October 26, 2006

Random Topics from the World at Large

So, it's not going to be my stained sweats... via Chasing Ray we are clued in to a funny conversation about what to wear for a book signing from authors chatting on Justine Larbalestier's blog -- What to Wear is something we should all think of as we'll be giving readings and signings in the next year or two. My uniform of choice is sweats... but after all the commentary, I'm thinkin'.... maybe not.

Since I am a big fan of BRIEF -- ( not that I can do it, thank you fellow Flickr Fictioneers for reminding me), I cherished the intensely short, six-word stories at Wired Magazine, which I discovered via Bookshelves of Doom. Of the myriads funny (and unreprintable) listed, one of my favorites: Bang postponed. Not Big enough. Reboot. - David Brin

Something quite exciting for those of us who aspire to write fantasy with strong female characters: Tamora Pierce is coming to our end of the universe! WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 15 Pierce swans into town with her newest novel, BEKA COOPER #1: TERRIER, which just came out the 24th. According to the details on Cody's Books' website, Beka Cooper lives 200 years before Pierce's popular character Alanna. Born and raised in the bowels of the Lower City, Beka is now a rookie with the law-enforcing Provost's Guard. She's shy, but her terrier-like demeanor and quick wits make her a fierce opponent for the Lower City's criminals. When the city's pigeons give Beka clues to two underworld conspiracies that include exploiting and murdering men and children, Beka thinks they are linked, and she will stop at nothing to arrest the perpetrators. Welcome to the beginning of an exceptional new series..." Seating is first come, first served, and readers will be let in between 6 pm and 7 pm. It'll be crowded, but if you're a huge fan, it'll be worth it, at Cody's Fourth Street, Berkeley.

"So, tell me again... Why do people do this?" I asked my Irish friend.
"For the same reason that people climb a mountain, or run a marathon," he replied with some asperity.
And I thought to myself, "That stupid of a reason, eh?"
Yep. It's just to say "I can."
I already know I can, but I got hornswoggled into National Novel Writing Month anyway. Eek. So the month of November will be just a joy. I will be: a.) substitute teaching the first week and a half, b.) planning a Thanksgiving Pageant, c.) badly writing 50,000 words for a new novel, d.) continuing to write/edit my historical fiction piece, e.) working with my editor on another piece, f.) planning a brunch g.) finalizing plans for Thanksgiving in Monterey. I plan to blame all of my stress on those who regularly participate in such madness and talked me into it (yes, A. Fortis, I mean YOU!), but I think that even though the schedule will be crazy, it will be doable.

I have learned this year, if nothing else, to be really, really, really prolific. It may be that I'm just blowing smoke every day, but it's writing, which is actually a good fourth of the battle. In today's Chronicle, (in which a professor of mine from my alma mater was honored YAY Micheline and congrats to Yiyun, too! ), one of the women interviewed talked about whatever we have in our backgrounds as being fodder for us learning useful writing habits. Yiyun was studying to be a doctor; I am learning to take all of the time and careful research that I brought into preparing lesson plans into creating plans for stories. Neither portion of our adult lives was wasted doing something before writing... now we can both just bring what discipline and meticulousness that we learned and apply it to now. That's a comforting thought.

Still... all this cramming-the-writing-in stuff sound like it makes about as much sense as running a marathon. (With apologies to those who run. I'm sure it seems like a great idea at the time.) Still, it's a way to jumpstart all the time you lose shopping and visiting during the holidays (okay, okay, it's not LOST time, but you know what I mean!), and it's going to help me hopefully be well on my way toward finishing something in time to start the round of publishing houses in January. It's going to be a busy November... maybe in December I'll take up yoga.


Anonymous said...

I tried NanoWrimo last year and failed. I just ended up hating my story and not really knowing where to go with it. I'm thinking I might try again this year. A different story. One with absolutely no coherent plot. I wonder if that will work? Hmmm.


Sarah Stevenson said...

I ended up being pleasantly surprised last year--I know what I ended up with still needs a lot of work (and I still haven't had time to edit it--maybe we need a National Novel Revision Month!) but I was amazed that I was actually able to produce 50,000 semi-coherent words in a month.

I think it helped that I started with just a vague idea, and saw where the first few chapters took me before writing any further notes. And I tried to limit my note-taking to a bare-bones outline, for the most part. Then it was easier, I think, to just let the writing go where it was going to go.

tanita✿davis said...

Well, here's hoping that some version of this works for me. I was challenged, and I never back down from a direct challenge, but... I'm still not sure what I'm even going to DO! No picture, no prompt, no outline... just sit down and come up with 50,000 words of something new! And The Gurrier is watching!

That should be enough to keep me nicely paranoid.