Thursday, November 24, 2005

Work stuff (that's the 9-5 thing I get regular money for) has obliterated my week. Here it is, Thursday, 24 days of Nano and I have only added 4000 words since last Saturday. So disappointing.
I think I'm also brain-dead, again work-related, and so I'm reading a lot of poetry right now to feed my creative brain rather than add more "work" to the mix.
No sense blogging though, when I could be Nano-ing!

Saturday, November 19, 2005

After 18 days of Nano, I'm up to 25,000 words and still going. The novel I am working on has just hit 60,000 words, and my aim to complete it under 70,000 (because children's publishers don't like long novels unless you are JKR or writing fantasy) is looking possible. Even if I go over, I know I can still cut.
I have two manuscripts on my desk, waiting for editing and small rewrites to go back to an editor and I must start working on the first one ASAP. But it's so hard to stop Nano once you get into the swing of it. Any day that no writing is done feels like an empty day!
It has spin-offs too. I am writing poems at night, and rethinking a couple of half-finished short stories. But the novel is first.
Reading Michael Connelly's "The Lincoln Lawyer" and enjoying it. It's that thing where you know you are in good (writer's) hands from the first few pages. Initially I was a bit worried that the main character was going to be unlikeable, but the author does that thing where you see other sides of him - in other words, complexity!! By the end of teaching and grading this year, I was becoming convinced that it was the key to the next level of improvement in so many novels I saw. Too many felt one-dimensional, focused only on the main character and even then his or her life and back story was so limited. No material for subplots or depth of feeling or motivation or any of those important things that draw the reader in.
As entertainment, I continue to read Miss Snark. There has been a bit of debate about whether she is really an agent but a lot of what she says sounds too industry-savvy and sensible to be a writers. On the other hand, another blog by someone called SammyK who says he is an agent is just too stupid and rude and obnoxious to be real.
Bought Rosalie Ham's new novel yesterday. Everyone I know to whom I have recommended her first book "The Dressmaker" has loved it. Fingers crossed this one is as good.
She writes adult fiction, by the way, and is Australian.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Grading is almost finished at last and NaNo is good! I passed 10,000 words on Wednesday, a miracle considering what else I have been doing. I'm amazed at how I really can find an hour to write at odd times, just because I have this target and don't want to fail by TOO much.
I am now a third of the way through "Icemark" and it still is a struggle. Having read lots of good reviews of it (and then reading the publisher's note which says that the author rang him up and pitched the story and it sounded so terrific that he just had to read the manuscript), I thought What am I missing here? What is the problem?
Maybe I'm just tired? But every time I think about it, it's that the main character is too flat. Yes, she's courageous and headstrong and brilliant at everything she does, but she doesn't feel real to me. And after about 80-90 pages, I think that is a problem. Other comments welcome!
I've bought four new books this week, as rewards for finishing all the school work. Started the Tess Gerritsen book and was very cross when I realised it wasn't new - it's a reprint of an old one with a new cover to match the others. I got sucked in by "branding"!! It's like Tami Hoag's early novels - way too much romance and not enough crime. Hoag changed the balance later in a big way, as did Gerritsen, but the soppy bits in this are too M&B for me.
Bought Marcus Zusak's new book "The Book Thief" and also Michael Connelly's new one. Ah... holiday reading. Nothing like it. Once work is finished I tend to read until my eyes fall out of my head.
But I will still be writing, never fear.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Student grading is nearly finished, and NaNoWriMo keeps going. I'm up to 4315 words, not keeping on target but good considering the workload of all those student novels to read and comment on. I can't see me hitting the 50,000 but I am writing every day, even if only for 30-45 minutes. That's all it takes!
Have started reading "The Cry of the Icemark" and so far it's not doing much for me. Maybe I'm a bit impatient with fantasy at the moment. Sometimes I just have to be in the right mood for it, which I guess says I'm not a dedicated fantasy reader. Well, I already knew that.
Two of my classes this week have focused on "The First Five Pages" - it's been a good exercise to briefly look at the main points from the book. Then I asked them to evaluate the first five pages of a fellow student's novel. I didn't read their comments, just told them to pretend they were overworked editors at publishing houses! It's always good for me to be reminded of that stuff too.
One of my other goals this week is to add some photos and other stuff to my website. I also have to alter the work website as our course is changing next year so a lot of the info has to be updated. I practice on the site at work, then I come home and feel more confident about altering my own!
As an aside, I'm wondering when Miss Snark might be inspired to write her own book?

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

My internet connection is being incredibly slow this morning, so things had better not disappear into black holes - mind you, there is an apartment building in Sydney at the moment that is doing exactly that. Disappearing into a hole, thanks to tunnel construction.
NaNoWriMo has started, and so have I. Tally so far - 500 words. Probably nothing today, although my writing group is having a writing session so if I carried my laptop inside from my writing hovel in the back yard... Yes, good thinking. I did have a short story I wanted to work on, but I guess it could wait.
Finished reading Doris's novel last night - "Forgotten Dreams". I kept thinking it was going to have romance in it, but of course it didn't. It was a good read, lots of twists and turns, and with the religious connections and mystery in it, it felt a little like Australia's answer to the da Vinci Code. Except Doris would probably bop me for saying that!
Student grading goes on, and on. I made the fatal mistake of doing all the good ones first, and so had to tightly rein in my impatience when I got to the not-so-good students and discovered there were still people not able to work out how to indent their paragraphs. How hard is it, for gosh sake??
Reading Miss Snark's blog daily at the moment - such a tonic!