Sunday, February 22, 2015

F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald

I finished Book 12 of 2015, The Crack-Up by F. Scott Fitzgerald, edited by Edmund Wilson. It made a good pair with book 11, which was Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald. Basically, I picked up Z at The Strand and then decided to finally read The Crack-Up, not wanting to leave the world of my first literary crush ("Crush" isn't the right word, but it's something like that.)

In eleventh grade, during The Semester of Infidelity, we read The Great Gatsby. It might've been my favorite of all the stuff we read in high school. Apparently, Gatsby is only about 50,000 words long, but it packs in a lot in that tight space--so much so that Fitzgerald, in some of the letters within the edition of The Crack-Up that I read, acknowledges that he didn't illuminate Gatsby's background as well as he could have.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Happy 6th Birthday, Blog!

It's February 12th, which means...

It's this blog's sixth birthday!!

As part of Blog Birthday Week, I created a separate Facebook page for Writer Me (as opposed to Personal Profile Me). It'll mostly be links to random writer things, The Script songs, book reviews, and posts from this blog. I suppose you could leave your comments there, if you wanted, but I'd still prefer comments here--it's more fun that way :-)

Here's the link: Michelle Athy, Writer

So, usually, I do a special post for the Blog Birthday. I've been wracking my brain, trying to think of what to bestow on you guys, my readers, this year.

First, a bit of virtual cake:
Photo courtesy of Meta the Beta

(My friend Nali actually made that cake a couple of years ago for her sister's birthday. It's the Yellow Submarine.)

Sunday, February 8, 2015

2015 Reading Challenge: 10 Books Read

In 2014, I did my first reading challenge. It was the first time I'd ever kept track of what I was reading during the course of a year; I went with 40 books as a nice, round number and had a lot of fun reading so much. Not to mention that reading is the best way to improve your writing as well.

This year, I upped the number of books I intend to have read by year's end to 42. I have to say that I began reading two other books during this time and didn't get much beyond 5% into either of them. So, I'm not feeling obliged to plow through something I can't get into. But Grand Central, the most recent book I finished, is a short story anthology and it makes me want to read other short story anthologies--or maybe force my writing friends into writing one with me. Or at least practice writing short.

I've finished the first ten of a hopeful forty-two! Here's my list:

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Snippet Saturday

Hey everyone!

There's no real point to this post except that I felt like posting up two excerpts--one for Nicole, one for Victoria. You can pretty well guess which is which.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

IWSG: The Underlying Message

Hey everyone! It is IWSG Wednesday. The Insecure Writer's Support Group is an awesome collective of writers who post their writerly insecurities every first Wednesday of the month, founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh. Thanks to our co-hosts for February as well: Gwen Gardner, Dolorah, Sarah Foster, and M. Pax.

The more time I spend with the dual protagonists of my current project--which I can only describe as some kind of women's historical fiction though half of it is contemporary and there's a bit of mystery in there--the more I'm pleased by them. Doesn't mean the characters are as realized as I want them to be yet, but there's a lot to play with.

I once read a blog post years ago suggesting that authors often write stories based on a few different themes, so that some authors will write many stories focused on identity or mother-daughter issues and they tend to explore this in their work many times over. Do you think this is true?

My last story's 'underlying story,' if you will, had to do with racism and acceptance; it was set in Georgian England. I queried that project, but I think one of these days, I might want to tear it apart again and focus on my favorite character in there instead. Someday.

So what's the new one's underlying story? I think it might be feminism.

 Not long ago, a writing buddy, SL Huang, had a post up on Chuck Wendig's blog: On the Subject Of Unlikable Women Protagonists. Makes great points. Go read it. Because as a woman, I want to read more awesome female characters, whether they are badass or weak or romantic or whatever; I want them to be compelling and I want them to more reflect the awesome, sometimes batshit-crazy spectrum of what it's like to be a female. There's a lot of insecurity in writing land about creating female characters, much more so than in creating a male character. The majority of my characters are female, as are the majority of my friends and co-workers. But we are very different people.

And--underlying message here--we have to write the books and the characters we want to read.