Thursday, 31 July 2008

Beedle the Bard

Just in time to celebrate the end of my resolution not to buy any more books, comes notice that JK Rowling's Beedle the Bard will be made available to all of us who didn't have the millions to bid on the original last year.
Now, what other books should I get to qualify for free shipping? :-)

Slash and Burn

Now I know what Jenny meant!
I've been revising and editing for over a week now, and can't seem to get past Chapter 6 - every time I look at the MS, there's more places to cut and more vocabulary to fine-tune.
With the dreaded Q word hanging over my head, I'm trying to make sure my first 6 pages (not 3! not 5!) will at least make others ask "what happens next?"
I've also got a short list of agents! Thank you, I sure hope it doesn't matter that all these agents are in far-flung parts of the US and not a single one is in Canada.

I also borrowed Jenny's title, since it's a Manic Street Preachers song :-)

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Progress Part Deux

Still progressing - I've sort of stuck in the middle of Chapter 4, but at least I'm doing steady work, by which I mean at least three to four pages per day. Tht's the reread. Next comes fixing dialect and topical references. Then looking for imagery and theme - anything I can build on.
Did I mention that after drafting the template letter for agents, I realised that Austin doesn't have a last name? Well, he doesn't! So I'm working on that too...

Saturday, 26 July 2008


6514 of 74314 words edited tonight!

Plus, I removed almost all of the notes and comments, inserted text for all the half-finished scene endings, and drafted a query letter. Pretty good week, though I could be doing much more than this.

I still need to:
Complete a final version of the query
Reduce the three-page synopsis to one page
Visit the library/bookstore to draw up a list of agents
Write the last ten pages
Double-check *all* my research notes, etc., in my notebook and on the computer, to make sure I've addressed all comments/hints/tips/facts/dates/names/etc.
Keep editing!

As my Facebook status said, I need an intern...

How is everyone else doing?

Thursday, 24 July 2008

3 Plugs

Here's a hilarious look at a Font Conference.
And here is Pam's link to a video of Ricky Gervais interviewing Chris Martin of Coldplay. I've said it before and I'll say it again, there's no point watching TV if it's not British.
And presenting... When professional cakes go horribly wrong!

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Wordle for the Blog

I can't believe that the S-word and the Q-word are prominent. I've gotta start blogging about themes more often!

Thursday, 17 July 2008


1500 words today!
I was thinking of posting a long, dreary blog about how I can't seem to meet my goals, and how I have no motivation otherwise I could be finished by the end of summer, blah blah blah. Kind of like what Jen was describing. And this hilarious post by Libba Bray that she linked to.
But then I actually got up at 5.30 this morning, and sat in front of the computer when I came home from work and look - 1500 words! And I'm still writing!
This is all the more impressive considering I don't normally draft on the computer. But it does make later editing that much easier, since I don't spend additional hours typing text from my own scrawls.

Ahem. Goals.

1. Finish last ten pages!

Despite today's word count, I haven't made a dent in this by far. Still another ten pages to go...

2. Really research agents, instead of randomly surfing the internet.

Ha! Haven't done this!

3. Clean up synopsis and start on query letter.

Okay, I've got my long synopsis (2500 words). I need the short one (1000 words) and I need to spruce up the cheesy draft query I wrote.

Meanwhile, I just got side-tracked reading Maureen Johnson's blog and have realised that my agent-querying goal is going to interfere with my no-books-buying resolution. I'll have to read quite a lot of contemporary YA in the next two months if I want to do a decent agent search. Time to hit the library... The library in my own neighbourhood doesn't seem to have a website, but my old high school has a chair at the Westmount Library - and an online catalogue search!

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Goals and a Plug

Here are the comprehensive goals for this summer:

1. Finish last ten pages!
2. Really research agents, instead of randonly surfing the internet.
3. Clean up synopsis and start on query letter.

I just figured out why this query process is no fun - too much like a job hunt. Brrr. Job hunts. Nasty things.

But I'm happy to report that the synopsis is DONE! And I've gotten started on the query letter. A night at the library looms...

As for the plug: if you're a writer and haven't yet visited Jo Bourne's blog (never mind the Compuserve Books and Writers Community as well!), what are you waiting for? The best advice, the funniest stories, and some real inspiration awaits!

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Last Night I Drempt...

...that I was a snail.
It all started on a cliff-edge in Turkey, where my dad and sister and I had gone to see the Stanley Cup (because the Canadiens had won!) and take some photos.
On the way back, from the car, I saw a cave. Or rather, there was an interesting fort-like cave, and beside it was a large overhanging rock that hid the entrance to another cavern. A tabby cat and a siamese-type cat lived in the crevices of the fort, and came out once in a while to chase dogs and have fun.
Then I was a snail that lived in the cool darkness of the cavern entrance. Oh! I can't begin to describe that coolness. Imagine a very expensive indoor pool, with tiling and marble, no chlorine smell, and lots of leafy green plants keeping the place dim and moist. Not steamy. Just very, very cool.
But I had a friend, a snake that lived in the hot, dry grasses that grew above the rock, and he was always trying to get me to come out and play football/soccer with him and the cats. I always refused, reluctant to leave my lovely fresh home, but finally, one day, I could desist no longer, and I came out.
It was all right at first, and lots of fun to play with my friends, but then I started to get hot. And dry. I wanted to go back under the rock, but my snake friend kept saying, "just five more minutes!" so I stayed.
Now I was getting muzzy-headed and very sleepy, until eventually, I passed out.

As is the way with dreams, I then saw myself as the snail being carried back to my home under the rock.
And then I woke up.

Wow! Who Doesn't Want Free Books?

Check it out, over at Trish's...

Happy Canada Day!

Here's another meme...
Stolen from Jenny, who stole it from Shaylin, who stole it from Jon, who stole it from Sandy:
1. What’s in your pocket right now? No pockets!
2. Have you ever gone skinny-dipping? Yup, in the Aegean Sea at five in the morning. Well, no that’s not true. We (the girls) were wearing bikinis and we took our tops off for a bit. That was it.
3. Did you have a baby blanket? Yup, a woolen quilt sort of thing. My mom still has it. But it was just the blanket on the bed; not a Linus-type blanket.
4. Have you ever tried to cut your own hair? Only bangs probably, when I had them.
5. How did that turn out? Fine.
6. Have you ever sleepwalked? Nope. Talked in my sleep, though.
7. Have you ever had a birthday party at a restaurant? Yup. Once at the bowling alley in third grade, once at McDonald’s (no, that was my sister), once at a Chinese buffet (when I was 12 turning 13) and a couple of years ago at California Pizza.
8. Have you ever eaten a dog biscuit? No. Smelled it...
9. If you were in a car sinking in a lake, what would you do first? Open the door. Or take my shoes off.
10. Have you ever ridden in an ambulance? Yes, but we won’t be discussing that here!
11. Have you ever fallen asleep in school? Duh. There was this one time, especially, when I was in a class of only eight or so students, and I sat in the front row and fell asleep right in front of the teacher... It was eight o’clock in the morning!
12. How many foreign countries have you visited? Let’s see... Wales, Ireland, Scotland, England, Netherlands, Belgium, Frankfurt airport, USA, France, and Turkey. KLM used to touch down at Athens airport on the way to Istanbul and I saw some Greek hills :-) That’s eleven.
13. Have you ever broken a bone? Nope.
14. Have you ever accidentally taken something from a hotel? Accidentally? No. On purpose?...
15. If you could invite any movie star to your home for dinner, who would it be? I agree with Jenny: “Movie star? Can't it be someone interesting?” If I had to choose, however, I’d go with James Fraser, er, I mean Ioan Gruffudd.
16. If you could attend an Olympic Event, what would it be? Fencing. Do they anything equestrian? Track and field is kinda fun. Archery, definitely, though I would rather they use a real bow and arrow and not a plastic-composite one :-)
17. How many pairs of shoes do you own? Okay let’s see. 4 pairs of dress shoes. 2 boots. 3 sandal/summer shoes. 3 running shoes. 1 pair plaid heels. 1 pair black heels. 3 pairs green flats. 1 pair black flats. Some more in the closet. And a big box of old shoes at work that I don’t wear but can’t throw out.
18. If you won a $5,000 shopping spree to any store, which store would you pick?, and Also a fruit market, cheese store, bakery and Dairy Queen. And a Turkish restaurant.
19. Have you ever been rushed to the emergency room? Not rushed, but taken. When I had mysterious hives about ten years ago (STILL don’t know what caused it), when I... see ambulance question. And maybe some other time when I was a kid that I don’t remember. Oh, I was rushed when I cut my finger at the age of two, but I don’t remember that, I only have the scar from my stitches.
20. Have you ever had surgery? Nope.
21. When was the last time you had a sit-down dinner with your immediate family that didn't consist of a television? Yesterday, at my mother-in-law’s.

Between the Wars

Claire's post came right on the heels of some photos I took at Windsor Station in downtown Montreal.

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
  • see the 2015 list and statistics at
  • see the 2014 list and statistics at
  • see the 2013 list and statistics at
  • see the 2012 list and statistics here
  • see the 2011 statistics on
  • see the 2011 list at
  • see the 2010 list at
  • see the 2009 list at
  • also in 2009 at
  • see the 2008 list at
  • also in 2008 at
  • also in 2008 at