Wednesday, December 29, 2010

New Year's Resolutions

I spent the last hour jumping from a blog to another for writing various resolutions. A decision I took after 40 minutes of speed thinking about what I am happy I did in 2010, what I would like to improve and what expectations to set for 2011. By now, this is already a long list, with lots of books and articles I would like to write in the next 12 months. In fact, all of my projects are directly connected with writing. 
And, more precisely, I wish for me in the next 12 hours, the followings:
- To continue improving my skills and style 
- To attend at least one conference dedicate to writing, various webinars and special classes dedicated to creative writing
- To read as often as possible articles, blog posts, book reviews and to test as often as possible the limits of my words
- For fulfilling this objective, I would need at least two hours per day dedicated exclusively to writing
- Starting to work on NaNoWriMo 2010 project
- Getting in touch with editions houses and, in general, knowing as much as possible about publishing and marketing in the writing world
- Writing many fillers and books dedicated to children
- Continuing my other fiction book
- The most important of all: doing my best for becoming a freelance successful writer and journalist!
Wish me good luck!
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Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Great House

Cover of "Great House: A Novel"Cover of Great House: A Novel
Writing about Nicole Krauss' latest book - Great House - is difficult for me. I finished reading it less than three hours ago. I tried to think if I want to write a couple of lines about while writing other blog posts. Finally, after deciding which book will fill my next days - one by an author, David Grossman, whose style appears to me very similar with Krauss' in the investigation of the daily mystery - I will share a couple of non-literary and very personal fresh impressions about the book. Maybe I hurry up to start reading To the End of Land.
From many points of view, for me it is extremely difficult to find myself of voice of reviewing novels and, in general, literature. The ethereal idea of writing a review about poetry is almost frightening me. It took me almost one year to improve my style of reviewing scientific - predominantly from the area of political science and history - books. I always been a reader of literature, with minimum one good book per week, and love to talk about and with writers, but the review is coming out of the pen painfully. The main reason: I don't follow the literary canons and I am interested and mesmerized sometimes, about how it is used the power of words for revealing the untold words. 
The book is made up of different stories, not all of them with an obvious end, but all of them are an effort to rearrange - and, by thus, to rewrite Jewish histories. In the old Jewish tradition, you don't learn by heart, but the customs and rules are repeated - and enriched and sometimes even changed - over and over again: by the rabbis, the wise men or by the family members. Each community is having its own tradition and each family its own history. 
This continuity was disrupted by the Shoah, in our recent times. The destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem set the biggest picture of the Jewish narrative: "We live, each of us, to preserve our fragment, in a state of perpetual regret and longing for a place we only knew existed because we remember a keyhole, a tile, the way the threshold was worn under an open door". Because: "Maybe all exiles try to re-create the place they've lost out of their fear of dying in a strange place". This is the sense of the mystery of the writing desk, connecting histories, places, histories and people all over the world. All these are creating the illusion of living in a room with different kind of mirror walls - some reflections are real, some amplify exaggeratedly, some are misguiding and sending a wrong message. 
The book is also a reflection about writing: why do you write - without directly expressing the question if you can't write literature and poetry after Shoah - how can you write and what do you need - and have to renounce, in terms of family life - for writing. In this case, the desk can be read as the structure of the writing brain, with its hidden and locked secrets whose key is in the pockets of your readers.
At the end, when I realize that plan of the book might be to draw back the Jewish history, with its heart beating at Jerusalem, I found that it is too ambitious. But maybe I was wrong.
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Afghan stories

I am not a passionate reader of thrillers and if asked in the middle of the sleep about my favorite writer of this genre I will not be able to answer. I know, nobody's perfect.

As I am equally curious to explore various styles of lecture, I decided two weeks ago that it was about time to start somehow. And, randomly I found at my generous local library two titles, I didn't know they are treating more or less about the same issue: the terror threat against the West, in connection with the London terrorist attacks. And, in this order, I've read: Greg Rucka's German translation Dschihad and Frederick Forsyth's The Afghan.
The same order reflects the order of my preferences: Rucka's book is creative, full of suspense and interesting characters. Forsyth's is very long, with lots of journalistic intros and like looking to cover a certain number of pages. The appeal to the reader is made by various direct introductions of names - not profiles - of the then political and security stars as Stephen Hadley or amb. John Negroponte. 
In the first book, you have a strong spywoman - Tara Chace - descending directly from the pages of the cartoons, killing with cold blod, in various adventures in the Middle East - against and part of intrications of secret services -, in the service of the Queen. The context of the actuality - the terrorist threat, the terrorist attacks against US and London - are the large web where you can knit various literary games.
The Afghan is closely and telegraphically following the news, but excepting the final disappearance of the special agent, at the end of the story, I had the impression of reading a collection of news and opinions. 
For the next days, I have in plan other thrillers on my reading list!
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Susanna Tamaro's book is the second novel in German in one week that ends up by the suicide of the woman. This is just an observation, trying to introduce a bit of order and obvious sense into my relatively unusually messy writing and reading life from the last month or so. And I am still hoping that the whole situation will have an impressive creative turn.
But I liked the book: high concentration of feelings, almost logical ending - what can you do when you have the sudden perspective of the impossible progress. A classical optimist will continue to look for something. In some situations, everything around you - a stone or, like in this case, a parrot found at the garbage - an image of the life of the main character, maybe - it's reminding you the absolute failure. More or less, we are living in a world of shadows, projections, dreams, illusions and educated denials. Often, the border line between the healthy laugh and the deep depression is extremely delicate. 
This book helps you to understand this eternal fragility. 

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Proposals for edition houses

I am preparing to write today a proposal for a non-fiction book and I think I will follow the steps recommended by Writer's Relief. Easy, logical and exactly what I was thinking about me too.

The future of reading?

Interactive novels and stories you can play with or discovering Opertoon.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Call for Submissions: University of Queensland Press

Offer yourself a different writing start of 2011. If you are a writer of YA and children book, this offer might be for you. You still have time, till 14 of January, to revise your manuscript and to prepare the query letter. I already did mine and I will dare to enter the competition with a picture book story I made during a class. Even I am thinking that I have enough time and free days to think seriously about another booklet. 
My conclusion for today is that it is very important to write and be ready with your manuscripts. There are so many opportunities around that you need to be extremely efficient for taking all the advantages for being successful.
Time to schedule the writing wish-list? Not yet, I still have a couple of days from 2011 to finish my projects. 
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Monday, December 20, 2010

Sunday, December 19, 2010

How to deal with rejection?

With optimism. Or, at least, this is my case.
I submit a fragment of my NaNoWriMo novel - that I didn't have too much time, if no time at all, to review and re-proof - to a selection process, and in three days time I receive a nice letter announcing me that I am out of the editorial program. 
First, I was expecting such an answer, because I know that there are hundreds of thousand of mistakes and clumsy expressions (to be modest). I have a lot of work ahead, but only at the beginning of the next year, when I will finish in a decent way the other two editorial projects I have currently in various stages of incompletitude. Second, this answer, though negative, was a sign of life that I did something for my writings: I sent it forward - expecting that somebody else than me read it - and I got a feed-back. It is better than keeping it in my e-file. Third, every occasion of sharing your writing to the others is welcomed - with the condition of always trying to offer high quality work. It is an exercise of style and out of this you are getting some new experience and new ideas.
So, if you want to listen my beginner's advice in the generous domain of rejections: keep going!
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Book review: Karin Fossum - Also, von mir aus

Once, I met somebody who wanted to read at least one author from every country in the world. I found this an interesting project and I am always curious to find out new and challenging authors all over the world. In most part of the cases I am well beyond the one book/one country, but in the case of Norway, the discovery of Karin Fossum is the kind invitation for other books. 
The choice of the book - Jonas Eckel, in the German translation - was randomly, as I was looking for a lecture interesting enough for improving my language. The only recommendation were the 2-3 lines on the back of the cover. (Maybe those writing this should be more careful with such textes and devote more time and imagination to attract the potential readers through them.) 
Although I was tempted to leave the book after the first ten pages (in fact, it was not one of the guided lectures aiming to know more about an author or a topic, but simply an exercise of German practice), the interest for finishing the book increased little by little. (Only today I found out that the strong point of the author is crime novels.) The subject: the rise and fall of a relationship (I wanted to write love story, but don't think that this is the right world). Jonas Eckel (with "ck", please, as the character insist to mention every time) found Lilian, decided to get married and  they start their side-by-side adventure. A monotonous one, when you feel every drop of the minute. This is the story told through the words of Jonas, with the ups and downs, emotions and lack thereof, everything told with the same rhythm, with extremely few dialogues, as a long Nordic ballad. From time to time, the author is throwing some hints: Jonas' discovery that Lilian didn't go to the computer class and preferred to sleep home (or what any other reason), her week-end out with her girlfriends (or maybe was something or somebody else), the mystery of their physical alienation (because of somebody else) and, finally her suicide (why?). And I think that this style is a wonderful recipe for creating interest for following a relationship story. 
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Sunday, December 12, 2010

500-Word Challenge

Enter the competition and share your prose, poetry, fiction and non-fiction on the issue of holidays.
Deadline: January 4, 2011
Good luck, writers!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Creative nonfiction writers wanted

More details - here.
Good luck!

Memoir writing - some advices

Portrait of Jane Austen, from the memoir by J....Image via Wikipedia//A woman on writing

I was inspired enough (see my latest post) to register to a class on children writing on WOW.
And the inspiration continued after the six-seven weeks of the class and the other articles and resources I've found on their site. The lecture of the day were the advices about how to write a memoir and journaling essentials.
I found many good ideas and encouragements to write and document facts of my life. Because every life is precious.
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Some inexpensive collectible booksImage via Wikipedia
How do I find my inspiration for posts, articles?
A couple of fresh ideas:
When I am reading a book, I am taking notes - for the review, for various academic articles. A special category is represented by the subjects I would like to cover extensively after, not necessarily connected with the subject of the book: as a custom, a tradition, a do-it-yourself idea. For each of these subjects I set up separate files at least with one idea about what I would like to search after. 
When I am out in town or during a conversation and I discover an idea about something I would like to write about, I do the same: I am saving the idea on my cell phone or on my notebook and think where I could post it. 
This is a permanent process. I already have more than 100 possible ideas for posts and articles gathered in the last three weeks and I am working little by little for the documentation. Can anybody borrow me some time?
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Bad Sex Writing

LesCorsetsLeFuretParis18cutBImage via Wikipedia
This year price for bad sex writing in the UK is going to Rowan Somerville. It was interesting to read his explanation: that he was, in fact, trying to express the identity of his characters, as victims of abuse. In fact, it was a bad words management. 
In my novel, I avoided too many explicit sex mentions, and one of the reasons was not only the idea of discretion and a certain modesty, but also the lack of experience in dealing with such situations. Maybe the best cure will be to write a couple of scenes and put my words on work somehow.
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Motivated absence

First, it was the post-NaNoWriMo the day after effect. I spent so much energy and resources in only a couple of days for a lot of words that I needed to take my breath and think deep about what I've done and what I really want to accomplish in my next writing life.
Second, two books waiting for me to be finished very soon, and I am still fighting to gather the documentation. I still hope that I will be ready with them till the end of December. 
Third, I am intensively focusing on the current projects while looking a lot after new opportunities for freelance writing.
Also: I am still in various processes of finishing various articles and reviews and blog posts. Very important, in the last three days I succeeded to give a new impulse to one of my oldest online writing project, by introducing a different content, requiring at least three hours of intensive documentation and careful editing. When I am not writing, I am intensively thinking of some video and photo projects, wandering in town for some good shots. After half a year and thousand of pictures I am finally extremely happy with one image. Probably in 20 years I will gather enough material for a small photo exhibition.
Not less important, I am very much in love and I am grateful for the last year as one of the spiritually richest period of my life. 
It is not easy to be a woman, isn't it?
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