Reading time…..

Do you think as a writer you sometimes need a break and just read?

Last week we had trouble with the internet so I could not go on for about a week. Incidentally I also took part in a reading challenge by the goodreads group My big fat booky Challenge-athon which meant I was to read 24 hours in 7 days.

Dear me I enjoyed that. I just sat there constantly reading and got through an awful lot of books. And I remembered how I used to do that in the olden days…….

…. yes the olden days when I was a teenager and life was half as difficult but felt double as :-). On top of that I have bought J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” and “Lord of the Rings” which I first read in those days and it just made me reminiscing.

I never had that feeling again just to dive into books and lose myself and let my phantasy run wild and get away from it all. When I got into my twenties I started to have trouble to find books I really wanted to read. But goodreads and my reading group in Norwich has really brought that back.

And I cherish this feeling. Can’t get enough of it. There are so many brilliant writers out there and so many brilliant genres as well.

And what has that brought to my writing? I have no idea to be honest 🙂 ……. maybe you have any?

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writing or so….

Novels in a Polish bookstore

Novels in a Polish bookstore (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have not been writing a lot about writing lately but it looks like I need a break from it after that intense #NaNoWriMo month. Yes I know it is over since 6 weeks or so and I had decided to take a look back at my first draft in January but when I realised I did not manage my Goodreads goal for last year I was a bit disappointed. I love reading. As a child I spend most days with it.

I can remember when I got the German translation of The Lord of The Rings I read the whole thing in about a week. I just could not switch it off. The local library was my refuge and my adventure which opened up a whole new world in my little Swabian village. I travelled ~ sure ~ to Switzerland which was close and in Germany but I could never imagine to go to places like Kenya, India or Alaska. But in books I could travel anywhere and to any time I ever wanted. Even to dimensions that science still have not found ;-).

As both my parents and my grandparents loved to read I was never short of books. But when I got into my late 20s suddenly I did not find books that really interested me anymore. Quite often I found the books I was reading were not written very well. But maybe it had more to do with the fact that I was changing so much therefore my interest in what to read as well.

Today I can say my main interest is in Fantasy and Crime which feeds my longing for mystery. But last year I have started something I call “window shopping” in the library. They often have books showcased on stands or shelves and I just have a look and let my intuition guide me which one of them I want to read preferably an author I do not know. This way I found Aimee Bender‘s “The Particular Sadness of Lemoncake” one of the best books I have every read.

And my actual finding? Eowyn Ivy’s  The Snow Child a truly haunting story that gives you an immense emotional experience while reading it. But well someone who is called like an sword swinging lady in Lord of the Rings must be a good writer…… :-).

Why is this blog called “Zara ~ A writing story”?

The Whirlpool Galaxy (Spiral Galaxy M51, NGC 5...

The Whirlpool Galaxy (Spiral Galaxy M51, NGC 5194) is a classic spiral galaxy located in the Canes Venatici constellation. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you take the time to have a look at the beginning of this blog then you will see that it all started as a serial story:

The story I wanted to write originally. Something like the “Lord of the Rings” but with mainly female characters. If you follow the blog you can see many ups and downs, different trials to get the story going and then my decision not to write it any more. “20 years of trying and not getting anywhere is enough” I thought “Just let it go!”

And so I did! At that point I thought that poetry would be my sole writing destiny and blogging of course but well a #NaNoWriMo later I have realised that this is not the case. I actually do like to write something long but I just did not know how to get it going. Too many traps an aspiring author has to deal with.

Out of my frustration with my day job I got the idea to write a blog serial about a supermarket in the far future where I could deal with the “hardships” of the job and so “Morsmart at the end of the Galaxy” was born. I actually started it and it is fun to write. The quality of it is probably disputable but I see it as one of my “Training Camps” meaning I just go along and write and then learn with.

That is probably the best way to do it. So in the future on a Friday I will let you know where Rowan the main character in “Morsmart at the End of the Galaxy” has brought himself into it.

For now he has started his first day at Morsmart where he was employed to do Avatar Construction but Mrs Getawa the boss decides to put him to the cleaners who are a nice bunch but Rowan certainly has more talents. Of course there are two women involved one quite mysterious, the other a bit tomboyish and then there is “Catchy” the terrorist group which tries to make customers think what they are doing ~ or more what is done to them.

If you want a have a closer look what happened so far please have a look here:

What happened in…..

Back to the original question :-):

Zara was the main character of my first novel idea and I called the blog “a writing story” as it was supposed to show my developement as a writer: My ups and downs, my projects, what I have and what I am learning.

I have introduced you this week to the new set up of this blog where I show you the whole spectrum of my writing projects and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it.

 

R.I.P Zara

Have been thinking about my life and where I want to go with it this morning while I went to the allotment. Walking processes a lot and nature has always been kind of clearing my mind.

Writing is important and I love it but I think my Zara project has to come to an end. Why?

20 years and I haven’t gone anywhere with it. Yes I know you should never give up on your dreams but to be honest:

I love writing poetry!

I love blogging!

I like writing a novel!

There you go the short forms are what I enjoyed mainly and I think I am good with them. Well, of course I have to improve in many areas but that is the challenge and the fun of it. The day I give up improving will be a sad day and I will be old.

And you know what?

As soon as I decided on giving Zara up I felt so much better. Maybe I was meant to write a “Lord of the Rings“~style fantasy novel with mainly female characters but it was always somehow guilt-ridden. I always had to push myself to do it while all the other projects come much more naturally. Well, then let her go and enjoy the rest :-).

One Character

Step 3 of  Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method is to start creating your characters. You are supposed to write a one page summary with

  • The character’s name
  • A one-sentence summary of the character’s storyline
  • The character’s motivation (what does he/she want abstractly?)
  • The character’s goal (what does he/she want concretely?)
  • The character’s conflict (what prevents him/her from reaching this goal?)
  • The character’s epiphany (what will he/she learn, how will he/she change?
  • A one-paragraph summary of the character’s storyline

for your main characters. Interestingly I am doing Open University‘s free course “Start writing fiction” in their Open Learn area. At the moment I am at part 1.4 “Portraying a character” and incidentally I was supposed to do a characterisation for a character as well. So I used that to start with my main Character Zara. I have done a lot already about her but got caught in the fact that characters and story sometimes develop by themselves and don’t go where they were intended to go. For me those changes always felt like I am not good in what I am doing. How can you know about your character if it changes constantly? But Randy Ingermanson says more than once that that is a process that happens all the time and shows that the character comes alive. So I realised that this negative image of my writing actually stopped me from getting anywhere. I think I got an image of her from what I wrote for the Open University course but I have not answered the questions above. That is what I will do tomorrow.

Some years ago I have tried self-learn courses to get good with writing but my lack of self-esteem and also my lack of perseverance stopped me from finishing them. That seems to have changed. I love to research free material and try out what they teach while I work in the novel.

A few weeks ago I thought about having a mentor for my writing but I had no idea where to find one and I am too shy to ask. Well today I can say that Mr Ingermanson definitely is one. But also the good authors I am reading. Just finished Patricia Cornwells “Red Mist” and while reading was checking for example on what conflicts Scarpetta has in herself but also with the characters around her and what main conflicts are in each scene to bring on the story. I also tried to figure out how she creates atmosphere and how she describes her surroundings. Reading a lot and finding out how the authors do it is probably the best mentor and way of learning how to write. Another one of my classics to learn is J.R.R. Tolkien‘s Lord of the Rings. You can learn how to create world, atmosphere and suspense. That book was the first I ever read and tried to learn from him.

Another way of having mentors right now are blogs of writers. I am not picky just let my intuition take over and show me which one to follow. There are for now mainly Derek Haines and Susan Kiernan-Lewis. Well I should go somewhere like that :-).

Thank you guys for helping me even though you do not know it :-)!!!!

Picture thanks to Theguyinblue from English Wikipedia via http://ookaboo.com