Hello Happy Readers (aka Mom and P),
It’s time for an update. I stayed up too late last night finishing a book and didn’t have the energy to get up and head to the gym at 5:20. Therefore, I’m writing a blog entry (and if I finish in time I’ll start on a bit of a novel overhaul).
We are two weeks into our third quarter at the University of Washington’s Popular Fiction 1 course. During this quarter we are discussing the finer points of getting published with our novels and writing the ‘end’. In our first few classes we’ve learned about how to and are writing a Query Letter for our books, as well as perfecting our elevator pitches. Mine is still a little weak (e.g. P and I were chatting a week ago and I was telling him about class and he asked me what my elevator pitch was and I had to look up what I wrote in class…). The fact that I’m struggling so much to get my story into a couple of sentences and a page (for the synopsis) makes me think I need to give the draft another edit and perhaps pull out the parallel story and just focus on my one protagonist for this go. But need to noodle on that.
The other thing we have talked about in class are writing rituals and how folks who are serious about being professional authors all have them. This writing ritual is something you do that helps you get into a regular writing groove; go to a coffee shop around the same time each day and order a drink and sit and start writing, wake up at 4am and writer for two hours before work, walk around greenlake to get your thoughts together then write for a couple of hours. I personally do not have a ritual yet. I am a morning person – and should set up my writing ritual in the AM before work. I have to work out a few challenges 1) I like to go to the gym (I NEED TO GO TO THE GYM) M/W/F at 5:30. 2) T/Th present day I’ve been getting up and playing video games… which while part of my job, I could forgo to write if I really WANTED to… I am feeling inspired though, and our latest game (Elder Scrolls) has been a little lame so perhaps now is the time to start a new writing ritual.
The reading challenge is still ON like Donkey Kong! I’m actually a couple of books ahead right now in part due to a nice plane ride down the west coast and a short little book of poems written by a dog… 🙂 I’ve read eight books since my last post on March 2nd, even some from the list I said I was going to read next! ha! Here are some quick notes in the order that I personally liked them:
1) A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron I agree with another reviewer- this W. Bruce probably is a dog. The book, written from a dog’s POV, is one of the best I’ve read this year. Touching, funny, and an interesting exercise in point of view. AND since my two loyal blog readers are reading now I won’t give away any spoilers – but it’s good. GET reading!
2) Carrie by Stephen King – yup, Stephen King. That’s right folks. My second Stephen King book, though not sure we should count his autobio/writing book, as it was all non-fiction. I really liked Carrie. I’ve never had the urge to read Stephen King. His stories and movies always seem so overwrought. But after reading the story of how Carrie came to be (his wife pulled a draft out of the garbage and loved the flawed, SERIOUSLY flawed main protagonist, encouraged Stephen to finish it and turn it into his publisher – and it became his first published book). It was pretty fantastic. All over the place from a POV and setting perspective as it jumps from Carrie’s story, to a bystanders story, to telekinesis researchers articles, to newspaper clippings and interviews of ‘the incident’. Short book – must read if you’ve never read a Stephen King book. I may actually read another of his… 🙂
3) Scarlet (the Lunar Chronicles) by Marissa Meyer. First, Marissa is my hero. I know I’ve written a review about her already. She’s in her 20’s, wrote both Cinder (her first published book) and Scarlet during NaNoWriMo and lives just south of me in Tacoma Washington (plus she wrote me back when I sent her a note through her blog. :)) I love that she’s taken fairy tales (Cinder is about a young borg servant who works for a mean lady and her two step daughters, and it culminates at the prince’s ball… and Scarlet is about a young French woman with lovely red hair who meets up with a gruff young man who’s in a gang called a wolf pack while investigating her grand-mere’s disappearance) and turned them on their head in her Lunar Chronicles series. I also love that her protagonists are kick ass young women. I’ve already downloaded Cress which is the third in the series.
4). I Could Chew On This: and Other Poems by Dogs by Francesco Marciuliano. This is a sweet little book of poems written by dogs. Super fun to read these out loud to friends and family members who also appreciate a good poem by a dog.
5). The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. This is an acclaimed story written from the POV of an autistic teenager. V. interesting but a little frustrating to read. This was recommended during class by the same person who recommended The Fault in Our Stars. I didn’t like it nearly as much as the Fault – but it was still a well written story. Not much about the dead dog – I don’t want you readers to think all I read are books about dogs… not true! 🙂
6). ttyl (Internet Girls #1) by Lauren Myracle. I picked up this book after the AWP conference. An excellent exercise in point of view, this YA book is written entirely with text messages between three best friends. The author actually gets away with using pink font in this best seller to differentiate one of the texters. I liked a couple of things in this book 1) that it is completely in text and therefore there is practically NO setting in this book at all (I struggle with setting!) and 2) that you can actually see the story progress through a normal story path, even while written entirely in text messages. Brilliant. I didn’t like it enough to read the next one in the series though.
7). The Boyfriend List: 15 Guys, 11 Shrink Appointments, 4 Ceramic Frogs and Me, Ruby Oliver (#1) by E. Lockhart. This was another AWP find. I went to a panel with the author on it. This one I didn’t really enjoy, mainly because the protagonist was so annoying.
8). Yoga Bitch: One Woman’s Quest to Conquer Skepticism, Cynicism, and Cigarettes on the Path to Enlightenment by Suzanne Morrison. Another AWP find. Went to a reading of this and a few other humorous memoirs. Loved the writer and her reading of the memoir, but upon reading the book myself found that I wasn’t a big fan of memoirs or yoga and was a little bored.