Wednesday, November 22, 2017

RIP Dmitri Hvorostovsky (1962-2017)

It was great sadness I heard of Dmitri Hvorostovsky's passing.  It is not entirely unexpected, as he has been battling brain cancer, but it is devastating news.  We were still hoping he'd find a way to beat it.  He was a delightful baritone to watch in the Met broadcasts.  The last performance I saw him in was in Il Trovatore, and he was great in that.  My condolences to his family, colleagues, and opera fans around the world who will sorely miss him.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Beautiful Books 2017 || How’s The Writing Going?

This series of questions comes from Hamlette's blog, and since not much is going on here in the movie scene, I'll talk a little about writing instead.  I had been planning on doing NaNo this year, except the whole move-to-new-home messed that up. 

Overall, how is your mental state, and how is your novel going?
Frazzled from the move, which stalled out all writing.  But now that I'm mostly unpacked and decently situated, I itch to get writing again.  I am always more productive and inspired in Fall/Winter than any other season. Snow and darkness just bring stories with them, so the first week in my new house, I had a new story idea fall into my lap.  I can't wait to start writing it, but need to finish the novel I'm working on first.

What’s your first sentence (or paragraph)?
My first sentence is currently stupid and won't last through the first revision.  How about the last sentence of part one of this novel instead?

Four loud gunshots echoed in the lounge behind me, and, with a sob, I threw myself over the gallery’s railing.

Who’s your current favourite character in your novel?
Now that's a tricky question to answer.  I love them all, including my dangerous antagonist (or I wouldn't be writing it).  But a fellow named Devon probably has the keys to my heart right now. 

What do you love about your novel so far?
The setting, the characters, the machinations of the antagonist, the plot, the connections and surprises the characters keep springing on me.  Really, if there was something about the novel I didn't love, I would change it to something I did. 

Have you made any hilarious typos or other mistakes?
Plenty of typos, none hilarious.

What is your favourite to write: beginning, middle, or end — and why?
Is there any question on this one?  The end.  Because everything else in the novel is building up the tension and escalation to that ending.  The ending is the culmination of everything I worked to set up, and the ending is always the most fun to write.  Endings also write very quickly because I've been anticipating them the entire book.  Everything finally comes together.  If I did my job up to that point, the ending will be inevitable and it will just write itself.  And nothing beats typing those last two final words "the end" and leaning back in your chair with the draft completed.

What are your writing habits? Is there a specific snack you eat? Do you listen to music? What time of day do you write best? Feel free to show us a picture of your writing space!
I write at night.  It's a long-ingrained habit from being a student.  First I did homework at night, then I wrote at night after I finished homework.  I focus best when there's no light outside, so no distractions.  I also have a dog, and he tends to go to sleep in the evening, which frees me up to write.  I'm not an eater, so no eating while writing. That would be totally distracting, not to mention I wouldn't want to mess up the keyboard with fingers that touched food.  I do drink a lot of tea, though.  A LOT of tea.  And I almost always listen to music.  Orchestral soundtracks 99% of the time, something that matches the mood or emotion of the scene I'm writing.  My writing space is currently the breakfast bar area of my new kitchen, so it is boring.  There is nothing around me but dog treats and the day's mail.

(I need this!)

How private are you about your novel while you’re writing? Do you need a cheer squad or do you work alone (like, ahem, Batman)?
I need a cheer squad.  Always have.  What's the point of writing a story down if it's not to share it?  Otherwise, I could save myself a lot of work and just daydream the story to completion, then move on to the next.  I want to share my stories and hopefully keep someone up until 1:00 am reading to find out what happens next, the way I was kept up by my favorite authors.  Without some kind of feedback as I work, my writing desire withers away.  The more feedback I get (positive or negative), the more I write.  I'm a writer who definitely needs to be fed.

What keeps you writing even when it’s hard?
This ties directly into the last question.  Knowing someone is waiting to find out what happens next in my story is The Single Best Motivator I know of.  (Well, besides deadlines from editors.)  I share my writing as I go with my best friend, Hamlette, and if she is bugging me to find out what happens after that last cliffhanger I left her on, then you can bet I will work to write the next scene that much faster (knowing it ends on an even more stressful cliffhanger... because I am also slightly evil.)

What are your top 3 pieces of writing advice?

1. Write.

2. Read.  Read everything you can get your hands on.  Study why you like some stories and not others.  What makes a story work for one reader is not necessarily the same as another reader, so figure out what makes a story work for you, and then write from that understanding.

3. Write some more.

Friday, November 03, 2017

And so, this happened...

I moved to Idaho this week and am currently enjoying a light snow storm.  Silver thinks this is fantastic.  I think this is fantastic.  I can finally get the house cold enough to be comfortable.  I am however, wishing I'd labeled the moving boxes a leeetttttlllleeee more precisely.  I can't find several highly necessary things.  Sigh.

Also, I'm afraid I won't be able to review any movies for awhile, unless I watch them online.  It was either my cats or my television.  They both wouldn't fit in the car, so the television stayed behind.  Naturally, I want nothing more than to curl up on the couch with Silver and a cup of hot tea and watch one of my trusty movies, but that will just have to wait awhile.