Happy November!

November has brought with it a whole raft (balsa? floating? laden with goodies?) of new changes and interesting things:

NaNoWriMo: another November, another novel. There seems to be heaps of talk this year about the ‘novel in a month’ challenge, mostly around the fact that NaNoWriMo novels aren’t “real novels”, and the frenzied, head down, don’t look up style of writing that it generates isn’t “real writing” either. Argh. In cases like this I think the only answer is: if you like doing it, keep doing it. If you don’t like it, don’t do it. But it certainly seems a bit bitter-spirited and mean to begrudge anyone who likes to do it. Yes, it’s silly. Yes, a lot of things get written that might not normally have seen the light of day if the writer had thought about it a little first. I see that as a good thing, not bad. In any case, my profile is (the ever original) jnickelsen. My synopsis and an excerpt are up there. Yes, it’s a story about clones. Clones in New Zealand. That is all.

The house painting: it’s finally done! It looks so much cleaner and happier than before. We’re both really pleased with it.

the house, all painted!

Work: I don’t know how much I should talk about this one, seeing as it hasn’t really been announced at work (or to my parents, heh) yet, but oh well – no time like the present! I’ve decided I am going to take a year off work, starting at these upcoming Christmas holidays. A sabbatical. Not surprisingly, I’m really looking forward to it. I plan to write (short stories, my longer piece, game reviews, maybe even some freelance writing), read (everything that’s on my to-read list, which is a bit of a daunting task), revise all of my French language learning that’s faded away over the years, ditto with my jazz piano, and guitar. I’m going to sew, garden, bake, and get the house clean and tidy (and my study organised!!) for the first time ever. I have no idea what to expect. It’s going to be quite the experiment.

Diana Gabaldon: Seems a strange thing to mention, but last night Steve and I went to a “books and bubbles” night to hear Diana Gabaldon talk. The books and bubbles bits aside (which was all a bit “girl power-y” for my liking, not to mention the fact that Steve was maybe one of ten men in the audience, out of five hundred), Diana Gabaldon was every bit as intelligent, interesting, and entertaining as I thought she would be. I like people who have done the science-arts crossover; I think they bring a gravity and ‘to the point’-ness to their work – which is not to say that she isn’t hilarious, of course. But her writing style is very direct, and I have always admired that about her. And she brings such a wealth of research to her novels, but incorporates it quite seamlessly in with the rest of the story, rather than going “oo, I found a fact. Everyone, look!”

She is definitely in my wee pack of writers who I have in my mental compartment of people who I want to be reading when I’m writing. Not to copy, because I don’t really write anything like Diana Gabaldon’s books, but to try and inherit some of the tone, the flavour, of why and how they write. It’s a subconscious thing, I guess. You want the method to impress upon you. And if you read enough of one author in a short period of time, you’ll know what I mean. So who else is in there? Garth Nix (especially after I finished reading the Abhorsen trilogy and found myself crying – yes weeping! – at the cafe where I went to read, at the end of the Abhorsen novel); Philip Pullman, for the same reason; Murakami; Jostein Gaarder; Mulisch’s The Discovery of Heaven; Laxness’s wonderful oddness of The Atom Station… and, you may find this strange, but also John Bellairs, author of The House with a Clock in Its Walls, The Figure in the Shadows, The Letter, the Witch and the Ring, and, one of my personal favourites, The Eyes of the Killer Robot. One of these days I’ll write a post on him. Gothic novels for kids.

Anyway, it’s time I was off – my NaNo novel is calling to me.


Listening: The Ramones, It’s Alive

2 thoughts on “Happy November!

  1. Found your post thru the NaNoWriMo tag. I’ve joined up for the first time myself — I’m doing a sabbatical this year. Just wanted to comment that I love Diana Gabaldon, Jostein Gaarder, and John Bellairs. The House with the Clock in its Walls made me want to be a writer. I scarfed down all of his books when I was a kid. Will have to try the other authors you mentioned. Cheers!

    1. Hi, what a bizarre coincidence! The House with the Clock in its Walls had the same effect on me too. How are you getting on with the NaNoWriMo? I had a day off yesterday so had some catching up to do today. Finally made it!

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