Sunday, November 30, 2008

Happy December!

Oh my goodness. So so adorable. Look at this felt garland I found at Anna Maria Horner's blog. There's a step-by-step, easy enough for a sewing eejit like meeself.

And here, what some other crafty person made of it:
I may try this, but honestly, I have so much reading to do in this final month of the Cybils reading period, I don't know if I have time to be doing so much blanket stitch! I have been making little garlands of felt pom-poms and beads, those are simple, just stringing things with a needle and thread. But I don't know if I have time for any "real" craft this year. Wah. But I can't complain about the reading and the luscious piles of books :-)

So, it's December. That means NaNoWriMo is over! And guess what. I *finished* the "Bad-Ass Sci-Fi Novel"! But I use the term *finished* verrrrry loosely. I mean, there's a beginning, a middle, and an end, but whooo, is this baby rough. Like dry elbows rough. Not pretty. But. . . an accomplishment. 60,500 words of something. I kept a "secret journal" of my mental state during the process, what days were good, what were bad, and what I did to keep going, and I will edit that and post it here some time soonish.

I remembered, as I was nearing the end of this, that somewhere in the middle of the two and a half years it took me to finish Blackbringer that I did, in fact, force myself to write to an ending, any ending. I kind of forget that stage, because that version, and that ending, are so far from what the book ended up being. I've looked for that draft and can't find it, but here's what I remember: that it was vastly different from the book I ended up writing. Talon wasn't even in it!!! There was a boy character named Acorn instead, who I had to *un-create* later in favor of Talon (and once I did, the book took on a vitality that really propelled it forward); there was a long sequence where Magpie made a new skin for the Magruwen; there were irritating triplets named Trala, Lala, and Li traveling with Magpie and the crows. . . I mean, WTF? It was one of them whose hair Mags turned to worms, as Vesper didn't yet exist. But going through all that stuff that didn't work, was essential to finding the *real story.* It could be considered a "what doesn't work" draft, and every time something doesn't work, you're a little closer to finding what DOES. Like the great Thomas Edison quote: "I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that won't work."

This all goes into my preparations for the talk I'm doing next week in Seattle on strategies for finishing your novel. There are many ways to do it, and the important thing is to not think it's supposed to be easy. If you don't give up, but keep trying different things, you'll finish. That simple. (Simple, but not *easy*.)

Ooh! Movie news! Did you love the book Water for Elephants? I did. I loved it. Well, the movie has been announced, and the director is to be Francis Lawrence, who directed Constantine and I Am Legend, both of which I loved. So: yay! I can't wait to hear who's cast. If you haven't read this book, do. It's about a young man who, after unexpectedly losing his parents on the eve of graduating from veterinary school (during the Great Depression), hops a train in despair. It turns out to be a circus train, and he gets hired on and quickly gets caught up in the excitement and brutality of life in a 1920s train circus. (The really big circuses could only get around by train.) And yeah, he falls in love -- with both a married woman and an elephant. The book is narrated in flashback by the man in his 90s, from a nursing home, and it is poignant and beautiful and totally fun and sad and lovely and page-turny. Wheeee! (On the NaNo homepage, they suggest that this was a NaNo novel. Is it true, I wonder?)

I also can't wait for the Time Traveler's Wife movie, starring Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams, and Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland (Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter, yeeah), and Coraline. Hmm. What else? I don't know. Oh! Jim and I went with our friend Chary last night to see Let the Right One In which is a FREEEEKY Swedish movie about a 12-year-old boy who befriends a 12-year-old girl. . . vampire. Oh MAN. Vampire love story? Kinda. But Twilight this is not. It is chilling, and it is totally unsentimental. Here's the trailer:

Okay. That's all. Happy December first!


tone almhjell said...

Happy December, dear!

Interesting peaks into the couldabeens of Blackbringer. I love that you added and un-create characters like that. It's what I've been doing, too. Though, erm, not so many un-creatings yet. Well. I'll get there.

jenn said...

Oh, I'm so excited to hear that Water for Elephants will be a movie! I loved that book. Sara Gruen is visiting Denver in January and I'll be going to listen to her speak.

And fascinating to hear some of the differences from the early draft of Blackbringer. No Talon? I never would have guessed. Makes me feel better about some of the changes I've made in my novel-in-progress. I sometimes feel flaky about not committing to all the original ideas and characters, but my story is way, way better for it. At least I like it better, and since I'm the one writing it I guess that's what's important?

Lexi said...

Congratulations on finishing NaNo! I did too, and I throw up every time I so much as LOOK at it. My NaNo, I mean.

Q said...

Is it weird that I can totally see Depp as the Mad Hatter?

holly cupala said...

Oh! Love the garland! We have piles and piles of felt around here and have been making snails with it.

Shelli (srjohannes) said...

Love the garland. One problem - I dont sew. Does anyone make them? :)
Congrads on 65,000 words.

Carrie Harris said...

I've got oodles of felt and scrap yarn, and until this moment, nothing to do with it. THANKS!!!

Anonymous said...

Yay for finishing! I have a "finished" rough for the first time ever. It keeps changing, but it's usually for the better. It's kind of sad to hit the delete button, but it's exciting too.

And I love the felt garland. Maybe I can talk my kids into making one with me.

Charlotte said...

I'd never heard the lovely Edison quote--thanks!

lkmadigan said...

I can't wait to read that secret journal.

And oh yay! There's going to be a movie made of THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE!! And WATER FOR ELEPHANTS! Two books I gave to many people.

Anonymous said...

Time Traveler's Wife is definitely going to be a buttered popcorn movie. I am very, very excited!!! (There is also a movie coming out based on Richard Simmons's autobiography that you raved and raved about last year. I bet that will be really good too.)

Those garlands are awesome, and I do not think you should retire from the hand-crafty-arts like knitting. We still need to have our felt day or maybe we should do Zoolights instead?

Deirdre said...

I'm glad to read more about the Blackbringer process. I'm having such trouble with my story and often (way often) I want to let it go, but the silly thing won't let me go.

I've added the vampire movie to my Netflix list (we don't get out to movies very often).

Anonymous said...

Time Traveler's Wife now moves up the pile..been on my pile for ages! And I loved Water for Elephants.

Ronald L. Smith said...

My wife and I saw Let the Right one in and also loved it. Wasn't that ending insane!

And the cats. Can't forget the cats.