Monday, June 28, 2010

Day 3 of the challenge

And I have already failed miserably... I have a plot. I try to keep it as simple as I possibly can, just a love story, nothing but a love story, but the things just keep creeping in.

I also fear my characters have personalities. I'm fighting hard to keep them down, but... I cannot. I simply like them too much. :-D

Third thing is that I hate purple. :-D Writing purple prose is very difficult, when every time I write -ly, my inner editor is there with the red pen telling me to take it off. I simply cannot write about scintillating arms... to me the word "scintillating" refers to someone's personality.

I have also the problem that my experience of love is very down to earth and I never liked Romeo and Juliet. I don't understand people who would kill themselves because someone leaves them. There's plenty of fish in the sea, and even though all the fish isn't beautiful and perfect, I don't believe in True Love and The Right One, and I don't believe your beauty is a reflection of your true nature. It's just a result of biology with quite a lot of work - even a plain person who takes care of himself looks better than a beautiful person who doesn't. Just look at Hollywood! Most of the people are quite plain, but with movie magic and hard work from themselves, make-up artists and costumers, they are all wonderfully beautiful ;-)

Also... I have my scruples in producing more crap to the world just to write a best-seller and get rich.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Make writing your way of life

from effective Christian writing (deXened by me)

* First identify the hindrances
1) Attitude problems
a. False humility (can’t be much so won’t try)
b. Already know how (need “fresh” challenges)
c. Undisciplined (need to evaluate priorities)
2) Priorities
a. What is more important than your writing time?
b. Don’t let the good crowd out the best. Decide which is most important.
3) No Place and Time (or inconsistency)
a. If writing is your calling, need a regular time and place to do it.
b. Routine is not boring. Need to see revision, writing exercises, etc. as practice to perfect your work.
4) Wrong Goals
a. get rich or be famous
b. your book is going to change the world or people

Overcoming Writing Obstacles, parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 (will be published tomorrow...)
Planned writing time and overcoming obstacles
Obstacles for writers

* Motivation
1) Read good literature (Choose your ideal wisely - don't copy a best-seller but your all time favorite author to mimic.)
2) You haven't written The Book yet... keep writing.
3) you can only write what you know, so know more, experience more, study, educate yourself
4) eliminate distractions
5) don't let the negative critique put you down, use it to improve your writing
6) make writing a routine

How to Motivate Yourself to Write

* Opportunity
1) don't sweat over the to-do-list.
2) Subtract before you add (Off with old, on with new)

* Persistence
1) Resist outer and inner clutter. Clean up, get organized.
2) Resist the “I’ll do it later” temptation and do it now.
3) Discipline
4) Forget failure, keep trying.
5) Take chunks of time but also do writing things many moments during the day:
a. Waiting in line - planning a plot
b. Meditation in motion - mindless chores, think new lines
c. Take note of events, people, conversations when out shopping etc. Put them in your stories.
d. Use a cassette tape in the car.
e. Write notes when ideas come, use a journal.
f. Write something every day

* Rewards
1) A sense of fulfilling your calling
2) Praise - from "I like it" to possible prizes ;-)
3) IF you get published, you will get some money. If you're lucky, you will be able to support yourself. If you are REALLY lucky, you'll get rich. :-D


"If you want to do something, just do it."
- Picasso


Other good links:
Warming Up to Writing
Time to Write

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Ok, I have no life...

But I love bitchy critique. :-D

One of my favorite past times is reading Cake Wrecks.

Another is The Piratates of the Caribbean.

(Let's mention regretsy as well)

I used to read "You Knit What?" until it was closed due to people who drowned the blog moderator with hate mail.
I find it really interesting... these people most often told Liz (the moderator) to stop being so mean to crafters who at least try to do something creative.
Well... Liz - and thousands of others - thought that these crafters' creativity, work hours, materials could have been used for something useful or beautiful - naturally our ideas of beauty differ, but there is absolutely no use to willy warmers and scary skiing masks, tops that show off your nipples, bikinis that don't even cover your private parts, pet masquerade costumes and toilet covers. Some others disagree, and that's naturally ok. My problem with this is that Liz expressed her creativity by writing nasty but funny critique on horrible things and entertained hundreds of readers every week - that way even the crappy or tasteless or insane crafters' work was appreciated by more people than their loved ones and other tasteless or insane people. WE seldom expressed our assumptions on the people doing these things, but the people who bashed Liz for her expression and creativity had no problems in getting personal. They weren't criticizing, mocking or bashing Liz' WORK, but LIZ.

Now, I read http://psa.blastmagazine.com/2008/08/16/twilight-sucks-and-not-in-a-good-way and I have been reading the comments...
I find myself reacting :-)

Now, I don't understand the Twilight mania. I have tried to read the books. I can't. They are pure crap, in my opinion. In my opinion Stephenie Meyer isn't a very good writer. In my mind even her values and ideas of what is funny/sexy/etc are questionnable. On the other hand, that's just me.
I have read blurbs and people's thoughts and reactions. I have read what these people say about other things.
I have also seen Twilight and New Moon movies. Not film history's masterpieces.

Twilight is a fad. It has its fans now, but several diehard Twilight fans have already switched sides. I suppose in 10 years not many even know what Twilight was.

So - the comments of the excellent article.

"Meyer has stated that one of the books is inspired by Pride and Prejudice"
Oh? Interesting how different people get different inspirations from the same book.

"If Meyer reads this she surely won’t be able to look at herself in a mirror"
Why not? I mean, she wrote Twilight in six weeks, wrote 15 presentations and got an agent with one of those, and a 3 books deal, and only in 2008 it brought her over 50 million dollars. Good for her!
I really don't think she considers herself world's best writer, or that she has been thinking much of the possible consequences, values, ideas and such of her novel.

"The books are overrated and I can’t understand why anyone would read them. It bothers me that EVERYONE reads them."
Now, some people like medium rare well hang steak with good sallad, others prefer a hamburger. Twilight is that hamburger; literary fast food. I think a well made home cooking with good quality ingrediences is the best sort of cooking, but every now and then I like me some pizza or Chinese take-away.

"Apparently, if you say anything that isn’t glowingly positive about the books, you’re hurting her widdle feewings and you’ll make her cwy, and you’re a bad bad person."
"about half of my friends are worshiping these things and getting furious at me for not liking them..."

This is something I just don't get. People have different preferences and taste. You might like purple, I don't. You like Twilight, I don't. I like Terry Pratchett, you don't. Fine. There's really no sense in fighting about preferences and taste!

"SMeyer has to be one of the most clueless authors I’ve ever known of, to the extent that she’s stated in an interview that her books “don’t have any meaning.” She also said that she’d been planning the Rosemary’s Baby plotline before she even wrote the second and third books, because it was the only direction she thought the story could go. She shouldn' go around bragging about never having done any creative writing before Twilight, because it shows."
Now, doesn't sound clueless to me, but very perceptive. She seems to understand exactly what she is and what she writes. It would be different if she went around bragging about being the best author in the world and telling Stephen King to shut up. She isn't.

"I’m sorry, but i don’t agree with anything you say. I loved all four books and there are plenty of us out there who also enjoyed the series. I can’t wait to read more of Stephenie meyers books. So Fuck you all."
Fuck us all because we didn't like your favorite books? 8-o

"Too bad it is so vitrolic that the people you would like to influence are immediately turned off and will never benefit from the thought and effort you put into writing it."
Er... I kind of don't think this was written to influence people. I think this was written to express the writer's genuine feelings, thoughts and opinions on Twilight books.

"Ugh. Give me a break. Every time, in any facet of entertainment, movies, books, tv, whatever, that we get a female protagonist, there ALWAYS has to be some pretentious discussion as to whether or not that protagonist is a feminist portrayal."
"The feminist argument plays like a broken record."

And every time someone says something, there's always someone saying something like this.
Why not discuss about the gender role aspect of Twilight? It is important to some people, and therefore should be discussed. Otherwise the discussions become pointless. You disagree, fine, but that's no reason to start rolling eyes by saying things like "Ugh. Give me a break", generalizing and using condesending language ("some pretentious discussion")

"I found Bella to be selfless, often clumsy, full of love, and incredibly grown-up. She is surrounded by men who love her and a family called the Cullens, who, if we could set aside the anti-feminist argument for one second, are one of the most incredible examples of compassion and tolerance in books and film today."

Ok... I find Bella to be very egocentric, always thinking about her, what others might be thinking about her, what she wants, what she thinks... she doesn't give a damn about what Edward and Jacob would prefer, like or want. It's her way or the high way. She has decided she wants to be a vampire so that she can stop the time and never get old and die, but frolic happily ever after with her dreamboy.
Edward might LOOK like a 17-years old but he is supposed to be over 100 years old. He is also not influenced by the hormones Bella is overwhelmed by, like any teenager.
But, no, Bella won't listen to Edward, her father, mother, Cullens, no, she had made up her mind and that's it. Sure, that's exactly what 99% of teenagers are like, but that is far from "mature".
Also, the "love" she is full of is lust, infatuation and obsession. She keeps thinking about how beautiful, perfect Edward is, about his looks and other outer qualities. Edward is "godlike", "Adonis", "angel", "beautiful", "graceful", "absolutely perfect", all things she is not, and that she expects to get when she too is made into a vampire.
I know what it is like to feel ugly. It becomes an obsession. One is ready to do almost anything, pay almost any price to be beautiful. Bella sees a way into becoming beautiful and she lets nothing stop her.

Even the Cullens... being a vampire is not fun. Vampires make others vampires to spread the "curse". It's not lovely to live forever, be eternally young, and see people you know grow old and die. It is especially painful if you are able to love, which ms Meyer claims Cullens are. They are all quite old, and KNOW teenagers - even "grown-up" ones - are not adults, do not know what they want and what they prefer. You cannot stop being a vampire if you later regret, and every one of Cullens wished they weren't vampires. In that light it wasn't the least compassionate to vote "yes" about turning Bella. But I suppose that's the downside of not having studied vampire culture, literature and movies.

Had Bella been a middle-aged black man, then welcoming him to the family as Edward's mate would have been a show of tolerance.

"She is surrounded by men who love her..."

This is what Twilight Saga Wiki says about Bella:

"Stephenie Meyer has stated that Bella's "tragic flaw" in Eclipse is her lack of self-knowledge. This is most obviously illustrated in her consistent denial of any romantic feelings for Jacob Black, despite the fact that she later realizes she is, indeed, in love with him."

"About three things I was absolutely positive. First, Edward was a vampire. Second, there was a part of him - and I didn't know how potent that part might be - that thirsted for my blood. And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him."
Yeah... sure you are... how would you know?

She is surrounded by people, not only men, who love her, and she treats them worse than a bad man treats his dog.

"Isn’t it more important to embrace the fact that a female author is reigning in the industry right now, that J.K. Rowling wasn’t the end of powerful women in letters, and that this time around, the protagonist is female?"

Well... it isn't that bad for female authors in the world. In August 2008 most of the authors in NY Times Best Seller list were women.
Stephenie Meyer doesn't "reign in the industry".
J.K.Rowling hasn't stopped writing yet, and just as she popped up, there will be other female novelists popping up in the future. I would be happier about Stephenie Meyer's fame if she in fact was a good writer.
"This time the protagonist is female". It would be nice if this female protagonist was a bit more... heroic, perhaps? Her life's mission is to get laid and become beautiful, and she manages to do that before her 20th birthday. Bravo. Harry just saved the world before his 20th birthday, but who's counting...

"...they can’t understand that Edward is not perfect"

I think the problem is more the obsession with "perfect". There are no perfect people in the world. Mary Sues and Gary Stues are fantasy, horrible, sick fantasy, made up because we feel we are not enough.

"Personally, I have a great relationship and maybe that gives me another point of view. Maybe it is because I was in that “fase” when I was younger. The thing is I don’t dream of a “perfect” obsessive and overprotective boyfriend, and of a relationship when you have to give up all your life, friends, family, your individuality because of your boyfriend."

Yeah... I suppose that's it. I am in perfectly equal relationship with unconditional love, made possible by us really being adults and accepting the fact that none of us is perfect, flawless or above the other. Neither of us decides what the other should eat, wear, or do, whom they should meet, which books to read, movies to watch, what to think about things happening in the world. We also think a bit more than ourselves when deciding what to do. we have a civil relationship to each other's families and friends, even when we might not have had those people as friends had we not had the relationship between ourselves.
Thinking of him makes me happy, creates this warm, fuzzy feeling inside me. I never felt it before I was 20 :-D Not with my parents, my siblings, my friends or pets. Lust, infatuation, idolization, sure, all that :-D

"This is a fictional book"
And...? Don't you think we know? The Bible is a fictional book and it has influenced millions of people. Some of the people it has influenced kill others because of what they read in this one fictional book. I'm not saying Twilight is equal to Bible, but some fans sure seem to take it that way.

"Dear writer, it is obvious that you believe that your opinion is the only one that counts, since your opinion piece refes to the people that like It, in this manner
“What's worse is that so few seem to realize it.”
It seems to me that you are close minded, and only care of the rights of women who only agree with you.”

To me it's obvious that Twilight series is all Kellen says it is, and so far I haven't read any good explanations to why it isn't so. It might be possible that ms Rice "only cares of the rights of women who only agrees with her", nevertheless it is not an argument against the view that ms Meyer's book is not good from a feminist POV.

I haven't got the impression of ms Rice that she "only cares of the rights of women who only agrees with her", so it would be interesting to hear how you come to that conclusion.

I would be very offended if someone told me not to meet my friends, and sabotaging any efforts to do so would result in me leaving the person. "Make me choose and I will choose not you".
In my experience such expressions of "protectiveness" and "love" are anything but. That Bella is homey of herself and likes housekeeping is one thing, but "I left you and that guy kept you sane and alive, but I demand that you won't meet him ever again" is pure bullying and sick, and no-one, not men nor women, should accept that kind of treatment. Trying to ridicule that attitude of mine as "feminazism" is extremely offensive and does nothing but diminishes your opinion into mere bullying.

Besides, ms Rice has signed her piece clearly, so you could call her with her name in stead of general "dear writer", especially when it is obvious that no kind feelings are present.

"This 23 year old tomboyish single woman is really glad girls finally have someone to listen to besides you!"
Huh? Besides whom? Kellen Rice? Are you saying that a 23 year old tomboyish single woman thinks there are only Kellen Rice and Stephenie Meyer to listen to? Or what? In that case I'd listen to Kellen.

"Bella chooses the path she wants out of life and never lets anyone persuade her otherwise."
Yeah... so selfless, mature and considerate. :->

But that wasn't what was being referred to.

"to be a real woman you have to shun love and become the most hard-a$$ professional out there"
I didn't notice ms Rice having such demands on Twilight for it to be more woman-friendly. Could it be possible to not go to extremes?
So Bella thinks she needs to take care of her father's household - a task he has successfully manages while she was living with her mom. Fine.
So Bella isn't the least ambitious, doesn't have any ideas, dreams or hopes for the future, doesn't have any thoughts on how she will support herself after High School and College. Fine.
She doesn't know she loves Jacob, but she knows she "was unconditionally and irrevocably in love" with Edward. She DECIDES to be in love with Edward, so much so that she doesn't care one bit of anything else.
So much so that she ignores her own true feelings to Jacob.
So much so that she simply drops mommy and daddy, for ever more, as if they didn't mean anything. I suppose they didn't. Mommy cared more of her boyfriends anyway, and daddy just wanted a housekeeper. Wasn't that what she thought? Even though she herself took upon herself to be daddy's housekeeper, and he didn't even ask her.
So much so that she sits in her room for months and just broods, and then starts trying to kill herself, just to see Edward again. Sick, sick, sick!

"Yes, their love was obsessive, but name a love story by any author where the characters aren’t consumed by their love?"
Anything Jane Austen wrote. 99% of romance novels written today, for example Jane Green's To Have and To Hold.

"To claim this is unhealthy is to claim that books such as Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, and Romeo and Juliet should not be read by teenagers either for fear that they get the “wrong” message."
Good idea.

"don’t construct arguments that have no merit"
Ms Rice's arguments have a lot of merit. Just because you don't understand and agree her arguments doesn't mean they are meritless and constructed.

"Some people get heated about the most ridiculous things!!"
Indeed. Like people getting heated about things they think are ridiculous.

"It’s written for enjoyment – not critical feminist literary analysis!!"
So why not just enjoy the book and let "critical feminist literary analysts" do what ever they feel like doing?

"I find that the enormous popularity of the Twilight series proves that now more than ever girls and young women are showing an affinity for traditional gender roles."
Eh... no. Bella isn't an example of a "traditional gender role".

"I think it is a naturally built-in characteristic of a female to want to be cherished..."
So you think men don't like to be cherished?

"...and wherever is the harm in that?"
If you give up your liberties to get some safety, you deserve and get neither.
If you pay for the cherish you should get automatically if someone truly loves you, you create misstrust and kill any love there might have been.
If you think you have to earn being loved, that you don't deserve being loved and cherished, and justify abuse and limiting of your freedoms as "but he loves me", you are heading straight into domestic violence. It might not be physical, but that's not the only sort of violence there is. If your spouse controls your social relations and decides whom you may meet, when, where and how long, that's social abuse.
We are really bad at recognizing the forms of violence that don't leave visible marks, but bullying, emotional violence, is as devastating to our psyche as torture.

"Does it make women any less stronger, independent, or intelligent than men?"
"less stronger..." You mean "less strong", don't you?
Paying being cherished with your freedom does make you less independent.

"I also find that a feminist debate over a fantasy novel is rather childish"
But you join the debate? Ok...

"this book is FICTIONAL, the characters do not share a normal relationship, yet it is being judged as so"
Yes, by its readers! The myth of "One True Love" is one of the worst abominations of modern time.

"Concerning the hero… Your sarcasm over Edward and Bella’s chastity doesn’t apply. The character of Edward is not a “perfect” seventeen year-old-boy, he is a 107-year-old man. He was born into a world in which people actually possessed scruples."
He isn't avoiding sex because he is chaste, but because he is afraid he'll hurt Bella because he's a vampire and doesn't know his own strength - after having lived with it for 90 years.
17 years old boys were that already 100 years ago. It doesn't matter in which world you were born into. You have hormones, your animal nature tells you to procreate and fill the world with your kind, and you want to have sex when you are a teenager. Even my husband who is unusually chaste in today's world (as far as I know) says that "girls were so sweet" when he was a teenager.
So, yes, sarcasm over Edward and Bella's "chastity" does apply.

"Did any one stop to point out the feminist nature in Bella before she was thrust into the world of vampires?"
Oh, so you are saying that the world of vampires somehow poisoned her and turned her from anarchist misandrist to fanatic gerantophile?
In my mind feminism is equalism. Not daring to let yourself into a relationship with anyone is not feminism. Cringing at the thought of marriage is not feminism. What did she plan to be before she met Edward and planned to be a vampire and nothing else?

"Also, this whole outrage over Bella’s need to be constantly saved is hilarious. What do you expect her to do when confronted with a mythical monster- stop Edward in his tracks and say, ” It’s okay babe, I got it!”?"
Why is she constantly confronted with a mythical monster or a car out of control or a group of thugs or what ever it is? Ms Meyer puts her in position in which she needs to be rescued all the time. She controls the story, because, you see, it's FICTIONAL. Bella and Edward don't really exist, so they are not "telling their story" to ms Meyer, SHE is telling HER story of this "independent young woman" who gets into situations where she needs to be rescued all the time, and where only a super-vampire like Edward can save her.

"Concerning the pregnancy, I feel that Meyer’s characters possess traits to be admired, not disparaged."
Half-blood vampire babies kill their human mothers when it's time for them to rip their incubator open so that they can grow up to be young adults/old teenagers in a blink of an eye, and these admirable vampires, Edward included, allow Bella to become pregnant with one of these half-blood babies well knowing this fact? Admirable indeed, living - or living dead examples of love and self-sacrifice.

"However, in a world where women are quick to abort HUMAN babies, much less violent, blood-sucking ones, Bella’s actions could be perceived with misunderstanding and disgust."
Ah. Anti-abortionist... (deep sigh) For your information, very few people are "quick" to abort a pregnancy, and there's so much involved in the decision, that the abortion issue shouldn't be whipped up and used as some sort of righteous weapons just because it happens to suit you.

But about Bella's baby. I fully understand Bella's actions. She wanted to become a vampire, as beautiful, perfect and graceful as Edward and the other vampires, so she was ready to do what ever was needed to get there. If that means going against Edwards explicit wishes, if that means having sex with Edward, getting pregnant by him and then keeping the baby, because she knew Edward would rather turn her into vampire than loose her, then that's what she would do.
But it's not Bella's actions here that are perceived with misunderstanding and disgust. There's no misunderstanding here, and if you don't think severe abuse causing you to vomit blood and breaks your ribs, hip and backbone, and finally getting your womb ripped open by someone's teeth, is disgusting, I don't understand how you think. You probably don't think there was anything wrong with what happened in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay either. (>:->)

"I DO however, feel that they should be appreciated for what they are - escapist fantasies"
There are escapist fantasies that actually hold some good literary and moral values.

"what you don’t realize is that,when I want a message or roll models I go to an institution or person, that is going to give me that according to my believe or need."
What YOU don't realize is that when you entertain yourself with books and movies, you are fed messages and ideas whether you want it or not.
Take the Bible for example. Clearly fiction, doesn't apply in the 21st century world, but still people get "messages and roll models". (BTW, it's role model.)

"but bad writing? that is your opinion not mine.
I thought is was very enjoyable . Mistakes and grammar? well there is something call editor"
Well... considering that people usually try to mimic what they consider "good writing", I must say that the twilight fans display an interesting array of bad style, grammar and spelling. Perhaps one should take the fans as an example of ms Meyer's values as a writer?
There's something called "editor". You might actually want to use it.

"I read the Twilight series and my feminist world view is intact! Can you believe it that women are not that easily influenced by works of fiction that they adopt any novel’s political agenda after reading it?"
And how old are you, little Sarah? Perhaps not a teenager anymore?

"where, in a woman’s desire to be cherished (or hell, a man’s desire) is weakness implied?"
Well... I grew up with the idea that I was too intelligent, too strong, too fast, too independent - simply too good for any man to ever love me. Why? Because the wimpy wenches, dumb as doorknobs, interested in nothing but fashion, all got a boyfriend, but straigh-A tomboys like me didn't have a chance. I tried through my teenages be lesser than I was, because I wanted to be "cherished".
I wouldn't say the weakness is implied in the desire to be cherished, but what a person is ready to do - does - to be cherished, to feel she/he is worth to be cherished. It's like Pavlov's dogs. After having ringed bell enough times when the dogs were fed, the dogs began to salivate when the bells rang. After having seen, heard, read of girls being cherished after they behave like housey waifs in need of being rescued all the time, whether it's from being crushed by a car, ripped into pieces by a vampire or having her apple fall to floor, the girls start expecting to be cherished because they are homily and weak, and expect that they need to be homily and weak to be cherished...
Isn't this basic psychology?

"A housewife is exploring her own imagination and dreams through middling prose and inspiring millions of people to pick up a book and turn off the TV..."
Some tv shows are better for people than some books.

"How about celebrating that something has allowed the medium of the written word to stay as popular as it had become through books like Harry Potter instead."
As it has been pointed out, people don't read Twilight books to be inspired, to learn anything, because they appreciate literature as an art form or for any other such reason. They read the Twilight books because it is entertaining and "not real". They could just as well watch television and be entertained.
Harry Potter was at least good literature. HP fans are generally better at expressing themselves as Twilight fans.

"Despite declarations of love for Edward Cullen in facebook groups and applications most of these readers are grounded in reality. This is just a book with a Darcy-like character for a younger generation, not the downfall of modern humanity as we know it."
I don't think anyone has said anything about downfall of modern humanity.

"Or an excuse to belittle people through tirades about supporting modern feminism."
Er... I don't think ms Rice's article was "belittleing people through tirades about supporting modern feminism". She actually speaks of a lot of issues concerning Twilight. Feminism is just about 1/10 of the article. The rest was about sick self-esteem and relationships and a little of the disgusting vampire-baby incident.

"impressionable 12 to 16 year olds who believe that what they read is reality and tend to want to make their lives based around what they see, read, or hear.."
Uh... no. Teenagers and preteens don't believe that what they read is reality. They believe it to be a possibility, an ideal, a dream to dream. That's where the danger lies, not that they wouldn't be "grounded in reality".
Impressionable, yes, wanting to make their dreams come true, yes, reaching for the impossible dream, yes - and mistaking an emotional vampire with control issues as someone as "perfect" as Edward.

And now I'm bored :-D
I didn't even get to "Melissa" and the challenge of writing a best-seller as "good" as Meyer's Twilight in six weeks. ( I found this: Get Rich Writing Fiction, which seems to be a good assistance to the challenge :-D This (how to write a best-seller) might help too, even though I think it's a bit too serious...)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Today I am a writer. Today I write.

"In fact, he's given us an exercise related to this: to list my favorite five novels, rank them in order, and reread the opening paragraphs, and write a paragraph on each explaining why I chose them."
- Lynn Rosen: How to Avoid Writing Your First Novel

Oh. So many favorites... But let's choose these:

Terry Pratchett: The Fifth Elephant
Jonathan Stroud: Bartimaeus -trilogy
Katherine Neville: The Eight
Umberto Eco: Foucault's Pendulum
Isaac Asimov: The Gods Themselves

"rank them in order" - that's impossible. All of them have good and bad qualities and cannot be ranked.

----------------------------------------------------

I can't find my Asimov. None of them :-(

But The Gods Themselves is a fascinating story that starts with a petty argument and evolves into world's end... it's so fascinating to see how tiny little things like a thoughtless, hurtful comment can create ripples too big for anyone to handle... indeed, a butterfly's wing flapping creates a tsunami on the other side of the world.
Oh... it is just... so wonderful. *_*

-----------------------------------------------------

Jonathan Stroud creates a group of rather unlikable people. Some of them get exactly what they deserve and that is so satisfying :-) Some of them don't get what they deserve, but nothing else either, which in itself is somewhat satisfying. Some of them he manages to turn into likable people and the end... I still cry floods when I think about it, and it was a couple of years ago when I read it. It is amazing how he manages to make me feel empathy towards creatures like djinns, who don't seem to have much feelings at all.

"Temperaturen i rummet föll snabbt. Det bildades frost på gardinerna och lamporna i taket täcktes av isskorpa. Glödtråden i varje lampa krympte samman och ljuset fördunklades. Vaxljusen som stack upp från varje tillgängliga plan yta likt en mängd sjukliga svampar slockande. Det allt mörkare rummet fyllden med ett gult, kvävande moln av svavel, i vilket otydliga svarta skuggr vred sig i vånda..."

Jonathan builds up the feeling... and then he sets the character of the book by "För sjutton, det var första gången för grabben och jag ville skrämma honom."
It takes all three books to create the relationships between all the people in the books to create the emotional response he does in the third book.

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Terry Pratchett: 5th Elephant

"They say the world is flat and supported on the back of four elephants who themselves stand on the back of a giant turtle.
They say that the elephants, being such huge beasts, have bones of rock and iron, and nerves of gold for better conductivity over long distances.
They say that the fifth elephant came screaming and trumpeting through the atmosphere of the young world all those years ago and landed hard enough to split continents and raise mountains. No one actually saw it land, which raised the interesting philosophical question: when millions of tons of angry elephant come spinning through the sky, and there is no one to hear it, does it - philosophically speaking - make a noise?
And if there was no one to see it hit, did it actually hit?
In other words, wasn't it just a story for children, to explain away some interesting natural occurrences?
As for the dwarfs, whose legend it is, and who mine a lot deeper than other people, they say that there is a grain of truth in it."

I love it how Terry Pratchett whirls me around, takes me on a ride, turns everything upside down and shakes the wisdom out of it...

I think I love The 5th Elephant because of the emotional response I have to it. I have really learned to love Vimes.

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"A flock of nuns crossed the road, their crisp wimples fluttering about their heads like the wings of large sea birds. As they floated through the large stone gates of the town, chickens and geese scurried out of their path, flapping and splashing through the mud puddles. The nuns moved through the darkening mist that enveloped the valley each morning and, in silent pairs, headed toward the sound of the deep bell that rang out from the hills above them.
They called that spring le Printemps Sanglant - the Bloody Spring."

"With alchemical skill, Katherine Neville blends modern romance, historical fiction and medieval myster - and comes up with gold" said People magazine.
Indeed. :-) The Eight is an exciting story, created around one of the best games ever created by humanity; chess. It is a pawn's journey into queenhood, and we are taken through it without even understanding that that is what is happening to us... Katherine Neville tells two stories side by side, finally emerging them into one. Very much similar to Kate Mosse's Labyrinth.

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"Silloing näin heilurin.
Pallo liikkui pitkän köyden varassa, joka oli kiinnitetty kuoriholviin, suorittaen laajan heilahdusliikkeensä täsmällisesti ja majesteettisesti.
Tiesin - vaikka kuka tahansa olisi voinut tajuta sen tuon lumoavan tyynen liikkeen nähdessään - että heilahdusajan määräsi ripustuslangan pituuden neliöjuuren ja luvun pii välinen suhde, joka pii, syystä jota mikään järki auringon alla ei pysty tajuamaan, jumalallisen viisauden nojalla väistämättä määrää kaikkien mahdollisten ympyröiden halkaisijan - joten aika, joka kului pallon matkatessa ääripisteestä toiseen, oli seuraus salaisesta liitosta, joka vallitsee mittayksiköistä ajattomimpien, kiintopisteen ykseyden, tason abstraktin kaksinaisuuden, luvun pii kolmiluonteen, juuren salaisen neliyhteyden ja ympyrän täydelliseeden välillä."

Ah. Mathematics is the Queen of sciences. It rules every science, every one of them, from natural sciences to humaniora... Mathematics is perfect. Absolute perfection... It is the closest thing we can get God with our intellect. After that it is only emotion that carries us further...

Umberto Eco gives me an almost mystic experience. He also teaches me things. I love everyone who manages to teach me things, who shows me new views, who opens up my world... All these authors do that. Every one of these books sucks me in to the story and helps me live with the characters, I have a strong emotional reaction, and I emerge from the other side of the reading experience as if I just had a religious insight.
All these books are somewhat mystical, mythical and magical. Three words I love.

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John (Dufresne) says "Today you're a writer, and from today on." I must make it so.

He also says: "Your own procrastination is your first obstacle. Your lack of confidence may be the second. The confidence comes with the writing. You are the only person who can stop you from writing your novel."