Sunday, January 20, 2008

what i've been up to

I want to write a novel. This is not news to most of you. I've posted about it here and there.

I have started three different stories and radically changed each of those stories at least twice. I've decided, at least for the time being, to focus on researching the things that I love and that spark my imagination, like Muslim Spain. I'm reading folk tales. I'm also reading lots of YA fantasy and historical fiction (and historical fantasy) because that's what I think I'd like to write. I am jotting down ideas for plot lines. For now I'm taking a little breather from the writing because I think I don't know yet exactly what I want to write. I know I can do better than the stories I've come up with so far.

I have been reading the archives of Miss Snark, a somewhat crass but very funny literary agent. My favorite posts of hers are the "Snarkometer" ones where her blog readers submit 350 words of their novel (usually the first page) and Miss Snark critiques it or at least says if she would want to read more or not. This page has 57 of them.

I read The Writer's Guide to Crafting Stories for Children by Nancy Lamb. It was very, very helpful. It made me feel good about what I already know and what I think I can accomplish as a writer. It made me think that yes, I can do this. I can write a good children's book. I can write the book I would like to read.

A few from the many on my to-read list:
Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale
Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village by Laura Amy Schlitz (just won the Newberry)
A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick (just won the Caldecott)
The Jews of Spain: A History of the Sephardic Experience by Jane Gerber
A Vanished World: Medieval Spain's Golden Age of Enlightenment by Chris Lowney

4 comments:

Cocoa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cocoa said...

Book of a Thousand Days was good. I've had The Jews of Spain on my bookshelf for several years now but have yet to read it. My grandmother gave it to me saying it would help in understanding our family history in Spain better. My maiden name is Ventura. Going back through our line it was changed from Ben Torah meaning Son of the Torah.

You have an excellent taste in books. I know you will write a wonderful children's book that you would want to read yourself. I can't wait to read it either. ;D

(I'm the one that deleted the comment. There were so many spelling errors it was awful!)

Julie said...

Awesome! I can't wait to read your first novel! That will be so much fun, and I'm sure it will be a great read.

Karen ~ said...

How did you come across Miss Snark? I don't have enough hours in the day now; I just want to read her blog.

Thanks, I think, for sharing this link...