Even while running around all week trying to tie up loose ends in anticipation of my super sunny vacation, I paused to go through the Flavorwire 25 Vintage Photos of Librarians Being Awesome.
Favorite? #2 for obvious reasons. Enjoy!
14 January is the opening day for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. An English-language, international contest, the categories include general Fiction, Romance, Mystery/Thriller, Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror and Young Adult Fiction. The grand prize winner receives a $50,000 advance plus publication and four first prize winners will receive an advance of $15,000 plus publication. All of the details and rules are up, including the pitches from past years’ winners. So let’s get cracking. You can find more details and rules on their website.
I once had a roommate whose mother didn’t find Seinfeld funny at all. Needless to say–and for various other reasons–I did not like this roommate’s mother. She couldn’t even explain herself! (she also didn’t like New York City and thought Los Angeles was the greatest place). What a loon!
I love the references to New York City-specific things but also, they have great literary references every now and then. Enjoy.
As a poor writer of no importance, I must keep my spending in check. Of course, I wish I would have an endless supply of cash money and one of those fancy home libraries that really only exists in the movies. So, to help with my compulsion, I check out the cheap books that the sellers on the New York streets offer, utilize the public library, and hit up those wonderful organizations like my favorite Project Gutenberg, et al.
I have been stuck in ¡total distraction! perusing the many free titles on Amazon’s Kindle store. When I think of free books, I generally think of books in the public domain–classics, mythology, etc. Yet, yesterday, I came across a ton of stories by Philip K. Dick that are being offered for free. If you’re like me, the summer is time for some plotty fun. Perfect!
Also, not for free but for $0.99, are The Works of Nikolai Gogol, which includes the short story, “Viy,” which was made in to a fantastic film in Russia in 1967.
For the past two years, I have been working on the same novel. A writerly friend once told me that an author said to her that it takes five years to get through your first 50 pages. I was skeptical but now that I’m two years in and still working on the first 50, I understand what he means.
What I planned was a slim, little absurdist novel that involves a quirky narrator set in present day NYC. The only thing that remains is the quirky (somewhat off-kilter) narrator and the main plot thread that ran through the narrative. The characters’ names remain the same and their relationships to the narrator are still intact but everything has become more complicated!
There is much more research than I originally envisioned, I have so many redrafts of those first 50 that I need to consolidate into one file folder and the characters have become much more fleshed out. Since I first started, I knew the plot from beginning to end, and many of the key points remain the same but everything is even more specific–events have changed and people have switched sides…
The reason why I say I’m experiencing the opposite of writer’s block is because I’m not having a shortage of ideas to write about or no project to work on. I have countless notebooks filled with my scribbles; my character profiles alone keep changing moment-to-moment.
How do people accomplish National Novel Writing Month?!? I know that the novels written in November are just first drafts and need to be worked on further but come on. I can see why professional authors employ research assistants. A corner in my bedroom is just library books.
Scrivener is helping me organize myself and not lose track of where I am in the manuscript (besides a ton of historical research, there are no chapters to divide the narrative). I was speaking with an aspiring playwright and she told me she uses a program for her “daily targets.” The name of the program escapes me but I also think this is a good idea.
Perhaps, in February, when I have nothing important due (I say that now), I will dedicate the month to my own version of NaNoWriMo. I just need a clever acronym or whatnot.
I started my 30 Day Winter Break Reading Marathon a day early! My first contender is Wilkie Collins’s The Woman in White. I’ve owned this novel for several years, schlepping it with me from place to place; I even read about 100 pages last December before I got sidetracked. But this is it. It has begun. I was on the fence because I still have one more book review to write (I will be requesting some time off from Publishers Weekly and not accepting other offers for articles so my brain doesn’t feel as schizoid as it has lately. I’ll try to knock that bad boy review out tomorrow morning and then I’ll be in the clear).
Today was a perfect day to start this monster sized novel. NYC was a bit on the chilly side: 26 degrees. It was a hat-and-turtleneck day. The novel was just calling out to me to take it from the mantle. So I succumbed 24 hours ahead of schedule. I’m pumped for what many people refer to as the first “English Sensation novel.” I’m also excited to be taking a break from my freelance writing and translating for the next 30 days or so to concentrate on my own fiction and finally some books for fun (by the way, thanks for all of the suggestions; I’ll be referencing back when I’m finished with this book).
If you’re also up to it, The Woman in White is available at a bargain price of $5.95 on Amazon or for free on Project Gutenberg. The book is available in multiple formats at Project Gutenberg: online, ebook, and mobile versions.
Tis the season for a good book! So pump the radiator up and drink a glass of pinot noir and maybe put on some classical music… p.s. I’m so excited for fun reading that I even changed my quote on the top of the sidebar.
book covers courtesy of www.wilkies-collins.info
About four months ago, I was chatting with the young woman cutting my hair and I asked her how she got into the hair business. She told me she was tired of her previous job working at a firm that matched their clients with in-house ghostwriters. We all know the dirty secret of political memoirs or when Nicole Richie chooses to pen a novel--ghostwriters. According to Merriam Webster, the term was first used in 1927 but history tells us that the concept pre-dates that.
intransitive verb: to write for and in the name of another
transitive verb: to write (as a speech) for another who is the presumed author
I found our chat to be super fascinating. She didn’t name names about specific clients, but she shared anecdotes of tumultuous relationships between the pseudo-famous clients and the poor writers that had been assigned to them. The whole business seemed sleazy and I could see how she chose to leave the biz and try her hand at hair.
Recently, I had been thinking of ghostwriters because a fellow writerly friend had been assigned to review Newt Gingrich’s Gettysburg: A Novel of the Civil War. He was understandably skeptical but ultimately enjoyed it. Newt shares the front cover with his co-writer, William R. Forstchen. I’m definitely not the first person in line to defend Gingrich, but I feel that his method was much more reasonable than slapping just his own name on the final product. At least, there is an image of co-authorship and a team effort.
The way the woman at the salon described her former profession was in my shadier terms–one person taking ownership of another’s work by producing a non-disclosure agreement and a modest payola. This whole business conjures up images of unscrupulous dealings and unethical behavior (maybe a bit of a stretch but still).
But in the grander scheme of things, do we ever criticize a politician for using a speech writer or do we poo-poo an unfunny and stilted Oscar presenter for their pre-scripted lines? The answer is no, but I can’t seem to shake this feeling of intellectual inauthenticity.
While procrastinating yesterday afternoon, I ran across a published author’s blog who was mortified that his writing had been compared to Stephenie Meyer (the Twilight series). Granted the comparison was made by the un-empirical I Write Like analyzer and the author knew that it was just for fun, but I think I would also be taken aback if this comparison was made between my own work and that of the new queen of vampire books. I mean, remember when Stephen King wrote that “Stephenie Meyer can’t write worth a darn. She’s not very good.”
But sparkly teenage vampires aside, I copy-and-pasted the first page of a short story I wrote a few years. I don’t know how the I Write Like analyzer comes to its conclusions, but fittingly for the holiday season, it has designated me,
Because it’s Thanksgiving, I considered it and decided against my original post. Too much thinking about food (carbs + red wine = good) was interfering with my brain! But I was able to think about how December is coming up. It will be the time of hot chocolate, snow, warm socks, and a good book. Because I’ve been reading so many books to review and for novel research, I can’t even remember the last book I read for pleasure.
I was gazing at my mantle to see what books could be possible contenders for “The Book I Will be Totally Engrossed with for the Chilly Month of December.”
With that said, I had a view ideas for contenders:
Phew! So much to think about to find the right fit.