Urban Lite: the frustration continues

So I’ve read, or tried to read, several ‘mystical realism’ books, but none have given me the same thrill as Sarah Addison Allen’s books. Who knew I could be so picky?

What I’ve read:

  • The Sparrow Sisters – pretty good, hit a lot of the elements, I just didn’t like the male lead and I was far more interested in the other sisters, lol. 7/10
  • The Night Garden – better, I liked the characters and their flaws, but after 2/3 of the book, I found myself skipping to the end. 7.5/10
  • Season of the Dragonflies – meh. It started off with a lot of potential, but it didn’t pan out for me. I thought the characters were too thin, so often their actions seemed forced the deeper into the plot it got. 5/10
  • The Wishing Thread – pretty good, my main complaint is that I couldn’t quite steep myself in it; I kept being thrown by things that made me cringe a little. 8/10
  • The Dress Shop of Dreams – I wanted to like this, it’s got some great writing and interesting characters, but I just couldn’t finish it. No rating, as I suck.
  • When Autumn Leaves – this is urban fantasy, not mystical realism. I like urban fantasy, and this had a good ‘voice’,  but had too many elements and didn’t really follow up on any of them. 6/10
  • The Near Witch – fantasy novel again, not mystical realism. Also, TEEN fantasy novel. Not my cup of tea. No rating as I didn’t read past the first chapter.
  • The Lace Reader – This sort of fell at the end of my batch of books and I’d kinda run out of steam for the style, so I have to admit that while I read the first chapter, it just didn’t suck me in enough to renew it from the library before I had to return the stack. Someone else should read it and give it a rating!
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NaNoWriMo: The Memoirs – 2012

Let’s see, 2012.

Midyear I lost my job*, so the start of my summer was full of the associated trauma. Shock, fear, and a couple of panic attacks later, I dove into the job search.

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And I was very lucky; a handful of offices were actually hiring my skill set, and I found a new one job before I could really panic. It was far from a dream job, but it would pay the bills and it wasn’t too scary or overwhelming**.

I also lost the friends and social circle that got me that original job, though I’m of mixed feelings about just how bad that was. On the one hand, it was very upsetting at the time; I’d been uninvited to a wedding, which stung. On the other, I never really fit in with that crowd, who were mostly middle-class and whitebread, so I constantly felt like I really should have been writing an anthropological study instead of bonding.

I did get to take two weeks off that summer, before starting the new job, so that was really lovely. The rest of the year sort of passed in a blur of adapting to the new work, so NaNoWriMo sort of crept up on me.image

Instead of going with a plot I knew well, I decided to go with something fresh. I hadn’t done scifi since my first nano, so I gave it another go. My first was space opera, and this one was more scifi-noir; imagine The Big Sleep/Murder, My Sweet on a space station, and you’ll have an idea of what I was aiming for.

 

nanowinner.jpgI wouldn’t say it was an amazing success, but it didn’t completely suck either, lol***.  The downside of writing scifi is that you can’t quite make it all up as you go along; well, you can, but it’s tricky. I stuck to the lighter side, doing a bit of a space opera in addition to the noir (because I can’t help it, space opera is fun!), so I managed to carry the story along to the 50,000 mark. Yay!

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*Funny (not really) story, we were at the monthly meeting (where tasks and projects are assigned) and I found out I was being let go as everyone else got assignments except for me; the pointed looks were also a big hint. I suppose that’s what you get for arguing with the boss’s daughter, who was also a coworker.

**I’m actually still at this job, yay for stable employment!

***It wasn’t quite Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid, but it was getting there, and not in a good way, alas.

 

Social Contagion

Depression can be catching, sort of like a cold, but with less snot.

I’ve been having to deal with several depressed people on a daily basis for the last couple of months, and it’s definitely getting to me. I’ve become depressed because it’s really depressing to deal with depressed people all the time. It turns the world a different, greyer, colour. It makes getting myself to do things just a little bit harder, day after day. It snuck up on me because, really, there’s nothing in my own heart to make me sad, it’s just that I feel bad for not being able to fix things for them, which triggers the downward spiral.

Now that I’m aware of it, I think I can start to separate out what’s my own actual emotion and what’s just from being around depressed people. It’s not my job to fix these people (I’m not a doctor or a counsellor or anything remotely like that), and I know they’d be horrified to hear that I’ve been getting depressed myself. The guilt I feel is pointless, and we’ll all be better off if I allow myself to be happy.

So I’m going to concentrate on the things I enjoy, which includes writing (fiction & blogging), and focus on my own life again.

Nothing to say

I wish I could tell you all about all the work I’ve been doing editing. I really really do. All that has actually been happening is boring, and occasionally shitty, regular life stuff.

The most interesting things to happen in the past week:

  • I cleaned a bathroom (this may have been a highlight of my weekend)
  • Someone called in to work asking to speak to Dave. We have no Daves.
  • Someone in the office set their password to ‘chicken’ for a day
  • Teen mini-crisis made me arrive half an hour late for work
  • Watched my youngest cry because their hair was frizzy

See? BORING. You’d think such depth of dullness would have me writing or editing out of sheer desperation. Sadly, this is not the case.

Urban Lite; the Journey Continues

I’ve been reading more books, and totally failing to find what I want, lol.

Most of what seems promising based on the jacket blurb turns out to be urban fantasy, just more urban than fantasy. I did watch an old favourite, Enchanted April, which mostly fits the bill, and the novel is on project gutenberg, so I’ve got that to read, but so far, no good.

On the plus side, I’ve found that this genre has a better name; mystical realism.  I’m not 100% a fan of it, but it’s better than mislabeling it as magical realism.

The Real Deal: Part 1

Putting real people into books is hard. And I don’t mean historical or famous people; historical is tricky unless you absolutely love that person and have done a ton of research, while celebs should be left as walk-ins (in my far from humble opinion).

No, I mean adding friends and enemies. People you admire in life, or despise with a passion.

When I was in college the second time round, I had a classmate ask me to put her in my nanowrimo novel. Sadly, that was the year I didn’t finish, or even get more than a few thousand words in, so her part never got written. I am going to finish it eventually, and I will include her character, but it’s just a long way off at this point. Creating the character was surprisingly easy; I’m not sure it’ll accurately reflect her, of course, but if I ever finish it, I’ll send her a copy, lol.

Another story I’ve been working on got a lot of inspiration from a blogger I love to pieces, so in thanks I’ve made one of the main characters Scottish, lol. Not too huge a stretch; the story takes place in Cornwall, so it’s workable.

I don’t think I could, or would want to, put an exact replica of a friend into a story. What if my portrayal upset them? What if I needed the character to do something the real person wouldn’t do? No point in ruining a friendship over a story.

In a certain sense, all of my friends end up in my stories. They shape how I see things, and what kinds of things I want to write about. Their fingerprints are all over the dialogue, humour, turmoil, plot ideas, and underlying ethical structure on which every word is hung. But then, all writers do this; that’s what the dedication pages are all about!