Blog Posts

Eat More Books: Episode 4 "Trend"


French 101: The Best Books for Bastille Day

(image via flickr)

This Bastille Day, let’s raise a glass of fine (French) wine to some of the most influential French writers of the 20th century. Their thoughts and words helped to shape storytelling, invent new, mystical places, and highlight the hardships of the human condition. These authors have spun tales of fantasy, adventure, and existentialism—and we love them for it. So grab a bottle, relax on a chaise longue, and crack open a book by one of these literary masters. Vive la France!

The Worst (and Therefore Best) Summer Songs

(Image via flickr)

Summer makes bad songs sound good. There's no better time of the year to blare Top 40 music as loud as possible and sing about how awesome life is. There are some songs that re-surface every year throughout the summer months and, for some reason, they are universally loved.

O Romeo, Romeo, Wherefore Art Thou on Television

Is there any better way to advance the plot of a teen drama or sitcom than by having the characters learn about or perform Romeo and Juliet? It seems that just about every teen star has been forced to play the roles. First kiss drama? Insane jealousy? Learning about love? Worry that your boyfriend has been cast as Romeo while you are the nurse? These TV shows have got it all.

Let’s write a novel in a month: Part 2—How to Write a Novel In A Month

Okay, quick recap: Last week Blair manipulated me into trying to write a 50,000 word novel in one month following the Camp NaNoWriMo protocol, and then she promptly went on a two-week vacation.

Now that one week has passed, I’m glad to say that my word count is on track, I have spilled very little blood, and I’m only crying very late at night when no one can see or hear me. I’ve also learned a few things that I hope will help me on this and future writing projects, and maybe they’ll help you too, so here they are:

1: Quit wasting time on stuff that you can figure out later. For example, I have always hated coming up with character names. I just don’t have a knack for it. Some of the names I rejected for my story include: Endicott Ramblesby. Pete Bott. Martha Refrigeratorface. Parker Halmurmisson. I just can’t do it. But with the time limit imposed by this project, I decided not to expend precious temporal units on inventing names, I just did my best and moved on. It was quite liberating.

2: Get organized. Reading the NaNoWriMo message boards and corresponding with other, uh, NaNoWriMoers, I’ve been amazed at how much prep work some writers do before they actually begin writing their manuscripts. Lots of people create note cards with character info on them. Some do the same with plot points so they can shuffle things around and try different combinations. Plenty of writers invest a significant chunk of time compiling research so it will be on hand and easy to access when they’re writing. There are software packages like Scrivner that can help you do all this digitally. As we discussed last week, I personally am not prone to a whole lot of this type of frontloading. But I am starting to rethink that. I do know that if I hadn’t hammered out an outline before starting this venture, I’d be lost by now.


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