Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The hunt for a good book to read

I have to admit the first trailer for HP7 set off another Harry Potter reading frenzy. But once I was done with that it was back to historical fiction. I do love historical fiction. I adore historical non-fiction as well, but sometimes that is a little too dry and I can't always make it through. It did take me about 2 months to read Marie Antoinette: The Journey by Antonia Fraser. Great stuff, but it was just a slow read for me.  Recently someone had suggested I pick up Margaret George and give her a try.

I did. I ordered Mary Queen of Scotland and the Isles and have not been too disappointed.I am nearing the end of the book and already starting to look for a new book to bury my nose in.(I am so glad my husband is just as much a reader and quiet individual as I am!) And once again I ordered too many books.....I read them all and usually pretty quickly! I also loathe the nearest second hand bookstore....they have NOTHING and give you NOTHING for trade...not worth the frustration, so I order from Amazon and be done with it.

What did I order? The Last Queen by C.W. Gortner and because I have not read it in forever....Skye O'Malley by Bertrice Small. I read this book at the age of 15ish, I may have been older. Then I continued to look for others, preferably a saga I can sink my teeth into. I like familiarity. I think I stumbled upon something worth reading....Jean Plaidy also known as Victoria Holt or Phillipa Carr. Before her passing she had 100 million books sold and has written more novels then I think I can read in a year. So I will give her a try.

If there is anyone out there that has some suggestions please feel free to comment and let me know.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Pushing forward

For years....3 to be exact, I have struggled with writing a book. Just totally struggled. I have had all the fire in the world at work, leaped buildings in a single bound to get home and then NOTHING would come. I forced myself to write anyway. I was making myself sit down and type. Eventually, I excused myself from the torture and just went back to reading. My number one excuse being that my wrists and arms hurt. But even when they didn't I would find something else to excuse it away.I would process things while knitting or crocheting, but that still was not putting pen to paper. I figured I was nourishing myself, feeding my brain with  inspiration, concepts, and imaginary play things. I would become bitter when someone told me they stayed up all night writing and then would look at me like I am crazy when I say I wish I could do that, but I have to get up at 3am. So on and off I wrote. But only when the fire was under me and my heart was wild with a scene. Truth is it was/ is part of the process. I spent more time blaming work for making me exhausted. I spent more time blaming my husband for "not pitching in." He was and still is, but since I wasn't getting what I wanted after trying so damned hard I was angry. Angry at myself, but not wanting to see that.

About 2 months ago I read an interesting idea....some authors outline their entire stories before they sit down to write. It is not a new idea by any means. I must have read it a million times in all the writing books I have read over the years.  Not having been an outliner in college (even in graduate school) I wasn't sure what this would do for me, but I knew sure as hell that I was not going to get anywhere just spitting out disjointed scenes. Some authors can do that, but it just wasn't working for me. I bought a wire bound notebook and promised myself and my story that I would fill it, all 180 pages, with notes about the world my imaginary characters were inhabiting. I am still working on it and loving it. Many many colored inks, scribbles, doodles, single words or sentences written in the margins. It feels and looks creative and so it keeps me going. I can say it looks like an anthropologists field guide to a new and interesting swath of land! I even have my colored pencils and sketch pad ready for a map. I can say that it is NOT what I thought it would be when I first started and I am comfortable with the adjustment I really can see these things I am writing and the deeper I get the more excited I get. So even as exhausting as work is I can still come home and write it down.  So a few lessons learned: If I type it up.... its gone, never to be thought on again. So not until I am ready. Not until I am totally solid on what I am writing will I do that. I also ban the single scenes for the time being. I now color code my notes and then when a particular idea is ripe I pluck it, re-write it and place it in the binder of loose leaf paper. These things then get organized and color coded.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Ten Nice Things

Our dear Doglet Miss Em
My dear husband who puts up with my solitary ways
4 day weekends
Family in all their crazy and not so crazy moments
Homemade Iced Coffee drinks
Homemade Sausage Biscuits
A clean house
A room of my own
A desire to do something better with myself
Courage to make those changes for the better

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Disappearing Act

I haven't posted much lately. Mostly because I've been busy creating and sadly, working. But if I didn't have a day job I suppose life would be a lot more ordinary- my job, some may say career and I do on occasion, is anything but ordinary. I enjoy it 65% of the time. 30% of the dislike stems from lack of sleep and not being able to enjoy any kind of night life unless I take the next day off. The other 5% is from the "necessary" paperwork that seems to be multiplying year after year.

I've recently changed my layout and I think it goes quite well with my leanings. I am most at home with a book in my hands, a cool drink within reach, and my dog at my side. If only I could be paid to do that! I am also an unpublished writer. Currently world building and outlining have been my main distractions. Distractions that I am most happy and grateful to be able to do.

What have I been reading? Well I began to search outside my usual genres. I read a smattering of fantasy, J.K. Rowling and Patricia McKillip are the extent of fantasy I have read. I spend a  lot of time with general fiction, some of it being classified as literary fiction (sometimes I beg to differ.) And of course Historical fiction and non fiction. I tried to read Super Cannes by J.G. Ballard but became annoyed with the protagonist. Honestly, the man needed to find a hobby other than the one he thought was a good idea. I also picked up The Meaning of Night by Michael Cox. This book was very "Meh." At page 50 I set it aside and decided it may be a good read at another time or good kindling. Too bad I don't have a fireplace and its 110F degrees out. And so having nothing else to read and the first trailer for HP7 came out I began to read Harry Potter again. I could read HP5-7 over and over and over and over again.

But now that reading frenzy is over with I am restless about what to read next.  Any suggestions?