NaNoWriMo Day 11: Writing Muscles

A third of November has gone by, but it’s hard to say if I’m a third of the way through my NaNoWriMo plans.  I’m currently at 23,326 words for the month, keeping up a good cushion should I slip in future days this month–you never know what might be coming!  I’m well out of the lull portion I’ve mentioned, with both of the second-half-of-the-book villains coming onto the scene.  Xevrix the enchantress is in secret communication with Rose, while Edward, Terrence’s brother, has arrived to sow discord and dissension and assassination attempts.

I think I know where I’m going in coming scenes, some sections more clearly than others, but it’s much harder to say if the end of the story will coincide with the 50,000 word mark, or even the 60,000!  I’m hoping it won’t extend much beyond that, but as my writing friends always tell me…the story will be as long as it needs to be.

I’ve been pleased with my word count and the progression of the story so far.  The writing is definitely a first draft, and it will need polish and possibly overhauling in the revision process.  I find I can’t keep all the little details of character mannerisms and recurring references in mind when I write an initial draft, so that’s what I’ll be going back through to do in the future (probably in early 2020).

Continue reading “NaNoWriMo Day 11: Writing Muscles”

Blog Hop: From Page to Screen, Darkly

book-blogger-hop-finalToday’s Book Blogger Hop question is:  What’s your favorite horror book-to-movie adaptation?

I don’t read much in the way of horror books, or watch much in the way of horror movies.  But, just one comes to mind that I’ve both read and seen: Secret Window, based on the novella Secret Window, Secret Garden.  The movie is from a very good era in Johnny Depp movies, and the writer/director David Koepp does some really nice storytelling in it.  There’s some bloody bits, though it’s pretty tame as far as horror movies go, and the creepiest parts aren’t involving blood at all.  It’s probably more of a creeper than a horror movie.

After seeing the movie, I read the Steven King novella, which I think is still the only fiction I’ve read from Steven King (though I also read On Writing).  A lot is very much the same, except that the ending is completely (like, 180 degrees) different.  And here’s the funny thing: I actually think Steven King tried to a do a more interesting thing with his ending, but David Koepp achieved his ending better, which I’d have to say gives him the edge.

Anyone else more of a horror book/movie fan than me?  What’s your favorite adaptation?

Blog Hop: Reading While Haunted

book-blogger-hop-finalToday’s Book Blogger Hop question is:  You’re spending a night in a haunted house.  What book would you bring with you?

Firstly, I would not spend the night in a haunted house!  I jump and freak out in fake haunted houses, when I know perfectly well it’s all actors and effects, so even a hypothetically-haunted house is completely out the window.  Absolutely nothing supernatural could happen and I’d still be freaked by every sound!  In fact, I recently beta-read Audrey Murphy by Karen Blakely (due to be published this December!), in which the heroine accepts a dare to spend the night in a haunted house.  I swiftly learned that I would fail this dare, as I offered frequent advice that the heroine ought to be more scared…

Now that all of that is out of the way, let’s try to imagine a situation where I do in fact spend the night in a haunted house.  What book would I bring?  If I thought the house was actually haunted by malevolent spirits, I’m going to have to go with a Bible as the most likely to be helpful and protective under the circumstances.

If we’re theorizing that it’s not really haunted, just creepy, then I’m leaning towards something comforting that doesn’t require too intense of concentration.  Probably either L. M. Montgomery’s journals (because I’m weird that way 🙂 ) or maybe Winnie-the-Pooh.

Is there any hypothetical possibility that I might want to bring something atmospheric, like Dracula or something by Steven King?  No.  No, there really isn’t!

Friday Face-Off: Spooky Lodgings


It’s time again for the Friday Face-Off meme, created by Books by Proxy, with weekly topics hosted by Lynn’s Book Blog.  The idea is to put up different covers for one book, and select a favorite.

This week’s theme is: ““And, though there should be a world of difference between the smile of a man and the bared fangs of a wolf, with Joss Merlyn they were one and the same.”  – a cover featuring an Inn/Hotel

It took me surprisingly little time to hit on a book featuring an inn–and it’s even October/Halloween appropriate!  I offer Howliday Inn by James Howe.  This is part of the Bunnicula series, but I read it first, and always seemed like the primary book in the series to me.  Chester the cat and Harold the dog are sent to stay at “Howliday Inn” while their humans go on vacation, and the overactive imagination of Chester promptly decides villainy is afoot.  The story is funny and delightful.

I like Harold’s expression here, and the inn is suitably spooky in the background…but I feel like the relative size of Chester and Harold is a bit off.  Or that’s just a really BIG cat!

Continue reading “Friday Face-Off: Spooky Lodgings”

2019 Reading Challenges: Three-Quarters Update

It’s October, and time to check in again on my reading challenges for the year!

Nonfiction Reading Challenge
Host: Doing Dewey
Goal: 12 Nonfiction Books

My ongoing nonfiction reading continues, with a lot of variety in topics.  At my last update, I’d decided to try the “Century Challenge,” reading one book from each century of the Dewey Decimal system.  I only had a few left to hit, and I got all of them in during this last quarter.  So I guess it’s all just a free ride from here for the rest of the year on this one!

  1. We Bought a Zoo by Benjamin Mee (590.73)
  2. Level Up Your Life by Steve Kamb (158.1)
  3. Through Lover’s Lane by Elizabeth Rollins Epperly (813.52)
  4. Packing for Mars by Mary Roach (571.09)
  5. Dear Fahrenheit 451 by Annie Spence (028.9)
  6. Love for Imperfect Things by Haemin Sunim (294.35)
  7. The Creative Life by Julia Cameron (818.54)
  8. Do Nothing by Siroj Sorajjakool (299.51)
  9. The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron (153.35)
  10. It’s Better Than It Looks by Gregg Easterbrook (306.09)
  11. Outer Order, Inner Calm by Gretchen Rubin
  12. A Week at the Airport by Alain de Botton (387.73)
  13. Growing Up Again by Mary Tyler Moore (362.19)
  14. The Prodigal Tongue by Lynne Murphy (428.00)
  15. 30 Before 30 by Marina Shifrin (650.10)
  16. Primates of Park Avenue by Wednesday Martin (974.7)
  17. Alone Time by Stephanie Rosenbloom (910.40)
  18. I’ll Have What She’s Having by Rebecca Harrington (791.43)
  19. Quit Like a Millionaire by Kristy Shen and Bryce Leung
  20. Living a Life That Matters by Harold S. Kushner (296.36)
  21. There Are No Grown-ups by Pamela Druckerman (305.24)
  22. Learned Optimism by Martin Seligman (155.23)

Continue reading “2019 Reading Challenges: Three-Quarters Update”

Blog Hop: Bookish Holidays

book-blogger-hop-finalToday’s Book Blogger Hop question is:  Have you ever wished that there were official government bookish holidays, and that, by law, employers HAD to give their workers a paid day off? If so, what kind of bookish holiday would you like to have?

I’ve rather thought that Shakespeare’s birthday (April 23rd) would make a nice holiday.  In college, I was in a Renaissance-but-heavily-Shakespeare class that happened to meet on Shakespeare’s birthday (and since we only met once a week, it was actually a pretty lucky chance).  I brought cookies in to celebrate. 🙂  Mostly just because, but also a little bit because I’m a Stratfordian (I believe William Shakespeare of Stratford, who was born on April 23rd, wrote the plays), and I knew my professor was decidedly not…  Nothing like fighting a literary war with cookies!

If Shakespeare’s birthday was an official holiday, obviously it should be celebrated with Shakespearean plays.  And maybe something to do with dragons, considering it’s also St. George’s Day.

November 30th would make a good writing holiday–it’s the birthday of L. M. Montgomery, Mark Twain and Winston Churchill (prime minister, but also a writer).  Plus, it’s the last day of National Novel Writing Month, so a final-day celebration seems both appropriate, and helpful to all the writers who need a day off to get their final words written.

I tried to think of a fictional holiday in a book that I’d like to see really celebrated, but I came up blank.  The only one I thought of was Hogswatch from Discworld, but that’s very close to Christmas (with more meat pies).

Are there any bookish holidays you’d like to see celebrated?  Any holidays from books, or holidays celebrating books?

Blog Hop: Reading Timeline

book-blogger-hop-finalToday’s Book Blogger Hop question is:  How long does it take you to finish a book?

This varies wildly depending on the book–both its length, and how much I enjoy it!  I used to go through books very quickly.  Even a longish book (say, 400 pages) would be finished in about three days.  My pace has slowed dramatically with life changing.  I don’t have as much built-in reading time in my schedule anymore, and (perhaps because it used to be built in) I don’t tend to think of reading when I have free space and am thinking of what to do (I more often write or blog).

I’m probably averaging something like a book a week now, for what I would consider my “proper” book that I’m reading–the paper one that I read over meals and when I feel like picking something up.  I read nonfiction for two hours a week, and could spend a few weeks on one, or finish it in just that time, depending on the length (which probably varies even more for nonfiction than fiction).  I also listen to an audiobook whenever I’m in the car, and probably get through most audiobooks in a week or two.  And I have a book just to read before bed–when I was reading L. M. Montgomery’s journals, it would take months to get through a volume.  Now that I’m reading her short stories, it’s a bit faster.

If I’m particularly enjoying a book, I’m more likely to pick it up more often and therefore I finish it faster.  If it’s just okay, I can get bogged down for weeks.  There is a definite and unfortunate irony at play there…

I always feel I’d like to read more and finish more books faster, but I suspect that feeling is shared by most readers!