Sunday, December 1, 2013

This week at the library: NaNoWriMo! Victorians, Napoleon, and a cantankerous Thoreau


Is it weird that I was more excited to hit 45,000 words than to actually 'win' NaNoWriMo? I suppose that's because when I hit 45,000, it was the evening I added a few days' work from different files into the body of the text, and the word-count soared 10,000+  with one Ctrl-V and I realized I was going to do it, there were only a few days left and the odds weren't good that something could derail me completely.  The lesson I learned from NaNoWriMo is that I should take a audio recorder out with me on my morning walks and jogs, because that's when my brain starts being productive. It's terribly hard to write notes while running, especially when you're dodging puppies at the same time.

I didn't do an enormous amount of reading last week, or writing outside of NaNoNo, so there are still reviews pending for several works. This past week I finished the excellent Sharpe's Revenge, finished No Plot? No Problem? A Low-Stress High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in Thirty Days, and read through Edward Abbey's Down the River.   No Plot No Problem is allegedly the same size text that NaNoWriMo winners produced during the month. The goal of the month is simply to write, to kickstart the creative engine of the brain and deliver to aspirin authors the less than yes, if they make themselves sit down and write  every day, they can produce something. Baty's advice ranges from the generally helpful to the NaNo-specific. He explains the basis process of figuring out setting and characters, provides in-text buttons that the reader is supposed to press to turn off their inner editor and so on, and in general does everything he can to encourage readers to just sit down and write.  In the end he offers would-be-writers some perspective: even if you never get published, maybe that' not the point. Maybe the point is the satisfaction gained in writing, in expressing yourself creatively, in seeing what worlds you can create and what inspiration strikes your brain. 

NaNoWriMo having been accomplished,  I'm going to be unwinding these last few weeks of the year, with novels. Writing fiction of a sort has made me want to read more of it, though at the moment I'm happily in the middle of a book which has arrived in the post. What book?

Into Thick Air!  When I saw it on Amazon (related reads for The Man Who Cycled the World), I couldn't resist reading it, given that I had just finished Into Thin Air.  It's a treat so far;   the author reminds me of no one more than Bill Bryson.  After that, I'm not certain -- I have a few nonfiction reads on the table, but I may poke my nose into Harry Turtledove's WW2-with-dragons-and-wizards series.  Like alien lizards and WW2, it's such an odd combination I have to investigate it.  I'm probably going to be reading more of Jack London; not only am I craving outdoor adventure books, but London's works have such philosophical interest that I want to consider more of him. 

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