This is a list of books I read during 2014, I’ve been making an effort to finish more books. I’m getting to that place in my life where I have trouble finding time to read, I remember when I was younger wondering how that was even possible, but I’m starting to understand. A lot of times it isn’t even that I don’t have enough time, it’s simply that I don’t have enough energy or focus. After a long day it’s so much easier to veg out in front of the Tv, instead of reading. The problem is I’m a reader, I love to read, and when I don’t read I feel like I’m failing myself in someway. So I’m working on regaining an attention span that’s been stolen by hours of tv and the internet. At the end of 2015 I hope to post a longer list.
Supervillian Hunters: International
Dreams and Shadows
Supervillains of London
Regan O’Reilly: Private Investigator
Writing your Novel from the Middle
Fortunately the Milk
Chasing the Star Garden
S.H.R.A.I.D: Shadow Play
Superhero of the Day
Shadow and Bone
Lady of Devices
The Girl and the Clockwork Cat
The Night Circus
The Book of Kindly Deaths
Ocean at the End of the Lane (reread)
In Silence Waiting
Alice and Wonderland
Slow Regard of Silent Things
Dragons of Dorcastle
If you haven’t checked out Phenomena’s Epic Hero Contest yet you should. Artwork and writing is being accepted until the 15th and even if you don’t enter anything there are some great stories and artwork. I submitted a story called “Broken” and my friend Katie Lynn Daniels–author of Supervillain of the Day ( http://supervillainoftheday.com/ )–submitted a great story called “Dark Angel” check them out 😉
Life can be challenging for writers and artists because we live in two worlds. We live in reality where we work our 9 to 5 jobs, we do chores, we run errands and spend time with family and friends, we live like most everyone else. But for the creatively minded we live in a second world as well, one that often seems to conflict with reality, we live in our heads, we live with our dreams and our imagination. We want to spend our days creating new masterpieces, but most of us can’t do that. Instead we spend a majority of our time doing the things that need to get done. We must settle for doing the things we want to do in our sparse free time, a time that we divide between: errands, chores and spending time with the important people in our lives, and sometimes by the time we have free time all we want to do is sleep. It’s hard to live in two worlds at once.
Sometimes it feels as though our dreams are being weighed down by a giant millestone called Reality. Unfortunately reality isn’t going to go away. The only thing we can do is make our dreams strong enough that they can bear the weight. It’s not easy, it’s hard work, but it’s the price we pay for living in two worlds.
~~Lady of the Pen~~
What’s your opinion of e-books? We all have one. Some people love them because it’s convenient, others are purely traditional, some people don’t really care and will read either, and others consider e-books to be a horrible sacrilege which will herald the downfall of books.
For me I have a strong attachment to physical books. I love being able to flip through the pages, put it on my shelf and remember the adventure I experienced between its covers each time I look at it. Not to mention there’s a very particular book smell that I simply adore; it’s the smell of a book that’s been around, it’s passed from hand to hand and shared the company of many other great books and as a result has gained a rich scent like a fine vintage wine…
I think I’m beginning to get off topic. The point is I love physical books and nothing can ever replace that love. But having said that, digital books do have their place in the world. They’re small and compact and I can buy books and receive them instantly, it’s very convenient. E-books are also giving Indie authors more options to work with. I for one keep an eye open for promising looking free and 99 cent e-books, even if I’ve never heard of the author before. It’s a good way for new authors to establish themselves.
I know some people feel threatened by e-books. They’re afraid traditional books will disappears. But from what I’ve seen most people who read e-book still read physical books as well. I doubt the physical book is going anywhere soon. But even if it does I recently read something that Stephen King said that put it all into prospective…”The book is not the important part, the book is the delivery system. The important part is the story and the talent.” I think sometime we get too caught up in the medium, the truth of the matter is that what we really love are stories. We might have a preference of what form that story comes in, but in the end it’s about the story, not the packaging.
~~Lady of the Pen~~
I use a purple pen.
Editing has never been my strong suit. I used to just celebrate if I managed to finish something and basically felt that I was done and eagerly moved on to the next project. As I’ve gotten older, more experienced as a writer, and more serious about getting published the realization that I actually have to edit what I write has weighed heavily on me.
I hated the idea of editing. “I should be done.” “I don’t want to change things,” “I barely want to proofread,” “I just wanted to work on my next great idea.”
The problem is I was constantly chasing after my newest greatest idea and leaving a trail of decrepit stories in my wake that could be made whole with a lot of love and attention.
Over time I’ve slowly learned me lesson. I managed to get to a point where I didn’t hate editing, then almost enjoying it. This year I’ve made it my focus to edit my novel from last November instead of moving on to something else and I’m actually starting to enjoy editing. It seems so overwhelming when I first start and I can’t imagine how I’ll do it. But then I start reading and I start making little notes, which turn into longer notes and suddenly I’m cutting out scenes and putting in new ones and I’m getting excited. Excited that I’m making the story better, that I’m learning to understand my characters and their motivation and what the stories really about.
So I seem to finally be getting the editing thing, which is good, considering I’m hoping to publish this story.
I hope you guys have had a less rocky path to understanding the importance of editing. What are techniques and strategies you use in your editing? (I hope that didn’t sound too much like the teacher at the end of a children’s Bible story.)
~~Lady of the Pen~~
It suddenly came to my attention that I really haven’t mentioned anything on my blog about my current project. I recently finished the first draft on a novel I started during NaNoWriMo and am working on pumping out a second draft now.
This isn’t actually what the train would look like, but it’s awesome, so I’m using it
The story centers around Valerie, a girl, in the 1930s who runs away from home and is hopping trains across the country looking for work. During her travels she is caught in a storm and seeks shelter on a passing train. When a strange woman interrogates her onboard Valerie learns that this train defies all reason and leaving it may be harder than she thought.
Hopefully I’ll finish my second draft soon and can find some beta readers to help me make it better ^^
~~Lady of the Pen~~
One of the interesting things about being a writer is you begin to understand how other writers think and as a result you can often figure out where a story is going. I was watching ‘The Bates Motel’ with my mom last night and I kept saying character’s dialogue a moment before they did. She thought it was the funniest thing in the world, which I think had to do with the late hour.
I remember when I was younger I thought I’d make a great detective because I could usually figure out “who done it.” It wasn’t until later that I realized that I wasn’t figuring it out because of the clues so much as by how the characters were presented and how they interacted with each other and who I would have made the killer.
As a result of understanding the writer’s mind many of our family and friends will marvel at our powers of observation. But there’s a bit of a downside to it as well. It becomes so much harder to be surprised by a story, though on the bright side it’s so much more rewarding when the writer does pull the wool over your eyes. I think it should also inspire us, as writers, to not be too predictable. We should strive to think outside the box, don’t always go with your first idea–or your first ten–we want to surprise and delight ourselves as much as our audience. Learn to get off the beaten path and off road it, because that’s where all the surprised are.
P.S. I did not expect this blog post to go this way. I was just going to write about how funny I thought my mom’s reaction to my foretelling of the movie were XD
~~Lady of the Pen~~
Sad. I haven’t written a blog since before the New Year. I hope everyone is having a great New Year. Personally I’m working on my editing this year. I finished the first draft of my NaNoWriMo story and now it’s time to tear it apart and develop it more. It definitely needs lots of work. I tend to write my first draft with limited planning, so that my first draft is almost like an outline. The second draft is where I figure out more about the plot, the characters and the themes of the story. For me I have to write it before it’s real. I have a hard time outlining, because I don’t know what’s going to happen until I write it. This makes for a pretty messy first draft. Hence my focus for the year is editing. I’ve gotten quite good at writing first drafts, but now I need to learn to get those second and third drafts out and polish the story.
I hope everyone is meeting their writing goals and any other goals they may have made.
Happy New Year, very belated.