I’ve been spending some time at the library, shocker. But there are some books that I pulled and I thought I would share them with you here, along with some other stuff I’m totally into. Because it’s Friday and I need these kinds of days to break up these kinds of days.
While at the doctor yesterday having tests done, the technician asked me what my book was about. I explained that Reading Like a Writer shows the importance of slow reading and how each word builds upon the other to create intrigue, suspense, build character, plot, etc. My favorite part so far, is Prose’s list of what you need to read right now. That’s what it’s called. I found it interesting that her choice of words, the immediacy is so perfect here and makes me want to set out on her recommended journey. Throughout the book she builds upon the parts that make up a story: words, sentences, paragraphs, character, narration – in exactly the way she is trying to impress upon you to read. Not the kind of critical reading we were taught growing up where we had to take the socio-economic perspective of the times and include that with a topic sentence and the rest of your hamburger paragraph. Anyone remember those? In any case, if you want to write, the best way, is to read the greats. I think maybe, that’s how I learned.
I’ve been giving a lot of thought to genre lately as it relates to the novel I’m working on. I think it will help me to narrow in on all of these ideas. I don’t want to be boxed in by a genre, of course. However, if the point is to sell a book, you gotta know which shelf it would sit on. Who it’s friends are going to be on that shelf, know what I mean? I picked up the first in the Odd series by Dean Koontz, Odd Thomas. I never thought I would read his books because I was always more of a classic literature kind of gal (except Austen, we’ve talked about this. BUT, Prose is giving me reason to pick it up again for one last try – see, that book is a handy resource).
But why did I choose this to read? Honestly? Koontz’s The City and Innocence weren’t available at the library – and I wanted to read how he created characters, specifically supernatural ones. This isn’t to say that I am whipping out werewolves or vampires in my novel, but there are some special qualities in the mix and I can learn what works and what doesn’t, for me anyway, if I read the work of others. *No, I don’t presume my book will be buddies on the shelf next to Koontz. My last name starts with a T. Ha!”
I think it’s safe to say that I like to learn and study. I read a few books at a time and now I am working my way into podcasts. It makes vacuuming less boring and tedious. Enter in DIYMFA (Do it Yourself Master of Fine Arts). I don’t know how I came upon this podcast / site, but I like the downloadable worksheets I received for subscribing to emails from her site and the podcast I listened to this morning “Five Promises in the First Five Pages” was informative and helpful. She read opening lines that packed a punch to show examples of just how important those first pages of your manuscript are. Another nugget, specifically about world-building was not to drop details until absolutely necessary; don’t infodump. She gave the example of building a castle made of Legos: beautiful turrets, walkways, stairs, etc. and getting so wrapped up in it, that nothing is happening inside the Lego castle.
While I don’t see myself dropping cash for a course, I’ll keep listening and gathering information like the school squirrel that I am.
Last week, I attended a free webinar Learn Scrivener Fast as it was co-hosted by K.M. Weiland (and we all know I love her!) Scrivener is a program where you can organize your writing, keep notes and create ebooks. I know I’m leaving out a lot more of it’s functions and capabilities. However, the introduction I got in the webinar was really great. I appreciated the structured templates and the virtual corkboard to get all of your notes together – color coded by any parameter (character, theme, needs work, you name it).
There was a deal (of course) where you could purchase the courses at a discount – and it also included a template for outlining and structuring your novel, based on the principles of outlining and story structure K.M. Weiland discusses in her books, one that I just finished and still another that I’m working my way through. I loved her book, so this “freebie” was a no brainer for me. There was also an audio, hour-long presentation by K.M. Weiland Conquering Writer’s Block and Summoning Inspiration included as well. I got the basic package and can always upgrade later to nab the extra goodies, like Scrivener for Bloggers and step-by-step instructions to create an ebook with snapshots.
While some take the view that Scrivener offers 2 hours of training when you download the program, it’s my understanding that the classes offered by Learn Scrivener Fast, are the easily digestible kind. At no more than 3:14 minutes a piece, for me, that’s the kicker. How much time do we all really have to pick, pause and peck to learn one thing that will help us get through whatever obstacle we have ahead of us? Give me efficient, give me fast, give me dinner, Mommy. Can you picture it?
I hate to shop. I know, that’s weird. I am a short gal with a body meant for someone 5’6″. I’ll just leave it at that. As a self diagnosed social introvert, I don’t like to try clothes on at a store, where there is always that question “need a different size”. My response is – “please give me a minute to remember why I hate full length mirrors”. Pants are always too long, shirts are always too tight and I always need ice cream afterwards.
Ever hear of StitchFix? It’s simple really, and I know I am late to the party. You fill out a profile (and yes, you have to be honest) and a stylist (<— I have one now!) will pull items for you based on what you like and what you don’t. You even have an area to free write and add clarity to the profile. For example, mine says:
I work as an executive assistant in an office where the dress code is business casual. I have a sleeve tattoo (right upper arm to my elbow), and my entire back, so I’d like to keep those covered in the office. On the weekend, anything goes. I sing at church a few times a month, so would have to cover up for those days too. Don’t know what my jean size is, usually get 10. Petite with lots of shape!
I also noted that I wanted a little edge to the Bohemian Chic flavor I chose. Who knew I had flavor even? The pricing is $20 a month and you receive 5 pieces, choose what you want to keep and the 20 is applied to the items you keep. Easy peasy! I was spending $20 a month on a craft box subscription that Gabriel was not into any more, so no harm done there. Not to mention, if you have a Pinterest account, you can leave your username and pin stuff you like – this way the stylist can really see what you’re into. I pinned a picture of myself in my favorite skirt!
I received a pair of pants and four tops. The pants were s-m-a-s-h-i-n-g. I would never pick straight leg pants on account of, my legs but these were awesome. The fit was great and they weren’t LONG! Slight problem, the price. They were a little too much for me, but this doesn’t mean I can’t go out and find a pair in my price range! And you know I will, because she also sent these two tops that I dropped my jaw for. Just look at the tops people. These are just the cards they send with looks that you can style the tops with, suggestions (because I need help. That skirt up there? At least 6 years old, and I straight up took it from a roommate at a convention I went to. She unpacked it, I saw it and said “that’s not going home with you”. She thought I was joking.)
Perfect for work, covers my tattoos, and perfect for date night. I loved it! As for the other two tops, one was a sweater (just got a few, so I didn’t need it) and the other was a top I didn’t need to have. I chose the best and will return the rest. And there’s no one peering in on me asking if I need a bigger size. #winning If you sign up and use my referral code, I get $25 credit. Help me not enter stores and remember why I shouldn’t have had all that ice cream. It’s kind of an obligation at this point.
I forgot to tell you that I also picked up George Orwell’s 1984 at the library. Can you believe I’ve never read it? No. Not even I. Back to that genre chat we were having, I want to read this to see if any of my novel fits, or shares anything that could be sci-fi related. Intriguing isn’t it? Will there be Catholic themes – oh yeah! But there’s also romance, maybe sci-fi, maybe fantasy, a little suspense, peppered with some Dystopian jazz. Not literally, jazz. How does that all work? Does it work? I don’t know. It’s a work in progress, ahem, writers say it’s a WIP.
My husband signed us up for a bowling league. Granted, he can’t play for the first few weeks due to medical issues. So the averages are all me. Can you imagine? He’s trying to get us to be more social and do things together. Which I love. The bowling with my new cold, not so much. That’s tonight. All I really want is some NyQuil and Throat Coat tea, but this was a really sweet gesture on his part, so I’ll offer it up. Who knows, I may just bowl my face off and bowl over 150.
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