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 Amazon.ca. 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?

19 comments:

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

  • Burning Sky by Lori Benton
  • The Secrets She Kept by Brenda Novak
  • ***Reading At Intervals***
  • 12 Anne and Avonlea books by L. M. Montgomery (skimming/reread (this was free on Kindle!))
  • Istanbul Noir (Akashic Books anthology)
  • Parade's End by Ford Madox Ford
  • The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien manuscripts edited by J. D. Rateliff
  • Creed or Chaos? by Dorothy Sayers
  • Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  • The Jerusalem Bible
  • ***Finished Books***
  • Lethal Lies by Lara Lacombe
  • The Mansfield Rescue by Beth Cornelison (skimmed)
  • beta read!
  • Killer Exposure by Lara Lacombe
  • What Makes My Cat Purr (board book)
  • Some Kind of Happiness by Claire Legrand (love this!)
  • Things That Go (board book)
  • Peppa Pig Visits the Hospital
  • Peppa Pig and Friends
  • Ox-Tales anthology
  • Colton Baby Homecoming by Lara Lacombe
  • Traumphysik by Monica Byrne (short story)
  • The Cookie Jar by Stephen King (short story)
  • short story by R. W. (unpublished)
  • The Rose on the Ash-Heap by Owen Barfield
  • English People by Owen Barfield
  • "Come Sing ye Light Fairy Things Tripping so Gay": Victorian Fairies and the Early Work of J.R.R. Tolkien by Dimitra Fimi (essay)
  • Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry by J. K. Rowling
  • A Closed World: On By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept by Emily St John Mandel (essay)
  • Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel
  • The Summing Up by Somerset Maugham (reread)
  • The New Adventures of William Tell by Anthony Horowitz
  • Gambled Away anthology featuring Jo Bourne, Rose Lerner, etc.
  • The Dust That Falls from Dreams by Louis de Bernieres
  • The Bog Girl by Karen Russell (short story)
  • Dust by Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor
  • The Favour by Clare O'Dea (short story)
  • Wizarding History by J. K. Rowling (short pieces on Pottermore)
  • Jack Palmer by Amanda Palmer (essay on http://myoldman.org/jack-palmer-by-amanda-palmer/)
  • All Fixed Up by Linda Grimes
  • One Day I Will Write About This Place by Binyavanga Wainaina
  • various haiku by R. Wodaski
  • various issues of Amon Hen
  • How do artists make a living? An ongoing, almost impossible quest by Monica Byrne (essay)
  • The Darkling Thrush by Thomas Hardy (poem)
  • Traitor's Purse by Margery Allingham
  • Kill Me Quick by Meja Mwangi
  • A Pocketful of Rye by Agatha Christie
  • Little Miss Twins by Roger Hargreaves (reread)
  • Mr Rush by Roger Hargreaves (reread)
  • Mr Funny by Roger Hargreaves (reread)
  • The Mzungu Boy by Meja Mwangi
  • By the Pricking of My Thumbs by Agatha Christie (reread)
  • secret beta read!
  • Where the Exiles Wander: A Celebration of Horror by R. B.
  • How to Write about Africa by Binyavanga Wainaina (essay)
  • A Woman in Arabia: The Writings of the Queen of the Desert Gertrude Bell (compiled by Georgina Howell)
  • Three Men In A Boat by Jerome K Jerome
  • Dead Man's Folly by Agatha Christie
  • The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
  • A River Town by Thomas Keneally
  • Free Fall by Monica Byrne (short story)
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  • Heartburn by Nora Ephron
  • New Europe by Michael Palin
  • Lyddie by Katherine Paterson
  • The Seven Dials Mystery by Agatha Christie (possibly a reread)
  • Husli the Dwarf
  • Winter Birds
  • Walkabout by James Vance Marshall (reread)
  • Wish I Might by Kait Nolan (novella)
  • A Walk in the Countryside A B C (National Trust and Nosy Crow Books)
  • My First Touch and Trace 1 2 3
  • Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
  • Weep Not, Child by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o
  • A Secret Vice by J. R. R. Tolkien (edited by Dimitra Fimi and Andrew Higgins)
  • A Pocket For Corduroy by Don Freeman
  • The Narrow Corner by Somerset Maugham
  • Cakes and Ale by Somerset Maugham
  • Le gout d'Istanbul (anthology) (skimmed)
  • Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy
  • Blue Nowruz by Monica Byrne (short story)
  • Sleeping Murder by Agatha Christie
  • secret beta read!
  • The Road Home by Rose Tremain
  • The Mewlips by J. R. R. Tolkien (poem; reread)
  • Just for This Moment by Kait Nolan
  • To Err is Human -- To Float, Divine by Woody Allen (short story)
  • the collected works of Beatrix Potter (Folio Society edition, over 30 books)
  • 11 Doctors 11 Stories by various authors (including Neil Gaiman) (only half read)
  • At Home by Bill Bryson
  • Millions of Cats by W Gag
  • Travels in the Scriptorium by Paul Auster
  • Discovering You by Brenda Novak
  • Notes from a Big Country by Bill Bryson
  • Report from the Interior by Paul Auster
  • Dream Days by Kenneth Grahame
  • Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman
  • The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien (reread)
  • They Do It With Mirrors by Agatha Christie
  • The Creatures of Number 37 by John Watts
  • The Inklings by Humphrey Carpenter (reread)
  • A Mother's Confession by Amanda Palmer (lyrics and liner notes)
  • Where Eagles Dare by Alistair MacLean
  • Guide to the Names in the Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien, in A Tolkien Compass
  • Dirge Without Music by Edna St. Vincent Millay (poem)
  • For my Wife, Navid by Monica Byrne (short story)
  • An Evening in Tavrobel by J. R. R. Tolkien (poem; reread)
  • The Lonely Isle by J. R. R. Tolkien (poem; reread)
  • Bilbo's Last Song by J. R. R. Tolkien (poem)
  • Ancrene Riwle, preface, by J. R. R. Tolkien
  • Adonais: An Elegy on the Death of John Keats by Percy Bysshe Shelley (poem)
  • Absence of Mind by Marilynne Robinson
  • The Peoples of Middle-earth - Book 12 in the History of Middle Earth series by Christopher Tolkien and J R R Tolkien (reread)
  • The Tale of Jemima Puddleduck by Beatrix Potter (reread)
  • The Tale of Mr Jeremy Fisher by Beatrix Potter (reread)
  • The Tale of Tom Kitten by Beatrix Potter (reread)
  • The Young Magicians edited by Lin Carter (anthology; includes two poems by J. R. R. Tolkien and all of rumble rumble rumble rumble drum belaboured by C. S. Lewis, referred to in The Last Battle)
  • Black and White Ogre Country by Hilary Tolkien
  • The Devil's Coach Horses by J. R. R. Tolkien (essay)
  • Guido's Gondola by Renee Riva and Steve Bjorkman
  • Save Our Public Universities by Marilynne Robinson (essay in Harper's Magazine)
  • Edmund Campion by Evelyn Waugh
  • Arthur and George by Julian Barnes
  • Career by Yevtushenko (poem)
  • Human life in this century by Yevtushenko (poem)
  • Willow by Anna Akhmatova (poem)
  • Sonnet LXVI by Shakespeare
  • Sir Walter Raleigh to His Son (poem)
  • Fair Jenny by Robbie Burns (poem)
  • MacPherson's Farewell by Robbie Burns (poem)
  • World's End, the collected Sandman No. 8 by Neil Gaiman
  • O Wert Thou In The Cauld Blast by Robbie Burns (poem)
  • The War of the Jewels - Book 11 in the History of Middle Earth series by Christopher Tolkien and J R R Tolkien (reread)
  • The Rolling English Road by G. K. Chesterton (poem)
  • The Noise of Time by Julian Barnes
  • A Tradition of Eighteen Hundred and Four by Thomas Hardy
  • The Hierophant by Lee-Ann Dalton (short story)
  • The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street by Helene Hanff
  • 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff (reread)
  • Lonely Planet guide to Switzerland
  • Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen
  • beta read!
  • Ode on Venice by Lord Byron (poem)
  • Little Miss Scatterbrain by Roger Hargreaves (reread)
  • Little Miss Lucky by Roger Hargreaves (reread)
  • Little Miss Trouble by Roger Hargreaves (reread)
  • Homage to Switzerland by Ernest Hemingway (short story; reread but I really don't remember it after 20 years)
  • The Hockey Sweater by Roch Carrier (reread)
  • Sing a Long Children's Songs
  • Emily's First Christmas
  • Up At the Villa by Somerset Maugham (novella)
  • Telling Stories by Tim Burgess
  • The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • The Marble Collector by Cecilia Ahern
  • Sophie's Throughway by Jules Smith
  • Baby Animals (Little Golden Books)
  • The House That Jack Built (Little Golden Books)
  • Scuffy the Tugboat (Little Golden Books)
  • The Saggy Baggy Elephant (Little Golden Books)
  • Morgoth's Ring - Book 10 in the History of Middle Earth series by Christopher Tolkien and J R R Tolkien (reread)
  • A Child's Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Who's A Pest by Crosby Bonsall
  • Mine's the Best by Crosby Bonsall (reread)
  • The Case of the Hungry Stranger by Crosby Bonsall (reread)
  • extracts from the diary of John Evelyn (Volume 1 of 2)
  • extracts from Lord Byron's letters about Villa Diodati
  • Pippin the Christmas Pig by Jean Little
  • Ite Missa Est by Anthony Martignetti
  • The Last Battle by C. S. Lewis (reread)
  • The Silver Chair by C. S. Lewis (reread)
  • The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C. S. Lewis (reread)
  • Prince Caspian by C. S. Lewis (reread)
  • The Red Angel by G. K. Chesterton (essay)
  • Emily's Runaway Imagination by Beverly Cleary
  • The Boy Who Set Out to Learn What Fear Was by the Brothers Grimm
  • The Horse and His Boy by C. S. Lewis (reread)
  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis (reread)
  • secret beta read!
  • Preludes by Wordsworth (extracts read aloud)
  • Little Miss Scatterbrain by Roger Hargreaves
  • Dance Me A Dream by Kait Nolan (ARC)
  • Once Upon A Coffee by Kait Nolan
  • England and Switzerland, 1802 by William Wordsworth (poem)
  • Once Upon A New Year's Eve by Kait Nolan
  • short story by Becky Morgan (http://forums.compuserve.com/discussions/Books_and_Writers_Community/Writers_Exercises/Becky_Morgans_December_X/ws-books/85291.1?nav=messages)
  • Blood In Blood Out by Brenda Novak (short story)
  • That Hell-Bound Train by Robert Bloch (short story)
  • Distraction by J. L. Campbell
  • Humble Bundle Peanuts collection (strips by Charles Schulz)
  • Peanuts Volumes I to VI (bought via Humble Bundle; very disappointing as it's mostly new strips -- how is that even allowed?!)
  • Sandals and Sangria by Talli Roland (short story)
  • Over the Hump by Talli Roland (short story)
  • issues of Journal of Inklings Studies and Amon Hen and Mallorn (Tolkien Society)
  • Z is for Zamboni: A Hockey Alphabet by Matt Napier
  • Babar and his Family by Laurent de Brunhoff
  • Illusions Lost by Byron A. Maddox (short story)
  • ongoing rereads of most board books listed last year!
  • Lost My Name book for Emily (https://www.lostmy.name/)
  • Now We Are Six by A. A. Milne
  • When We Were Very Young by A. A. Milne (reread)
  • Neil Gaiman comics on Sequential app
  • Moranology by Caitlin Moran
  • 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