Wednesday, March 26, 2014

What Are You Reading?

The snow seems happy to be melting.

I’ve been reading a lot lately, chronic reading really. Right now, I have three books half read: my morning book, my night book, and the manuscript I’m editing.

It’s making me miss school, where I first learned the art of narrative juggling. I miss talking about books, analyzing books, living in books. I think I need to join a book club or something.

I haven’t read this much since the summer of 2009 where I annihilated fifty novels in three months. I wrote my first novel after that.

Hopefully, I’m gearing up for another one those writing explosions. I’m apparently in the mass consumption phase of the writing process. Release must be close behind.

Either way, it’s been reminding me about what I like and don’t like about story telling. The way that I’m naturally drawn to character driven works, how I can’t connect to anything if I can’t connect to the people, what a good metaphor looks like, what a bad one looks like, dialogue that works, the irksomeness that is dialogue tags before dialogue, or the way words like “just,” “that,” or “literally” make my skin crawl when they cross that thin line between sparingly and every other sentence.

 I forgot how good reading was for teaching. I want to pursue my master’s in Creative Writing, but I don’t think that’s going to teach me how to write, only how to write better. Books are the best writing teachers, especially when you learn to separate the good ones from the bad ones and take in all their flaws and perfections as ammo for your own.

I haven’t kept up with my review series, yet. I still have a review for “Tilt” coming. Now add “The Archived” and “Eleanor and Park” to that list.

Here’s the part where I come to you for recommendations. I need titles people, books you love. I want to love them, too. Or politely hate them. Any genre really. I haven’t fallen in love with any recent mysteries or suspense books lately, so that could be fun. Let me peak in your awesome bookshelves and pilfer what strikes my fancy.

Seriously, Googling books is a drain on valuable reading time. Just point me in the right direction.  

Friday, March 14, 2014

Writing Woes

Happy Friday!

I’d like to say I had an über productive week full of writing, editing, and general goal fulfillment, but that’d be a lie.

I had an average week full of editing other people’s manuscripts, plotting two of my stories for CampNanoWrimo (fellow Campers, leave a comment; let’s be camp buddies, full of tin can and a string conversations with a side of melodramatic crying over low word counts), and reading.

One of my New Year Resolutions was to read a book a week for 2014. Yeah, I haven’t lived up to that goal. But, I’m not being too hard on myself. I endeavored on American Gods as my week two book, and I couldn’t get into it. So, it sits on my shelf, 120 pages unread …

That’s not to say I haven’t been reading. I’ve been reading a lot, but most are unpublished works I get paid to read and, as they’re unpublished, cannot review yet. But, this past weekend, I finished Tilt by Ellen Hopkins, which is a 602-page book of poems that make up a narrative.

Look for the official review next week.

My writing progress has been slow. I’m in a weird writing point where the ideas are flowing, but the follow through is abysmal. I get half way through, and my interest fizzles out.

I’m not going to say it’s writer’s block, because, well, I don’t really believe in writer’s block.

I believe my own fear of writing suckage is preventing me from committing to a story line I worry is going to fail before it gets on the page.

This is a self-inflicted problem and, luckily, surmountable.

My plan of attack is to leash my inner-editor and critic—better yet, wrap that sucker in chains and throw it off this writing ship—and finish something, anything really, by the end of March.

This plan is two-fold. A) I really do need to get something revisable so I can start shipping my work out to the masses (the last time I was published was in 2011…three years ago…ugh), and B) so I can carry that sense of accomplishment into the CampNano cabins where I will try to get my next gold star for a finished novel.

**Advice about writing hang ups is welcomed**

Monday, March 10, 2014

A Stay-cation

A visual representation of my week brought to you
by my very lazy, yet adorable, dog. 
It’s been a boring week, an escape week. I haven’t really done much of accomplishing anything. Actually, I played a lot of video games, mainly Skyrim, so maybe that can stand as my accomplishment.

I think I’ve finally processed the whole my dad has cancer thing. After three weeks of constantly centering my thoughts and research on it, I’ve come to understand that it’s out of my hands.

There’s nothing I can do but try to make his journey easier with my support. He’s remained remarkably chipper despite his irritation at the amount of sciencey stuff being done to him. The man hates doctors.

But as time has passed, things have returned to some kind of normal with not so normal conversations about treatments and statistics.

Stress takes a lot out of you; and as my mind calmed from dad worries, money worries, and life worries, my mind, body, and soul needed to recuperate. So, I took a stay-cation.

We’re talking books, movies, and video games. Even though I’ve finally started to lose weight again, I even ordered out so I could take a vacation from cooking too (I kept it light with a sandwich and sweet potato fries, but it’s still the first bit of bread I’ve had in a while).

I may be behind on my personal writing, but I don’t regret giving myself a week to do nothing. Boredom sucks, and I had many moments of it over this past week; I enjoyed how it sucked. Not filling my free time with worries was like an energy drink for the soul.

Now refreshed, I’m going to keep a better tap on my worries. I’ll still give myself that daily moment to flip out about life’s uncontrollables, but I’m going to find the off button quicker.