Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Luddites, False Starts, Amazon Reviews, and Random Inspiration Sources

It's coming! It's coming!

The Attack of the End-of-NaNo jitters!

Two days to go, officially, but I'm hoping to finish tomorrow, to give me time to attempt the Luddite validation:

"How do I verify if I'm writing by hand?

Invoke the Luddite Clause! What you do is write your 50,000 words, then have someone you trust verify that it is, indeed, 50,000 words. Then using something like the Lorem Ipsum generator, submit a file of the exact number of words of your handwritten manuscript to our word count validator."

Be warned, I'll be posting some random photos of my three (!) messy notebooks. The thing with NaNo is that it provides the conditions I work best in: a prompt or two (in this case my original story idea), a deadline, competition from others, and limited time that requires writing spurts. I can get 600 words on the 10 minute train ride home, knowing I won't have time to write the rest of the evening.

I will certainly NOT vouch for the quality of any of these words. I also spent four days lingering in the bedroom/wedding night scene because I had no idea what would happen when the dawn came...

Somehow appropriately, the Grand Finale of Suze's False Start Fridays is in two days, and I've got two wee snips to share.

The first is from a story I hope to return to someday. But the last draft is from ten years ago, and I hope I've honed my craft since then:
"The house was a hundred years old. Klara's great-great-grandfather had built it, and hardly a plank of wood had been changed or replaced since then. Only the tiles on the roof had to be restored every two years or so, when the spring rains started seeping through.
Klara always knew when repairs were needed as the first drops would always hit her. The house was on an incline and her bed was placed right where the ceiling sloped down to the floor. A muddy splash would splatter on her forehead and she would instantly think back on all the things her father had said or done that day. His mood was the most important thing to consider."
You can catch more about Klara - written in slightly less stilted fashion - at a few of our Forum Writers' Houseparties.

The other snip is from my fan fiction, which was written back in high school, and is all about a favourite musician and what I thought his life was like. Note use of the word 'therefore' among other I-write-novels-like-essays fare. (I've changed the names to protect identities).
"Peter woke up out of a dream early Friday morning, realizing immediately that he had gone to bed too late the night before. Yet once he was awake, he could never go back to sleep, therefore he decided to go downstairs and get some coffee.
When Peter walked into his kitchen, fully dressed all in black, he took a packet of instant coffee out of a cupboard, emptied its contents into a mug then placed it in the microwave after filling it with water. Peter turned on the television and found himself watching a special program about the duo he had formed with one of his best friends, Mary.
As he took the coffee out of the microwave a feeling of longing washed over him. Peter was used to it, having experienced it many times before. In fact, he felt that way almost every time he saw Mary. Why had she married that bastard Michael with him around? It was something Peter never had -- and probably never would -- understand. He wondered if he should call her. Knowing Mary though, she would most likely still be in bed -- with Michael -- in his arms --
'I have to stop thinking about her,' he said to himself. 'It's depressing me.'"
Notice how I described the preparation of instant coffee? That was in case any of my readers (all two of them) were unclear as to the grossest possible method for the preparation of coffee.

I just discovered that I have 630 unreviewed Amazon purchases. And that's not counting How long have I been buying books and CDs from these sites? How on earth can I ever catch up on reviews? I feel guilty now, even though I barely have time to update my library catalogue, let alone rate everything. Do you review every book you read?

And now for something completely different. I have a dystopian speculative fiction story bubbling away in the back of my head, and the other day, at the train station, I saw some graffiti tags that fit the story completely:

Look closer...

"Beware... mind control... somebody is driving. They changed all my colours around."
Colours - sort of related to environment - will be featuring prominently in this story...

Where do you find inspiration?


Neurotic Workaholic said...

630 Amazon purchases? Wow! I want to see your library! And I think that you're very good at describing things. Description has always been tough for me; dialogue is easier.

Suze said...

The preparation of instant coffee stood out to me like a gargantuan neon sign!

Deniz, thanks so much for your participation. On Friday, I will post a link to your blog so you should get more of the False Start crowd coming your way.

Enjoy the rest of your week!

Karen Jones Gowen said...

Congrats for finishing! I am jealous! And no, I don't review on Amazon. I did for awhile and recently they removed them all during their remove a review debacle so I'm done there. I only post book reviews on Goodreads.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I try to at least rate it on Goodreads. That many waiting would scare me, except I think I have that many books on my iPad...

Theresa Milstein said...

I'm so excited for you! Can't wait to see the photos.

What a place to find inspiration. I never find quotes on machinery.

I've found inspiration in lots of place. The most typical are when drifting off to sleep and showering. Probably the same for most writers, right?

Zan Marie said...

I'm so behind on my ratings, too. And I'm so good at ignoring the requests as I buy, buy, buy some more books to devour.

Go, Luddites, Go! I'm a card-carrying member of the writing community that composed with pen and paper. ; )

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Deniz .. I write better here and then add the personal .. but that's letters etc ... good for you for writing by hand and well done on almost getting to the end - excellent news.

Ratings - well that's put me off Amazon even more .. I hate being chased! I'll pay attention to Goodreads and reviews next year ..

Cheers Hilary

Medeia Sharif said...

I've only reviewed a few non-book products, but I try to review books on Amazon. I end up copying and pasting from my Goodreads account. A few weeks ago I posted two or three dozen reviews playing catch-up.

I think it's awesome you wrote in notebooks. I have two unfinished drafts in notebooks. I enjoy the feeling of pens gliding on paper, but then I gravitate to the computer since it's easier to type.

Romance Reader - Nas said...

I do post on Amazon and Goodreads and so far they haven't removed my reviews.

Inspiration is everywhere around we just need to find it!

E.J. Wesley said...

Congrats on the big finish! While I admire your ability to handwrite your manuscripts, it would be disaster for me. I can literally read 1 out of every 3 words I write in haste. Which would translate to me writing slowly, and I'd never get a thing done. :-)

S.P. Bowers said...

Ratings??? I don't think I've rated anything on Amazon. I have on goodreads though.

I don't think I remember Klara. Was she before my time? How long have you been on compuserve?

Bess Weatherby said...

Love those pictures! Makes me want to read this book of yours. So you better write it :)

Lily Tequila said...

I like Klara- I lived in a house like that once. And that truly is a revolting way to make coffee!! But good writing :-)

Trisha said...

I cannot imagine writing a NaNo by hand! yikes! I'd have a great bout of tendinitis after that. I'd also write way less words, 'cause typing is just so much faster!

Deniz Bevan said...

Thanks, Neurotic! I've got most of my library up on LibraryThing but have fallen far behind in catalogueing purchases from the past few years...

Deniz Bevan said...

Thank, Suze! False Starts are a fun idea!

Good idea Karen and Alex - it doesn't take much time to rate books on Goodreads, I could start with that.

Definitely while falling asleep, Theresa!

Deniz Bevan said...

I've really got to finish the books I already have, Zan Marie!

Thanks for coming by, Hilary and Nas!

I just can't seem to draft without a pen, Medeia. The words don't flow as well on the computer, the first time around.

My problem is I keep correcting my typos, E. J. and that slows me down if I type a new draft.

Since about 2005, Sara! But Klara's story was ages ago, from 2002. No one's seen it before cos it's so cheesy!

Aww, thanks Bess :-) *hurries off to write*

Thank you, Lily!

No, typing is slow, Trisha! I stop to correct typos, and jot notes at the end of the page, etc. Pen & paper makes it easy to add notes in the margins, and I can spell properly without typos, so I can write faster!

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

I especially like your first snippet, and am intrigued by her thoughts about how her father's mood was "the most important thing to consider."

Congrats on completing the NaNo!

Deniz Bevan said...

Thanks, Susan!

Books I'm Reading and Finished Books

  • A Winter Wedding by Brenda Novak
  • Le livre des Baltimore by Joel Dicker
  • ***Reading At Intervals***
  • Spun by Catherine McKenzie
  • Sauron Defeated - Book 9 in the History of Middle Earth series by Christopher Tolkien and J R R Tolkien (reread)
  • Lonely Planet guide to Switzerland
  • 12 Anne and Avonlea books by L. M. Montgomery (skimming/reread (this was free on Kindle!))
  • Journal of Inklings Studies
  • Parade's End by Ford Madox Ford
  • 11 Doctors 11 Stories by various authors (including Neil Gaiman)
  • Creed or Chaos? by Dorothy Sayers
  • The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien manuscripts edited by J. D. Rateliff
  • Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  • The Jerusalem Bible
  • ***Finished Books***
  • Paddington Bear All Day by Michael Bond
  • Beowulf and Sellic Spell by J. R. R. Tolkien
  • Mrs Whippy by Cecelia Ahern
  • The Story of Kullervo by J. R. R. Tolkien
  • Going Back by T. L. Watson
  • The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper (abridged, darn it)
  • Emily's House
  • The Hockey Song
  • The End of All Things by John Scalzi
  • A Christmas Story by Richard Burton
  • Histoire de Founex by Josiane Ferrari-Clément (skimmed)
  • Rabbit's Nap: A Lift-the-flap Book by Julia Donaldson
  • Each Peach Pear Plum by Allan Ahlberg and Janet Ahlberg
  • La Verite sur l'affair Harry Quebert by Joel Dicker (loving this!)
  • How To Be A Man (and other illusions) by Duff McKagan
  • The War of the Ring - Book 8 in the History of Middle Earth series by Christopher Tolkien and J R R Tolkien (reread)
  • Pop-up Peekaboo: Farm (DK publishing) (board book) (duh)
  • Paddington Bear Goes to Market by Michael Bond (board book)
  • Emily's Balloon by Komako Sakai
  • Bible stories and puzzles (in French) (board book)
  • The Last Chance Ball (a Word Wenches christmas anthology featuring Jo Bourne, Jo Beverley, etc.)
  • Farmer Giles of Ham by J. R. R. Tolkien (reread but new edition)
  • CassaFire by Alex Cavanaugh
  • First and Second Things by C. S. Lewis
  • Smith of Wootton Major by J. R. R. Tolkien (reread but new edition)
  • So Anyway... by John Cleese
  • The Magic Finger by Roald Dahl
  • Slowly, silently now the moon by Walter de la Mare (poem)
  • I can't work like this by Neil Gaiman (poem)
  • CassaStar by Alex Cavanaugh
  • Death of A Century: A Novel of the Lost Generation by Daniel Robinson
  • The Fly by William Blake (poem, reread)
  • Tyger, Tyger by William Blake (poem, reread)
  • The Christie Notebooks by John Curran
  • The Perfect Son by Barbara Claypole White
  • What to Expect in Baby's First Year
  • Baby's First Year for Dummies
  • secret beta 2!
  • The Secret Sister by Brenda Novak
  • Chu's Day at the Beach by Neil Gaiman (reread, many times)
  • Sacred Inwardness by Marilynne Robinson (essay)
  • New Statesman issue guest edited by Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman (I don't usually include magazines in this list but I read this one cover to cover)
  • The North Star is Nearer by Evelyn Eaton
  • Nightmares and Dreamscapes by Stephen King (loved My Pretty Pony)
  • Every Month Was May by Evelyn Eaton
  • Occasional Soulmates by Kevin Brennan
  • secret beta!
  • Smoke by Catherine McKenzie
  • In Two Aeroplanes Over the Sea by Amanda Palmer (poem)
  • Jim at the Corner by Eleanor Farjeon
  • Finding Fraser by kc dyer
  • Mother Tongue -- The Story of the English Language by Bill Bryson
  • The Hook Up by Kristen Callihan
  • The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
  • Absent in the Spring by Mary Westmacott (Agatha Christie)
  • Come, Tell Me How You Live by Agatha Christie
  • The Lord Fish by Walter de la Mare
  • The Going To Bed Book by S Boynton
  • The Nursery Rhyme Book by Andrew Lang
  • In Dubious Battle by John Steinbeck
  • Subterranean Scalzi Super featuring To Sue the World (an original, very short Redshirts story available nowhere else) Muse of Fire Mallet of Loving Correction Lock In, Lost Chapters (available nowhere else) How I Proposed To My Wife: An Alien Sex Story An Election Judge Sn Goes Golfing Questions for a Soldier The Sagan Diary The Tale of the Wicked The God Engines You’re Not Fooling Anyone When You Take Your Laptop to a Coffee Shop by John Scalzi
  • Emily Goes to Market by William Mayne
  • Many Moons by James Thurber, illustrated by Louis Slobodkin
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle (reread)
  • Colours Are Nice (Little Golden Book)
  • Corduroy by Don Freeman
  • The One in the Middle is the Green Kangaroo by Judy Blume
  • The Wars by Timothy Findley (reread)
  • The Captive Diary of Catherine Logan by Mary Pope Osborne (Dear America)
  • The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter (reread)
  • Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson (reread)
  • The Poky Puppy (Little Golden Book) (abridged)
  • The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf (reread)
  • Heidi by Johanna Spyri
  • secret beta read 2
  • Pre-Fix: A Ciel Halligan Short Story by Linda Grimes
  • Hidden by Catherine Mackenzie
  • The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  • Moo, Baa, La La La by Sandra Boynton
  • But Not the Hippopotamus by Sandra Boynton
  • Oh, Whistle, And I'll Come To You, My Lad by M. R. James (short story) (1904)
  • Chu's Day by Neil Gaiman (reread)
  • My Uncle Oswald by Roald Dahl
  • Usborne board books
  • Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell
  • Lila by Marilynne Robinson (so lovely)
  • Flowers for Mrs Harris by Paul Gallico
  • secret beta read!
  • The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year by Sue Townsend
  • HELP! Food Allergies Coming To Dinner by Kait Nolan
  • This Heart of Mine by Brenda Novak
  • The Owl Service by Alan Garner
  • Two Caravans by Monica Lewycka
  • Aunt Sass by P. L. Travers
  • An Imperial Affliction by Peter Van Houten (actually a few pages of the story, written by John Green for the film of his novel The Fault In Our Stars)
  • January Brings the Snow by Sara Coleridge (poem)
  • Kissing song by Neil Gaiman (poem)
  • The Mother by Nettie Palmer (poem)
  • William Tell Told Again by P. G. Wodehouse
  • Her Ladyship's Companion by Joanna Bourne
  • The Long Way Home by Louise Penny
  • How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny
  • Mes P'tits Contes, legends of Swiss cantons
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