Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A Little Bit of Everything

I’m going to start off by sharing the name of my over-the-holidays read. And you thought Christmas talk was behind us! I promise this won’t take long. Every Christmas Eve in our house we all open a gift containing a book and new pajamas in the hopes it will help everyone settle down and get to sleep. This year I received J.R. Ward’s Covet, the first book in her Fallen Angels series. Let me just say, LOVED it, and it’s my first book recommendation for 2010.

Currently reading: A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray. Next in line is Still Alice by Lisa Genova.

Okay, moving on. Ah, yes! My new office chair. Most likely there is a contingent of the general public out there that would not appreciate receiving an office chair from their significant other (sorry, here we go with the Christmas stuff again). They would turn around and make them take it back to the office furniture store from whence it came. Not so me! My lumbar region is extremely thankful to see the end of the last chair, which came across on the Ark, and is celebrating the new edition.

Current location: BIC HOK TAM (from new office chair).

Currently listening to: New favorite soundtrack from Glee, the television series. (My favorite song: Defying Gravity)

Since I have no plans of budging while basking in the back-to-school glow of today I might as well think about jotting down some writing goals for 2010. Now we all know they have to be SMART goals, as in Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. Whatever.

Number One Goal: I will finish the current edit of my work-in-progress, Common Ground, by the end of January even if it kills me. Seriously. I’m not stopping for anything. I’m hoping BIAW (Book-In-A-Week), which the Saskatchewan Romance Writer’s participate in every January, will give me a great start on crossing the finish line without it actually doing me in.

Number Two Goal: I will learn how to use commas properly. To that end I will start by reading Woe is I, The Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English by Patricia T. O’Conner. I’ve already read the chapter on commas but may have to go back and reread. Several times.

Number Three Goal: Reacquaint myself with my NaNoWriMo project and start revising it in February. I am so ready to get started on it! Will also try to develop the knack for working on more than one project at a time. So while I do this I’m going to be working on Outcast, my short paranormal. I plan on completing the first draft and sending to some kind person to critique.

Currently snacking on: Club Soda and celery stalks.

Currently pondering: Whether readers prefer fictional towns to have names like Pursuit, Abundance, Plenty or Climax (oops, that last one is an actual name of a town here in Saskatchewan so scratch that), or do you prefer them to have regular names like Aspen Lake? Feel free to weigh in.

So any new writing tools you’ve discovered you want to tell us about? Any new craft books or riveting fictional reads to recommend? Want to share you’re Number One Writing Goal for 2010? How about celery recipes?


Janet said...

Ah, New Year's Resolutions! Funny, my writing goals have the same theme - #1. Write #2. Write Some More #3. Keep Writing #4...well, you get the picture.

I love Aspen Lake - and don't think you should change it. If an editor determines that it's not viable, they'll tell you, until that time, I would keep it!

Good luck with your goals, Karyn. And I, too, can't wait for BIAW - clearing the decks as we 'speak'.

DebH said...

i like your Christmas Eve tradition of new book and PJs - will have to implement that with my family, methinks...

i enjoy the odd town names that aren't real - but then i enjoy the "normal" town names as well. i think the odd town names work for Paranormal/Suspense type books and the "normal" town names work for basic romance. did that make sense?

i've one writing goal right now: to start again after the hiatus with pregnancy of first child unit. (still adjusting to said child unit and how it will affect my schedule)

Karyn Good said...

Hey, Janet. Great goals! We'll be in it together! I'm partial to Aspen Lake, too, but I've been allowing some second-guessing to sneak in and mess things up lately. BIAW here we come!

Karyn Good said...

Hi, Deb. I have to admit the book and pjs tradition is one of my favorites. It's usually pjs but some years we've done slippers, or robes, etc but always a book.

That makes perfect sense and what's more, it's sound reasoning. I have to admit to not being great at naming places so thanks for your insight.

Enjoy your baby, first and foremost! Adjusting and scheduling will follow.

Silver James said...

Great goals, Karyn! Like Janet, keep Aspen Lake until told to change it by TPTB (The Power That Be - whether editor or agent.)

I need to steal this picture, blow it up, print it out and staple it to my forehead!

After taking time off for the holidays, it's hard to get back in the saddle, as it were.

Good luck on the goals!

Heather said...

I like the more normal type of names such as Aspen Lake, though if its American midwest historical, the more whimisical names seem more appropriate.

Helena said...

The tradition of a new book at Christmas is alive and well at my house -- goes way back to when I was a child. Nowadays, I often buy a book for myself, but that's okay. My 8-yr-old grandson observed the shelves of books when he was here, and said, "You have a LOT!"

Right now I'm reading Possession by A.S. Byatt. I had seen the movie (Gwyneth Paltrow, Aaron Eckhart). Liked it well enough to see more than once. I happened to hear a couple of people discussing a book with a plot so similar it had to be the same. That's when I discovered it was based on the book that won the Booker Prize in 1990. It's about a fascinating literary mystery that two academics solve together, by discovering previously unknown correspondence between two Victorian poets who had a secret romance. Of course, a romance also develops between the academics. (Serendipidity is one of my favourite themes!)

Resolutions -- I make them faithfully. And I keep some of them! My writing goals are pretty specific this year. Like you, Karyn, I'm looking to BIAW to inspire me as NaNoWriMo did (and continues to, as now I am deep in my research, tho haven't done much more writing since December hit.)

I like fictional names for towns, names that fit the feel of the story. I will admit that sometimes it is necessary to use the names of real places, such as when it is as important as using the name of an historical character to establish a period or specific setting.

My current focus: Getting over the head cold that I picked up from visitors over Christmas. Sleep, sleep, sleep -- seems to be the best medicine. Plus lots of hot honey-lemon drinks.

Jana Richards said...

Hi Karyn,
Celery recipes!!! Please. I'm still on a chocolate high from Christmas.

I'm also at work for the first time since Dec.18 so I barely remembered how to get to my office. Sigh. I love my co-workers but I want to go home and write!

Focus Jana.

For one of my books I used an actual town name in Saskatchewan but I'm pretty sure I would never do that again. From now on I'll stick with fictional names. Although you can't beat some small town Saskatchewan names because they sound like some author made them up. There's the aforementioned Climax, Eyebrow, Love, Elbow, Moose Jaw etc. I have a book at home called "People, Places" about Saskatchewan place names and how they got their names. If I were at home I'd look up some more names. But I'm at work. Sigh.

Okay, I really should go back to work now. Have I mentioned I'd rather be at home writing?


Karyn Good said...

Hey, Silver. Thanks for weighing in, I like Aspen Lake, too. The problems start when my confidence dips and then the second guessing starts. I hate when that happens! And you're right, why stress over something I have no power over in the long run.

Good luck getting back in the groove. I think I'm finally getting there.

Karyn Good said...

Hi, Heather. Good point about the American Midwest Historical. Some sub-genres lend themselves to more 'whimisical' names as you suggest plus they need something that lends itself to the time and type of place.

Glad to hear you like the normal sounding names :)

connie said...

Hi Karyn,
Soda and celery. Hmmm. We're still at the cheese ball and vegetable crackers stage, which means books in the series of Jack Whyte and Bernard Cornwell are getting cracker crumbed. Both series are on the same subject time - King Arthur's time. Whyte's series is called the Eagle series and Cornwell's is the Warrior King series. I also like Cornwell's Archer series, Azincourt and the Sharpe series (which I watched on tv)
Cornwell is a fantastic writer and Whyte is every bit as good! I recommend them as highly as recommendations go - especially if you like accurate and very entertaining history.
Next question: I like Aspen Lake, but if a novel is to be a bit whimsical, any of the alphabet names on the CNR line would be good. Have you ever read them all? They start around Melville. There used to be 26 towns in order from A to Z but some have disappeared. I think I have a book about all the interesting names in SK if you ever need it.
I have been wracking (wrecking?) my brain for a SK story plot for BIAW but I'll be writing something and sticking with it this time
My resolutions are mostly the same: write, write,write and do last year's ironing.

Karyn Good said...

Hi, Helena. I may have helped my husband out with a few suggestions - okay, I gave him one option. I did everything but buy the book, which is perfectly fine because as talented as he is at picking out office furniture, he gets stumped when it comes to choosing books.

I'm going to have to remember Possession. It's sounds like the kind of book I'd enjoy and I'm always on the lookout for book recommendations for my book club.

I'm glad someone keeps at least some of their resolutions. I do admit to writing goals being easier to keep than other types. And I know what you mean about not doing much writing in December but still feeling the leftover energy from NaNoWriMo! I want to get back at it! I'm so looking forward to BIAW this year.

I agree, fictional names of towns are the best otherwise things get too complicated. Aspen Lake is based on a combination of two towns.

I hope your cold leaves quickly and you're feeling better soon! Until then enjoy your sleep and your hot drinks!

Karyn Good said...

Hey, Jana. LOL It's precisely because of all the Christmas chocolate I'm restricting myself to leafy greens and bubbly water. Someone once told me you burn more calories eating celery then the celery contains. Of course, it means you're eating celery.

Funny, my kids had the same attitude when they left this morning, without the wanting to be at home writing part.

You can't beat some Saskatchewan names. I would so love to use the word Climax for a fictional town. I also wanted to use the name Field but a town by that name exists British Columbia. My parents have the book you mentioned and it's lot of fun to go through it.

I wish you were at home, too! But that probably doesn't make you feel any better about being back at work. Hope you can take BIAW off.

Karyn Good said...

Oh, Connie, you always make me laugh! Last year's ironing! When you're done can you come do mine?

I not familiar with the two series you mentioned but I'm going to look them up. I'm always interested in books about King Arthur.

I've heard of the alphabet line but I can't remember the names of the towns. I'm going to have to have to borrow the book from my parents, probably the same one you have stashed somewhere. It's fun to find out the reasons behind the names. Probably some very good story ideas hidden away in there, too.

Glad to hear you're thinking about BIAW in a week and can't wait to hear abut the idea you'll be working on.

Anita Mae Draper said...

Good post Karyn. I prefer names like Aspen Lake although some people could get a rise out of locations like Climax. Ahem. In our beautiful province, we also have names like Eyebrow, Elbow and Forget, the latter which is pronounced For-jay and not for-get. And just down the road from that is Bienfait which is pronounced Bean-fat and not the French pronunciation like they do for Forget. Doesn't make sense to me at all.

I've often thought of using these funny placenames in a book like the series from Abingdon Press which all start with... Love Finds You in... and then each page has a stamp at the top right corner as if it were a postcard. Unfortunately, the editors only want books written about funny US town names so that leaves all these possibilities out. Their loss, eh.

We used to get new PJs on Christmas Eve. I started that with my kids but since I usually bought their jammies when the sales were on, the girls outgrew them before Christmas a couple years so that nixed that tradition.

I'm rambling, aren't I... back to Emma's story...

Silver James said...

Anita, you crack me up! Ahem, indeed.

Karyn Good said...

Hey, Anita. Hope you and your bruised ribs are tucked up warm and cozy and you're writing madly on Emma's story!

I'm glad you like names like Aspen Lake. Love Finds Me In -- Ahem, indeed. Sounds like a very interesting concept and they are missing out because we've got some very interesting places and names of places here in Saskatchewan. Maybe that's an idea for the next SRW project.

And about the pjs - that's what you get for being so organized!

Hayley E. Lavik said...

I feel like I'm very short on Things to Say lately, but I figure a few lines are always better than none. As with many people, my writing goals for the year can be summarized as More. There are a lot more specifics within that, some side goals, and other things I hope to work on, but essentially more progress, more quality, more ease of process is always good. I'm intending to get in on BIAW, but not sure yet whether I want to set it to maintain my progress goal or to push it. First though, I need to make sure I don't dive into the week and get stopped short by some issues that deserve love and attention, but run very counter to word-count-focus.

Celery: peanut butter always suits me fine. PJs and books: that's an awesome tradition, love it. Place names: should at least feel believable, even if it's theme-like. Reads: On Writing, but no one needs telling about that one. Writing tools: found a new place in town to work, now if only it were easier to park there.

And congrats on the office chair. Those are the best kind of gifts.

Karyn Good said...

Hey, Hayley. Whatever you say is always insightful and makes me think, which is always a positive thing. I hear you on the more and especially on the more ease of process. It would be nice to feel like I know which step to take next even half the time.

I glad to hear you're joining in on BIAW. I was having similiar goal setting issues in regards to deciding how far to push myself. I guess we'll see how it turns out.

As kids we usually snacked on celery and Cheez Whiz but my kids prefer peanut butter, too. I've only ever attempted writing somewhere other than home once, and I found I spent more time people watching than writing but I think I'm going to have to try it again.

I'll be watching to see what you decide for BIAW.

I love my chair!

Anne Germaine said...

Well I'm a day behind on the posts (or more than just one day) but I can't apologize because I've been on a wicked writing streak.

New Year's resolution #1 (to write) is doing well, #2 (to exercise) and #3 (to eat better) are just not happening. Oh well.

Karyn...awesome post. Congrats on the office chair--me and my lower back are jealous.

I'll be honest, the only time I pull out a map of Saskatchewan is when I'm looking for last names: Lanigan, Kipling, Grenfell, Davidson... (I don't think I'd get away using Climax as a last name unless I switched genres...!)

Karyn Good said...

Hey, Anne. Let nothing stand in the way of a writing streak! Blog comments definitely come in second to that.

That's an awesome idea! using a map to come up with last names. I'm going to use that one.