Sunday, March 29, 2009

A Useful Reference

I just thought it’d be a good time to mention the wonderful Emotion, setting and description, and color texture and shape Thesaurus compiled by The Bookshelf Muse, its been pretty helpful to me since I stumbled across it.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Horse Pills And Applesauce

I’m done, as of yesterday I decided that better health isn’t worth the hassle I endure with multivitamins.
They’re too large for me to swallow whole so I have to crush them up and add them to applesauce; the flavor is awful. I can swallow a pill (a small one) with no problem so it looks like I’ll have to go shopping for new, smaller multivitamins…assuming they exist.

On an unrelated note, I may have to give the dog a bath soon. He’s gone far too long without one and trying to add bird poo to his scent is where I draw the line.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Critique: Twilight

I decided to pick up and read this book after hearing all the positive and negative opinions about it and decided I wanted to see for myself, hopefully learning something useful along the way.

As a reader:
I found the book to be pretty slow and uninteresting through the beginning; I wasn’t particularly interested in the main character or her day-to-day life. I became a little more interested near the later half of the book where I feel like it picked up significantly. There were strange parts where names were mentioned that weren’t mentioned before and other small things which were odd but weren’t too distracting.

As a writer:
I found unusual sentences that didn’t sound right, some issues with perspective, and typos. I noticed there were a lot of semicolons, which doesn’t really bother me but makes me wonder how many are too many for a novel.
The novel made me think about starting a story with action vs. starting slow and leading up to more, and the effects they both can have over readers. When I do more reading I plan on looking into it further.

Not a particularly comprehensive critique, but it’s a learning experience for me.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Maybe I Was Wrong About The Writer's Block

Wow that didn't take too long, with a little effort I managed to go from nineteen pages to twenty-four and finally end chapter three. It's a little shaky and needs editing but I got there.

I'd forgotten just how helpful writing was for my mood. It makes time pass by faster and gives me something to do. It also helps me generate ideas for the rest of the story. Just last night I figured out some more ideas for the plot and characters...still at a loss for the environment though.

I've read in different places that its recommended to create a basic outline before you start the story that way you have something to work from and stick to as opposed to just jumping in and wandering through; I tend to like both ideas, and last night both worked together nicely.

Of course, now I'm stuck again...

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Purple prose

Friday, while doing my usual search through the Absolute Write website I found a topic about one particular book deemed filled with what others referred to as “Purple prose.” I had heard mention of the term before and had a basic idea of what it was, but today I’ve decided it might be interesting to lean the exact definition and maybe read around to learn a few ways to avoid it.

*Maybe I should mention at this point that while the thread talks about Purple prose it also uses some examples from a few erotic pages of a novel, and the comments in the thread are also probably not something you want your child to read so be warned.

Purple Prose defines it as “writing that calls attention to itself because of its obvious use of certain effects, as exaggerated sentiment or pathos, esp. in an attempt to enlist or manipulate the reader's sympathies.”

I found a longer definition on Wikipedia:
“Purple prose is a term of literary criticism used to describe passages, or sometimes entire literary works, written in prose so overly extravagant, ornate, or flowery as to break the flow and draw attention to itself. Purple prose is sensually evocative beyond the requirements of its context. It also refers to writing that employs certain rhetorical effects such as exaggerated sentiment or pathos in an attempt to manipulate a reader's response.”

Well, while I was successful in getting a definition for Purple prose I wasn’t able to find any clear tips on it. I guess maybe I didn’t look hard enough. Either way, I learned something new, and what I’ve taken from this whole research attempt was to watch what I write carefully.

Oh, and though it’s an older post another writer, David Malasarn (The Literary Lab) wrote about Purple prose if you’re looking for more to read about it.

Maybe someone has an example they'd like to share here for fun?
(Just mind the language)

Time Management

In the course of one day I've managed to increase my load of daily activities by quite a bit.

Of course there's still the must-haves: video games and sleeping for long hours (I'm getting around to working on that one) but now I've added working on manuscripts, reading up on writing, keeping up with the blog (and others blogs), reading, critiquing what I've read, and chores. Oh and walking the dog...that ones very important.

Well, maybe getting it all done isn't that difficult, but what it got me thinking about was the idea of how much time you should spend doing each activity. Maybe there isn't a set amount of time each person should spend on say, writing, but I wonder how much time you should spend researching and studying tools of the trade.

I seem to be doing just fine as I am now (I'm sure that will change within a month or so) so I'll stick with it, but how do you divide up your time between life and writing?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

On Improving My Writing

Everywhere I go I read that one of the best things you can do for your writing - other than just writing - is to read, read, read. Having lately not been able to pick up a book and take anything from it other than rereading a line over and over again yet not comprehending what I just read, I took a break from it. Now I feel like I can get back into it and - hopefully - learn something so my plan is to look for some books to read - preferably ones around my genre, read them, and try to take something from them if I can. Maybe I'll learn something useful, maybe not, either way I'll be reading again and it'll at least give me practice on critiquing, which I seriously need work on.

Okay, so maybe Twilight isn't quite what I'd normally read, I figured I'd try reading it to see what the buzz is all about, both good and bad. I think it'd be a good place to start.

Trying Again

After deciding to take a much-needed break away from my first manuscript and its most reccent edit I decided to go back to one of the unfinished ones I hadn't touched in over two months. I figured, new computer, why not break it in?

I did a little editing on the one I created last (shall for the present be named "Wanted") and realized something: I like my writing better when it's in third person than when I write first person, it seems more developed. That's not to say I don't like the first person manuscript, but it feels like it probably wouldn't be very well received anyway...maybe I'll try rewriting it in third person to see how it looks.

Anyways, I spent quite some time editing what I'd written of Wanted (sadly, only 19 pages) only to still be stuck at the same point. Well, this time around I have a vague idea of what I'd like to happen next, but the specifics in getting to that point aren't there. Perhaps some sleep will bring about a revelation.

Blogging: Day One

So, this is my first post for my new blog (boring, I know). My plans for this space are to post updates to my writing, interesting things I learn or read about, and maybe get some discussion going on topics, most of which will be related to writing...if I can manage to stay focused that is.

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