Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder & Other Points

Point the first: Pete Seeger died yesterday, at age 94. He was a folk singer, performing all the way back from the 1930s, was a friend of Woody Guthrie's, wrote tons of songs, including "Turn Turn Turn." He adapted "We Shall Overcome" into the civil rights anthem we know today. In addition, Seeger sang and supported many causes throughout his long life, including unions, civil rights, took a anti-war stance during Vietnam, and environmental causes. As far as any real-life heroes I may have, Pete Seeger was definitely one of mine. 

Point the second: It's as cold as the damn Arctic here in New York City. Well, it's not sub-zero, exactly, but it's quite cold.

Point the third: I tried writing in a Starbucks today. That is, I sat in Starbucks waiting for my friend and had my outline notebook in my bag and proceeded to jot down about half a page. I've determined that I don't like writing in public. I feel paranoid that someone will read over my shoulder and other peoples' voices and music don't really help the concentration. And yes, I felt like a stereotype and pretentious, but at least it was a notebook and not a full laptop. Honestly, coffee shop writers---how do you do it?



Point the fourth: My friend and I went to see A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder tonight. It's a Broadway musical that I can only describe as Downton Abbey meets Clue meets Monty Python. Basically: Monty D'Ysquith Navarro's mother dies and upon her death, a friend tells him that his late mother was a D'Ysquith, one of Edwardian England's most prominent families. Also, this friend tells Monty that only eight people stand in between him and Adalbert D'Ysquith, the Earl of Highhurst. 

So Monty, rejected by the family and deciding to seek revenge on them for the way they treated his mother, starts killing D'Ysquiths. It's not a gruesome musical though--it's actually, genuinely, hilarious. All of the D'Ysquiths marked for murder die in...interesting...ways. And they're all--men and women--played by Jefferson Mays, who was amazing as each and every one of his characters. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

30 Books a Year

One of my college friends, Jess, has been posting on Facebook about her reading challenge for 2014: a book a week. She keeps track on Goodreads. Now, I'm pretty good at remembering what I read, but I've never kept track of what I read through a year. I tend to start books, put them down for two months, finish them, start another book and race through that, etc.

Well, Jess kind of inspired me to challenge myself to read 30 books this year (I can't do a book a week with my erratic work schedule, plus looming revisions). I'm sure that I haven't read 30 books a year in the past couple of  years...I've been busy writing books.

But this year, I'd like to try to read more and to read more widely, too. So, here's my 2014 reading page. I've finished two books in 2014 so far.

I am setting a couple of parameters. Books I'm reading specifically as research for the novel will not be counted in the 30.

Let's see how well I keep up once I start writing again, right?

Edited to add: I upped this to 40. There are too many books I want to read.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

My Little Notebook Outline

This week, in addition to joining Goodreads and getting four episodes into Orphan Black (Tatiana Maslany is amazing, playing all those clones) and...oh yeah, turning 23 for the sixth time...I thought I'd give you guys a little peek into the outlining process I'm using for the draft four.

I don't need characters sheets. I don't want to draw charts and large circles and stuff. The outline I did for the 2013 NaNo project was pretty simple, I guess--I kind of just summarized scenes and the plot in normal paragraph format. It was the first time I felt compelled and able to do that with a writing project. Normally, I say that my first drafts are my outlines. The fact that I was able to get so detailed--writing down dialogue, for instance--but it still felt fresh to me as I wrote the scenes during November was pretty incredible. Plus, I mostly stuck to the outline, too.

I felt an urge to write in a notebook, in pen. I don't know why, but I figured I'd go with it, so...
I bought a little notebook: 

A friend wanted to know why I was going to handwrite the outline. "You won't be able to read it later, with your handwriting."

Friday, January 17, 2014

The Frustration of Small Feet

My college roommate is getting married in June (yay!) and I'm a bridesmaid (double yay). The bride has decided what to do for bridesmaids' attire (we get to pick our own dresses, within parameters, of course. So exciting!). And though I have time to choose a dress--and more of that type will come out as the weather warms up, the shoe hunt has begun pretty much now.

This isn't because I like shoes. In fact, I prefer to pad about barefoot. It's more comfortable for my pigeon-toed feet and my bum right ankle. Also, my feet are a size four and a half. That's right. 4.5, US size. Up until a couple of years ago, I was buying sandals in the kids department. I still could, probably.

Sneakers aren't usually a problem to find, but dress shoes? Whew. Nearly impossible. And I say "nearly," because there is a speciality shoe store where I procured a couple of pairs of "grown up shoes" that I wear to work and whenever I want to look taller.

Which, when you're 4'11", is a lot of the time.

I just want a pair (or two) of decently adult-looking shoes that aren't a trial to walk around in. I was not blessed with feet that like shoes either, so they have to be reasonably comfortable.

Really, feet? Just another half an inch?

Saturday, January 11, 2014

12 Years a Slave



It's inventory time for those of us who work retail. I've done one inventory overnight and later today will be doing overnight number two into Sunday morning--me, wielding a merchandise gun. Boop, boop, boop. Beep. No tag on that shirt. Ticket! Tap foot impatiently. Realize that you're not getting out of work until 6 am, no matter what.

Anyway, in the meantime, I found some time to progress on my outline. I'll show you my little notebook in a future post; it's a little ridiculous how happy I feel simply writing out a very summarized version of scenes in pen.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Yokohama Yankee


This is my 499th blog post. Also, come February, this blog will be five years old. What? When did that happen?!

In the midst of snowstorms, moodiness, a migraine, raging insomnia, watching World Without End on Netflix (next up: Copper. And then after that, Orphan Black) taking notes and writing outlines (more Pearl!), I've been reading a lot. I finished Bristol and the Atlantic Trade, still uncertain as to whether I've learned how merchants organized their businesses in the late eighteenth century, and I'm almost halfway through a novel I learned about on Historical Novel Review called Ice King, which takes place in the early 19th century about a Liverpool ex-Royal Navy officer turned ship captain dealing with the contemporary issues of trade, war, and slavery. It's very different to my book, though. :-)