My journey through the world of writing and everything that lies in between…

Posts tagged ‘summaries’

What’s On Your Reading List?

I don’t know about you but my TBR (to-be read) list is LONG. Currently on Goodreads, I think I have over 100 books 😛 Many of them are books that have yet to be released, but they’re there, waiting… 😛

Anyway, here’s what I’m currently reading. (I’m one of those that can read two or more books at once):

First, the long-awaited sequel to Aprilynne Pike’s Wings. I was never one for tales about fairies, but hers (along with Julie Kagawa’s Iron Fey series) are my favorite, simply because it isn’t the normal “Tinkerbell” pixie fairy that most of us picture. I’m on Chapter Six currently and tonight Aprilynne will be at my local bookstore promoting it, so I’m definitely looking forward to meeting her 🙂

Next one I’m currently reading–Michelle Moran’s Nefertiti. This was her debut book and I’ve read her other two: The Heretic Queen which is technically a loose sequel to Nefertiti and Cleopatra’s Daughter. Moran is wonderful and infusing history into the prose without going overboard with details. It can be a little hard to follow the names of the ancient Egyptians, but that’s to be expected. The story is wonderful so far and I’m really looking forward to when her fourth book is released, which will break from her ancient history settings and be set around the French Revolution.

And finally, the one I still have to pick up at the library: Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier. It’s loosely based of the Twelve Dancing Princesses fairy tale, and since I absolutely LOVE fairy tale/myth retellings, I had to put this on order. Plus, the cover is simply gorgeous.

So, what are you currently reading–or plan on reading?

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Results of the Write-In

The weekend write-in went well. Lots of fun and lots of writing 🙂 I didn’t get as much done there as I wanted, but throughout the course of the day, I hit the goal I made for myself.

I completely finished the character bios for all main characters. And the most important thing: I finished my general summary of the entire book. Well, parts of it are general; some of it was rather specific but I just threw whatever on the page that came to my mind. My summaries are always a little hard to decipher, at least for anyone else reading it 😛 Sentence fragments abound as does lack of punctuation. But it’s a guideline for me, not the actual book, so it doesn’t matter how messy it is. No one else is gonna read it!

By the way, that guideline ended up being six pages–single spaced 😛

The story will most likely change from what I’ve written down, but at least I have a slight point of reference from beginning to middle to end. So I guess you can say I’m one of those writers who plans things out before, but I don’t always follow the path. But it’s there for me so if I can’t figure out where the story was going I can use it as reference.

Now, I’m trying to figure out what to do. I could start writing it–I am two months ahead of schedule. Or I could spend the time trying to find the research for it. It’ll probably be a mix of both; I may be lucky to get one or two chapters done before NaNo starts.

Anyone else have a productive weekend (writing or otherwise)?

Critiques and Other Things

The first chapter of Lady of the Snow was reviewed last night by my local critique group.

And….they LOVED it. I mean, they hardly had any comments on it. That’s seriously a first for me. Even though there were only four of us last night, the opinion was pretty unanimous–that my first chapter achieved exactly what a first chapter should: it made them want to read more.

There were some issues with it, mainly grammatical (what a suprise 😛 Grammar is the bane of my existence) and a few places where I could make things a little clearer. But nothing major. (BTW, I changed my chapter a little from the excerpts I posted–mainly, I switched it over to third person, which I think flows better and is more natural for me).

However, from their comments, I have a little changing I’m going to need to do for the book. I’m realizing that the current plan I had probably won’t work so well. I initially planned on going back in time after my first chapter to show how she developed into the Yuki-onna. But I realized that may be a little too much of an abrupt shift–from going to her being this mythical monster to being a normal human 300 years prior.

So, that first part will mainly be backstory fodder; much of it may come out in flashbacks. And I’m going to have to learn how to do a good flashback. Not sure it will work making it go back and forth between two distinct time periods; you really have to master the craft so as not to confuse the reader (or irritate them!). Jamie Ford’s Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is a great example of switching between two time periods without that confusion. He was able to switch back seamlessly–something I don’t think I’m quite comfortable doing just yet–at least at the level I’m at in my writing.

So it’s back to the drawing board for the book summaries, as well as some of the character bios. It’s nothing too major–in fact I may try writing it the way I originally thought and then use some of that in flashback sequences.

For now, I’m just happy that I actually wrote a compelling first chapter–something that I always struggle to do 🙂

Marriages in Meiji Japan

I’ve been spending a little too much time researching and got worried that I may have to change things with the whole romance subplot in my book.

The first issue I encountered dealt with who could marry whom. Ryuji and Naomi aren’t related at all, but I thought could be considered “related by affinity” because Ryuji was a ward of the family and seen as a member of the family (not as a son, but more of a nephew). I had to figure out what collateral relations within the third degree meant in the law at that time and it took a great deal of Googling to find out what it meant 😛 Thankfully, it should be ok, because if anything, society may view them as distant, distant cousins (even though they aren’t blood related).

But then I realized I ought to look deeper into the actual marriage customs and realized that arranged marriage was the norm at this time in Japan. Marriages were often set up through omiai and by a nakodo, or a matchmaker, who knew the two candidates and their families. There would be a selection process, an introduction between the candidates and the families, and perhaps a few other meetings for the prospective bride and groom to assess one another (of course all under supervision). Social status and lineage were among some of the important things to consider. If the families didn’t feel that a marriage would be auspicious, they would part ways and the process would begin again.

A non arranged marriage was very uncommon which of course is going to pose problems for my two characters (since they aren’t arranged to be married). Of course I can work this into the plot somehow (and already have in my earlier chapters, though I’m thinking I’ll need to give it a bit more focus) and it will definitely make things a little more interesting, especially when we have the uber traditional Japanese mindset of Ryuji and the Victorian mindset of Naomi.

Even though the Victorian era was also a time when emotion was supposed to be kept in check, I’m thinking arranged marriages would be something that Naomi would view with a little aversion (not nearly as we would today of course, but more than the average Japanese woman would at that time). So there’s the conflict there of her viewing a marriage as one that should be built on love, while Ryuji’s view is more of the traditional “what’s good for the family and what the head of the family wants” point of view.

So of course there’s the inner turmoil of Ryuji who finds himself attracted to Naomi but realizes he cannot act upon it because it would be shameful and go against that of the family (not to mention, Naomi’s father).  He doesn’t want things to turn out the way it did for Naomi’s parents, which was obviously against societal expectations on both sides (an American woman and a Japanese man together? Simply unheard of and considered disgraceful at this time). It’s going to be interesting how it turns out, since I’m still uncertain what the result for them will be at the end.

For one brief moment, I thought that maybe I’d have them in an arranged marriage from the beginning, but then I thought it wasn’t all that original enough for me (I’ve seen plenty of storylines with the whole arranged marriage thing starting out badly and then the couple grows to love each other…) not to mention I couldn’t figure out how to fit it in with the storyline without completely changing the entire book( and adding the entire miai process) So I nixed that idea pretty quickly 😛

Sigh. It seems like this keeps getting more and more complicated as I go along! 😛

Excuses, Excuses

I realize it’s been too long since I’ve blogged. Unfortunately work has zapped all strength from me this past week. It’s been non-stop busy and generally I’m too tired at the end of the day to want to do anything that requires thinking (or more time in front of the computer).

However I pushed myself today, realizing such habits would NOT do me well during NaNo. So I continued on with my chapter summaries, hoping that I may actually finish them by Friday at midnight and the start of November. Not sure if I’ll make it, but if I don’t I’ll just do my best to write without them–who knows, that may actually end up being better for me.

Anyway, I still promise to keep the blogging up, if not for a daily update on word count and some story progression–that’s what I planned on doing over a month ago when I devoted myself to being a consistent blogger 🙂 And there will be NO EXCUSES to avoid it 🙂

Let the Madness Consume Me

A little more than a week and the NaNo craziness begins!

Not only that, but November 1st is also my birthday (I’ll be the big 2-4 this year). What can be better than birthday cake, word counts and word wars?

I am hoping to get more of my chapter summaries done; the goal is to finish those but I’m uncertain if that’s going to happen. I am trying, though I’m normally utterly exhausted from work when I get home at 4…and I only work five to five and a half hours a day. It’s hard for me to want to do anything but laze around on the couch during the week. It’s sad; I need to push myself more despite the exhaustion.

Work has been a little on the crazy side, considering now I’m the “official” office admin assitant (the PC term for secretary). This past week there have been times where I seriously had to remind myself to breathe as there was so much to keep up with!

I’m still missing things here and there; if not for the former AA  (who stil technically does a lot of the AA work and helping me transition) I’d be making mistakes left and right. I’m getting things slowly, but there is SO much that I have to remember it’s insane.

Let this be a lesson to anyone who desires to work in the real estate industry 😛 It’s ever changing and ever frustrating.  Agents can be very demanding, though most have been very understanding that I’m still learning and that it’s not going to happen overnight (in fact it’ll probably be another six months before I feel truly confident). The industry is constantly changing though, especially with the slow economy (even though I wouldn’t think that by the number of closings I am processing on a weekly basis). Still, I shouldn’t complain, as it is a job and I do work with many good people.

So I’m trying to balance myself between the madness of work and the impending insanity of NaNo–though I’m looking forward to the latter 🙂 Cranking out 50K + words in a month could be considered a mark of insanity, too…then again, I’ve not met one writer in life that doesn’t border on the sane/insane line 😛 It’s what makes us be the wonders that we are 🙂

A Rather Productive Weekend…For Me Anyway

So, I did manage to get some of my book worked on. Not any actual writing itself, but considerable work on my chapter summaries. I moved them around, added some, deleted others, etc.

I’m also going to condense them a bit so they aren’t as convuluted as they are now. I started working on the smaller summaries this weekend getting up to about chapter nine or ten.

I know it seems like I’m stalling the actual writing part–which I am because I’m waiting for NaNo. I figure now is the planning and re-organizing stage. There’s lots of little issues I’ve been finding as I go through the older summaries and I’m trying to fix them now. Key word there: trying.

I need more weekends where I’m out in the middle of nowhere with no distractions like TV and internet. That seems to be the only way I ever get anything done. Perhaps I ought to try working on my novel more out at the local bookstore or Panera Bread or something. I may get more done that way!

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