Friday, October 29, 2010

My writing week

The most exciting news is from today: this morning, I set up the profile and registered to take part to the NaNoWriMo competition. I have two more days for a brainstorming and a bit or organization of my subject. I am for the moment very skeptical about reaching the goal of 50,000 words in only one month - given the permanent need of various proof reviews, other assignments and academic articles, the non-novel book project I started a couple of days ago with a deadline at the beginning of December as well, a possible trip for a couple of days, without too much time for thinking and writing, some job-hunting and a busy social life. But, for the first time in my life I am taking part to such a competition - possible via the wonderful 2.0 world I am proudly part of - and I am ready to learn every single second, or word.  

Another part of my writing week was the official start of my second book project, about 2.0, in English. I started a writing diary, documenting every step I take, to be updated soon on the blog. For the moment, I am gathering tones of documents, bibliographies and to-do-lists. 

And now, I have to hurry up to update my blog posts, with articles about the last 10 days activities. Effective writing and lots of challenges. My writing week-end is about to start! 

Memories about a memoir

I finally succeeded to finish this week a wonderful memoir about the life of Oppie. For the first time in a long long time the lecture took me almost three months. I usually read extremely fast, but this time the information was so rich documenting carefully and chronologically every moment from Oppie's life than I needed more time to think after each chapter. 

I will not enter at all into the details regarding the ideas and the content of the book, but as I am thinking to write one day a memoir myself, I will focus only on a couple of ideas on the structure and writing. 

The book is following Robert Oppenheimer's life step by step, the chronology being followed very closely and carefully. But this doesn't mean that you have a better understanding of the character, but rather must be a sign of difficult management of the material. I prefer the organization of the historical books on themes as helpful in creating a bigger picture of the trends and tendencies and of the genesis of ideas. I am opposing the evenemential history, also because it is dissipating information: there are too many data impossible to have clearly in your mind after reading 600 pages or more. 

The management of an impressive amount of documents: footnotes would charge the page, end notes explaining for each page the sources are more useful. 

The journalistic style, including by avoiding opinions and too much personal observation, is a the best solution for offering to your readers a reliable book. For a successful result, you need the skills of a historian, journalist and good writer. 

And now, time to think about a possible memoir project, in a near future...

Friday, October 22, 2010

My lessons learned

I've been very busy the last days - hence my absence from my virtual desk - polishing my last version of the book on communications I am going to publish (hope) soon. This was the third editing and, I dare to say, I would need probably at least one more final lecture. Most probably, it will not be possible, as the very generous edition house that accepted to publish my 400 pages booklet is already having enough of my neverending work. Taking into account this aspect, I tried to do my possible best to send a final and perfect copy.Here are a couple of my lessons learned, to be taken into account for my future writing plans (which are, quite a lot and I am full enthusted about the perspective of being back in my world of words, research and ideas):

- Make as many corrections as possible. Polish and re polish the words and the sentences for a final copy more than perfect. By offering to your readers a correct and clear and interesting book is sharing the best of you. Be exigent and don't hesitate to change as much as possible. It will take longer until your book will be find in the libraries, but it is better to give a good impression. Consider every book as the most important book in your life.
- Keep a diary of your progress and write down useful observations about your writing, the style, the grammar and the management of the writing process.
- There are many advantages and disadvantages of doing the editing process on your own. On one hand, you are in control of your ideas and words and nobody else but you will operate the changes, without the perspective of misunderstanding your words and ideas. On the other hand, the supervision made by a complete stranger will help in gathering the observations you might expect from the part of one of the readers. In many situations, we are so much trapped into self-admiring exercises that our guards are down and we are more tempted to be severe enough for making all the interventions required.
- You must have a unitary style of design of your works: the same writing style, the space between paragraphs, the bold inter-titles. 
- Avoid using too many expressions encountered in the verbal discourse: As we already said, for instance is a polite reminder to your readers of previous ideas. In writing, it is artificial and boring.
- Don't start sentences with verbs. Even your book is a technical and advices-oriented book, too many verbs turn the lecture into a very pedagogical and dense experience, but without keeping a high level of style and clarity. 
- Don't try to write as you think. To be precise: stop your waves of thoughts by logical and clear sentences. Your reader - and almost anybody - will be able to enter your mind. You are the writer able to share and translate your thoughts and experiences to unknown and impersonal audiences. 
The biggest success of my week: I am finally ready with my booklet - I've worked to for almost two years. Time to reorganize my other plans and start the new writing journeys. More enthusiastic than ever!

Plan your plot

Very inspiring graphic construction of "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix". Writing is creativity, progressing writing is a matter of science.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Lessons and advices on writing

My week-end was focused mostly on reading - a memoir, in English - and thinking about possible topics for new works - a novel, a book. And educated a bit more my visual part of the brain, taking photos (not extremely satisfied with the quality). For this week, a couple of academic articles are for months already, in various processes of polishing and intermediary writing stages. And one more lecture of the last week reviews before sending them to the editors.

For the first hours of the day, I've read a couple of advices about writing.

Friday, October 15, 2010

How was my week

I am ready with the long-awaited review of foreign relations. More careful with the words and the general structure of the narrative. Used a lot of critical analysis, any quote at all and banished any boring references to description of the volumes' chapters. For the first time in almost one year of writing reviews for this publication I am satisfied with both the style, the grammar, the ideas' design. Hope to not be the only one noticing these changes and improvements.

The other review I finished, long before I had the re-revelation of my writing destiny, was pretty clumsy, and made a several cosmetic changes, in addition to the corrections operated by the editor itself. This contribution is good for my CV, but maybe it is better to fully play my cards in the areas I am familiar with. I am more articulated and the words are easily arranged into sentences.

I am more and more determined to improve my English as fast as possible. My big disadvantage was to be first perfectly fluent in another two languages and the excessive use of English exclusively for reading and conversation. I am reading without dictionary and I am able to think in this language, but in the majority of cases, when it is about writing, I am making various translations from the languages I can read, think and write fluently in. More and more practice needed. 

I know one of the main reasons of being extremely lazy in writing. This week, the record of reading books - a memoir about Oppenheimer and Infinite Jest - was extremely poor. But I was extremely active in reading blogs and articles. The next week, I ought to finish a couple of academic articles and to continue blogging. 

I had last night several pleasant lectures of some blogs about cooking. What is the creative and original part of writing, as long as the recipes are made of quantities, short recommendations and a combination of a limited vocabulary? The personal experience of the author matters and the individual pattern of mixing the words and explaining - about a colour, a flavor, a certain timing, completed with the visual part. I will try soon to share my own visual and olfactory experience, as part of improving my writing skills.

Happy writing and an inspiring week-end!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Paris Short Story Contest

What's in a name!

The name of this blog is not an accident. Not even intending to tease. It is the hyperrealistic version of my world.

Shortly: I started my day around 8.30 (extremely late, given the writing situation for today, very very late).  Shortly thereafter, the marry-go-round put into motion. And what a motion: updating social media websites, status, reading a couple of new articles, downloading pictures, uploading and editing pictures, writing and editing the texts, the usual online-office dialogue for sharing ideas and links. Not too much time to think, only an enormous to-do-list and various emergencies and opportunities. And, again, writing a new article, updating a status, speed-reading an article - on politics, arts, social media, the areas covered by the clients I am writing for my PR projects. I even saw new and inspiring images, I hope to be able soon to do some sketches about. 

I wrote and I am writing about almost everything. Everything interesting, I mean. I like to change the styles, to be forced to document my articles or papers, to listen new ideas and then share as much as possible. For a long time I was very unhappy because my English fluency didn't help me to be as fast and clear as I wanted to be. I am convinced I am still making mistakes and I still need to polish my sentences. But, for the most part of my latest writing life, English is my main tool. I will continue to write and improve this fantastic language, because I don't have too much choices and also, because I find this new challenge too amazing to give up easily. And, little by little I promised myself to start being fluent in a fourth language as well - after my 2 mother-tongues and English. 

Agh, I was about to forget, focused on my personal journey across cultures and languages: immediately after I woke up I started to read an article about publishing in the 2.0 world, via a link found on Twitter. While taking my shower, I was already having in mind a title - sounded good for me then - of a new book - from my very neglected writing list for this 2010. Shortly after I was off, I forgot the title and still unable to recover my affected memory. Anyway, I remember the subject: about how to seize every opportunity you encounter into your life. A kind of self-help booklet. 

Now: it is 17.02 and: I need to finish writing a 1500-word review on a foreign affairs book, to continue listening to a web-conference about social media and blogging, to write about this on my PR and 2.0 blog, to listen to a webinar dedicated foreign affairs online, to write about this on another blog, to update and have a look on my social media networks, to watch another webinar, later in the night, about using social media for book launching and, of course, writing about this - on this blog, this time. And I still need to finish writing the article I started my day with, plus a couple of pages in English and German. 

Forgot to mention, in-between the words, I spent at least a couple of minutes with my kid, on vacation right now, and preparing the lunch and offering mature enough replies and topics of conversations.

What's in a name?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Writing diary

Woke up with a little headache. Maybe because of the one beer more yesterday's experience. Or because I started the Infinite Jest, read for a couple of pages, and kept thinking about the movies I've seen last night for more than one hour and, again, as usual, finally switched off the light around 3 o'clock in the morning.

The idea of a huge mug of coffee determined me to jump out of my warm bed into the cold air of my German house. In only five minutes, the coffee and the breakfast were prepared. Healthy exercises for warming me up. I am still drinking my warm coffee now, after reading a couple of articles about writing, writing and writing. And a short review of my class for writing for children. 

I am still undecided: I would like to write non-fiction for children, an YA novel, a couple of short stories for children and a book for preschool children. There were, in fact, the objectives I've set at the beginning of January, but most part of the time I avoided to take a final decision about continuing writing and nothing else but writing. Plus, of course, some background reading. I will avoid to make an evaluation of this year, as most part of my writing projects are nowhere to be found. My (lame) excuse is the need to improve my English writing skills, by reading. Non-sense as I know very well that only the experience might help me to refine and polish my grammar and vocabulary. 

For reasons of daily optimism I would prefer to go beyond good and evil and refuse to judge my laziness or to give verdicts. I will pick up the fruits sooner or later.

Back to reading. It is only 10.28 in the morning.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Norman Mailer about his experience as writer, for Paris Review

The daily dosis of reading about writing experiences".
Norman Mailer, in Paris Review, about the Art of Fiction.

Welcome in my world of words

I am writing for a long long time. My whole life is organized around words and books. It always was and will always be. Even I betrayed a couple of time my writing vocation, I always turned back. And, from now on, I am determined in full strength to continue doing so.

This blog is the diary of my daily writing life. It will not be a blog about the books I am reading, but about the books I am writing to, or I am planning to do.

And it is the encouraging message to myself that I will continue writing.