Reading and Writing

You all know my love of reading. It’s not like it’s a surprise.

Here’s something you may not know. I think I’d like to write a book. I’m not big on competition or criticism or rejection, so nothing may ever happen if I do, but I think I’d like to do it. I’ve had many people tell me, over the years, that I should, but should is a long way from want, and even further from will.

As each year passes, I find myself more and more intrigued with putting my ideas down, shaping a story, crafting something purely from my own mind. Which brought about a very real concern, I don’t know how. I mean, I get the basics. And I know there are plenty of writers who don’t know how to write and simply do it anyway, but that’s not me. I need to know things, to understand them, or I won’t do them.

Which is why I am taking a class this winter. A writing class. I haven’t had a writing class since my freshman year of college, and that’s…well, it’s more than a few years ago. My buddy, Lane, is taking it with me and we shall see how it goes.

Ok, so the logistics of getting more information are taken care of. I have ideas stored away for when I’m ready to write. I know I am not the most motivated person, on my own, and I have ideas to address that. So, am I ready?

I just don’t know.

When you read as much as I do, there becomes an undeniable sameness to books. Doesn’t matter if I’ve never read the author before, or that particular genre before, books aren’t a mystery. They follow a frame, a format, and they are patterned. If you read, books are not a mystery. Even mysteries. There’s nothing new under the sun, that’s what people say. I know this better than most. I’m aware that anything I create has been done before, the question isn’t if it’s new, it is if it’s good. Am I going to be good at this? I have no idea, but that doesn’t bother me much. It would if I wanted this to be a career and had every intention of getting published. And I’m not saying I wouldn’t try that, just that it isn’t my goal. My goal is to do this because I want to do it. I want to know that I can do it.

I don’t yet know what I will write. I have ideas that are romance, fiction, dystopian, science fiction/fantasy, and a couple combinations thereof. I could write several different things. Maybe I will write several different things if this turns out to be something I enjoy. Maybe not.

I’ve been a reader my whole life. Suddenly I feel like it might be time to be a writer. I’ll keep you posted.

A Writer’s Journey

Here is something interesting.

http://www.usaprojects.org/project/f_ck_your_punishment_culture

Usa Projects is a lot like Kickstarter. If you don’t know what that is….well it’s a website that anyone can use in order to set up fundraising. And then people can donate, or not, to your project. As a matter of fact, the Veronica Mars movie was entirely funded from a Kickstarter project. The creator and cast wanted to make a movie but the studios weren’t buying, so they created a Kickstarter campaign and the fans funded the whole project. Now the movie will be released next year. Cool, right?

Well, the above link is an author who is trying to get enough funding to pay proper homage to the memoir she is writing. Please click on the link and read the details about the project, and watch the video.

Why am I telling you this? Because, I know this author. She is a coworker of mine. I enjoy her writing immensely and her sense of humor and her company. She approached me about this project to ask if I had any feedback or suggestions. She is struggling with getting the word out about her project. It is super personal to her and I think that makes it more difficult than average to ask for help.

I gained her permission to post it here. I’m not asking you to give her money. If you think it is worthwhile, by all means, she would appreciate the donation and it would be most generous of you. However, all I really want is for you to help spread the word. Reblog this post. Link up to this post. Copy the link to your Facebook if you would like. I think this is a worthy project and I know that she is a writer that will truly do her project justice.

If you do nothing else, then at least do this for me. Click the link above and read her story. The rest is up to you.

(I just realized after writing this that the gifts received for donating include being mentioned in the acknowledgments of the book.  Even better than being thanked in a general sense? Being thanked personally. Yeah, sounds pretty cool to me.)

Acknowledgments

I would like to discuss them, please. Remember when you were growing up and reading? Did books have acknowledgments then? I don’t think so, but it may have been that I just didn’t notice? I’m sure some did, however, it seems like it is mandatory these days. Like you can’t write a book without listing a bunch of people to thank. Kind of like winning at the Oscars. It is absurd to just thank lists and lists of people. Yet, it seems the thing to do these days.

What is interesting is that the preceding paragraph makes it sound like I am about to complain about acknowledgments. The funny thing is; I always read them. Yep, I’m a nerd like that. It’s like watching the credits of a movie. So many people were involved in making my entertainment happen, but the glory always goes to the writer…or the actors if it’s a movie. I figure the least I can do is respectfully give a few minutes of my time to watch the credits and a moment to read the acknowledgments. I always stay for the credits and I always read the acknowledgments.

So, there’s that. Here’s the thing though. Lately I keep finding myself annoyed at authors who don’t thank their readers. It bugs me. Your readers are the reason you have a job. If we don’t read and buy your book and talk about it and share it and get it noticed and circulated and discovered, then you don’t get paid to write anything else. We make your world go round.

Now, I’m not saying that they HAVE to thank the readers. It is certainly not a requirement, however, if you are going to take two or three pages listing names of people that I don’t know and certainly don’t care about, then you should give at least a courtesy nod to the readers. Or the fans, if you have produced a series. It seems polite.

When I read these pages in a book, I tend to focus on the interesting parts. Like if the author thanks her kids for not getting mad when Mommy would rather play with the voices in her head. It’s cute, and probably very true. But then I find people saying things like thanking the mailman for always bringing that timely interruption just when she needed another cup of coffee. Humorous, but if you have time to thank your mailman, you probably have time to thank your readers.

I don’t know why this has been on my mind so much lately, but it has. I find that I am more positively disposed toward the author and thus, the book, if they thank the reader. I take it as a personal thank you, like that author is truly grateful that I am reading their work. And it is nice to feel appreciated. Which, I understand logically, is ridiculous, it doesn’t seem to matter. It is how I feel. Then, when I read them and they ignore me, it feels like they care less, like this might just be a paycheck and, if they don’t care, honestly, why should I?

I know, I’m putting too much thought into something that most people never notice. But, maybe that’s the whole point. Some people DO notice and shouldn’t you acknowledge that?

NaNoWriMo Finish Line

No suspense. I didn’t make it.

I fell just a wee bit short of the required 50,000 words. My end total was somewhere just above 16,000 words. I made it roughly 1/3 of the way to the end.

Am I disappointed?

No, not at all. It was an exercise, something new to try. It would have been fun and exciting to finish, but it felt good to just be writing and to be creative and to be working toward a goal for fun, not because I have to.

I think I will do it again next year, and maybe the year after, and again after that. I might make it my long term goal to one day complete the NaNoWriMo challenge. But, for 2012, my goal will be to put more words to paper than I did this year.

I think it is worthwhile and fun. As I keep, slowly. working on my book, I may have more updates for you, more opportunities to read the developing story.

For now, thanks for the support!

Follow this “Crazy Train” of thought, or what I learned about Laverne and Shirley

Here is how it began.

I started my day by checking in with a few of my favorite blogs. I was reading Yes and Yes where I found a link to the site Free Rice. I stopped by to play games and donate some rice.

I thought the site was cool and hip. My mind did this: “Hey! Today is Wednesday and that means we do Website Wednesday on the whiteboard”. I used Free Rice as the website of the day.

Toward the end of my day, I clicked back over to Free Rice to support my knowledge base and give away some more rice. I started playing English grammar. I got a question about the difference between i.e. and e.g. I got it wrong.

I headed out to Google to look it up . A brief search brought me to a website about writing tips. I read an article and now I understand. For the likewise unlearned, i.e. is used to explain your meaning, “in other words”. e.g. is used to give examples to clarify what you just said. They are NOT interchangeable.

That website had links to other articles, such as the difference between Might, May, and Can. I knew most of it, but I did not know that might is the past tense of may and should be used when speaking about the past.

The site had sparked my interest. I looked at the quicklinks for hot topics and found an article called “40 Yiddish Words You Should Know“. I was curious and a bit surprised. I didn’ t really know that there were that many commonly referenced Yiddish words. I also use a few without having any idea they were Yiddish, such as nosh, shlep, and shmooze. Imagine my surprise when I scrolled down the alphabetical list and found shlemiel and shlimazel.

WHAT?!? Those are real words? For those of you who aren’t aware of what I am talking about, those are words to the theme song of the show Laverne and Shirley. Turns out a shlemiel is someone who is klutzy (also Yiddish) and a shlimazel is someone who has perennial bad luck. Why they are in the theme song, who knows? But they aren’t just gibberish, they actually mean something. I can’t say for certain what they were trying to convey using those words in the theme–but I can now assume there might (not may) have actually been a point.

And THAT, my fine friends, is your first official edition of Things You Never Knew You Never Knew (TYNKYNK) here on WordPress. Feels good, hmm?