Thursday, December 15, 2011

Finishing the book...

I usually have an ending in mind when I start a book. The fantasy series I'm working on with my good friend, A.L. Brown, is actually a good example. Although our "end" turned out to be the "big end" of the series, rather than the actual end of the book, we had something to work logically toward. We had something to anticipate.

This, however, has not been the case with my mystery novel. I deliberately avoided planning the end. I planned the crime, had a rough idea about who the villains were, and planned several major plot points. But, I wanted a mystery and so I wrote as though I was going through it day by day, with my characters. It's been a long, but mostly fun process.

And now, within chapters of the end, its become a slow slog toward the finish line--at least as far as plotting goes. I don't know exactly how this thing's going down. It may get messy. Anticipation is weighing me down. I want to know how it ends and the tension is crippling...

Maybe that means it's good, eh?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

What Writers (might) REALLY Want for Christmas

It's that time of year again. Everyone in your life suddenly has an agenda, and they typically express it in one of two ways:

1. Blatantly. These are the people who pester you with questions for the twenty-four days prior to Christmas morning. "Whaddya want?" "What can you use?" "Do you like marshmallows?"

2. Covertly. These are the people in your life who suddenly resemble stalkers and/or zombies. They're constantly looking at you sideways, trying to read your mind and/or decide where to shoot you with a tranquilizer gun.

Anyway, in recognition of the season, I've complied a list of things that I think writers may actually enjoy. Notice that there are no fancy shmancy notebooks on this list. In my experience, these very lovely notebooks are never used because, well, they're just a little bit too lovely. And intimidating. My writing will never match the two-tone Italian-lambskin-leather and hand stitched pages...

Some Things Writers (might) REALLY Want for Christmas:

1. To be published. I know, this one is kind of impossible to fulfill, but there you have it.
2. Time to write.
3. Time to eat good food and to spend with friends and family.
4. A USB typewriter!
5. Something good to read...
6. Coffee. Lots and lots of coffee. Also,  a "writer" coffee mug like this one.
7. The next season of Doctor Who on DVD (and also, a sonic screwdriver). No, I'm serious, this is a universal for writers, not just my own preference!
8. A Great Writers Finger Puppet Set. (Yes, I did pass the first grade).
9. Sticky Notes. Like these, for example...
10. Cookies! (You thought I was going to say "pie," didn't you?)

Friday, December 2, 2011

Name Change

As it turns out, I probably won't be keeping To Die For as a title for my current mystery novel as it's already the title of a fairly popular Women's Fiction novel. Since my blog was named after my novel, my pending novel name-change needs to be applied here as well. Syncopated Synonyms seemed like an appropriate choice for the blog, given my excitement over finding a free, brand-new and very snazzy thesaurus the other day...the novel is yet to be renamed.

Lofty Goals: Reading Lists

Ever since I was eight, I've had the urge to make a list of all of the books I've ever read. It started innocently enough--by my seventh birthday I'd already garnered the moniker "bookworm" and at eight, I'd decided to keep a list of books I read every year. Except, I never managed to keep up with said list. Oh sure, it always worked out for a month or two, but after that I'd forget...a month would go by, then two. By the time I'd remember my list, I'd have read another twenty, thirty, maybe forty books.

I read very quickly.

Anyway, here I am decades later, still wishing I'd managed to maintain a list. I must've read over a thousand books by now. I'm pretty sure my yearly count almost always flirts with 100, maybe more now that my "job" is reading.

The best I ever manage to do is keep a running list of favorites. This year, some of them are:

The Book Thief by Markus Zuzak
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins,
White Teeth by Zadie Smith,
The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz,
The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler,
Double Indemnity by James M. Cain
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosely
Death Masks and Blood Rites by Jim Butcher
Pat Barker’s Regeneration Trilogy,
Toni Morrison’s Beloved,
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte,
Eavan Boland’s Outside History and Object Lessons,
and Whose Body by Dorothy Sayers.