Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Happy Nondenominational Holiday and/or Ethnic/Religious Celebration of Your Choice

As Chrismukkwanza rolls around, I thought I'd send out some holiday cheer, but seeing as this is a blog about writing, I figure I should skew things in that direction a bit. (Also, a boycott by Bill O'Reilly could really only boost my readership at this point, so everybody be sure to send him a traditional Channzamas falafel for me, would you?) So, without further ado, I submit to you my Three Holiday Lists, Each Consisting of Only One Thing, and in No Particular Order:

Top One Reasons to Support an Online Bookselling Megalith This Holiday Season:

1. Barnes and Noble's free 3-day shipping means pretty, pretty books for cheap.

Top One Reasons for Skipping an Online Bookselling Megalith in Favor of Your Local Independent Bookseller This Holiday Season:

1. Barnes and Noble's free 3-day shipping is a complete and total sham, which will more likely than not result in your pretty, pretty books spending their holiday in a warehouse in Hoboken.
(Incidentally, if you happen to hail from Portland, Maine, might I suggest that the local independent bookseller you support be Longfellow Books in Monument Square?)

Top One Things Every Writer/Gadget Nerd Should Want This Holiday Season:

1. The Victorinox SwissMemory USB Knife (because how many gifts would allow you to saw off your own leg were you pinned beneath a tree on a mountain hike and provide an easy, convenient back-up of your novel/short story/political manifesto?)

So that's that. Have a safe and happy holiday season. Also, Captain Morgan's Private Stock rum happens to be damn tasty in egg nog (or Silk Nog, for we lactose-intolerant), no matter what you choose to celebrate.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

"No, Mr. Modifier," he fulminated menacingly, "I expect you to die."

It occurred to me this morning that I'd been remiss of late in my blogging; you'd think with all the words I've been crossing out in my manuscript, I'd have plenty to spare here, but you'd be wrong. Apparently spending your free time eliminating unnecessary words is not exactly inspiring when it comes to sitting down and writing later.

Still, I'm nearly 250 pages into my manuscript, and I'm happy to report that, so far, I like it. An odd thing to say of one's own book, I suppose, but believe me when I tell you that my enjoying it was not a foregone conclusion. In fact, I bet there's not a writer out there that doesn't have a niggling feeling of doubt when they first crack their manuscript to begin revising it down. Down being the operative word; gone are a whole host of cliches (more than I would have thought I even knew), countless adverbs and other prose-weakening modifiers, and even one entire scene (which I imagine I'll hold onto for the DVD.) Gone are the first few paragraphs of nearly every chapter. Gone, I hope, are all my lapses into pedestrian writing, though I'll have to rely on the unkindness of strangers on that one.

I always thought that this would be the painful part. My precious words, being trimmed away willy-nilly. Instead, I find it really satisfying, and kind of fun. The pressure's off. After all, I made a novel out of nothing; rough, sure, but undeniably a novel. Making one I'm happy with out of that seems like a much smaller step.