End of NaBloPoMo

Today is the last day of November and thus the last day of National Blog Posting Month.

I made it. I can hardly believe I made it, but I did.

I posted everyday this month. God. Some posts were crappy, others were okay. Sometimes I posted at 7 or 8 at night, but I managed.

It was hard. I am glad it’s over. I am pretty sure I won’t do this again. I thinking posting two or three times a week is ideal for me.

Style as Exposition

I’ve been thinking about my writing style, but I don’t think I actually have one. Not in terms of sentence structure, feel or anything else, either. All those things change with the story. Maybe I’ve just never found my particular style.

The few times I’ve managed to infuse some sort of style in my stories, it’s related to the character or the setting or something.

I am thinking now that style could be another way to do exposition, to reveal things about character in a non-obvious way. It probably works best in first person POV, but could work pretty well in a third person limited POV, too.

Some of that is probably because I read/write mostly fantasy and lots of fantasy is written in the “transparent window pane” sort of style – plain and unobtrusive and not noticeable. The reader notices it as much as those birds who slam into windows in window cleaner commercials. (But with less pain!)

But not all of it because some fantasy writers do have a distinctive style. I know, because all of their books sound similar. You think it’s the characters’ voice. But it’s not, because the language is similar not only across many books and many different characters, but different series as well. Similar enough you know who the writer is with only a single sample page. I know with these writers the way the book is written reflects nothing about the character.

Some of this is probably because I’ve always tried to write in the POV character’s style rather than my own. I try to figure out a few words/phrases the character loves and use those in as varied a way as I can.

A part of me no doubt thought if my character had a way of speaking, preferred some words over others, liked to repeat certain phrases, liked to go on and on and on, there would be a reason and would go to illustrate their character. If they didn’t, it might be best to keep the style as neutral as possible.

What do you think? Can the style of a piece serve as exposition as well? Should it?

Friday Flash: Yellow Ticket

Step. Step. Step.

Gasp. Step. Gasp.

She staggered inside, shuddered as the heat of the store made its way under her jacket, sweater, shirt, thermals and scarf.

She ignored the roars and rush of the crowd.

Instead, she clenched with her numb, worn gloved fingers a yellow ticket: small, badly printed, but the answer to her dreams.

The check-out line grew long behind her, wove around product displays and was full of loud chatter.

She ignored it all.

The small slim box the checkout girl handed her was wonderful. Perfect. Others wouldn’t think so, but she could type now. Write whatever she wanted, whenever she wanted to. Watch videos, even.

She no longer needed to wait on the school’s computer labs.

Do you seek out holiday books?

I read a post yesterday on favorite holiday books and I thought: I don’t have any favorite   holiday reads.

That’s not to say I don’t read holiday themed books – I do, if it drops in my lap. Sometimes they do, and they are usually romance books. Maybe mysteries.

But I don’t go looking for them, don’t seek them out. If I see them on library shelves? Okay. Maybe I’ll take one out.

None of the books I love to reread involve the holidays. None. Is that weird?

Maybe it’s because I read mostly fantasy and there aren’t a whole lot of holiday-themed fantasy books.

Teaser Tuesday: Heritage of Cyador

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My teaser:

As he half fills the beaker, he replies, “I don’t seek risks. I try to do only what is necessary.”

“That can be the greatest risk of all.”

- Heritage of Cyador  by L. E. Modesitt

What makes a book hard to read?

One of the first books I never finished Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. It was required reading for English class.

I learned that I could read the beginning, the end and the middle, and still answer all the questions the teacher asked and still manage to write the essays. (This lesson has been useful in subsequent English classes.)

Heart of Darkness, as I recall, is a short book. Certainly shorter than many of the multi-volume fantasies I loved to read. So length isn’t a factor in what makes a book hard to read.

But I don’t really know what the factors are that makes a book hard to read.

For me, such factors probably include:

  • Dense
  • Not Interesting
  • Strange language
  • No Plot
  • Offensive characters/Plot

1) Heart of Darkness might have been dense. Maybe. Probably.

2) I can’t remember how interesting Heart of Darkness was, but I’ve read boring books for class cover to cover, so I don’t think this was the most important reason why I couldn’t read it. Even though it was boring.

3) No plot will turn me off every time, but I am not sure Heart of Darkness is plotless. Not that I actually remember the plot. I don’t. All I remember is him meandering down a river. But I didn’t actually read the whole book, so maybe there was a plot.

4) Some of the book might have been offensive. I distinctly remember reading a comparison to creatures and then being in class and thinking: Oh those are black people! Yeah, offensive.

I think I gave up on the book shortly afterward.

Ice Bucket Challenge

I decided to look up various ice bucket challenges done by favorite writers.

This one is by Brandon Sanderson and the best thing about it is that he counties writing even after someone dumped a bucket of ice and water on him. Who does that? I mean, weren’t the papers a little hard to read after a wetting?

This one is Pat Rothfuss’s ice bucket challenge. I really love his “ice”. So smoky and dramatic.

This one is by Jim Butcher. He has ice, ice cream and an ice cream headache.

There are lots more on YouTube: Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, George Martin. But that’s more videos than I want to put here!

I wasn’t able to find any of the women whose books I go all fangirl on do an ice bucket challenge. Is that weird?

And, also, just because, here’s a video compilation of people failing at the ice bucket challenge.

Pondering the WiP

I haven’t written a word today. Just one of those days. And I don’t feel well enough to force myself to write.

But I’ve been pondering my protagonist’s character profile. He has a thing for art and exercise. I haven’t shown either in the WiP so far. I’ve just told it, breaking the cardinal rule of showing and not telling. They’re important enough to the character a part of me thinks they need to be shown.

Neither of those passions of the character are important to the character are important to the plot. So I need to find some very subtle way to work it in.

I just haven’t figured out a way to work it in.

Friday Flash: The Honored Hemorphidite

Gentle reader, I was present at the Olde Circle yesterday evening when an astonishing thing happened.

“2900! 2900! Who wants to go for 3000? 3000, people. Going once, going twice, gone! The gentleman in the yellow hat has won the antique robot!” A small woman whispered in the auctioneer’s ear. “Ah! Forgive me, I meant to say, the honored hemorphidite in the yellow hat has won the antique robot.”

A shocked titter begin in the upper gallery and spread down to the peons in the lower seats. Who could blame them? No one has seen a hemorphidite in such marvelous surroundings in, well, decades.

A brightly dressed, tall hemorphidite descended from the upper gallery and walked to the stage. But before – she? he? it? – could reach the stage, a woman handed him a trolly with the robot on it, staring sightless ahead. The robots’ power switch was turned to off.

It, we shall say, offered the woman a card; it was a black card, but I regret I was not close enough to see which credit company it preferred.

The honored hemorphidite, gentle reader, gathered the trolly to its impressive bosom and made off with it.

No one knows where it went. All I know, gentle reader, is that somewhere in this city is a hemorphidite with an old robot.

Perhaps it decided to assuage its loneliness with the stark, broken lights of a robot.