Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Update on Austin

I've been busy with the Hallowe'en House Party on the Compuserve Forum and have been a little slow with the "real" writing lately. It's strange how when something is in fun only, I can knock off 1045 words without breaking a sweat, but getting even 700 words out for the Austin and Kedi story involves much griping and hair-pulling. Then again, there are no deadlines or goals, beyond the daily suggestion, for the house party, whereas for the novel I've got to get at least 700 words written each day as part of the 70 Day Challenge. Of course, this makes writing sound like a chore - far from it. I *like* having these deadlines to force me to dedicate myself. If I sat around waiting for inspiration to strike... what was that about a cold day in hell?
Anyway, back to Austin. I've got a new goal, which actually won't take into effect until January. Seeing as the To Be Read pile has now reached the breaking point (four, count 'em, four piles of twenty books each by the bed. And then there's all those classics clogging up the library that I still haven't read) and I'm in dire need of some more in-depth research (I know nothing about fishing, navigating or slang in the Roman Republic. Heck - shameful confession coming - I had no idea Rome wasn't on the sea. Seriously. Now I've got a river to investigate as well. I wish I could get a grant and travel to Italy!) I'm planning a week off in January to:
super clean the house
go to the library (yay McGill! Free books and records, book fairs, and a library! I just wish the library building wasn't so hideously 1970s.)
create a bibliography
FINISH THE LIBRARY CATALOGUE on www.librarything.com
print the (maybe!) finished Austin and Kedi story
find a title for said story (Out of the Shadow of Artemis just doesn't seem to be working. Sorry Claire!)
Print the story and start writing up all the scenes that say "[fill in missing bits]"

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Another Tag Off Snail's Tales

A list of five statements for each of which a Google search returns my blog as the number one hit. The first three statements, according to Google, exist only in a post on my blog, but nowhere else on the entire Internet.
Another photo-worthy lovefest by Frodo and Sam...
A young Greek girl in pre-WWI Istanbul who falls in love with a dashing travelling musician from Brittany.
Gece otobüsüyle Cuma gecesi Kusadasi'na git, Pazartesi sabahi dön (Take the night bus to Kusadasi on Friday night and come back for Monday morning).
The "flavour" of life in Ephesus in the middle of the first century
Learning about mitochondria starts with Madeleine l'Engle's A Wind in the Door
Orhan Pastanesinden Tatli alip ye (Get some dessert from the Orhan Bakery and eat it).

Seems I'll have to find an original sentence about Austin and Kedi :-)

Saturday, 20 October 2007

Evil Editor

I'm listed for Novel Deviations 3 http://evileditor.blogspot.com/2007/10/nd3.html
Sounds exciting, once I figure out what it is...

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Sven Says Sweat!

Yup, it's now day 2 of round 2 of the 70 Day Writing Challenge. My goal is easier this time: finish the book! Easier, since to do I only have to complete about 750 words per day instead of 900. Now, off to write!
Austin is in Rome now, though lots more needs to be told of their journey across the Mediterranean. Besides the political/literary/etc. timeline, I also need to keep a list of all the books/articles I have consulted, and will need to consult, for research, as well as a list of names and their meanings. Right now I give characters names based on what little knowledge I have and certain intuitive feelings if I come across a name on the internet. Later, though, these names may changed based on historical accuracy and any connotations associated with those names. To date I have:
Austin, main character
Kedi, friend and guide
Theseus, friend
Althea, friend
Pliny the Elder (yes, *the* Pliny the Elder)
Miss Julia
Lady Porphyry
Antonius, Theseus' brother
Constantine, a classmate
and so on...

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Seven Random Facts About Me

Just for fun, while on Jo's website, I tagged myself with this. If you haven't filled it out, you may tag yourself also! Seven random facts about me:

1) I yawn when I'm thirsty.

2) Sometimes my dreams predict the future.

3) I'm usually reading about ten books at once.

4) The whole time we lived in Turkey I ate the same thing everyday for breakfast and lunch: borek with cheese and coffee for breakfast, a pide and a salad followed by rice pudding for lunch. Only once in a while when I wanted something different, did I have eggplant and rice for lunch instead of pide. But I never skimped on that rice pudding.

5) I can knit but I haven't made socks yet. Even Jamie and Ian can make socks!

6) I've read the Lord of the Rings at least once a year since I was ten.

7) I like skunk smell (admittedly, I've never been near one when it sprayed).

Write What You Know

One of the more spurious bits of advice given to writers is "write what you know" - as if to be a writer you can elaborate only on your morning commute to the office and the dimwitted things your colleagues say, not to mention your evenings spent doing chores and preparing supper/eating supper/clearing up after supper. Of course not! If Tolkien had followed this kind of lame advice... well, here's what Jo Bourne (http://jobourne.blogspot.com/) has to say (quoted verbatim from the Compuserve Books and Writers Forum):
#11 of 15 Posted Oct-8 10:01 PM
From jo bourne Posts 1312 Last 7:43 PM
To Diana Gabaldon [Msg # 57558.11 57558.10 ]

Hi Diana --

Whenever I see the 'write what you know' advice, I have this picture of nice Professor Tolkien interviewing an ork.

"So tell me, Urlurk Orklag ... did you always want to grow up to be a souless servant of evil?"

JoB

I'm on Evil Editor!

I'm New Beginning 381 on http://evileditor.blogspot.com/ and happy to say that I received a couple of positive comments, one "continuation" in the style of Princess Bride (yay!) and a few confirmations of things I already knew I needed to fine tune - Austin's voice and the length of time between his trip to the bazaar in the morning and his meeting with Kedi in the late afternoon. Whew!

Research Randomness

Jenny over at jenny/' target=_blank>http://jennyswritething.blogspot.com">Jenny Does the Write Thing (testing link-writing here) has a nice idea - creating a political/historical timeline for the length of time that one's character is in the past. So far all the research I've been doing has been merely to try and understand the "flavour" of life in Ephesus in the middle of the first century, especially day-to-day tools, habits and surroundings that are completely new (old?) to me: pottery bowls and lamps; open gutters in the streets; animals everywhere; smells of bread, fruit and unwashed bodies instead of cars, tar and air conditioner vents (yes, those are the kinds of gross smells I encounter each day on the way to work); travelling as a slow time-consuming process involving many people and animals and much packing of supplies, rather than airport security delays and flight delays (and whining about the length of a seven hour flight to Europe; how easily we forget that this has only been possible for a mere 50 years or so, and that before that, it took at least a couple of weeks to get across the ocean, and before that a month or more, and before that months and months - and there was no guarantee you'd make it...); and so on.
I apologise for the confusing order of the above sentence. Instead, then, of concentrating on the above, I think I will try to create a timeline with all the major "outside" events going on in Ephesus and the Roman Empire, before the start of Round 2 of the 70 Day Challenge.
Two other things I may mention in other posts: Jo Bourne's hilarious comment about Tolkien, and My Stolen Book. Yes, that's right, someone Stole My Book. More importantly, I had plotlines and even a whole scene written on looseleaf paper and stuck between the pages of the book. Jen, if you're reading this, what's the opposite of a class-action lawsuit? I want to collectively sue everyone on the 11th floor of my office for potential copyright infringement :-)

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

"If You Have Come This Far...

...and haven't already done this meme, consider yourself tagged." From http://snailstales.blogspot.com/2007/10/interesting-animal-meme.html So, that's me tagged then, is it? Here you go:

An Interesting Animal I've Had
My sister and I raised a snail. I forget why we had him, I think he was a Turkish snail that showed up in our baggage when we came home. We kept him in a jar and fed him on carrots and lettuce. There was some dirt and twigs in the jar too. He would outgrow his jars and have to be transferred to other, bigger jars. Our mom did most of the work. Then one day he escaped! We searched for him, but he was gone. A few months later the cleaning lady came up to my mom and said, "is this yours?" holding out the snail. He had been living on the dining room carpet. My mom released him into the wild after that... Too bad we don't have any photos of him.

An Interesting Animal I Ate
It seems I've never eaten anything wacky or weird. For about five months, when we lived in Turkey, my husband and I ate kokorec from random food stands in "downtown" Istanbul. It was meat with herbs, grilled right in front of you, and wrapped in pita bread. A mystery gyro, if you like. Then we found out what kokorec is - cow intestines. But too late - we already loved the stuff. Now they're trying to sanitise it and so on, as part of the plea to enter the European Union (http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=940DE4D8153BF937A15755C0A9659C8B63&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=print). I'll miss it.

An Interesting Animal In A Museum
I just spent ten minutes or more looking for photos from the Natural History Museum in London, before I realised that when we went there two years ago, we were still using a non-digital camera. But there were lots of neat remains of animals in there!

An Interesting Thing I Did With Or To An Animal
How about an awful thing? My first cat, nearly ten years ago, was a stray that I started looking after at the beginning of one summer in Turkey. Ian was my best friend for nearly three months, and though I kept him in the house at night, during the day he was still very much an outdoor cat. But he never strayed very far, and I had him in sight as often as I could, even though this was before the days when packs of large stray dogs roamed the Kadinlar Denizi streets. While he was still very small, I let him sleep on my bed, and had a near-panic attack at the idea of being so close to and so responsible for such a small thing.
I wanted to bring him back to Canada at the end of the summer but wasn't allowed. I left him. I saw him again the next summer and he gave me one awful look of reproach and then I never saw him again. Oh Ian...

An Interesting Animal In Its Natural Habitat
Can we consider mitochondria animals? Of course. They used to be animals. A long long time ago they swam into human cells and stayed and now we depend on them to breathe. And we're animals. How you doing in there, mitochondria - and Yadah and Sporos? Of course! Naturally, learning about mitochondria starts with Madeleine l'Engle's A Wind in the Door (www.madeleinelengle.com). Requiescat in pace.

I'm Back!

A month it's been, of thinking and not writing, of planning and not creating. But I've written 659 words so far tonight and still have another scene in my head. Goal was 1000, just to get myself going, and then hopefully I can pick up the pace. October looks set to be a really busy writing month:

1. October goal of an even higher word count
2. Hallowe'en house party at Jen's!
3. Group novel
4. October exercise on dialogue
5. Posting He Ain't Heavy for critique while everyone else is at Surrey (www.siwc.ca)
6. Possibly joining round 2 of Sven's 70 Day Challenge

Whew!

Books I'm Reading and Finished Books

  • The Making of Outlander by Tara Bennett
  • Testament of Experience by Vera Brittain
  • Zoom sur Plainpalais by Corinne Jaquet
  • beta read! (JB)
  • ***Reading At Intervals***
  • Sophie's Choice by William Styron
  • The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
  • Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  • The Young Lions by Irwin Shaw
  • Burning Sky by Lori Benton
  • 12 Anne and Avonlea books by L. M. Montgomery (skimming/reread (this was free on Kindle!))
  • Parade's End by Ford Madox Ford
  • Istanbul Noir (Akashic Books anthology)
  • The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien manuscripts edited by J. D. Rateliff
  • The Jerusalem Bible
  • ***Finished Books***
  • The Children of Men by P. D. James
  • A Daughter's A Daughter by Mary Westmacott (Agatha Christie)
  • A Girl From Yamhill by Beverly Cleary
  • Sunlight by Margaret Rucker (poem; floating in a cocktail glass)
  • Save the Cat by Blake Snyder
  • Preface to The Hobbit, by Christopher Tolkien
  • Ilk Defa... by Beste Barki (essays)
  • Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers (essay)
  • The Moon and I by Betsy Byars
  • The Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson
  • Rogue Warrior by Regan Walker
  • Beauty and the Beast by Villeneuve
  • Black (what was this? I don't remember!)
  • Dance of the Jakaranda by Peter Kimani
  • Thomas the Tank Engine by Rev. Awry (26 book collection)
  • beta read (Born to Run by RB)
  • The Little Turtle by Vachel Lindsay (poem; reread)
  • The Kraken by Alfred Lord Tennyson (poem)
  • Android's Dream by John Scalzi
  • The Mysterious Tadpole by Stephen Kellogg (reread)
  • Yashim Cooks Istanbul by Jason Goodwin
  • Miniatures by John Scalzi
  • Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain
  • Kitty-in-Boots by Beatrix Potter (illustrated by Quentin Blake)
  • All or Nothing by Rose Lerner (short story)
  • Merry Christmas, Emily (board book)
  • Extra Yarn by __ and Jan Klassen
  • Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  • The Outlandish Companion II by Diana Gabaldon
  • The Outlandish Companion I, Revised by Diana Gabaldon
  • MacHinery and the Cauliflowers by Alistair MacLean (short story)
  • The Dileas by Alistair MacLean (short story)
  • The Gold Watch by Alistair MacLean (short story)
  • betty, butter, sun by Monica Byrne (short story)
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them screenplay by J.K. Rowling
  • The Very Cranky Bear (Scholastic)
  • various haiku by R. Wodaski
  • ongoing rereads of most board books listed last year!
  • see the 2016 list and statistics at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ch/2016/12/annual-books-read-statistics-2016.html
  • see the 2015 list and statistics at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ch/2015/12/annual-books-read-statistics.html
  • see the 2014 list and statistics at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ch/2014/12/books-read-in-2014-review.html
  • see the 2013 list and statistics at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ca/2014/01/toast-to-professor-books-read-in-2013.html
  • see the 2012 list and statistics here http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ca/2012/12/the-hobbit-review-and-year-end-books.html
  • see the 2011 statistics on http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ca/2012/01/books-read-in-2011-statistics-fourth.html
  • see the 2011 list at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ca/2012/01/books-read-in-2011.html
  • see the 2010 list at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2010/12/books-read-in-2010-listed-here.html
  • see the 2009 list at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2009/12/books-read-in-2009-part-ii.html
  • also in 2009 at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2009/12/books-read-in-2009-part-iv.html
  • see the 2008 list at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2008/12/books-read-in-2008-part-ii.html
  • also in 2008 at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2008/12/books-read-in-2008-part-vi.html
  • also in 2008 at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2008/12/books-read-in-2008-part-iv.html