Sunday, 30 October 2011

WIP 2 First Draft & NaNoWriMo Insanity

This afternoon I finished the first draft of WIP 2. It's a second a book in the series, and I started writing it because I wanted to develop my world further, and explore the characters further, which incidentally helped with editing the first book. However, it means that I'm currently in no hurry to edit this book, because until the first book is sold (working on the damn query letter) there is no need to worry about the second one. 

But the purpose behind dedicating the whole weekend to finishing this book (wrote just over 10K, and now the draft is finished at 94K+) was to be free for NaNoWriMo. I considered not doing NaNoWriMo this year, because I had this book to finish, plus I'm working on submission package for the first book, day job is nightmare busy and life continues...but I simply can't resist the pull of NaNoWriMo, and now that this book is finished, I feel like I have to give it a try. 

So it's one day to figure out which book I will work on for NaNoWriMo, hopefully have at least a skeleton outline, and then in a day's time begins a whole month's insanity. Well, actually 28 days, because on 29th of November I'm going on a holiday for some winter sunshine. 

What about you? How is your writing coming along? Are you doing NaNoWriMo this year? Do you know what you will be working on?

Sunday, 23 October 2011

BristolCon 2011 - A Great Event

I'm still recovering from yesterday's BristolCon. A whole day full of fun, excitement, intelligent (and sometimes weird) conversation, and a whole lot of books. 

Official start time was 9, so I was there at 8:30 of course. Advantage of that is that I didn't have to queue up to get my name tag. Managed to catch up with some nice people I met last year, and met some new people as well. Jo (the supremely efficient chairperson for BristolCon) was already a busy-bee, as was Meg - providing panellists with their schedules, setting up books for sale etc. I was on three panels this year. It was good schedule for me, first 9, second at 10, third at 11 - all 50 minutes long, with 10 minutes break in-between. But that meant that after 12, I was free to be a visitor and sit into everyone else's panels. Being on panels was good fun (at least for me), despite some nervousness that comes from being a newbie. But I have to say - my fellow panellists (mostly writers, some artists) are the most wonderful and supportive people you could ever meet. Our audience was great too, and the whole thing went smoothly, and we all had a good laugh, especially in the Battle of the Books panel. Paul Cornell and John Meaney were excellent champions for their chosen books - though I still think Paul has some audience hypnosis power. 

Mike Shevdon did a session on Archery. It was informative and fun, and it could've given Legolas some tips about archery. Another fun session which included Joanne Hall and Paul Cornell on the panel was G.R.R.M Is Not Your Bitch! The sentence made famous by Neil Gaiman's blog post was now an event at BristolCon. 

For the first time at BristolCon, we had two parallel streams of programmes. It went wonderfully, though often many of us were left wishing we could be in two places at once because all the events were fantastic. Last year was fun, but I just feel like this year we did so much more. Dealer's room was full of wonderful books and authors. In the afternoon, two book launches which included Gareth Powell's book "Recollection" that received a fantastic review in The Guardian. 

Keith, the founder of a popular writing software Scrivener was there as well, explaining further details about the software, and answering questions about upcoming Windows version. Cheryl Morgan was a fabulous moderator on the Battle of the Books panel. I attended KaffeeKlatsch with John Meaney and we learned not only about his writing prowess, but amazing Yoda Powers. KaffeeKlatsches gave a good opportunity to have decent conversation with writers you really wanted to spend more time with. 

I'd intended to leave early, as soon as all the workshops finished but I was having so much fun that I decided to stay till the end. Just as well because the quiz was fun, and thanks to supreme knowledge of Philip Reeves and Iain our team (Minion + 5) actually came second. The said minion provided me much amusement. 

By the time it ended, I realised I'd missed the last train home. However, wonderful Jo Hall and her friends came to rescue, and gave me a lift home. Good thing too, because by that time I was totally knackered. 

So all in all, a wonderful day, spent in wonderful company. 

And for those of you who can be in Bristol area next year, 2012 BristolCon is scheduled on 20th of October. I can't wait! 

Friday, 21 October 2011

10 Things I Love About Paper Books

E-books are all very well (I love my kindle), but for those who think they are the SAME as paper books, here are 10 things, paper books give me, which e-books don't. 

  1. I love to see the creases and crinkles that a book gets when it's been everywhere with me for days, and sometimes weeks.
  2. I love to look at beautiful cover arts, feel its "skin", enjoy the artistry of it. 
  3. I love it that I can find my most favourites books, just by the feel of them without having to look, because I know so well how they feel in my hands, and how their covers feel.
  4. I love seeing piles and piles of books in my house. There are plenty of things that can be thrown out or shoved into boxes. Books deserve to be seen. Looking at my collection is like looking at art-work meant personally for me. 
  5. I love it that my books grow old with me. Their pages yellow, sometimes dust gathers, they have their smell. Just like people.
  6. I love it that they are all different - sizes, shapes, fonts, formats, colours. They are as varied as characters in them. Again, just like people.
  7. I love it that all the hard work gone into writing, publishing, marketing these books results in a tangible product that I can hold in my hands.
  8. I love it that books - like people - make a first impression. And I don't mind it when they prove me wrong for judging them by their cover. 
  9. I love to see a nice, tidy pile of books in a series that look almost same, but slightly different. Just like the characters and stories who change, without losing their essence.
  10. I love it that when I look at these piles and piles of books, instead of useless junk in my house, I feel good about what I've spent my money on, and the cosiness and comfortable feeling it brings to my home.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Classics Reading Challenge

There are many classics I want to read, but a list of all of them might get a bit overwhelming. So I'm starting with eleven. 

  1. Sons and Lovers - D. H. Lawrence
  2. North and South - Elizabeth Gaskell
  3. Magnetism - F. Scott Fitzgerald
  4. The Diary of a Nobody - George & Weeden Grossmith
  5. Middlemarch - George Eliot
  6. Tom Jones - Henry Fielding
  7. The Secret Agent - Joseph Conrad
  8. Carry on Jeeves - P. G. Wodehouse
  9. To the Lighthouse - Virginia Woolf
  10. Rob Roy - Sir Walter Scott
  11. The Fountainhead - Ayn Rand

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Reading Challenge Page

The more observant amongst you may have already noticed that this blog has a second page now. "Reading Challenges." 

I love making book lists, and my reading lists change quite often, but there are certain books that I always meant to read, or certain genres that I want to devote more time to. And that's where reading challenges come in.

I already have two live reading challenges - Annual Reading Challenge, which is actually complete for this year, because I met my target of 80 books, and Fantasy Reading Challenge, in which I shall read 103 fantasy books.

But I will add some more, though bit smaller (I'm thinking maximum 11 books in each challenge) to give me a continuous reading challenge of some sort, and you know how good it feels to cross things off the list! 

So few more reading challenges will come up...but meanwhile, feel free to share updates on your reading challenges, or join in with mine. And let's all celebrate our love of books! 

Sunday, 9 October 2011

NaNoWriMo 2011

NaNoWriMo2011 is just around the corner. If you don't know what that is - check out the website. But basically, it's a writing marathon where we all gather together and write 50K in the month of November. 50K is what you have to write to get the winner badge from NaNoWriMo. But the spirit of the whole thing is about writing. As much as you can. Go into the creative mode, follow the story, and just write.

My first NaNo was in 2009, and since then I look forward to it every year. Yes, I can and do write all year around, but there is just something much more exciting about participating in this epic event. I guess it must be similar to people who participate in running marathons, even though they can run just as much by themselves. 

So if you haven't tried NaNoWriMo, give it a go. And if you are a veteran, come and say hi. My user ID there is Lost Wanderer.