November 17, 2010

NaNoWriMo: A heads up

This is just to say I have disappeared into the noveling monster, and do not expect to come out again until December has come. Possibly longer, as I do not expect my first draft to be done by the first. If you would like to pay attention to me, I seem to be posting on twitter every so often (@readerlyperson). This is probably because it's short.

In the meantime, please enjoy yourselves. I intend to come back way cooler than I left, although we'll see how that goes. Also, any suggestions for how to celebrate finishing the first legitimate draft of my first legitimate novel?

November 8, 2010

NaNoWriMo: The music

So, about music. Anyone listen to it while writing? Specifically, anyone listening to music while doing NaNoWriMo?

I used to do the music thing, especially during my college years, while doing homework. But as time went on things changed. I'm still not sure what--maybe I started concentrating more, or maybe I started paying more attention to the music. But as is, I cannot listen to music while writing. Okay, that's a slight exaggeration. I can listen to music. But not just any music. Specifically, music I cannot associated with anything. Nothing with words, or else I'll start listening to them. No movie soundtracks from movies I know and love, because I will start thinking of the scenes in which each song comes up. Yep, it's that bad.

That being said, this year's NaNo novel is being written to the soundtrack from the new Alice in Wonderland. I did see the movie, but only once, and some time ago at this point. Thus, it provides the perfect musical background (without being too intrusive) for my finger-tapping.

What about you? Do you listen to music while writing? What kind? Worded? (If so, how can you possibly concentrate on the novel? I just don't get it...)

November 5, 2010

Notes from the (noveling) front: NaNoWriMo (1)

So, the writing's going. I'm excited! Beginnings are difficult to me, because I go back and forth on when the story should start. In the case of this year's NaNo novel, the horribly tentatively titled Like Water, Like Air (PLEASE suggest better titles if you've got them, and I know you do), I wrestled with the beginning for weeks. Prologue? No prologue? Before or after the horrible accident? How cliche is starting with a character awakening, anyway? What if she's waking from a coma? You get the picture.

Anyway, it's day four as I write this and I have managed to get those words down! This may be the first year I actually feel like keeping the stuff I throw down on the page, which I credit entirely to the fact that I spent a lot of time thinking about how to make NaNoWriMo work for me as a writer. (This included an extensive outline process during October, and a commitment to the story, rather than the word count.) And so far, it's going well.

Tomorrow, our heroine will meet the hero. (She thinks he's her hero, anyway -- turns out he's someone else's, but that's a whole different book.) I'm excited! What about all of you? How are your NaNo adventures coming along?

November 4, 2010

Notes, introductions, explanatory notes, and other things the Kindle classics lack

So I've downloaded about 70 free classics onto my Kindle. The text is there, alright. One can read the old, public domain works and get lots and lots of stellar insights and education from them. But something that's missing from all the ones I've looked at so far? The notes.

Yes, the notes. The introductions. The forwards. The scholars who elucidated the author's life and purpose, who discussed where this work stood in comparison to the rest of the author's works, and the rest of the world's works, for that matter.

Now, I know this was the most boring thing to read in high school--at least, it was for me. I couldn't wait to skip what this boring person said and just get on with the story. But lately, I've been gobbling them up. All the introductions, all the forwards, all the footnotes. I've been in a frenzy to learn absolutely everything I can able every author I read (evidenced by the fact that I'm actually reading the introductory notes to Mark Twain's Autobiography, which run through the first 200 or so pages of the book), which is why I'm disappointed that the Kindle free classics do not come with such text.

Obviously this makes sense and there's no other way it could have been done (since it all stems from the public domain/not public domain question), but I'm still sad to see my additional notes disappear. Anyone else? Or am I just the only nerd out there?

PS: I got my Kindle cover. And it's awesome. Yay!

November 3, 2010

Notes From the Stacks (1)

So I recently wrote about Books on the Nightstand, that awesome awesome book podcast that absolutely everyone should check out. Well, everyone should still check it out, but I mention it today because Cinette expressed her disappointment that the post wasn't about what books I have on my nightstand and am currently reading.

So I thought about that. It's true, I do the occasional review, and I do my monthly wrap-ups, but I don't really do regular updates on what I'm reading. This thought coincided with another of my thoughts (my disappointment that Goodreads doesn't have a very good way of keeping track of books reread), and they hung out together until I decided that yes -- maybe it would be interesting to do a semi-regular feature about what I've been reading. (It's called the Stacks -- well, because I have about 75 books, give or take, stacked around my desk at the moment, waiting to be read. A picture may or may not be forthcoming.)

So. What have I been reading? Well, I just finished rereading The Book Thief, by Marcus Zusack. I first read this book... Honestly, I can't remember when I first read it. The text is copyright 2005, so it must have been sometime between then and now. Before I reread the book, I remembered the Death bit, and that was pretty much it. So it was a great experience rereading -- I would recommend this read to all comers.

Besides that, I've started The Autobiography of Mark Twain (volume 1). It's great! I'm the kind of nerd who loves the explanatory notes at the beginning, so I'm having a ball swimming in the first 200 pages or so before Twain's actual words start. The only problem is that it's HUGE. I love that it's huge, but I went on BART a few days ago and was forced to face the fact that I could not take it along. (Because it's huge and weighs a ridiculous amount.) This would be where having the Kindle version would be helpful.

Speaking of my Kindle, it's been fairly quiet on the front, mostly because I had no cover for it and was therefore forced to leave it at home all the time. Now that I've finally ordered the cover, I'm anticipating being able to carry the Kindle around in the real world, which is, of course, very exciting.

So, more later. I've decided preemptively that I like this feature. Barring unforeseen circumstances, it'll probably hang around.

November 2, 2010

October (Disappointedly)

Is it weird that I'm kind of disappointed in October? I read books, I know I did...but for some reason they're just not sticking in my mind the way they should. 20 books down in October, and here are the ones you should think about:

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand, by Helen Simonson.
Adorable, I say. About growing older and learning new worlds. Very British, too.

A Conspiracy of Kings, by Megan Whalen Turner.
Yay, Megan Whalen Turner! This book continues her series "The Queen's Thief," and of course it's full of intrigue and characters who are never doing exactly what you think they're doing...

Prisoners in the Palace, by Michaela MacColl.
I reviewed this book here. In short, some good old-fashioned mystery and intrigue, focused on the real-life Princess (later Queen) Victoria. Very well detailed world, sympathetic (if not absolutely original) characters, and some fun too.

More later. One hopes that this slight slump is not a staying thing.

November 1, 2010

NaNoWriMo! (!!)

It's here, and I've just gotten used to the idea myself. Now, onward to fame and fortune! My blank Word document awaits...

Please, brethren, keep me up to date on how you're doing! How are your characters? Still as fuzzy and lovable as they were through your planning months? Tricking you into thinking they're the good guys, when the truth is the exact opposite?

All I can say is that I am emphatically NOT up at midnight tonight, but I'll be writing tomorrow! And I'll be posting updates...

This all goes to say: It's not too late! You can do it! Enter, join, write write write!

See you on the other side.