Welcome to this month’s meeting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! If you’re not yet familiar with this fantastic group, we’re a bunch of writers, three hundred and counting, who are brave enough to share our insecurities with the worldwide web. Want to join? Click on this linky, hop on board Alex J. Cavanaugh’s blog, and put yourself on the list next to some of the nicest writers on the web.
As I considered whether or not I should ramble on about the dubious quality of the fifty thousand words I wrote for NaNoWriMo, I was struck by another much more dire insecurity.
You see, after having to park five blocks away and fight the holiday crowds that lay between me and my local bookstore, a cozy establishment by the name of Anderson’s Bookshop, I have a confession to make, especially difficult to divulge if I’m to consider myself an aspiring writer of fiction. It’s this:
I don’t own a Kindle.
Of course, just so you know I’m not a complete Luddite, I naturally took advantage of Amazon’s free Kindle app, and have happily read lots of great stories on my Mac. I love being able to highlight and annotate my favorite passages. I love that I never lose my spot. And I really love it when I can take advantage of a free download or two.
Take my recent trip to Anderson’s. Where else can I browse the books organized by subjects like ‘Holiday Books’ or ‘Local Authors’ and stumble upon a cool calendar and maybe a blank journal or two? Where else can I be captivated by a beautiful cover like the lovely Truth and Beauty, take a peek inside to find the writing eloquent, and think to myself, “Yup, this one’s a keeper. Just try to pry it out of my grubby little fingers.” And, though I’m a huge fan of the Look Inside feature at Amazon, sometimes I like to dive a little deeper before I make my purchase and read a particularly poignant section of dialogue, or a brilliant passage of description before I decide this one’s for me. There is hardly a time when I go in to buy a book that I don’t end up coming out with a few of its buddies as well.
Much as I love Amazon’s convenience and fast shipping, there is something about holding the physical book in my hands and desiring it that electronic versions just can’t match. A book is a treasure I can tuck next to my bed and carry in my purse, and after I read it I can pass it on to my friends. Even better, once they’ve read it, we can talk about it, gush over the love scenes, and analyze an alternate ending or two. Electronic readers make this a tricky proposition, as I understand that not all e-book readers take the same versions of the book, necessitating another purchase of the book for the other device.
My biggest insecurity about this is, now that I’m hoping to someday have a publishable story on my hands, does the possible extinction of physical books mean my dream of giving away signed copies of my book will die? If my story only comes out as an e-book, will I be unable to read my own work if I hold out on the e-reader? Am I chasing down the equivalent of the dodo bird as I continue my pilgrimage to one of the few remaining bookstores?
Or should I just get with the program and hope Santa brings me an iPad for Christmas this year?
Book image courtesy of sanja gjenero @ Stock.xchng, iPad image courtesy of Evan-Amos @ Wikimedia Commons
As I close in on the finish line of NaNoWriMo and look back on what I’ve written, I sometimes wonder if I should have attempted another fifty thousand word foray into literary abandon this year. It was kind of a hasty decision and went something like this:
It’s late at night on October 31 and I lie in bed, contemplating my nascent NaNo novel, wondering if I should even try, when I hear a tap on my front door.
The world is asleep and it’s too late for trick or treaters, I think as I check the clock and see that it’s midnight. Nonetheless, I creep to the entryway to check the peephole, curious who it might be.
The Muse grins back at me.
“You?!” I exclaim and hurry to unlatch the chain and open the deadbolt.
“You summoned me?” He smiles as I look him over. He’s donned a long black cape to ward off the rain and wind, and the hood is thrown back to display a jaunty cap sporting the biggest black plume I’ve ever seen. Though his wings drag on the sidewalk behind him, I doubt even they could have produced such a massive feather.
“I did ask you to visit, but … we’re sleeping,” I stammer weakly.
“It’s midnight isn’t it? Time to start writing our November novel?”
“But I have nothing but a vague idea of what to write. Just a story sentence, twenty-six character names and a broken protagonist.”
“Come outside,” he beckons, extending his gloved hand. “I have something to show you.”
I wrap my bathrobe more tightly around my waist and step out on the front porch. The cement is cold on my bare feet but at least I’m not ruining my socks. I follow him out to the leaf-scattered front yard.
Standing between the Miss Kim lilacs and the withered forsythias are two horses, their breath steaming in the chilly night air. One is black and gleaming under the streetlights, the other shimmering white. In one easy motion, his wings making a short sweep behind him, the Muse mounts the black stallion. “Coming?” he asks, unable to hide the mischievous grin that plays over his somber features.
The white horse whinnies impatiently and lifts a foreleg to scrape it over my front lawn.
“But I don’t know how to ride a horse. Heck …” I measure the height of the saddle and calculate how awkward I would look sprawled across the grass in my pajamas if I screw this up. “I can’t even get up into the saddle.”
His laugh echoes in the evening wind and he raises his hand to conjure up a chair high enough to help me to clamber onto my cloud-colored steed. “How’s that?” he asks.
I blink and hesitate. Really? Do I want to do this? I don’t have scene cards; I’ve barely gotten to know my characters, and I have about a million other things I need to do this month.
“I know how much you love to write,” the Muse whispers. “Do it. For fun. For me.”
I step on the chair and swing my leg over the saddle. “Okey dokey. For you and for fun …”
Despite the questionable quality of what I’ve accomplished this month, I’m still glad I took the leap.
Have you ever done something crazy with your writing? Were you glad you did?
Images courtesy of Feng Yu and Vasyl Torous @ StockFresh.com and ‘sqback’ @ Big Stock
Although you might think A Scenic Route has joined the ranks of endangered blog species, I want to assure everyone that I’m still here. I know that during the busy NaNoWriMo season my posts are dwindling until they’re almost nonexistent, but hopefully I will return from my expedition into literary abandon with the bones of another novel on my hard drive.
Meanwhile though, I wanted to send a bit of encouragement out to some fellow bloggers who might need a boost. Luckily, there’s a blogfest for that!
It’s called, Oh, How I Miss You, and is co-hosted by three fine gentlemen: Alex J. Cavanaugh, Andrew Leon and Matthew McNish. It prescribes listing three blogs that I would miss if they were to disappear and three that I miss now that they’ve faded into the murky depths of the world-wide web.
I’ll start with the blogs I would miss if they were gone:
- Ink: You want book reviews? Playlists? Witty and insightful commentary? Ink’s got you covered. There’s even a chair rating to size up the novel, ranging from downright cozy to hideously insufferable.
- Kristina Stanley: Posts with novel-writing tips, sunsets and turquoise seascapes from on board a Lagoon 380 S2 catamaran, not to mention snapshots of a dog named Farley cavorting on the beach are always a most welcome visitor to my inbox. Especially now that winter’s on the way, I will need my three times weekly dose of sunshine more than ever.
- Vikki at The View Outside: Vikki’s self-deprecating posts about her writing journey are always a welcome dose of inspiration. Her determination, story snippets and triumphs always make for interesting discussions in the comments. She’s on hiatus for November during NaNoWriMo, but I sure hope she comes back soon!
Then there are the blogs where I search in vain for new posts in my Inbox. I miss you guys!
- Mike Schulenberg: Fun filled banter on topics ranging from cocktail tables shaped like octopi to the algebra of the damned never failed to bring a smile to my face even on the gloomiest of days. It seems his journey has taken him away from the web for the time being, but I never give up hope that he will return with more stories from his Realms of Perilous Wonder
- Lynne Revette Butler: I found her blog during the A to Z challenge and was treated to a summer of gorgeous photographs taken from her garden in South Oxfordshire, England. Now that fall has settled over the northern hemisphere, I hope I don’t stop receiving the occasional greeting from England.
- Melinda Hagenson: A fellow Holly Lisle Writers’ Boot Camp student and college English teacher, Melinda writes gorgeous posts about life in Wisconsin and shares many a useful grammar tip. Thanks to her blog I can now wield a semicolon with authority. I hold out hope that she will post a nugget or two in the busy fall semester!
Who would you miss if they stopped posting? Do you know any blogs on the endangered species list?
I started in March, against my better judgement because I was still revising The Tempest’s Serenade, and here I am, almost ninety thousand words later, ready to revise the first draft of my dystopian vampire story, working title The Way of Wolves.
I thought it might be fun the share the playlist that emerged as I was writing it. This one was inspired by some pretty dark stuff, and if genre hopping gives you whiplash, buckle up (or engage the skip button) because I’m mixing rock with techno and dance again. Overall, though it sets the dangerous, dystopian mood of my story, and sprinkles in a dash of hope and love to keep things interesting. However, as Halloween approaches, I think a bit of darkness is appropriate!
Did I mention that my story features vampires?
I give you, my Way of Wolves playlist:
A YouTube version of the playlist is HERE
What’s on your Halloween playlist?