Monthly Archives: August 2013

Achievement Unlocked!

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Current word count: 28,690

I did it! I met my weekend challenge. I should be honest to about it. I did all of that yesterday, which tells me I should not have a problem getting back on track this week.

My goal for this week: be at 34,000 words by Thursday August 29th at midnight.

And considering that yesterday I found the time to write over 5,000 words, I don’t see this as a problem.Snoopy

As I was writing yesterday, I just made myself sit there and it was surprising to me that the words seemed to come easily. I would be writing along and an idea would come to mind. As I was typing, I would think, “Okay. What is going to happen next?” And my mind came up with an answer every time.

It almost felt like the story was writing itself. I didn’t think too much about it; it just fit together nicely.

Not only did I manage to get the word count that I wanted, but as I was winding down for the night, I also wrote a mini-outline of the next couple of moments I want to happen in my story.

Mostly though, I’m trying not to think about it too much. I feel like by not overthinking it, the story is coming together much better. I plan on working on it a little every night this week so I won’t be behind for my next week’s goal.

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Challenge Accepted

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Current word count 23,596

What I should be at according to my schedule 30,000

So, I am behind. I have been kind of lazy when it comes to working on my writing these past two weeks, but I want to get myself back on track so that by Thursday August 29, I want to have at least 34,000 words.
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I am issuing a challenge to myself. Over this weekend, I want to add at least 5,000 words to my draft. By midnight on Sunday night, I would like to be at 28,500 words.

With that in mind, I have writing to do. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Happy weekend everyone!

Review of Dune by Frank Herbert

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Nebula Award Winning Novel in 1965

I have mixed feelings about this book. I have often heard that Dune is the best sci-fi book ever written. That’s a tall order to live up to over 40 years after it was written. I think I went into it expecting something else and that might be part of the problem. I’m not saying I didn’t like it, because I did. I loved it. I just don’t think it is the best sci-fi book ever written. I don’t think I can comfortably give it that title.

Is it worth reading? Yes.
Will you like it if you don’t like sci-fi? Maybe.
Is it one of the best sci-fi I’ve ever read? Yes. But, there are still things about it I didn’t like.

I want to end this post on a good note, so for starters, let’s talk about what I didn’t like about Dune.dune_frank_herbert

1. The plot focuses on a made up religion. I felt like there were things that weren’t explained enough for me to believe the religion was as important or world changing as it was meant to be.
2. The group called the Bene Gesserit. I didn’t quite understand their end game. They are one of the many groups of individuals that are plotting to control the reigning members of the worlds of Dune. The general idea is that they are striving to preserve certain blood lines. Even after reading the whole book, I couldn’t figure out why they would want to do this. It didn’t seem clear to me.
3. The made up words are very distracting at first. When I first picked up this book, I spent more time looking things up in the glossary at the back than actually reading it. Herbert makes up more than just a religion. He created words that only have meaning in the context of this book and at first I couldn’t figure out what the heck was going on. To be honest, I felt like some of the made up words were unnecessary.

In the end, those are very small things that I didn’t like about Dune. And I don’t often find a book that I love 100%.

You might be wondering, what did she like about this book? The answer: everything else.

As I said, I wouldn’t feel right saying this was the best sci-fi book of all time. But I would definitely put it in the top ten must read sci-fi books for fans of the genre. I would also say that this is a book that even those who aren’t fans might actually want to read. Fiction that is written for a specific genre or that gets labeled that way after its written doesn’t often fall into what I call the Literature with a capital L category. For me, Dune does cross into that category. There is something more to this book than just space battles and fictional tech.

1. Dune is a story about politics, religion, freedom, ecology, all thrown together by an overwhelming amount of subterfuge.
2. I love that the main character, Paul, is like a nexus with all the forces at work in the novel either working through him or against him.
3. Dune is smart sci-fi. It’s thought provoking and well written. It’s not just a means for laser guns and space craft.

In the end, I would say read it if you love sci-fi because it is considered one of the most significant sci-fi novels ever written. I would also say read it if you are looking for a great story involving an entire planet finding freedom via the help of a mere boy.

Tech Problems

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tumblr_mg3a3yAx9D1qlpcoso1_500I did it! I meet my weekly writing goal. My current word count is roughly 21,500. I also did the math, and to be finished with a first draft of 100,000 words, I need to write close to 3700 words a week.

So, next week, I am going to aim for a bit more progress.

Goal for next week: 26,000 word count.

This means I need to write over 4,000 words, but I think it’s a good idea to push myself. I am trying to hold myself accountable.

As far as this week went, it was a good week. I didn’t encounter any problematic writer’s blocks. But I have been thinking about one sci-fi writing difficulty.

Technology woes.

I am writing a sci-fi novel, and like other sci-fi novelists before me, I am creating a unique world with technology that doesn’t really exist. So in addition to naming the fictional tech, I have to explain how it works without boring any potential readers to death.

Another problem that creating fictional tech brings up is trying not to be too similar to any story that’s already been written. So, I’m avoiding glowing laser swords and children fighting ants in space.

Until next time! Happy reading and writing everyone.

World War Z by Max Brooks

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This may be one of the few books that I can write a one word review of.

Review: Awesome!

It really is. I don’t usually read zombie books; in fact, I think I’ve only read one other full length zombie book ever. And, I don’t watch zombie movies. I’m actually a big chicken, and those sorts of things freak me out.World_War_Z_book_cover

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. For me, what sets it apart from other zombie stories I am familiar with is that this book focuses on the struggle of humanity instead of just being about fighting zombies and action, action, action.

This book begins with the break out of the disease and continues telling stories over 20 years after the initial incident.

The book is constructed more like a collection of short stories. The stories are from all over the world and are told from several varying points of view (religious persons, military men, people who survived, some who are ill).

The overarching element that holds all the shorter stories together is the sheer will to survive that everyone has to share. There are sad moments, times of celebration, action packed intense scenes, and rationalizations about behavior. I felt this book tried to cover a lot of perspectives and did a great job of it.

If you’ve seen the preview for the movie, or if you’ve been to the movie by now, you already know what the book is about in some ways. It’s about the world trying to survive a zombie epidemic. And you might be thinking this story is just like every other zombie story ever made. I assure you it’s not. I can’t evaluate the movie, but I can tell you right now the book is most definitely worth reading.

One of my favorite stories in the whole book is about a military man who is part of a K-9 unit that hunts down the zombies. I love this part because the dog he is teamed up with is part dachshund. I have two dachshunds myself and I find it very amusing that someone thinks they could be used to hunt down anything. Both my dogs are deathly afraid of our house cat, there is no way they are going to hunt zombies.

Read World War Z; you won’t be disappointed.

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Chapter Break Down

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Well… I didn’t reach my goal this past week. I wanted to reach 19978 words, and I only made it to 18,435. However, even though I didn’t get quite as much done as I was hoping, I did find myself at the desk more with my draft and notes actually trying to work on it.

Before this past week, I often only sat down once a week or so to look at my draft. This time though I worked on my draft on 3 separate occasions. I think having a goal I wanted to meet helped me get to the desk more, so this week I am going to set myself the same goal and we will see how it goes.

Current word count: 18,435.

Goal by Thursday August 8 at midnight: 21,435.

Getting to the desk more was good for me. Now I just need to try to do that a little every day and maybe find more time for each session.

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And though I didn’t meet my goal, I feel like it was a productive week for my story. I had to rework some of the last passages I’d written because I wanted to change part of the plot just slightly. In doing so, I figured out why one of my main characters wants revenge.

Another concept I dwelled on a little this week was how my chapters are constructed. I got to thinking, “What’s the point?” I wonder why authors construct chapters the way they do. Do their editors make them do it? Or do they work it out for themselves while constructing the novel?

This is my first novel, and so I feel a little like my chapter breaks are arbitrary. I also got to thinking about the numerous ways to have chapters in a book length work. Some authors have parts and then chapters to break the larger parts down. Some have really short chapters (the newest Dan Brown book does this). And then some authors don’t even have any sort of break or chapters in an entire book (see the Discworld series, though these are relatively short books). How am I supposed to decide?

This is probably one of those things that comes from practice and trial and error. Any advice would be met with gratitude.