Tag Archives: books

Tensual frustration

TENSE IS KILLING ME.

For the first time, possibly ever, I’ve chosen to write in first-person. First-person past, to be precise. I used to loathe first-person narrative, but for some reason, this newest novel will not come out any other way.

First-person past should be a hop-skip-and-a-jump for a third-person past writer like me. But for some reason, I CAN’T DO IT RIGHT!

I blame all of the first-person present novels out there. I just cannot my tenses right. And normally, I’m pretty adept at tenses. And right now, I feel like the paragraphs I was working on are now just a big jumble of complicated, confusing sentences. Ack!

In my search for help, I stumbled upon this page. I can’t really tell who the blogger is or why he’s writing about writing, but I think it is somewhat helpful. In the article he outlines the differences between past and present first person, and translates each tense into the other.

But seriously, if it doesn’t get any easier, I might have to change my tense completely! (It would probably be smartest to have this ironed out before Nanowrimo comes around, huh?)


Nerves and doing it wrong

After experiencing the most minimal of minimal fender-benders yesterday, I found myself incredibly nervous driving to work today. The solution? To ditch my friends tonight (sorry Leanne!) and hole up in my home, under a dark blanket, away from cars, with the last few chapters of my manuscript to finish line-editing.

I’m down to those last few days. Those last moments before I finally have a polished ‘script, for the first time in my life. Before I finally get to start querying for a (gasp!omg!) agent. How does it feel?

It feels unreal. It feels like I’ve been stretching out these last few weeks, procrastinating the first (second? third?) big hurdle in getting this darn book published. It feels like I’ve forgotten everything I’ve read and learned in the past few years about query writing and the publishing industry.

It’s hard for me to do things wrong. I’m one of those crazy people who inexplicably would rather give up than fail (though in my old age, I’m starting to realize that the former is the same as the latter). I’m not any sort of perfectionist, but I hate disappointing people, disappointing myself.

So what happens now? What happens when I finally sit down and finish the last of my edits and start querying and just… flop? Go no further? Find out these last 2.5 years have been for naught?

*Deep breaths* I guess we’ll find out. In the meantime, I’m just going to keep delving in blogs and articles and everything else I can find about writing.

Like this New Yorker article, about how writing is hard.

Or this scary Janet Reid blog post, about building platform before you even find an agent… um, eep?


A Bourne revelation

So I’m the kind of person to jump all over the place. Seriously. One week I’m purposely and dreadfully busy, the next I have absolutely nothing to do. One moment I’m obsessing over fanfiction, the next I find it a waste of time. I’ll have tunnel-vision for one fandom/actor/character and then after a few weeks I’ve moved on and completely forgotten all about it. (Except for Supernatural. I always love Supernatural.)

So despite the fact that I ran out and purchased Veronica Roth’s “Insurgent” almost as soon as it came out (“Divergent” was absolutely amazing!), I had this sudden and absolute need late last week to read “The Bourne Identity.”

Yes, this is pretty random. Prompted by my excitement for THE BOURNE LEGACY, coming out in August, I just had to read it. It instills nostalgic memories of camping and lugging around a huge, first-edition hardcover from the library at the age of thirteen. (I believe I have recessive reading traits. I read intricate adult novels as a child, and now concentrate mostly on YA!) So I ran out and purchased it. And made it to about the 200-page mark, and realized that not only did I not want to finish, but that I don’t think I ever actually finished it as a child, either.

The story is interesting. Exciting. So why is it that I get so bored with it?

I think I know why. It’s the fact that everything is described in frustrating detail. That I’m 200 pages in and only a couple or so hours into the main story. That there’s way more telling than there is suggesting.

Sometimes I just want to remind some authors that it’s their job to incite the imaginations of their readers – not to describe their own imagination. But maybe that’s just my opinion of what an author should do. Who am I to question a best-selling, multi-franchise author?

Maybe I’ve just realized why I like YA and mid-grade books better. I think I’ll save the rest of “The Bourne Identity” for when I’m camping. Maybe that will help.


Bad habits and new ideas

I have a really awful habit. It’s because I’m addicted to the smell of crisp pages, to the look of bright, well-designed covers. It’s because I’m motivated by the mystery of what story is being told within, and because I am completely unmotivated within the confines of my own home.

I am addicted to buying books – and never reading them.

My father used to think that purchasing books was a waste of money. He never understood the value in spending money on something that you could borrow for free from your friends or from the library. His views are completely valid – besides supporting the author, what’s the point in having a whole bunch of books that you will only, in most cases, read once (or in my case, never read?)

Okay, I shouldn’t say that I’ll never read them. One of the most important parts of being a[/n aspiring] novelist is reading. You read what’s good, you read what’s bad. You read what works and you read what doesn’t. You learn from established professionals, and you try not to be too offended when you’re sure you could write better than this or that debut author. (Here’s a hint – all writers are egotistical to an extent. I’d argue that this can be said about any creative professional – photogs, designers, ect.)

Here’s a sampling of many of the books I own but have never read:

Lots of words by the average and the amazing that have yet to meet my eyes. (Sorry, John Green! I guess there are three of yours there!)

Another one of my book woes is the space. I am constantly purchasing new novels, but have virtually nowhere to put them. Currently, they are overloading my dresser and our shelving unit. There are also a whole bunch boxed up in our storage room somewhere. (Read: small bedroom jam-packed with two computer stations and a million boxes. It’s a disaster.)

(Yes, you’re looking at some bona-fide old Hardy Boys books there. I collect them. It’s odd.)

We do actually own a bookcase. Unfortunately, it houses a couple hundred or more DVDs. That we never watch. And don’t expand on anymore. Because as geeks, we’re far too swept up in the digital age to be bothered by hard copies anymore*!

(A little bit of daily cuteness – Ada popped by to see what I was doing with the camera and all that flashing.)

Anyway, so this is my plan: I am going to make a list of all of the DVDs I want to get rid of and sell them for $2-$3 each to my family and friends in order to make space for my books. Then, I’ll take that money and put it directly into our wedding fund! Every little bit counts, because we’re paying for everything ourselves. And I demand an Italian honeymoon. He knows about it, I swear.

What do you think? Do you think my plan will pay off, or will cataloging my movies be a waste of my time?

*I realize that this statement is ironic after writing a post about purchasing non-stop hard-copy books. I bought an eReader. I used it to read one book. And I still can’t stop purchasing paperbacks. I told you it was an addiction, alright? Besides… there is nothing – NOTHING – in the world like a book in you hand. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.


Let the battle begin!

It’s finally arrived! It is Hunger Games day!

Today I am leaving work early to see the film with a few co-workers, and in my opinion there is no better way to kick off the weekend!

Recently one of my friends read the first book in the trilogy for the first time and admitted that she was underwhelmed by it. This is always a major risk when a piece of fiction – be it a movie, book or otherwise – is hyped by pop culture. But, to be honest, all of her reasons were completely valid and it reminded me of my initial thought when I first read The Hunger Games – how on earth did it become so popular?

First of all, it’s well-written. The pace is incredible, and although many would argue (especially Battle Royale fans,) it is a story that is finally original to the mainstream eye.

But Hunger Games is dark. It’s creepy. It’s dystopian and apocalyptic. Its protagonist is not someone you necessarily like – she is selfish and frustrating at best. Its ending is hardly more than dismal. All of these things are the types of elements that attract me, but that are rarely present in popular culture.

There is no ditzy, innocent, too-good female main. There is no overtly omg-I’m-so-in-love-with-you love story. In fact, this doesn’t come close to romance at all (another thing that I love!) The characters feel real, their relationships feel real. It’s a very different dynamic. (Please, folks all over, stop referring it to the “new Twilight.”)

I have to wonder how much Hollywood will gloss over the events in The Hunger Games. Depending on how I feel, I might end up sharing my thoughts about this with you soon!

What do you think the world loves so much about Hunger Games?