Sunday, 16 November 2014

Sunday Summary: NaNoWriMo and fancy gadgets ancient and modern

Hi all. My laptop and I have migrated downstairs today from my bedroom to the dining room, where there is warmth and coffee. NaNoWriMo has delayed my return to proper blogging. Considering that I'd had no thoughts of doing it this year, I'm rather pleased that I've just passed 23 000 words and am getting really stuck into my story. This does mean, however, that there hasn't been much reading this week. I will get reviewing soon, I promise. At the very least, I want to rave at great length about Stephen King's 11.22.63. 

This month I've fallen back into my long-lost late-night writing habits formed during my student days, finding myself getting very productive between about 11PM and 1AM. I'm really rather excited to have got that part of me back, although it's not so good when I have an 8.30AM start at work the next day. But this month I've been working more shorter working days, which fits in my writing pattern quite well. It's such a relief to get so invested in a story of my own making again, to have the creative part of my brain ticking over even in the background - although I'm sure it's making me ditsier and more scatterbrained than ever.

One of the NaNoWriMo pep talks, from Divergent author Veronica Roth, gave some advice I took on board: to break out of one's own well-established writing habits and see if any other ways work. I've long been a strictly linear writer: start at the beginning and carry on until I get to the end (or, more often, lose interest and give up.)  This time around, I've done a little bit of skipping around in the story, writing later scenes and leaving some of the joining scenes until later. I use Scrivener writing software (after an unfortunate incident where I was accidentally saving it as an OpenOffice document to a shared dropbox, completely unsuited to the purpose, and someone else deleted it, surely having read enough to know that it was not meant to be there. NIGHTMARE!)

I fear I'm rather a hardened cynic when it comes to romance, so it's been a real challenge to switch off my inbuilt censor which screams "NO, NO, THIS IS TOO CHEESY AND PREDICTABLE!" whenever my character even, say, notices that another person is attractive and likable. I don't want to be a bitter old spinster! I am not writing a romance novel, but there are love relationships in my novel. At uni I took a course in genre-writing, and we were due to study a Mills and Boon book, but the tutor took pity on us and dropped it from the course. So now I started introducing my character's love interest and realised I didn't know how to describe them, or show growing friendship and attraction. So I've downloaded a couple of free ebooks that I probably wouldn't even get out of the library using the self-serve machines, and am reading critically, thinking about what I like and what I don't like. I can't be having with too much of the characters talking about their feelings, for example, and there needs to be more of a plot than just the mushy stuff.

Yes, you read it right. I, Katherine Edwards, ink-and-paper loyalist, have downloaded some ebooks. No, I have not been won over to the dark side and bought an e-reader, but I did invest in a shiny new smartphone and downloaded the Kobo App, for emergency bookless situations. Anne of Green Gables was, of course, my first freebie. (That's four, when added to my hardback and two paperback copies.) I'm undecided whether e-books count as additions to the to-read pile or not. I've also started an Instagram account, although so far it just has a couple of trial-selfies (with ridiculous faces) and shelfies.

I've also inherited a sewing machine. It's a vintage (read "old") Singer that my Grandma bought in the '70s, but still seems to be in good condition. Since she moved into a nursing home earlier this year, it has been passed on to me. I'll admit I'm a bit scared of sewing machines - they have a tendency to get out of hand when I try to use them. But Mum has promised to help me figure out how to use it, and I already have grand dressmaking plans, and a Great British Sewing Bee book to help me get started.

This week I have been:

Reading: The Last Battle by C.S.Lewis. Never my favourite of the Narnia books, it's got some great stuff in it but I've always found it troubling and uncomfortable.

Also the aforementioned cheesy romance novel on e-book, which I will not name and shame. It is not terrible, but it is not my cup of tea.

Watching: Not much, but a bit of Star Trek and Heroes. I'll be honest, the main reasons I'm still watching Heroes is because of Sylar being enjoyably psychotic, Hiro and Ando being adorable, and Claire's story is still a bit interesting. I'm a bit lost among the other characters and subplots, but I don't like giving up on a story partway through.

Stuck in my head: Taylor Swift: "Shake it off," Kansas: "Carry On Wayward Son," "I'll make a man out of you" from Mulan, and "Little Talks" by Of Monsters And Men. Also some of the songs from Mary Poppins.

Looking Forward To: This time next week I'll be on holiday. I wasn't planning to go away during my time off, but I found out that Cary Elwes, who was Westley in The Princess Bride - one of my favourite films of all
time - is signing a book he wrote about making that film, in Forbidden Planet in London. At first I muddled the dates and thought it was the Saturday, my last day at work, because things are always on Saturdays and it seemed inconceivable (ho ho) that it would be any other day. Then I checked again, and it's actually the following Tuesday. The book was on my Christmas list, so I decided I would break my book-buying ban and go up for the signing, and do some Christmas shopping, and see my sister all at the same time.

4 comments:

  1. Congratulations on the NaNo success! I'm also working on something this November - I'm returning to a half-written work so I can't classify it as a full NaNoWriMo. Oddly enough, I'm finding late nights to be my most productive time as well... Like the brain is too tired to procrastinate any more. It's a curious phenomenon.

    Good luck for the rest of the month!

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    1. The only 2 years I've won NaNo (2007 and 2009) were technically continuations of things I'd written a couple of chapters of and then put on hold. I'm still counting that! This is the first really new novel I started on 1st November and have got anywhere with. I'm quite excited. All the supporting characters are developing their own backstory; the whole project is becoming much more rounded than just the plot. It's been such a long time since I've done something like this. It's a relief to know I still can.

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    2. I'm glad it's going so well. I do love it when everything falls into place. It definitely makes you feel like 'yeah, I CAN write!' I find the hardest part of writing the same thing over a stretch of time is just being enthused with it enough so it's cool that you don't seem to be having that problem. Far from it by the sounds of it!

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  2. CARY ELWES SIGNING YESSSSSS. That is all.

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