Showing posts from June, 2013

The Gender Guesser

I came across a tweet from a former supervisor of mine, Jessica Sinsheimer, who is a literary agent.

Writing in the opposite gender's POV for a work? See if you can fool the Gender Guesser!
— Jessica Sinsheimer (@jsinsheim) June 20, 2013

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

I finished reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Schaffer and Annie Barrows recently. I was looking for some historical fiction to read in the Kindle store and remembered that I'd heard a lot about this novel in 2008, when it was published.

Guernsey is certainly a unique book.

What I'm Good At

I feel like writers--or artists in general--spend a lot of time improving their craft, convincing other people to believe in their craft, and then spend even more time mired in doubt and frustration. I think this is where "artistic temperament" comes from.

For me, at least, sometimes my writing matches up with what I want it to be and what it feels like or sounds like in my head--and those are the best moments. But most of the time, it doesn't quite measure up. Other times, it outright sucks.

So sometimes I have to remind myself about what I actually do well in my writing. Because if writing was all doom and gloom and hard graft and "ugh, this sucks" (the way I sometimes, admittedly, make it out to be, when I talk about it at all), then why do I keep doing it?

Other than being a masochist, that is.

So here are the things I think I do well in my writing:

Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks

I don't remember when I started Birdsong, but it was probably more than a year ago--whenever that miniseries with Eddie Redmayne was about to air--and as usual, I was determined to read the book before I saw the miniseries. I haven't seen the miniseries yet, but I finished the book last night.

I don't know if I particularly identified with the protagonist, Stephen Wraysford, an Englishman who visits Amiens, France before World War One and falls in love with a married woman, Isabelle. I think that may have been one of the reasons I put the book down and didn't resume reading it until last week. I couldn't help but compare it to my favorite novel Atonement, where I had immediately identified with Briony. But as for detailed, well-researched historical fiction...

An Excerpt

It's Friday, my stomach is being strange, I'm humming "When I Grow Up" from Matilda the Musical, I want to curl up and continue on with Birdsong (I'm at the beginning of the Battle of the Somme), but I want to write a little more.

So that's me.

My WIP's current stats:
Words: 67, 526
Pages: 238
Chapters: 24

This is a scene from my WIP. This is from page 30:

Underlining in Books

After a week apart, my laptop and I have finally been reunited. One of the fans inside went wonky and thus, my almost five-year-old laptop, which has already crested the hill of Obsolete, had to stay in the repair shop for a few days. So, I haven't really made progress on the draft. Today will be a writing day for sure--I'm raring to go after an enforced period of time away--but first, a wee post.

I took the time sans computer to read, both on Kindle and, you know, actual books. Because I don't have to worry about paperbacks losing their charge.

Every so often, when I'm reading, I'll come across a line or a paragraph that makes me react, as a reader and as a writer, and--I only ever do this in my paperbacks--I underline whatever it was that struck me. It's usually only a handful of words in an entire book and I always do my underlining in pencil. I guess they're just lines I want to remember or feel intense jealously over not having written first.

Interviewing a Fanfiction Author

I think this might be true of most writers--that moment when you are reading or watching a TV show or a movie and go: "What happened to that character? Why did it end that way? I can do better than that!"

For me, I was 12 and it was Titanic. I rewrote Jack not dying numerous times--surely Rose could have shared that door she laid on with him? Fanfiction remained a hefty portion of my adolescence. I wrote some (some of them endless), but I was mostly a reader. I never posted my fics (mostly because I never finished them) and they were usually more about my actor crush of the month rather than any character he played. 

I no longer write fanfiction, though I still read it a lot. Writing fanfiction, like writing anything fictional, can either be a starting point for aspiring writers or a break from more technical and serious writing or a creative outlet. 

I asked my cousin, ilovetoread09, a fanfiction author, a few questions. How is the writing process different when using existing…

Strange 18th century British Taxes

In my research and because I read What Jane Austen Ate and What Charles Dickens Knew last month, I have come across some interesting things that were taxed in 18th and 19th century Britain, stuff that one would never think to tax.

All of the following would have affected my characters in some way--though none of this will be in the book. This is purely for my own edification. There was no income tax in Britain in the 18th century, so Parliament taxed imports and everyday objects in an effort to raise money. This list is by no means exhaustive.