Monday, October 29, 2007

OK, So I'm Not Completely HTML-Impaired

I played around with posting images this morning, and I think I've fixed the problems with the simultaneous-image-and-text formatting. Unfortunately, I did two different things to two different posts. Hmm...

The Hound Dog is underfoot at work with me today. He's been off his Diazepam (i.e. Valium) for a week now, and I think he needs to go back on it. Someone fired up a lawn mower (i.e. spawn of Satan) on Saturday. Since then, he's been tip-toeing around listening intently to ever single sound from outdoors. His mind works in odd ways:

Sound of someone raking leaves -- bad

Sound of Skil-saw -- fine

Sound of someone shovelling snow. -- really bad

Sound of nail gun (the framing nail gun!) -- fine

Sound of motorbike that sounds like a lawn mower -- bad

Sound of thunder, fire works, etc -- fine

Sound of airplane that sounds faintly like a lawn mower -- bad

Sound of trains banging together -- fine

Sunday, October 28, 2007

NaNoWriMo Kickoff

So today was the Nano kickoff meeting. It was great seeing some familiar faces as well as some new ones.

Unfortunately, it also means that the time has come for me to pick one of my several ideas and develop it enough over the next few days that I can start writing come November 1. Two of the ideas are relatively more complicated; the third has what I believe will be a simpler plot and it will be set in locations that I am (mostly) familiar with. I am leaning towards that idea right now because I think I will have a better product at the end of the month.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Bad Writing, Bad Writing, Bad Writing....Arghh

I'm currently reading "At The Edge" by Cait London. It's romantic suspense with a bit of the paranormal thrown in. The book recieved a decent review somehere on-line (sorry, my brain isn't recalling exactly where), and the local library had it. So I decided to try it. I'm half way though now, and jeez, it's been quite a slog through story-killing prose.

Let me count the ways in which the writing annoyed me:

1. Bad dialogue. Claire, the heroine of this story, is one of triplets. She lives apart from her sisters, but she has many telephone conversations with them throughout the first part of the book. Most of the conversations consist of the sisters telling each other things they both already know ("As you know, Bob...") in stilted language. Real people do not talk to each other like this. Later, I'll post an example. Also, some of the characters must have been abused by contractions when they were young, such is their fear of using them in their speech.

2. Talking to oneself. The two main characters -- Claire and Neil -- and Claire's mother all talk out loud to themselves about how they are feeling. And not just short exclamations. These charcters ramble on for a long paragraph while staring out at the ocean or at a picture. I didn't find this realistic. I did find this clumsy.

3. Needless repetition. The reader is treated like an idiot and told the same bits of information over and over and over and over again. Claire lost a baby; Neil lost a child; Claire lives in "rural Montana" (a phrase I am quickly coming to hate); Neil makes tear-drop shaped campers; etc.


I'll finish the book because I want to know who the villian is, but to be honest, I'm skimming.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Reading Update

Yeah, I haven't updated the 2007 book list in ages. I plan to do it this weekend before Nano starts. But here's a mini-rundown of what I have read recently:

"Don't Look Down" and "Agnes and the Hitman" by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer -- Loved both of these. Romantic comedy at it's finest. I'm even more of a Jennie Crusie fan girl after reading this two books.

"Heartsick" by Chelsea Cain -- An odd little noir-like story about a tortured cop and an unreliable reporter. The characters were interesting, and the writing was good. The police work (the mystery/thriller aspect of the story) seemed a bit light, though, because I got to the end and couldn't remember what police work actually led them to the bad guy.

"The Mephisto Club" by Tess Gerritsen -- Another in the Jane Rizzoli/Maura Isles series. Great book. Angels and devils and crazy people, oh my.

"Moonshine" by Rob Thurman -- This is the sequel to "Nightlife", which I originally heard about on Lynn Viehls' blog. Brothers Niko and Cal are back, along with a vampire named Promise and a puck named Robin Goodfellow, and taking on the werewolf mafia. I could have done without the several page long info dump at the beginning of the story (got the reader all caught up on what happened in "Nightlife"), but otherwise it was a fun story.

I know there are more, but that's it for now.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

On Trying New, Genres

I've never been much of a fan of westerns -- either movies or books. But last night, I let a friend talk me into seeing "3:10 to Yuma". Russell Crowe was in it, and I think he's pretty damn sexy. So what the heck. If I hated it, I was only out eight bucks.

Well, I loved it.

The movie worked for me because it wasn't just horses and guns and stagecoach robberies. The core of the movie was the relationship between the two main characters (and the teenage son of one of the characters). The villian, Russell Crowe's character, isn't just a one-note bad guy. He's got layers and reasons for the things he does. He's a bad-ass, but not completely bad. The "good guy" has layers, too -- things he hasn't been completely up-front about (I can't say more 'cause that's a spoiler) -- but his morality is a bit more straightforward. Or perhaps, I should say, it's closer to what we, today, would call morality.

The day job is calling, but I'll come back and expand upon this more later.

Oh, a little trivia about me and horses: I've fallen off two horses. The first time was (mostly) my fault. The second time, the way-too-smart-for-my-good horse did it on purpose; in my defense, though, I was riding bareback - no pad, no stirrups. But I've also ridden a horse in the ocean. Way cool. That makes up for the falling off times.

Friday, October 12, 2007

It's Finally In

I just got an e-mail from the library. "Agnes and the Hitman" is back in and is waiting for me to pick it up. This is the second Jennifer Crusie/Bob Mayer book, I believe.

I just recently finished "Don't Look Down" (the first one) and loved it -- although I need to re-read the last chapter because I'm still a bit confused about who was conspiring with whom.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

It's Been Slow Around Here...

and as much as I'd like to blame someone -- or something -- else, it's been all my fault. I've let life get in the way of writing for a while now, but I'm hoping that after one more personal situation is cleared up, I'll have a good winter of writing ahead. My Muse has been lonely. She talks to me, but I haven't been able to respond.

Not that I'm ready for winter.

Or NaNoWriMo.