Monthly Archives: August 2013

Novel stuff and a Lord of the Rings idea

I have no novel progress to report, and that bugs me. I’ve been writing a lot, sure enough, in articles and a short story I’m fiddling with, but I’ve been so busy that nothing’s been added to the novel. What bugs me is, this is what frequently happens. I get started, and then stuff comes up and somehow I never proceed any further than the beginning, I make blog posts like this one about how I WANT to work on it, but haven’t gotten to it. Eventually, it slips away and I get busy with other stuff. Even further eventually, it slips off the “working on” pile and becomes a corpse.

I don’t want that to happen this time, so I’m trying to be aware of it. I’m a few articles ahead of myself at BookRiot, so I’m hoping that tonight I can focus my brain enough to sit down and work on the book. I want this one to happen, dammit. I have a feeling of being irrelevant as a writer until I start producing books. That may be an irrational and silly feeling, but there it is.


So recently, I’ve been watching Game of Thrones (which it turns out I love) and re-watching the Lord of the Rings extended editions, which I haven’t particularly seen in years and years now. It’s gotten me thinking about the Lord of the Rings novels. I read them exactly once, back when the Lord of the Rings movies were first coming out. I read them in vicinity of the Two Towers release, but I no longer remember precisely when in there. (god. That was 2002. I wasn’t even married yet. That was a lifetime ago.)

So I’ve been watching this stuff and thinking I should re-read the novels. It’s been a lifetime, as I said. And I thought it might be fun to read them, chapter by chapter, here on the blog. Maybe give it its own page. Once a week (or so) read a chapter, post my summary of it, my rambling thoughts and notes about it.

What’s more, it’d be fun to have people read it along with me. Significantly more fun than just reading it by myself. Isn’t this what the internet’s for? SO WE CAN ALL READ BOOKS TOGETHER?

It is. You don’t need to look it up. It’s for this, boobs, and cats.

So if that’s an interesting idea to you, lemme know, here or over on twitter. If it seems like fun to anyone besides me, then I’ll figure out a schedule. It’ll give us something fun to do over the winter. Hell, we could even read through The Silmarillion, a book I own an expensive copy of for the pictures alone and nothing else. I have never managed to read more than a handful of pages of that book.

Anyway, let me know.


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Posted by on August 19, 2013 in Uncategorized


An avalanche of writery bits (Novel Update #2)

Working away on the novel. Done about four pages so far of handwritten material. I was intending to go maybe the entire first draft handwritten, but we’ll see if I need to shift or not. Handwriting is wonderful, but a problem I have is that it’s a lot slower and that can cause the writing (in this case, the novel) to get lost in the mix of other stuff, and I don’t want that to happen.

And boy is there a lot of other stuff.

I have got a whole pile of articles to write, plus in September I’m going to start doing a lot more book reviews (not piles of them, mind; that’s not really what BookRiot goes in for, it doesn’t seem…but I do plan to do a number of them each month, because I enjoy them a lot) plus here in August I’ve got two or three articles I want to get done and dusted before I forget all about them.

Plus, I just discovered a really nifty anthology from the always cool World Weaver Press about Fairy stories involving actual, definite fairies. What frequently happens is that I’ll read the type of story an anthology is looking for and in the process, get a story idea based on their theme. I love doing that. It was no different here. I’ve thought up a fairy story, and it involves Charles Dickens about whom I’ve read a staggering amount of biographical material, so I can pretend that my years of obsessing is actually research.

Some day I’ll explain the peculiar exhilaration and enjoyment of writing a historical figure about whom you know a whole bunch. But not tonight.

The novel proceeds interestingly. I thought the first scene would be kind of off-kilter and odd, but what I didn’t expect was an instant atmosphere of terror and menace. I figured that would turn up eventually, but two pages in? That was a surprise. I doubt it’ll last, because I couldn’t sustain a book with nothing but THAT for the whole of it. It’s just interesting how the scene dictated its own mood. I like when that happens.

Right. Time to work. 

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Posted by on August 16, 2013 in Uncategorized


Half of Everything (Novel Update #1)


Yesterday, went off to see Star Trek Into Darkness (or Star Trekkin To Darkness, depending on where you put your space) for a second time because it was at a 

nearby cheap seats theater, and because I really liked the film and can’t wait for it to appear in a buyable form. I think it’s really clever Star Trek, which is a relief, and I was surprised to find myself declaring it my favorite Star Trek movie of them all, apart from Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country which is probably unmovable at this point.

(At the concession stand, buying some popcorn, the nice girl behind the counter sold us Star Trek t-shirts, too. I hope they don’t keep offering T-shirts for films because I am a sucker for black t-shirts with things on ’em)

Anyway, it was good I’d already seen the film because it was kind of a wreck. First thirty minutes of the film, the theater lights were up. The sound was too loud (you would wince every time a high-pitched monster would scream) and the picture 

wasn’t fitted to the screen, so any captions you needed to read were only a bit there. And then it all went horribly wrong halfway through when the picture vanished…and stayed vanished. People grumbled and came and went. We collected our stuff to go and discovered that the theater bulb had exploded, so we got free tickets for a different show (which makes me happy, in that Pacific Rim is coming to the cheap seats quite soon. AND WILL THEY SELL ME A T-SHIRT WITH GIANT ROBOTS AND MONSTERS ON IT? I HOPE THEY WILL)

So we went to the local mall to walk…only to discover that the mall’s ongoing remodeling meant that — inexplicably — they had brought in cranes and bulldozers and physically demolished half the mall. That was a new one by me. So we walked half a mall after seeing half a movie.

I expected, when we went for dinner, that we would get halfway through our food and the restaurant would catch on fire or something, but the theme failed to continue.

“How’s the writing going?” Oh you know. It goes and it goes. Well, it doesn’t really. Very hard to carve writing space out of the day. Hard doesn’t equal impossible, though. I keep writing notes for this novel in my spare time — I’m calling it FUGUE right now, because it fits, but it’s not very descriptive or interesting so it may change.


I’m fascinated by the note-taking. I keep writing down situations I want to explore somewhere in the novel, and then they lead to more situations and ideas. If THIS 

happens, then THIS character would react THUSLY and this would change a later portion of the book LIKE SO…

THe book isn’t outlined or particularly plotted. It’s has a plot but mostly a lot of room to explore a couple of people and the world in which they move, which is all I wanted. I have no idea how long a book this is gonna be. I thought it would be pretty short, practically a long-novella, but the more I explore my notes the more I realize I have to unpack and talk about. The trick is how long I can sustain a very quiet narrative about two people mostly failing to interact overtly before it gets boring. 200,000 words of that would have worked for Proust, but Proust I am not. 

I have the first two long scenes full in my head. I know all about them. What happens right after that I actually have no idea, and I’m pleased that I’m not worrying about it at all. I just want to get these two scenes down clearly and then I’ll go from there.

And of course, it’s proving useful that I have BookRiot articles to write and books to read and maybe review. It’s useful to stop and wander off for a bit to kvetch in article form, then come back to the book. I like that a lot. 

Right. Off to scribble some notes and then maybe get this scene moving. 

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Posted by on August 12, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Dusting off the blog

Dusting off the blog

I never blog very much, and I always kind of regret it, because I love blogs.

A good blog is fantastic. Browsing a long and scrupulously updated blog is a pleasure, as you travel not only through the years of a person’s life, but also a recent time period. That’s terrific. So I read them and love them and then look guiltily at my own sadly neglected blog.

Why is mine so neglected? The problem, I guess, is that I have too many outlets for my thinkerings. Things that can become article-shaped do and go live on BookRiot, or somewhere. Things that are story shaped go into stories. Random rants on various topics that cross my fevered brain go onto twitter, where I would probably claim citizenship if I could.

So all of this is to offer a complicated preamble to “I want to use my blog more,” and the bit where I forget about it and FAIL to use my blog more.

I’m working on a novel.

I’m always nervous to even mention in it, in that I’m terrified I’ll jinx it and the whole project will collapse instantly. Mainly because I have so little novelistic confidence, I guess.

I’m not a natural novelist. The easy muscles I have for short stories and articles just don’t seem to exist for novels, and I dunno why. I suppose it’s just not what I’m naturally suited for. Just like I’m a happy long-distance runner, but am terrible at sprints and hate them.

Still, as much as I like reading blogs, I like reading the blogged process of a novel being written. It’s so much fun to reach the point in, say, Neil Gaiman’s blog where he’s writing the first bits of ANANSI BOYS, and then you go on reading through to him finishing the book, it being published, and so on. And since I’m working on this book right now and enjoying it enormously, I thought it light be fun to blog my way through it.

There’s also the practical, mercenary aspect of this which is that if I blog and talk about it, I’m hoping it’ll keep me working when I get discouraged, which is probably inevitable.

So. This is the plan. Next post, maybe I’ll usefully talk about the book? Or running? Or something? See, it’s already losing focus and going off the rails…

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Posted by on August 10, 2013 in Uncategorized