Monday, November 10, 2008

NaNo Week 2 + some movies + some books

Oh dear, nothing to say. Mind blank. Monday morning, and a new week of writing yawns. Yawns? Did I mean to say dawns? No, "yawn" was the word that came to mind, in the sense of gaping open. The whole boredom/fatigue association was unintentional, but possibly true.

I wrote a lot of words this first week of NaNo (21,592), but I haven't read any of them. Sort of afraid to look. This is giving me some insight into another author's "process" that I had heard about (can't remember who it was), and thought was INSANE. This author apparently would write an entire first draft and then DELETE it and start over. Madness, right? I mean. . . who would. . . who could do that? But I can kind of see it now. If it was a draft like this, totally muzzy and random and flat as a Coke that's been sitting in the sun all day, there might be ideas to keep, but not a lot of actual language. There may be some language I underline as I read this draft, some sentences I want to rescue and carry over into the next draft, but probably not A LOT. This draft is for finding the story, not finding the language. Totally new to me. I'm a language girl, and man can I while away the hours (and weeks. and months.) tinkering with sentences.

So, I'm still on board with NaNo. There have been more "snicks" but none of the true deliciousness of a good writing day, when a scene has come to life, a character finds his/her voice, and I want to high five myself. But the snicks are exciting, the piece fitting into place, pulling the story tighter and making it more meaningful. One of the main things is that I am always getting better ideas as I write, "cooler" ways to have things happen, and then I have to go back and rewrite and rewrite A LOT, and this way, I am giving the cooler ideas a chance to manifest before I've spent a bunch of time tinkering. It makes sense. On Not For Robots I've written about the "exploratory draft", and this is certainly that -- a scribbly map full of cross-outs, with swampy fingerprints and dead bugs stuck to it, and maybe even a little blood. No tears yet. I'll let you know if it devolves to that point.

Here's the thing: I am believing more and more that it is possible to "change channels" in your head. To take a new approach to achieving an elusive goal, accomplish things you didn't think you could. I have said many times that I could never write a fast, messy first draft, and I made myself believe it. But. . . really? There are lots of things I'm sure I cannot do, but is this really one of them? Doubtful.

For fun, some movie trailers. Australia, for some epic goodness with sweaty Hugh Jackman and smoochies:
Danny Boyle's new film, Slumdog Millionaire, which I can't wait to see:
New kid movie, The Secret of Moonacre, starring the adorable girl from The Golden Compass:

And, oh, a few more Cybils reads:
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness. I have not felt this punched in the stomach and bruised by a book since I can remember, and I don't know what to do about it. The book is amazing, the writing, the emotional impact, the premise. But. . . it's a "feel bad" book, so I don't want to recommend it to anyone -- it would be like me punching them in the stomach. Oof. But. If you like it when books punch you in the stomach, then read this amazing book.

Dream Girl by Lauren Mechling. Adorable candy fun in a pink flowery cover, and a good antidote to the gut-punch of Knife. A little supernatural, but not much. This book is about Manhattan teens who are infinitely more real and funny and likeable than the Gossip Girl variety (the show; to be fair, I haven't read the books). There's just enough of a thrill of romance, but this is totally suitable for young teens. I would give it to my reluctant reader 13-year-old niece.

Same with Justine Larbalestier's How To Ditch Your Fairy. Great for younger teens, reluctant readers. The super-fun premise is that [some] people have invisible fairies dedicated to one specific thing, like a "clothes shopping fairy" that finds you great deals that all fit superbly, etc. The protag, Charlie, has a "parking fairy" that always finds good parking spaces. The thing is, she's 14 and doesn't drive and she really wants a better fairy, which she will never get unless she can ditch her current one. But how?

And lastly, Ottoline and the Yellow Cat, written and illustrated by Chris Riddell. WONDERFUL! This is for younger kids -- 2nd, 3rd grade? I'm not convinced it belongs in our category, but still loved it. Fully illustrated with the kind of whimsical art you want to look at again and again, there are diagrams and maps, postcards, lap dog mug shots, and more more more. A clever little girl who lives with a Norwegian bog creature while her parents travel the word collecting strange artifacts, Ottoline likes to snoop and solve mysteries. In this first volume, she's onto an unusual crime ring. . .


kim baker said...

Slumdog Millionaire looks fantastic!

Lexi said...

The Secret of Moonacre is based off of The Little White Horse, isn't it? As I remember, the book's villains were atheists and when they were introduced to God, they became as good as saints. Also, the main character got married when she was fourteen. I didn't really like the book (too many blatant morals) but the movie looks really different.

Sheila Ruth said...

I like the way you describe The Knife of Never Letting Go as a punch in the gut. That's a perfect description. I just read it, and I've been trying to figure out how to review it without giving anything away. Because it's definitely an amazing book, but...after finishing the book my whole perception of it changed. All I can say is that I hope Ness brings it to a better resolution in book 2.

Alysa said...

Schwag recieved Saturday! Thank you SO much! The ladies are already brightening our place. :D

Jordan J. Frasier said...

I loved how you said, "This draft is for finding the story, not fidning the language." In my NaNo I always seem to get caught up in the language, it was a good reminder to just get the story out!


Carrie Harris said...

My Nano book was the first novel I ever finished. It started out as a fantasy satire and ended up a political satire. Talk about turning off your inner editor; I think mine quit and moved to Tahiti after that. :)

Cuppa Jolie said...

Interesting, Laini! I do get that about deleting the first, messy draft, and yet, I could never completely delete. I know from past experience there may have been something I wrote and forgot or even a string of words that's not worth losing and I'd never recreate. So glad you're doing NaNoing and finding that you can.

Michelle said...

I adored The Knife of Never Letting Go and I think you described it really well. Slumdog Millionaire - it's based on a book, right? I read it last year. Q & A, it was really good. Be interesting to see what it's like as a movie.

lizardek said...

I got the lovely lovely lovely schwag package today!! THANK YOU!! It is SO wonderful!! I'm in heaven. :)