Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Associate by John Grisham

Today I read The Associate by John Grisham instead of pressing NaNoWriMo.  Shame on me.  Maybe tomorrow I'll put some glue on my butt and sit down and write.

NaNoWriMo Day 30

NaNoWriMo got left in the dust. 

Ultimately it couldn't compete with food, football, and family. 

I've gotten about 30,000 words on paper.  Vowing to self to complete a first draft of Bon Secour by New Year's Day.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Little Saigon by T. Jefferson Parker

Today I finished Little Saigon by T. Jefferson Parker.  A thriller set in the Southern California Vietnamese community.  It was a welcome respite from a four day family Thanksgiving.   A today I'm going to do something for myself moment.  I love how you can enter a new world with a book and be carried away. 

Thanksgiving Holiday was a lot of food, football and grandchildren.  I love them all.  I'm glad to be back on my diet and the familiar path of everyday living.

Bama came close but in the end we beat ourselves and Auburn will be representing the state in the National Championship if they get past "the old ball coach."

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Writing Fiction for Dummies by Randy Ingermanson

Today I finished reading Writing Fiction for Dummies by Randy Ingermanson and Peter Economy.

I have been following Ingermanson's blog, AdvancedFictionWriting.com , for months.  An offer came from his publisher to receive a Kindle version of Writing Fiction for Dummies for free while I was in the middle of writng for NaNoWriMo.  I was having some questions about scene structure. So, I signed up, downloaded the book and read about scene structure.  I learned a three things.  1. I'm not crazy about using Kindle for a reference book because it's more difficult than simply turning pages to find something you want to look at again.  2. His book is as good as his blog, which I heartily recommend, and I needed this book for future reference on paper.  3. Don't turn your nose up just because the book is for Dummies. 

Now I admit there is some snob in me.  And, I would be a little bit embarassed if someone looking at my reference bookshelf commented on my for Dummies book.  What with me being a serious author and all.  The book deserves to be on my bookself.  In fact, it deserves to be open at my side as I write.  It has a lot of stuff that I need to know.

One of the first things that attracted me to Ingermanson was the concept of MRUs, motivation - reaction units.  He describes MRUs in depth in both his blog and in this book.  It's a concept he gives Dwight Swain credit for.  In Writing Fiction for Dummies he names MRUs - Private clips and Public clips.  It is a facinating way of describing the way things occur and a powerful writing tool.

I really liked this book.  I give it three stars.  Check his blog out.  It's great too.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Die Trying by Lee Child

Today I finished reading Die Trying by Lee Child.  A most enjoyable read. 

Last week I finished the outline of the third act with it's thrilling climax of the novel I am writing in connection with NaNoWriMo.  I had previously written the dialogue for Act 1 and 2.  So this week I wanted begin writing the narrative and descriptive portions of each scene. 

When I started writing the description and narrative portions of the scenes.  I hit a STONE WALL.  In business I learned to cut through the fluff and get to the bottom line as quickly as possible.  What is the essence of the problem.  What is the solution.  Summarize on one page.  Skills developed over many years.  Honed to an edge.  Cut to the marrow.  

That was the problem.  My chapters had no fluff or very much meat.  Everything was cut to the bone.  And I realized.  While I like to read literature, I don't think that way.  I do understand that I need to describe a scene fully from a point of view so that a reader can be in the scene with the point of view character.  But I don't look at things in detail.  I paint things with a broad brush.  The details are a struggle.  Tonight I'll finish with only 30,000 words.  I'm worried that I will possibly finish my novel, Bon Secour, with less than 50,000 words in total.  If my novel needs to be 100,000 words long, what will I do?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Night and Day by Robert B. Parker

Today I finished reading Night and Day by Robert B. Parker. 

I am feeling so much frustration this week writing NaNoWriMo.  The words are just not flowing.  Seeking inspiration I went to the library to pick up another Lee Child novel but came home with this Jesse Stone novel by Parker. 

There is something about the dialogue in a Jesse Stone novel that is just so wonderful.  I wish my own dialogue for my NaNoWriMo attempt, Bon Secour, would be half a much fun to read.  I realized that narrative and description in a Jesse Stone novel by Parker is very lean.  The story rides on the dialogue.  Makes me feel better about my miserable descriptive abilities.  Makes me realize my characters don't talk enough either.

I really like Tom Sellick as an actor.  I was a big fan of Magnum PI and I think Quigley Down Under is one of the very best western, ever.  I truly love the Jesse Stone character.  I can't imagine anyone but Sellick playing the part.  I started reading Robert B. Parker after I had seen the made for TV movies starring Sellick.  Now I am a huge Parker fan.

I will miss Robert B. Parker and future Jesse Stone novels.  God Bless.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Tripwire by Lee Child

Today I finished reading Tripwire by Lee Child. 

Enjoying Child's style of writing while thinking about fleshing out scenes for NaNoWriMo.

He has an easy to read style. Great dialogue and a real hero in his character, Jack Reacher.

Half way through NaNoWriMo.  Have 23,000 words.  A little behind schedule.  But I finally worked through the outline for the third act this weekend.  Now the third act is ready for dialogue.

Next up is to begin writing the descriptive portion of the scenes.

Today I attempted to divide the story into forty chapters.  We'll see how they hold up.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Oh Kindle, I Want to Turn the Page

I was reading the wonderful blog, Advanced Fiction Writing, authored by Randy Ingermanson this weekend.  His blog has been a fantastic source of information on how to write.  I have been cutting and pasting blogs into MS Word documents so that I could highlight, underline and otherwise mark-up as I studied what Randy had to say on topics.

I was aware that he had put his blogs together as a part of a book, Writing Fiction For Dummies, co-authored with Peter Economy.  Anyway, the blog I was reading said the book was being offered as a Kindle download at a special price for a limited time - FREE!

Can't do better than that price.  So I downloaded the book and began reading it on my PC via Kindle for PC.

Because I am writing a novel as a NaNoWriMo participant this month and it was time for me to begin fleshing out my dialogue with description and narration, I wanted to read Writing Fiction For Dummies's chapters on scenes. 

And when I did, I found out why I want paper pages.  When you finish chapter 11 and want to jump to chapter 14, its really hard to do in Kindle.  Turning to the next page is easy.  Jumping around in a book.  Not very easy.

I think reading a novel will be fine.  But, I logged onto Amazon and bought the book to hold in my hand and read.  Now, I'm waiting for Amazon to deliver.  Maybe that's why it was free.  Hook me with a free Kindle version then sell me the hard copy I really want.  Good marketing!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Killing Floor by Lee Child

Finished reading The Killing Floor by Lee Child.

This was the first novel written by Lee Child.   It was very interesting to compare the style of The Hard Way which was written approximately 10 books later.  The Hard Way was written almost completely in dialogue.  The Killing Floor was written in a more conventional manner of description and dialogue.

I am enjoying taking breaks from NaNoWriMo to read Child's novels.  This is the end of week one of NaNoWriMo.  I have 15,926 words written using an fairly detailed outline of my first two acts and the briefest, sketchiest outline of the third act.  I don't have a very good idea how we will get to the final scene.

Monday, November 1, 2010

NaNoWriMo Day 1

Today National Novel Writing Month began.  With an outline and defined characters, I began in earnest.

The result 3,353 words.  Ninety-eight percent dialogue.

I had read several sources suggesting that by writing only dialogue with no "he saids" you would capture the essence of your story.   And if your story took an unexpected twist causing scenes to be dropped, you wouldn't lose the time spent on description, exposition, and narrative.

That sounded like a good idea so that's what I tried to do.

Most of my dialogue was too 'on the nose' to survive editing, but there were times when I was really enjoying the banter between my characters. 

All in all it was a fun day.  I'm glad that I am doing NaNoWriMo. 

I've told enough people about doing it that I can't quit without being embarassed.

Well Pilgrim, Write.