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Showing posts from March, 2008

Where I've Been

...participating in the first chapters exercise over on ye olde forum. I hope that, by the end of the week, my own first chapter will finally (!) be ready to post. I’ve added thousands of new words and a brand-new scene. Austin’s having a whole heap of new adventures...
Meanwhile, check out Fuzzy Logic Knits - the latest link I’ve added to the “other sites” list – my friend Lee Ann has a new column in Vogue Knitting magazine! If you have any news, tidbits, info, fun stuff about knitting in Canada, feel free to pass them along...

The Face of A Lion Anniversary

I've been writing this novel for nearly a year. The germ of the idea spawned last winter, around this time, and since July or so I've been working on it nearly every day; writing, editing, researching, rewriting... Overall goals are:
Type up all edits made to date
Finish rewriting by summer 2008
Begin working on query letters

I might post the entire first chapter on here soon, possibly after the first chapter dicussions on the forum have wrapped up.

It's Easy? Who's Easy?

Writing a Young Adult (YA) novel is easier than writing a so-called "regular" novel? Who honestly swallows that tripe? Jen Hendren's got a great post on the mysterious tendency of some people to believe that writing for a younger audience means that somehow the process of writing is much simpler. Ha!
The only difference between a novel and a young adult novel is that the main character is generally a young person and that ten-year-olds can be expected to read the book with the same ease as, for example, fifty-year olds. But the latter is plain old marketing - it has nothing to do with how the books are written. Nothing at all.
I read The Lord of the Rings for the first time when I was 10. Not a single young character in there anywhere (Pippin, the youngest, is 29 years old (I think)). I read 1984 and Animal Farm at 13, at which age I also read The Fountainhead, Gone With the Wind and White Nights (Dostoyevsky) for the first time. I also reread some of my beloved so-called …

Lady Chatterley's Lover by D. H. Lawrence

I finished this book three days ago and I'm still thinking about it and considering how best to explain why I think it's so great. I can't seem to come up with the proper vocabulary to express how right it is...
George Orwell mentions in one of his essays that the first time he read Lawrence he was struck by how the author sympathised with every character in the book, and left the reader at a loss as to whose side to be on (obviously he phrased this idea much more succinctly!). His concern was the decline of absolute right and wrong in Western society, and he seems to imply that Lawrence falls into this category of refusing to paint any character as morally bad. Having read other short stories and poems by Lawrence and having been bored/grossed out (c.f. St Mawr and The Rocking Horse Winner, respectively), I was pleasantly surprised by the writing and the characters when I first started Lady Chatterley's Lover. I wouldn't want to comment on his other writing, but …

Hearing Characters

There's a great thread just started over on the CompuServe forum about how writers hear their characters speak (the thread is called Open Question). Here's my little contribution:
Sometimes I hear or read something – a word, a phrase, a lyric – and it starts the ball rolling, whether action, dialogue or monologue, and I have to write it *now* or I’ll lose it. These are the ideas that come fully-formed, often at the beginning of a new story, and are generally the roughest stuff – need a lot of hacking through in the editing process.
Then there are the linking scenes, every place in the manuscript that says [need link here] – these are the short, bridging scenes that I have to write to make the story flow, but where I know I definitely don’t want to say “they all went to bed and woke up the next morning” :-) These take some craft to pull through.
Then there are other times when I have to force the characters to talk – in a scene where I know what happens in the beginning, the midd…

March Goals Update

For the first time ever I'm actually caught up with my goals! Ah well, so much for taking a day off...

Books I'm Reading VII

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (for the CompuServe book group)
Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon (3rd reread)
The Jerusalem Bible (rereading Matthew)
Stoics and Sceptics by Edwyn Bevan (halfway through)
Tales Before Tolkien short stories (almost finished)
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (ditto)
Der Ruf der Trommel (Drums of Autumn) by Diana Gabaldon (reading at intervals)
Paradise Lost by John Milton (ditto)
The Divine Comedy: Hell by Dante (ditto)
Australian Short Stories (ditto)

Finished Books
Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
Decline of the English Murder and Other Essays by George Orwell
The Naked Chef Takes Off by Jamie Oliver
The Clicking of Cuthbert by P. G. Wodehouse
Lady Chatterley's Lover by D. H. Lawrence
Eagle Strike (Alex Rider) by Anthony Horowitz
Stormbreaker (Alex Rider) by Anthony Horowitz
Christian Behaviour by C S Lewis
Finn Family Moomintroll by Tove Jansson
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (3rd reread)
The Temple of Diana at Ephesus by Falkener from 1865
The Heart of A Peacock by …

March Goals

1. Finish all critiques on the Books Forum.
2. Revise first page of The Face of A Lion.
3. Revise first five pages of The Face of A Lion.
4. Participate as diligently in the First Five Pages thread on CompuServe as I did in the First Lines, First Paragraphs and First Pages threads.
5. Choose a chapter, edit it, and enter the "Win a critique by Diana Gabaldon!" contest on Books Forum.

I think I'll take next Monday afternoon off and if I haven't gotten down to business (It's Business Time by Flight of the Conchords!!) by then, at least I'll have a solid day to take care of things...

Bits 'n' Bobs II

Of course, as soon as I set writing goals for myself, other events conspire against me...
As if I didn't know that having a myriad of hobbies isn't my own fault.

Anyway, the lovely MontrealKnits group on Yahoo, which hosts bimonthly (semimonthly?) knitting meetings in and around town, is holding its first ever Pub Knit at Ye Olde Orchard on Wednesday. I've got two projects on the go - a vest for myself and a hat for a friend. It may be plus one degree Celsius today but it's always cold for the St. Patrick's Day parade!
I hope to be in the parade this year, as I was last year...

I've been emailed a few times as part of the Recipe Exchange, and while I sent one recipe out, I probably won't be able to make it to anyone else. Here, then, is my favourite new-found recipe, the first time I ever found and enjoyed a Kraft recipe that didn't call for either Jello or Cool Whip (blechh!): Strawberry Jam Bars. Meanwhile, since I'm spending tonight finishing my cri…

Seventy Days of Sweat

Round Three of the Seventy Days of Sweat has begun! My ONE goal is: finish editing The Face of A Lion!

Bits 'n' Bobs

The winner of Where in the World is The Spymaster's Lady has been announced! Skip over to Claire's blog to find out who took first place and who took second. Not me :-(

Last night we were at the Springsteen concert in Montreal! If I had some ready cash and some vacation time coming up, I think I'd head on down to the States and try to catch at least three or four more gigs. Story idea bubbling up in relation to this... Stay tuned!

I'll be updating the books read list in a few days, but for now I wanted to talk about Anthony Horowitz' Alex Rider series. I've only read two of them to date, but already they're beginning to seem rather formulaic. Now, there's nothing essentially wrong with formula (see my gushes over The Spymaster's Lady elsewhere), provided that each book within a series or formula genre finds new ways and words to present the characters and events.
Essentially, the Alex Rider books read like this: Alex becomes sucked in to a mystery…