Games – Susanne Collins – I wanted to see what the fuss was about. I was afraid we had another Twilight on our hands, but the writing is pretty good and I enjoyed the story. I look forward to reading the other two books in the series
In between novels, I’ve also been plowing through my growing collection of writing books. It keeps me focused.
- 500 ways to be a better writer – Chuck Wendig – I’ve written about Chuck before and his blog Terrible Minds. Chuck won’t necessarily teach you something new, but he’ll say it in a way you’ve never heard before! This book is basically a compendium of stuff he’s put up in the past on his blog and some extras. I enjoy it. It’s easy to read it in bite sized chunks here and there. What I like to call, toilet bowl portions.
- Write Great Fiction, Plot and Structure – James Scott Bell – This is another book in the “Write Great Fiction” series (I also own a few that Nancy Kress contributed to this series). Since I’m working on my plot, it couldn’t hurt to find a bit of inspiration here. I’ve hit on a few ideas from reading that make it time well spent.
- Outlining your Novel – K.M. Weiland – K.M Weiland is the creator of the wonderful podcast called “Wordplay” so I thought I’d glance through what she has to say about outlining. While good, this book isn’t as accessible to me as I’d like right now. It doesn’t seem to lend itself to reading in small chunks. I’m promising myself to go back to it during a free afternoon to read it in one stroke.
Now the weekend begins. I’m hearing the baby start to stir. I’d better get crackin! We have a good friend coming over today (and some very tasty pulled pork in the slow cooker for receiving said friend) and we have a nice day with my parents tomorrow. I need to grab whatever minutes I can here and there to get words down.