Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Forests of the heart, audio books and prompts.

I've been stuck right at the very end of Forests of the Heart by Charles De Lint, for a long time now. That's no fault of his. I adore that book. But it's the second time I've read it and I don't often read books twice and I've had a lot of deadlines recently.

If you want to know more about Forests of the heart then please visit the book review lens I made for it.

I'm not sure what to read next. I have Kushiel's Dart which I really enjoyed- I'm halfway through it- I can't remember why I paused but it's a huge book so I'll forgive myself. I also have Dangerous Angels- the collection of Francesca Lia Block's Weetzie Bat books. I read three of them, I think, and thought I'd take a break before I started reading Missing Angel Juan.

I think most of my inattention is coming from having so many great audio books to listen to during the day when I'm sewing- so by the time night comes I already feel like I've read a lot.

I've just finished listening to the first book of JC Hutchin's Seventh Son, I'm partway through listening to Scott Sigler's Contagious and I'm eagerly awaiting each new chapter of Catherynne M Valente's The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making and absolutely delighted that she is now putting up writer's commentary.

I really want to get into some other online books too at some point, when I have the time.

I love this idea of self-publishing via podcasts and websites with just a tip jar by the side- it's a bit of a scary leap into the unknown but something I'd really like to explore at some point.

At the moment I'm supposed to be working on this week's prompt for a short story, which my lovely Rachel set for me. This week we're writing a story based on this quote:

"Sometimes I'm afraid that you'll tell me that this is not a work of fiction. I can only hope that the answers will come to me in my sleep."

Which is from, the film, Donnie Darko.

I love the story I'm writing although I've got a bit stuck because I think I should have started earlier and written more, and then I started thinking about research I needed to do and then all of a sudden this little prompt story is turning into a big monster that wants to be a novel!

In other writing related news I sent my stories off last week to the Bridport Short Story Prize. Whilst I was editing I practiced reading them aloud, which helped when looking for bits that didn't flow very well. It was actually a lot of fun although it made me wish I could do a convincing Scottish accent.

I need to read my novel aloud I think. I'm happy now with how the story is so far- I have about three chapters to fix until the end but I know the wording isn't very pretty in areas so that needs to be worked on- plus I spotted places where there was a lot of telling instead of showing so that needs to be fixed too. It's probably the wrong way to go about it and a bad habit but sometimes it's easier for me to "tell" and then go back and smooth that all into "show" afterwards. It's almost like I have to tell the story to myself before I can show it to anyone else. I hope that makes sense.

I suppose I should stop procrastinating and go and work on that prompt story!

Monday, 15 June 2009

The Joy of Editing and Catherynne M Valente

I started reading my novel last night, and editing some stuff to see if it works better.

I'd got myself caught in this trap where I was writing one person's POV as if she was talking to someone in her head (her chapters are supposed to be like diary entries). I was trying to be clever- which is never a good sign. It really wasn't working so it felt great to change it all back to past tense.

The great thing about having left it for a while (over 3 months, I believe), and having worked on a few short stories in between, was that I'd forgotten a lot of it and it became new and exciting for me again. I started being able to pick out the areas where I hadn't explained enough. Also because I had that distance, and it wasn't fresh in my mind, I found bits that even I didn't know what they meant!

I think working on shorter pieces has helped me focus on how I write and has changed my style for the better. I feel a lot more confident that I can write different characters now and not have them all sound the same.

It's also been good to work through the notes my writing partner made on some of my chapters. I can see where she's coming from and I also think that after a while I'm going to be able to pick out the things that she'd pick out.

If you're looking for something to read, try Catherynne M Valente's online novel, donations gratefully received:

http://www.catherynnemvalente.com/fairyland/

To read why she's putting her novel out this way please visit here: http://yuki-onna.livejournal.com/487082.html

The Orphan's Tales is a gorgeous book, one of my favourites. I can't recommend it enough. Check out all her books and info here: http://www.catherynnemvalente.com/

Sunday, 14 June 2009

I now have 4 squidoo lenses for my writing

Two lenses featuring the short stories I wrote for the Merry Fates competition:

La Belle Dame Sans Merci...

Birth of the Moon...


One lens that's about my writing in general:

Rachel Writing...



And another that's about the Zombie story I want to write for Nano this year:

Planning for Nanowrimo 2009

Zombies!

I'm going to write a zombie romance- yes it's probably going to be as bad as it sounds.
Find out more in the lens below.
I'm also near the end of reading Charles De Lint's book "Forests of the Heart". This is the second time I read it. I, of course, made a lens about it ;) here:

I don't often read books twice, even if I loved them but I might start doing that as I forget so much of what happened after a while. One thing I think, whilst reading De Lint's books, is will I ever be able to juggle as many viewpoint characters as he does?