novels


Random quote of the day:

“Novelists secrete a certain BO, which only other novelists detect…”

—Walker Percy, The Paris Review, Issue 103, Summer 1987

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Orville and Wilbur, Katy Perry, or the Avengers. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Random quote of the day:

“There have been plenty of self-destructive rebel-angel novelists over the years, but writing is about getting your work done and getting your work done every day. If you want to write novels, they take a long time, and they’re big, and they have a lot of words in them.”

—Michael Chabon, interview, Rolling Stone, September 27, 2001

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Orville and Wilbur, Katy Perry, or the Avengers. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Random quote of the day:

“The novel remains for me one of the few forms where we can record man’s complexity and the strength and decency of his longings. Where we can describe, step by step, minute by minute, our not altogether unpleasant struggle to put ourselves into a viable and devout relationship to our beloved and mistaken world.”

—John Cheever, National Book Award acceptance speech for The Writer, September 1958

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Orville and Wilbur, Katy Perry, or the Avengers. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

After hitting the five week mark on the poetry project I think I’m going to stop–because I’ve started working on a story. I’m not going to discuss that because it’s early days yet and in my experience if I talk too much about a story before it’s well-launched it dissipates the energy and I don’t finish it. And by story, I probably mean novel. I can’t seem to conceptualize and stay true to anything less complex.

So the poetry project did what I hoped it would do, got me back to a regular writing practice. It’s still early days on that, too, but I’m hopeful. I also hope to put something up on this blog at least once a week. I have found that all writing, no matter what, begets more writing. The important part is to start (or restart) the regular practice of writing.

So wish me luck. But, of course, what I really need is to just keep doing it, whatever it is.

Random quote of the day:

“Like a lot of what happens in novels, inspiration is a sort of spontaneous combustion—the oily rags of the head and heart.”

—Stanley Elkin, The Paris Review, Issue 66, Summer 1976

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Random quote of the day:

“Never begin the book when you feel you want to begin it, but hold off a while longer.”

—Rose Tremain, “Ten Rules for Writing Fiction,” The Guardian, 19 Feb. 2010

 start4wp

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

 

Random quote of the day:

“When I read something saying I’ve not done anything as good as Catch-22 I’m tempted to reply, ‘Who has?’”

—Joseph Heller, quoted in The Oxford Dictionary of Literary Quotations, ed. Peter Kemp

 good4WP@@@

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Siegfried and Roy, Leonard Maltin, or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

The talented and lovely mnfaure has put out a general challenge to writers as part of the 7-7-7-7 challenge, so I decided to play along. I’ll follow her lead and rather than challenging seven specific writers, I’ll just say that anyone out there who wishes to join in should feel free to.

The Challenge

Go to the 7th page of a work in progress, go 7 lines down, post the next 7 lines, then challenge 7 other writers to do the same.

My entry turns out to be part of a letter to the editor of a paranormal magazine called The Between Times—maybe not the most riveting part of the novel, but hopefully at least slightly amusing:

I wonder if you’d like to do an article about the Chupacabra that’s bothering my chickens? Well, I’d better close for now. I am a big fan of your magazine. I have been reading The Between Times ever since I discovered it on a trip to San Francisco three years ago to visit my son’s grave. That was the issue on life after death and I found it to be a great comfort. Keep up the good work, and let me know about that Chupacabra article. I’ll even write it myself if you like, though I’m no creative writer.

Sincerely yours,

Ramona Hansen Tattinger, Hansen Ranch, Dos Lunas County, California

This was seven lines in the ms., but seems to have a different shape in the post. Anyway. Happy writing!

Random quote of the day:

“At first sight a man’s life is more interesting than his works. It constitutes an obstinate, taut whole. Unit of mind dominates. There is a single inspiration through all those years. He is the novel. To be rewritten, obviously.”

—Albert Camus, The Notebooks, 1942-1951 (tr. Justin O’Brien)

 lifestory4WP@@@

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Siegfried and Roy, Leonard Maltin, or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

I have only ever taken one critique of my writing personally, and that was largely because it was meant personally. The critiquer mostly wanted to put me in my place and take revenge for an honest review I did of her Very Precious Novel. I told her that her writing was lovely, the characters in her book were interesting people I liked hanging out with, but I thought she’d done some chickenshit stuff with the plotting. Although I used, yanno, polite language, phrased things as positively as I could, trying to be supportive.

In turn, she said my novel was such utter dreck that she couldn’t make it past chapter 3 and didn’t want to waste anymore of her Very Precious Time actually finishing. Except, yanno, in semi-polite language. Though not very polite. Rather dismissive, in fact. Really hard not to take that personally.

Her novel went on to be published, mine did not, but mine got some positive response from agents. The ending was too controversial and “anti-market” but send the next novel along, and etc. Life took over and I wasn’t able to do any of that.

I admit to some perverse gratification when my critiquer’s novel was reviewed in Locus. They called her on the selfsame chickenshit plotting I had. Although the reviewer used, yanno, polite language. Though not as polite as mine. And I’d be lying if I said I was anything less than perversely gratified when the novel didn’t sell well.

Mostly, however, I take criticism like a grown woman. I ask people to read and critique my work because I want honest opinions so I can make it better. And I stay away from the perverse gratification as much as possible because I really do believe that negativity breeds negativity. It’s not healthy for me as a person or an artist to nurse grudges. They’re rather like hoarding useless junk. Too much of it in any one life and you wind up being one of those people buried alive and suffocated to death when a pile of old smelly junk falls on top of you.

No, envy and salacious glee at another person’s fail tend to choke the creative process. That needs to be as free-flowing as possible and if the artist encumbers herself with negative emotions she’ll stop moving altogether. I see it even more clearly now that I have so little time to do creative work, so little Me Time. An artist needs to be able to take those precious moments and run with them whenever they occur, wherever they lead.

And that includes being grateful for the time others spend reviewing and giving honest critiques of my work. I’m grateful for 99.9% of the reviews I’ve gotten. As you can probably tell from the opening of this post, I haven’t entirely succeeded on letting go of that one unfair one. I still grit my teeth when I see that person’s name. Fortunately, I don’t see it much anymore unless I masochistically google it. And I hardly ever do that. Hardly.

I don’t have time for that. I don’t have time for hoarding old newspapers of envy, scrap tin of grudge, and empty boxes of perverse gratification. I need to let go, lighten my load, and liberate myself completely from the junk preventing me from moving freely.

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