Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Wherein I Do Not Buy Any Books

Yesterday I entered into a bookstore, trying to see if there were any books I wanted to buy. Suddenly, I became aware of what I was doing and immediately left the store.

Day 26 and I have yet to break my vow of not purchasing any new books.

I bought myself a coffee instead.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

2015: The Year In Which I Cannot Buy Any More Books

Last year I found myself re-reading a lot of books. But that didn't stop me from purchasing new books - oh no. I bought so many books that they make a tower taller than myself (although, to be fair, I am a very tiny person). (Also, I just stacked them up and they only come up to around my hips. Exaggerate much?)

And so the year 2015 is a year of reading books that I have already purchased. I am imposing a book-buying-ban on myself until I have at least attempted to read all of the books on the list below. I am being fair to myself: if a book is absolutely not my cup of tea than I won't try to finish it.

The books I must read before purchasing any more are the following:

  • The Ring of Curses: Merlin's School for Ordinary Children, by Margaret R Blake (I started this one at the end of 2014 and have been enjoying it so far. Christmas got in the way.)
  • The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss (I have read this book before, but I bought it recently so now I have to read it.)
  • The Wise Man's Fear, by Patrick Rothfuss (I have also read this book, but I bought it over Christmas so have to read it again.)
  • The Slow Regard of Silent Things, by Patrick Rothfuss (This one I have not read and is the reason that I bought the previous two books to re-read.)
  • The House of Hades, by Rick Riordan (I got half-way through this book but never finished it for some reason.)
  • The Blood of Olympus, by Rick Riordan
  • Fevre Dream, by George R.R. Martin
  • Sourcery, by Terry Pratchett
  • The Dragon Queen, by Alice Borchardt
  • Alliance: The Convergence, by Tayla Kershaw (Life got in the way of this one. I started to read it and have been enjoying it so far.)
  • Harpy's Flight, by Megan Lindholm (Otherwise known as Robin Hobb)
  • The Prodigal Mage, by Karen Miller
  • Queen Kat, Carmel and St Jude Get a Life, by Maureen McCarthy
  • Somebody's Crying, by Maureen McCarthy
  • Children of the Lamp: The Akhenaten Adventure, by P.B.Kerr (This one's not my fault! My mother bought this book for me.)
  • Missing, Presumed Undead, by Jeremy Davies (I went to the book launch for this one, but never got around to reading it. The premise sounds awesome, though.)
  • The Beach Bum Millionaire, by Anthony Khoury (I was given this book at a business event and was able to meet the author. He spoke a lot of sense, so I have a real curiosity to read this book.)
  • Passage to Pontefract, by Jean Plaidy
  • Smoke in the Wind, by Peter Tremayne
  • Katharine, the Virgin Widow, by Jean Plaidy
  • Dragonquest, by Anne McCaffrey (I read the first book in the series, but never got around to the second. I really enjoyed the first so don't know why I never read book 2.)
  • Tuf Voyaging, by George R.R. Martin
  • The Armageddon Rag, by George R.R. Martin
  • I Wrote This for You
  • The Cuckoo's Calling, by Robert Galbraith (I bought this one out of curiosity, but I'm not a huge fan of mysteries so keep putting it off.)
  • Path of Revenge, by Russell Kirkpatrick
  • Battle Axe, by Sara Douglass
  • Pawn of Prophecy, by David Eddings
  • Queen of Sorcery, by David Eddings

Phew, that's quite a list. What is more, I am pretty sure I am missing some books out, but I can't seem to find them on my overloaded bookshelves. 

All I can think right now is: Where on earth am I going to find the time???

Monday, December 1, 2014

NaNoWriMo 2014 Wrap Up

I looked at the calendar today and saw that it is the 1st of December. This came as a bit of a shock for me, and I was a little bit sad to realise that this means I have no more time to complete my 2014 NaNoWriMo. I only managed 10,722 words due to a much busier schedule than I had originally anticipated (see my previous post on this).

However, I am far from disheartened. I have learned a lot from this year's NaNo. Chiefly:

  • I have learned how I write best. In tracking daily word counts I have discovered that I work in large bursts, following by long periods where I need to rest my brain. This is good to know. It means that I need to make sure I have zero interruptions during my writing time. It also means that I know there will be gaps where I will have plenty of time on my hands to complete errands.
  • I have come to realise that I am far more task oriented than I am goal oriented. This means that, for me to maintain my motivation, I need to set myself smaller tasks to be able to achieve that overall goal.
  • The story that I was writing makes me cry a lot.

I have accomplished the main thing that I wanted to achieve during NaNoWriMo. I mostly set out on this adventure as a way to get to know a character that had been proving elusive. I feel I have a good understanding of her motivations now, and she feels much more real to me. I am really excited to go back to my pre-NaNoWriMo novel and implement everything I have learned about this character.

And so, this is not the end of writing for me. It's just the end of yet another competition. Just because November is over does not mean that the words have to stop.

Happy writing, everyone!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

NaNoWriMo - Progress So Far

Okay, okay. I admit it. My decision to partake in NaNoWriMo this year was not very well thought out. So far this month I have had PAX Australia, the Melbourne Cup, I went to the Spring Racing Carnival and I have a wedding to go to in a few days time. Oh, and did I mention that I have been wedding dress shopping every chance I have had? (still can't find a dress for my wedding and I've been searching for months now. It's one of the downsides to being so tiny - the stores don't carry my size so I can't even try most of the dresses on, and those I can try are still so big on me I just have to imagine what they will look like. Garrr!)

So, my progress for the whole 50,000-words-in-a-month thing hasn't been brilliant. I am currently sitting on 5260 words and we're nearly halfway through the month. Many of those words were written today.

According to the NaNoWriMo website:

At This Rate I Will Finish On: February 13, 2015
Words Per Day To Finish On Time: 2,237 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

NaNoWriMo and Me

In the past I have said that I have tried NaNoWriMo and it's not for me. It's really not how my creative juices work. They are much more slow and deliberate. But this year I have signed up.


Well, I have this character, you see. She is pinnacle to the current story I am working on (book 2 in my Rachaya series). It's super important that I understand her and her motivations if the story is to work. So I am exploiting NaNoWriMo in a way. Because, really, I never intend for anyone to read this story. It is just for me. I hope that, in taking the month to properly develop this character, the rest of my current novel will be enhanced.

That or this is just another elaborate plan to procrastinate...

We'll see.

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo too? Go to nanowrimo.org if you wish to sign up. You can search for me @ Ash Oldfield on the site.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Reject Stale Language

Earlier on in the year I was lucky enough to be able to attend the Children's Book Fair at the State Library of Victoria. While I was there I snuck into a talk given by a childhood hero of mine, author John Marsden (Okay, so I booked tickets and lined up with a bunch of 8 year olds. Totally worth it.). I was also able to have a chat with him afterwards and get him to sign my book. When I told him he inspired me to be a writer from a young age he apologised to me. He was so lovely and generous with his time. He's a great man.

During his talk I took notes on his writing advice. It is truly brilliant in its simplicity, and I have noticed an improvement in my own writing since I have been applying this advice to my work. The following 8 tips have really stuck with me:

- You can make language do anything you want it to. Very quickly we can use words to conjure images.

- Write honestly and accurately. There is no value if it's not your perspective.

- You need to learn the conventions of writing before you can break them.

- You should name everything. Don't say the bird flew past the window; say the cockatoo flew past the window.

- Our job is to stay poets for the rest of our lives, rejecting stale language.

- Take a boring sentence. Underline nouns and pronouns. Name them. Use language more effectively to tell the same story. Identify verbs and give them life.

- Every story is about an interruption to routine.

- The most important thing a writer can get is bum glue (a quote from Bryce Courtenay).