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Right, as I’m apparently now writing again, in more ways than one, I suppose I should talk a little about tomorrow/today. Tomorrow/today being the first day of Camp NaNoWriMo.
Camp NaNo is a satellite event for NaNoWriMo – ie, so we can keep writing all year rather than just for a bit. It has a lot fewer rules, and is a lot more rough and ready – like a cage fight, in many ways.
Me; I’m setting myself a challenge – get the last few bits of the book I wrote last november into shape. I’ve been intermittently editing and tweaking and sometimes even writing it for the last few months, and I’m getting closer and closer. But I need to blitz it.
[Maybe a part of that should be writing on here again too…]
My part being on the way, then, I say to anyone out there who likes to write, join me. It’ll be fun! I hate to be the kind of blogger who solicits comments, but I’m going to make an exception now – tell me if you write. Tell me what you’re writing. Have you written even a single word today?
My wordcount so far – 228.
I’ve been pretty lax this year about writing for solstice. Or for Christmas. Or, frankly, for any other holiday around this time of year that includes cold weather, presents, alcohol and togetherness.
So, late as I am and late as I can, I’m going tell you about the music I’ve been listening to.
OK, lets start with this – I collect Christmas music. I know, I know; I should probably be talking to a support group about this particular eccentricity rather than you. But music is what I talk about on this site, and dammit, I’m going to.
I collect it, and not because it’s cheesy, or laughable, or glurgy – all of which are fair assessments. No, I collect it because some of it is excellent, and I want to celebrate this holiday with excellent music. If you saw any of my posts last year leading up to Christmas, you’ll see that there’s some odd stuff on there, and not all of it is traditionally Christmassy. But then again, what is? Pretty much anything can be festive with enough bells and trumpets. Just look at Prokofiev.
So, don’t get put off. And with that in mind, listen to these albums:
- Jethro Tull, rather than it being a cop-out like I expected, made a fantastic Christmas album in 2003, called the obvious “Jethro Tull Christmas Album”. It is REALLY GOOD
- This year I’ve discovered what this is. Apparently there ARE Christmas protest songs!
- Courtesy of Greta, I’ve been listening to The Doubtful Palace’s collection of odd christmas songs. Oh yes, they are good – I’m just not sure what to do with them all. All – including a very clever cover of Bohemian Rhapsody, “Christmas Rhapsody” – can be downloaded for free here.
- Kevin Bloody Wilson’s “Kev’s Kristmas” – Look, I have it on good authority that this is good stuff, and it’s comedy rock! From Australia! You know, Minchin-land! I haven’t heard this, but I’m waiting until tomorrow for that. ‘Til then.
- I keep meaning to buy this, and maybe will in the next few hours, but this compilation by Tiny Lights starts with The Futureheads’ “Christmas Was Better In The 80’s”, a cracking track. If the rest is anywhere near as good, then my future purchase will be worth it!
Happy Solstice, all, I’ll see you in a bit. I have an actual Christmas round-up in the works soon, so I’ll be back then. Til then, here’s to you!
For those who weren’t there, here is last year’s “Twelve Days of Solstice” as chosen by me, and counting up to Christmas day:
Scratch that; definitely. I got linked to this because Little Red Reviewer is away, and I love Patrick Rothfuss. It’s an interview with him by what looks like a really cool little online interview program called “Sword & Laser”. Presumably it focuses on “Sci-Fi & Fantasy”.*
You may have heard me mention a while back that I finished reading “The Wise Man’s Fear” by Rothfuss. I can’t really recommend enough that you read the first book, “The Name of The Wind”, and move on up.
Anyway, I have decided, thanks to this interview, that Patrick Rothfuss is my new writing idol. His answers are exactly the answers I want to give, if I were an eloquent, smart, writerly… person- thingy.
Watch it! The next episode is Jim Butcher! Even better!
Also, he just snuck in that he does NaNoWriMo. YES! AND that he found it difficult. DOUBLE YES!!
And he just described something as “Full of Win”. Just yes.
* I recently got informed that all true fans of Sci-Fi call it SF. I have no idea how to respond to that, other than by saying that when I write it, I will call it what I like.
Gonna launch straight into this one:
* Cold Days, The Dresden Files #14, is out today!
I love the Dresden Files so very much, and I tell you now, being in town today is going to seriously harm my chances of EVER being able to resist buying this book. It’s been 11 months since my last Harry Dresden fix, and I’m not sure what to do with myself!
* Secondly, I finished “Leviathan Wakes” last night, after really enjoying it. OK, it was a bit odd in parts, but I’m looking forward to book two, which is out now, and book three is out soon too.
Now, after my post the other day, I simply have to pick a new book to read from my pile. AND FAST!
* And finally, I won NaNo. WOOP! I have officially written 50,000 words of a novel. True, I haven’t validated it yet, so the Office of Letters and Light doesn’t necessarily agree with me – but I refuse to do that until I’ve hit 56,000. (Or 60,000, depending on how you look at it.)
So, today seems to me like a victory for books, unless you’re from the future and my novel is the harbinger of doom to the art of novel writing.* Let’s hope not.
More Dresden art!
* If you are from the future, get off the internet, and stop procrastinating!
Three weeks in, and Susan J Morris of the excellent Writer’s Don’t Cry – seriously, I’ve been going through all of her back catalogue, and she really knows what she’s talking about – has said the most important thing about keeping writing that I think I’ve ever heard.
Keep reading books while you write.
More importantly, she says “read these books.”
Now, I’m barely going to talk about her list of books, other than the fact that she’s put “The Name Of The Wind” on there makes me want to read all the others. Instead I want to say that this is the advice that I was worried that no-one would ever give, because when I started NaNo I thought that the opposite would be true.
For an anecdote, let me say this – about a week ago, I had a bout with writer’s block. OK, it was incredibly short lived, and was killed easily. But for the whole few weeks of NaNoWriMo before that, I had been neck deep in Patrick Rothfuss’ “The Wise Man’s Fear”. And suddenly it ended. In a fit of “no goddamned genre savvy at all”, I decided to take a few days before starting the next book on my list – James S. A. Corey’s “Leviathan Wakes”, my first bit of sci-fi in ages.
BIG. FUCKING. MISTAKE. For the next day or so, suddenly ideas were falling from between my fingers, and suddenly this whole writing lark seemed impossible.
With nothing to fill my time with, and writing hurting my brain, I was forced back into reading (not that I took much forcing). And the writing thing went away.
OK, it wasn’t a one hundred percent difference – I still had to work at it, like always – but there was a difference, and it was marked.
So if you’re writing, and if my experience is anything like transferrable, then don’t do what some people have been doing and stop reading. Attack your book pile with more fervour than ever.
I realised halfway through this article that it had become a pep talk for WriMos, and for any other writers out there. My experience is limited, but if it helps, it helps. And you should be reading anyway.
I’ve had so much ponies the last few days.
Taking a break from writing for NaNo to write this. I’ve just been checking out Pharyngula (hat tip goes here) and THIS. IS. AMAZING!
I literally couldn’t get more than a minute in without collapsing inwards into a tiny puddle of happy scorn. To quote, here is the line that did it. At 47 seconds, Eric Hovind says this:
“IF YOU DON’T KNOW EVERYTHING, THEN YOU CAN’T KNOW ANYTHING TO BE ABSOLUTELY TRUE.”
Ignoring the fact he’s arguing with a 6th grader*, that is mental. Though a part of me wants to argue with it seriously – division of cognitive labour, talented idiots, “if God hasn’t told you, Eric, the whole truth about all of the universe then you, Eric, must be full of shit”, whatever – I’m going to ignore that little bit of me, and just say this:
You, Eric, are an idiot.
Now back to the actual writing, which is going pretty well. Only a week to go!
* I don’t know how old that is, but it can’t be that old, judging by his voice.
Well, I’m free to write a post today, as I am already over today’s target. Yay!
That in itself should tell you exactly how well I feel I’m doing, but just to make it clear; I’ve managed to make targets every day except for yesterday, which I made up the difference for today. Awesome.
I won’t bother boring you with anything about the book itself, but the writing process has been just amazing. The people on the same journey as me have been awesome and fun and motivating, and the system for NaNoWriMo is, I think, damn near perfect. The right level of terror and encouragement.
In short, if any of you have a novel you want to write, but can’t motivate yourself, think about doing NaNoWriMo next year. And throw yourself into the social side!
Anyway, enough soapboxing, I need to get back to writing, so I can be WAY AHEAD as soon as possible!
Instead, I’ll just treat you to one of the videos we watched today, and used as Pippa’s leaving theme!
It’s begun, and I’ve officially won day one, even after a sloppy start. So; yay to me. To celebrate, here is what we watched at today’s Write-In:
As I indicated at the beginning of the last post, stuff! Stuff that will shake you to your very core!
Starting with this picture:
As a few of you who frequent the internet may know, November is National Novel Writing Month. (The word “National” means nothing here, as it’s online, and the internet is a nation unto itself.) Essentially, the spiel is that aspiring writers pledge to, over the course of a 30 day period, write a novel of 50,000 words or more – averaging at 1667 words per day. This is, obviously, a huge commitment.
And I have decided to give it a go.
I’ve been planning to write a book for a bit now, and I’ve been planning my WriMo-ing for a little less. I’ve been very sporadic recently about updates, and a part of that has been because “reviewing time” has been superceded by “novel planning time”. (It’s also because I’m shit at organising myself – hence why a month of writing every day is both a terrifying prospect and an exciting dream-come-true.)
But obviously, writing a book will cut into my reviewing time a fair bit. So, as of the end of this setlist, and on Halloween night no less, I am suspending “The Hang of Music” for at least a month. I will not be writing any reviews until I’ve hit those 50k words, I warn you now!
I will, perhaps, be putting up some creative writing, as a replacement for this semi-regular feature, but don’t worry, I won’t be subjecting any of you to unwanted beta reading here: only my closest friends will be tormented by serious prose the shade of purple.
FYI, though, if any of you are doing NaNoWriMo this year, please get in contact with me on there – my username is “Hatful_of_Napalm”, and I’d love to see a friendly face on the fora! And the point of NaNo is to give us all a time to write, so we can all pull together, so socialising is always nice!
Anyway, thanks for reading, sorry about the lateness, and see you in a few days – I am off to invent some fictions!