I haven’t been here in a while. You know, doing that NaNoWriMo thing. So where am I? I am hopelessly behind.
I have accepted the fact that I will not win (unless I suddenly get really productive in the next five days and write about six thousand words a day), but I am willing myself not to give up. I do not want to be a quitter.
Can you tell, I am in my I hate NaNoWriMo phase, the one where I repeatedly ask myself, what the hell was I thinking?
But, I still love my story and my characters. Well I still really like them at least. I have moments where I think they may be morons but mostly I like them.
Writing is hard. Have I said that before? I mean, I can write and write and write, doesn’t mean what I write is any good. However, writing something that is good, that is well written, that is literary, now that is hard.
More than one someone has told me that when I am feeling stuck to go back to those writers that I love, read their work and see how they did it, how they crafted sentences, paragraphs, chapters. How they moved from one scene to the next.
I used to worry that reading other stuff while I was writing, particularly well known stuff would lead me to copy that style of writing to try to write like that author. It really doesn’t happen like that, I might try to emulate an author’s style, but it will still have my voice.
So I went to the author I most would like to be at this very moment, I mean if I could perform some kind of magic and suddenly be that good. I pulled out my copy of The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. Just holding the book in my hands I was reminded how much I loved it the first time. I refused to go see the movie because I would watch the movie trailers and felt like I could see what director Peter Jackson was doing to tell the story and I didn’t like it.
If you are a reader, I’m sure you know what I mean, you read something that you love, you love the story, the language. Then someone makes a movie based on the book and they change it, they change its very essence. I couldn’t stand the thought of someone changing The Lovely Bones.
So I brought it out again, my intention was to look at it objectively this time, see how Alice Sebold handled scenes and transitions, and dialogue.
I opened the book and within about two paragraphs, I was transported into her story I was awash in her beautiful language and description. I couldn’t tell you how she handled transitions or anything else I was so lost in the story all over again.
Now I have to stop myself from reading because I won’t get six, much less six-thousand words written today if I keep reading.
No, I won’t win NaNoWriMo, but I still have a good start to what I think is a good story. I’m still trying, I will not quit, but I am realistic. I’ll let you know my word total on the 1st.
Until then, if you want to read some really good stuff I have some suggestions.
First, there is always The Lovely Bones, what amazing book (in my humble opinion).
Other than that there are some pretty awesome blogs I would suggest, they are all great for writers to read but some of them are just great because …. well because they are. You’ll just have to trust me on this one.
So here goes, and these are in no particular order:
1. Stop by Penny Jars. The author, @PennyJars (aka @EVictoriaF) has had the blog for a while but since starting NaNoWriMo has really be concentrating on her memoir. You can read her blog and get glimpses of the memoir that will come out of it. The writing is beautiful, the language will transport you, you will sometimes feel her joy as a child and other times the pain of her childhood but you will come away enriched.
2. Any writer will appreciate Mike & Ollie by Susan Bearman (@2KoP). Susan is also writing a memoir based upon the months her premature babies spent in the neonatal intensive care unit after being born at 24 weeks (that is four months early). Each baby weighed about one and half pounds and every day of their hospital stay Susan kept a journal, documenting their medical condition and care and her feelings. The blog is from those journal entries, which will also be the basis for the memoir. As a writer, I love the blog but as a mother, I am awestruck. Even though I know the outcome before I even started reading (and you will too if you visit the blog), every day I wait excitedly for that days post, hoping her babies have a good day, hoping there is no crisis, hoping that these tiny babies will triumph. You can become a fan on facebook, and find her on twitter @2KoP.
3. I have to admit, I sometimes buy books solely based upon what the cover looks like. It is as if the cover speaks to me. Had I seen The Bird Sisters by Rebecca Rasmussen in the bookstore I would have picked it up. (you will get the chance to do just that in April of 2011 when Crown/Random House releases it). When I read the description, I was hooked. I can’t wait for it to come out. Besides those things, I am also just hooked on Rebecca Rasmussen and her blog (also titled The Bird Sisters) a blog dedicated to artists and writers. If you are a writer or a reader you should go there, a good place to see how writers do what they do, and if you are a reader a great place to find some new reads you may have otherwise missed. I think, like me you’ll come to love Rebecca, her blog and you, like me, will be standing in line to get your copy of The Bird Sisters. Become her fan on facebook or find her on twitter @thebirdsisters.
4. I’m not quite sure I remember how I found Christi Craig but I think it may have been through She Writes. Boy am I glad I did find her. She writes short stories and flash fiction and is working on a novel. If you are a writer, you’ll find valuable information and great writing on her blog and if you are a reader, she can point you to some fabulous authors. She is also just one of the nicest people ever. She seems to know me all too well, if you look at some of her past posts you’ll see, she writes about those things that I often am talking about (ego and that damned internal critic). Her blog is called Writing Under Pressure but she makes it look like she handles it with ease. She is also on twitter @Christi_Craig.
5. For those who know me personally, you may already know one of my dearest friends is @MendiD. She is a first grade teacher in Arizona and has a blog called 1st Grade Tales. Mendi didn’t start her blog because she wanted to be a writer; she started it because she had some great, sometimes funny, sometimes heartbreaking stories of everyday life in the first grade classroom. Her blog is a reminder how important good caring teachers are and a reminder how a child’s environment can affect them in school. Last year she had a student that was forever a problem. She called him Mr. Stinky Attitude in her blog. Although he got on every one of her nerves, she persevered and she turned his life around. Despite the gangs and drugs, which surround his life, he found in his first grade teacher someone who cared, who would set limits and boundaries for him and believed in him. She has, this year, a new student working on those nerves but she is persevering again. Fingers crossed for another turn-around. I keep trying to convince her to write children’s books about her experiences. Do you remember those Mercer Mayer Little Critter children’s books? She needs to write some like that about how kid’s behavior can determine how things go in school and in life. I’m just sayin’.
I of course would also recommend a few others, Meg Waite Clayton’s blog 1st Books, Stories of How Writers Get Started; Lisa Romeo’s blog Lisa Romeo Writes; Laura Munson’s These Here Hills (Laura is the author of the book This is Not the Story You Think It Is ... A Season of Unlikely Happiness); Beth Foulkes Lowe's blog Pine Meadow Pond Journal and of course Susan Bearman’s regular blog (see #2 above) Two Kinds of People.
Okay, now I’m getting back to writing while you enjoy these blogs, and this time I really mean it.
P.S. Hope you all enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday. Peace.