Here I am, back from the beach, and with at least some progress on my Write-a-thon to report. I do not have any startling writing totals to share, but all told, I have been true to my stated goal, which was to begin. And, there is a lot of Write-a-thon left to go. As you may know, this has been week one.
Written: about 1,000 words of the novel Timeless Kid. One blog post.
Read: One graphic novel (Fantastic Four Foundation), three comics (Nightwing, Stray Sod, and old school Mister Miracle).
With that being said, I’m off to continue my Write-a-thon sans the beach distractions. Until the next update, I hope you’ll enjoy some photos!
The other day I signed up for one of the most irresistible writing activities, summer’s CW Write-a-thon. For Ink readers who may know, this will be my third straight year participating in Clarion West’s Write-a-thon, and although my results and writing totals have been…less than stellar(?) I still think it’s important to keep going back to take another shot.
This Write-a-thon is open to the public. So, no affiliation with the Clarion West Workshops is required. If you’re interested, and have time (and even if you don’t) then I recommend signing up to see if you can further any of your personal writing goals. I will be there along with a community of newcomers and familiar faces in the science fiction and fantasy genres.
CW also aims to raise money for their organization through sponsorships of the individual writers who sign up. I’ve never raised much, personally, but it’s added incentive to keep me focused on writing, if only for the six weeks of June 19 – July 29. Unlike National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), which I’ve known and loved since 2005, there will be no 50k marker hanging over your head. You always set your own goals.
So I took a week off from blogging; come at me! And what was I doing? Well, reading Nausicaä for one thing, and the collected “Forever” storyline of Fantastic Four (review forthcoming). I was also busy compiling this:
~Steven’s to be Read List~
I have never made a point of keeping a ‘to be read’ list, although my list of ‘currently reading’ or ‘#amreading’ is well documented, and so long that it’s running off the page. I think the act of ‘making it official’ in a list is daunting to me. But tonight is the night we shall be dauntless. It’s not like it has to be set in stone, right? Right?
I’ll try not to feel bad if I don’t get to all of these in due course.
All of the books are in my possession, and only wait upon me. Here is a roll call, eight tomes long.
I make the distinction of a book, as there is a very famous film adaptation of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. And to distinguish it further, I must say that Nausicaä, the book, is a beautifully rendered manga, or graphic novel. My edition comes in two hardcover volumes.
Last year, I had the pleasure of reading Starting Point, the autobiographical work by Hayao Miyazaki, where he discusses, among other things, the great difficulty he experienced trying to complete Nausicaä, the book. In fact, the final version of the story was released a decade after the film.
I should note that this feels like one of those books that I’ll actually finish in a decent amount of time. That may be due to the fact that ever since seeing Spirited Away a few years ago, I have been obsessed (at least a little bit) with Studio Ghibli. For those of you looking to watch the film you’ll have the added bonus of Patrick Stewart voicing the character Master Yupa.
Whether in book or movie form, I believe most people would enjoy following Princess Nausicaä as she fights for her kingdom, and tries to restore a balance between humans who have lost their technical ingenuity, and the toxic jungle which has claimed much of the earth.
She’ll have some help from the aforementioned Master Yupa, the greatest swordsman on the Periphery, and from her uncle Mito. But she finds herself in a dangerous position, as the only human who can understand the Ohmu–a giant insect species who most everyone view as the enemies of humankind.
Ink’s My Thing is happy to welcome spec fic author Stewart C Baker for a quick chat. He’s bound to make it fun, so let’s make him feel at home. What do you need to know about Stewart? First, he is of the most recent crop of Writers of the Future winners, also a writer of haiku, and a perennial contender in our favorite competition, WYRM’s Gauntlet.
His work has appeared in Nature, Flash Fiction Online, and is forthcoming in Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show. His most recent contribution to speculative letters will be in the colorfully named anthology No Sh!t There I Was edited by Rachael Acks, the Kickstarter of which can still be supported, if we act quickly. Since he’s lived in so many places (from Japan to England to the Pacific Northwest) he simply tells people he’s from the internet.
For all of these diverse adventures Stewart is known, but I first and foremost think of him as the one guy who instantly recognized my NES Bubble Bobble avatar on social media. If you work with or around him, you’ll learn one thing for sure about Stewart. He always brings his sense of humor.
I’ve gone ahead and added three new writer links to the bottom of my Contact Me page, (where such things go) a page that is used far too infrequently, by the way. These links have helped me in a handy technical sense, the way my dictionary and thesaurus do, but also help to inspire me. Let’s talk links. You never know–you may be missing these in your collection.
First, I added Grammarist. I’ve probably visited this site countless times without realizing it, as it comes up often when I type a writerly query into Google. Most recently, I used it to look up the word usage rules of ‘lay’ and ‘lie’. It’s good for everything from colloquialisms to spelling tips, and the origins of phrases like the idiom ‘break a leg.’ When your 200-year-old text on English composition fails you, you’ll begin to appreciate Grammarist’s clear, concise style.
Next is a blog that I admit to reading way too sparingly, but which I love the spirit of. It is a Writer’s Digest blog called There Are No Rules. As with most WD material, it is aimed to better your writing and chances of success in publishing, but the emphasis is on how different and fast-paced the publishing world is nowadays. With all the numerous how-to manuals and snake oil salesmen out there, the concept of this blog serves to remind me that the only ‘real’ rule is to write a story worth telling.
The final update today is an essay by Maria Popova concerning Arthur Quiller-Couch. In truth, Brain Pickings itself, the blog of Popova, could just as easily be my link here, but this particular piece warrants special attention for writers. Popova highlights some of the timeless advice which made Professor Couch so noteworthy, inspiring words like these: Definitions, formulae (some would add, creeds) have their use in any society in that they restrain the ordinary unintellectual man from making himself a public nuisance with his private opinions. But they go a very little way in helping the man who has a real sense of prose or verse. In other words, they are good discipline for some thyrsus-bearers, but the initiated have little use for them.
For this literary update, I #amreading The Dark Tower. It’s time again to revisit King.
I say that as though I read Stephen King frequently, but in truth my King checklist amounts only to Riding the Bullet, The Dead Zone, Blaze (written under the pseudonym Richard Bachman), bits of On Writing, and an unfinished copy of The Stand which lays in a 1,000 page hardcover heap in my closet. Anyway, Ma was a pretty big fan of King, even if I was not, and his TV movies IT and TheLangoliers scared just about all the shit clean out of me as a kid.
So, needless to say, respect. (And, that Joe Hill sounds like a real chip off the ole’ block, by the way. NOS4A2 has been on my reading list for a while.)
Why this book?
I can honestly say that The Dark Tower is the series that comes up most often in conversations with reader and writer friends, when those conversations are positive. My discriminating friends delight in panning lousy teen romance, and groan with a wide range of opinions when it comes to something like the 15 books of The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan. Believe it or not, not everyone has read Harry Potter, and the same goes for The Hunger Games. I think the only series I have got around to openly praising is The Hyperion Cantos.
This would seem to be the series everyone can agree on, and I have high hopes for it myself. And if not the novels, then maybe the comics that came later.
Anyway, we may not get a chance to read every great series that comes along in our lifetimes, but let us begin. That is the point. Let’s educate ourselves. Let’s experience the craze.
If there is anyone out there who feels these two–reader and book–should not be wed, please speak now or forever hold your peace. Or, in other words, does everyone like The Dark Tower?
It’s my first Genrethon, or as I saw it on Twitter, ‘#genrethon’, and for those who don’t know, this is the readathon when one tackles three different genres in one week (April 10-16). Sound daunting? Well, it is, if you’re a slow reader with any plans to finish the books.
I’ll wait ‘til Saturday to see how I do. Write-a-thons I know I can do; Readathons make me dig down pretty deep. But I’ve always been a firm believer that readers or writers who wish to have any idea what they’re talking about should read it all. As much as you can in as many genres as you can. So, whether you finish or not, this is a good habit.
(That’s right. I’m already hedging my bets.)
Anyhow, I think I first owe some thanks to the people who brought this to my attention by blogging, booktubing, tweeting, or reviewing. It’s much appreciated, SFF180 and Reader Rayna! Following the links will bring you their three choices.
Where am I going with my own Genrethon? The first place I’m going is Hell.
Genre #1: Epic Poetry, Paradise Lost by John Milton
The mind is its own place, and in itself / Can we make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven. / What matter where, if I still be the same, / And what I should be, all but less than He / Whom thunder hath made greater? Here at least / We shall be free.
Christopher Hitchens once said that Paradise Lost was not in fact John Milton’s greatest poem. However, a lot of other fine scholars disagree, and we’ll see what I think. This work of course details the fall of many of the angels from the Christian Heaven. It is considered by many to be a must-read of the English language.
These next two (one, two) you know, but I’ll freshen it up a bit with different photos and quotes, and hope that it’s not considered cheating that I began these books a bit before Genrethon week.
Genre #2: General Fiction, Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh
Ah feel thit ah love thum aw. Matty, Spud, Sick Boy and Lesley. Ah want tae tell thum. Ah try, but it comes oot as: — Ah’m cookin. They look at us, fuckin scoobied. – That’s me, ah shrug ma shooders, in self-justification. Ah go ben the livingroom.
Genre #3: Graphic Novel, Star Wars Infinities edited by Mark D. Beazley
Play “What if?” with the original trilogy in a series of tales exploring the endless possibilities of Star Wars. How would A New Hope have gone if Luke Skywalker had missed the target in his attack on the Death Star? What would have become of the Rebel Alliance if Luke perished in the icy wastelands of Hoth during The Empire Strikes Back? What if Return of the Jedi’s rescue of Han Solo had gone wrong?
I’ll see you Saturday with my update/excuses, as it were. Are you taking part? If not, what other readathons are you missing out on?
Tonight, we venture out of genre. I #amreading Trainspotting, the classic novel by Irvine Welsh, at last.
The wait is nobody’s fault but my own. I spend probably three-quarters of my time in genre, but you may be surprised to learn that I once called the film adaptation of this book my favorite all-time movie. To let you in on a little secret, though, I think it helped that I saw it well after the Star Wars prequels came out. My familiarity with Ewan McGreggor, and fondness of young Obi-Wan Kenobi was already well established. In any event, it always feels like everyone else has read this but me.
I am about seventy pages in. It’s hilarious and sad, and the Scottish slang does not apologize. Ye cunt, ye. So, am I crazy, or has everyone read this? Because I know everyone’s seen the movie.