Monday, October 25, 2010

100th Post! And contest!

Thank you!!!! For!!! Reading!!!!!

I hope this blog has been enjoyable and perhaps even helpful to you. And I greatly appreciate every single comment left on this blog. You all are awesome.

In order to celebrate, I'd like to hold my first. contest. ever.


The prizes: Winners choice of either a full manuscript/WIP critique or an image created by yours truly to be used on your NaNoWriMo novel info page.

The set-up: This blog is going to change. I started out enamored with Metaphors and quickly realized there's not a whole lot to post about Metaphors, so it became something else. Now it's time to change the name of the blog.

The rules: Post a comment with your idea for the new name of this blog. The contest will end Sunday, October 31st at midnight. The next day, after happily banging out 1,667 words on my NaNo novel, I will pick my favorite entry and post the winner that evening.

If you win, you get to choose which prize you want and I will attempt to deliver the prize in a timely manner (i.e. before mid-November).

Thank you everyone, again, for reading this blog. I hope the next 100 posts will be even more helpful and exciting.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Why NaNoWriMo?

If you're still trying to decide if you should do NaNoWriMo, or if you're wondering what NaNoWriMo is, here are some things that might help.

The reasons I decided to do NaNoWriMo for the last two years and again for this year:

1. It's a lot more fun writing with other people. Even though they're internet friends, there's a certain inspiration that comes from knowing lots of other people out there are working towards the same goal you are.

2. It helps me enjoy writing a lot more. Writing with literary abandon helps me feel free to write in ways I wouldn't otherwise. Throughout the rest of the year I feel like I constantly have to edit what I write, keep myself from switching points of view, or even changing from past tense to present tense. But with NaNoWriMo, I don't have to pay attention to any of that. More writing, less pressure.

3. At the end of the month, if I've completed my goal, I feel great. I feel like all the cobwebs have been shook out of my head and I've been risky with my creativity. It helps fuel ideas for the rest of the year, even if I never look at a single word I wrote during November ever again.

4. Now that I've done NaNoWriMo, I feel practiced enough that this year, what I write actually has a decent chance at coming out useable.

5. It's a great excuse to tell my family and friends that I need time to write. My wonderful husband has agreed to let me write like crazy in November and not ask me to play World of Warcraft with him. Plus, it'll give me bragging rights at Thanksgiving when I can tell all my relatives that I am indeed writing a book.

6. This year, two of my friends who have never done NaNoWriMo before have joined and are excited to do it. This is sooooooo cool! There's nothing like working on a project with friends.

So, if you still don't know if NaNoWriMo is right for you or not, think about the following:

If you have other friends who you think would be willing to write with you, that's a plus.
If you think you have two hours per day to devote to this during November, that's wonderful.
If you don't think you can write 50,000 words in a month, but maybe you can write 25,000, go for it.
If you've been looking for an excuse to distract yourself from your current WIP and start a new story, this is your chance.
If you've been playing it safe and only writing things you *know* other people will like, you really need to do this and break out of your box.

And for those of you who are still confused, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. During the month of November, people from all around the world each attempt to write a novel in a month. For the sake of quantifying what a novel is, the website says 50,000 words. By today's standards, that's a pretty short novel, but hey, you're writing it in a month so give yourself a break.
In order to write 50,000 words in November, it breaks down to writing 1,667 words per day. That's approximately 7 pages of double-spaced type in Microsoft Word. It's not really all that bad.
The trick is to not let yourself stop writing. Even if you have no idea what comes next, just write whatever comes into your head. Yes, crazy and sometimes boring things start to happen when you do this. But it really helps exercise those writerly muscles necessary for novel-length pieces.

I will be doing NaNoWriMo this year. If you want to find me on the website, just look for the name leolewis. (Stands for Leonardo da Vinci and C.S. Lewis, two people I admire.)

If you want me to buddy you on the site, post your NaNoWriMo name in the comments.

Write on, fellow citizens! November is almost upon us!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Interactive Books

Rachelle Gardner recently posted on her blog about interactive ebooks.
And it got me thinking.

With eReader technology, books can be enhanced to be interactive with hyper-links. Words in the story could be linked to advertisements or to extra story content, like maps, artwork, and timelines.

But instead of a hyper-link, I would prefer a small tab on the side of the screen that I could touch to open up to that map or family tree.

I also think it would be amazing to have interactive books totally decked out in all the links, tabs, and amazing things that we can do with such technology. Just think what the Ologies series could do with it!
But it would have to be a book specifically written with interactivity in mind. I wouldn't want a book that was made to be just a book turned into something interactive.

I've been collecting moveable books for awhile now. Pop-up books, pull-tab books, any book with something that moves or gets untied or peeks out from a pocket. I love those things. And I've often torn apart my own pop-up books to figure out how all the moving parts work and have made my own pop-ups.

It makes me really excited to think that the magic of an Ology book could so easily be incorporated into an eReader. True, it wouldn't be the same. You wouldn't be able to untie that red ribbon in the book that's holding closed a secret letter bearing the black spot to a pirate, and you wouldn't be able to feel the texture of a well-preserved dragon scale.

But you could click or touch on things to open them. And you could hear voices actually reading the letters to you that you open. I would so like to hear Arabella Drummond's voice reading her letter out loud to Samuel Shute at the end of Pirateology.

I remember when I thought pop-up books were awesome, but didn't want to let on because they were just for kids. And then I saw Robert Sabuda's Narnia book. That wasn't a kid's book!
In the same way that interactive stories on a computer seem to be only for children, what if someone took those interactive stories to a whole other level? A level at which the clear genius and execution of such a thing would compel readers of all ages to take a peek.

Of course, it would have to be done in a way that honors the book. I wouldn't want to turn a great work into something distracting, as Rachelle pointed out. But still.
I've read the Narnia books several times and I love them. When I bought Robert Sabuda's pop-up Narnia book, I didn't buy it for the story. I bought it because of the unique way the story is presented. Perhaps, in the same way, interactively enhanced eBooks could serve the same purpose?

What do you think?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Editing...the beginning

I started to edit my novel recently. Since I'm new at this, I decided to start from page 1 and see how it goes. I know other writers don't like to edit so chronologically like that, but as of now I'm finding it helpful.

And it's true what they say: printing off your novel and reading it on physical paper is entirely different than trying to read it on screen. I highly suggest giving it a try. Editing on physical paper seems so much easier, and a lot more fun.

Right now I don't have a desk, just a chair and some cubby holes. So I've taken a large piece of wood left over from an art project and I usually place that across my lap. It's big enough to hold two pieces of paper side-by-side, and the wood keeps the paper from slipping off, so it works fairly well. I also keep a notebook by me in case I need to make notes that won't fit in the margins or double spaced type of my hard copy.

It is a lot more fun to edit than I thought it would be.

Still working on an outline for my NaNoWriMo novel. Excited!