Saturday, August 29, 2009

I didn't reach my goal, but that's okay

I had hoped to finish the first draft of my novel this summer. That didn't happen. It was a lofty goal and I knew that going in. Instead of chaining myself to my computer, I found a balance between writing and enjoying a wonderful summer. I have no regrets.
I've written a hundred pages since early June, so I certainly got a lot of good writing time in. And I like the pages I've written! The voice is clear and the characters are fleshing out well. The plot line continues to reveal itself and the process of watching it unfold and documenting its progress is fascinating.
Folks who are interested sometimes ask when it will be done, how long it will be, etc. The honest answer to both questions is "I don't know." I can see the conclusion of the story on the horizon, and I figure it will be about 250 typewritten pages when it's done. But if I've learned anything on this journey, it's that I'm not good at predicting these things. It'll be done when it's done. It'll be as long as it needs to be to finish the story line to a satisfying conclusion.
In the meantime, I'll keep writing.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

BBC's book list

My niece Sarah had this posted under her "Notes" on Facebook. I couldn't figure out how to put anything under Notes on my Facebook page, (not tech-saavy today I guess) so I'm pasting it here. I've placed an X next to ones I've read.
Go ahead and check your own reading against this list. The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books here.
I have more reading to do!

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen -X
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien -X
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte -X
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling - X
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee -X
6 The Bible -X
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte - X
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell - X
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman -X
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens - X
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott - X
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy –
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller –X
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare -
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier -
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien - X
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk -
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger - X
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger-
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot -
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell -X
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald - X
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens -
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy -
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams -
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky -
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck X
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll- X
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame- X
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy -
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens -X
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis - X
34 Emma-Jane Austen -
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen -
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis - X
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini - does 1/2 way count?
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres -
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden -
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne - X
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell - X
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown -X
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez -
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving-
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins -
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery-X
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy -
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood -
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding -x
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan-x
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel -
52 Dune - Frank Herbert -
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons-
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen -
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth -
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon -
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens -x
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley -x
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime - Mark Haddon- x
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez -
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck -X
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov-
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold -
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas-
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac -
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy -
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding-
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie –
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville -X
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens- x
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker -
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett - X
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson -
75 Ulysses - James Joyce -
76 The Inferno – Dante-X
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome -
78 Germinal - Emile Zola -
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray-
80 Possession - AS Byatt –
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens - X
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell -
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker-
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro--
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert -
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry -
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White - X
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom -x
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle- x
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton-
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad -
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery - x
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks -
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams-
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole -
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas -
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare-X
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl - X
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo-

Thursday, August 13, 2009

It's been a long time

I see it's been weeks since I posted on my blog. Guess that means I've been busy, busy working, true, but mostly busy enjoying summer. I love being outdoors in warm weather, picking blueberries, relaxing in the pool with friends, or just curling up with a cup of coffee while I read on the porch. Everything feels better outdoors in warm weather.
Summer brings its own outdoor culture, and I've enjoyed some of that. We went to an Orioles game with Katie and Kyle, saw Paul McCartney (heart be still) with Kathy, saw Elton and Billy with Katie (Elton is good but Billy is awesome, even when he's sick) , and saw Mike's new apartment and workplace in Sanford Florida. In there somewhere, I took a bus trip to Washington with my church to watch our pastor's graduation, and we hosted a couple of parties. We have two more parties to go to round out the summer.
Yep, it's been wonderful, despite the rainy weather and the cooler-than-average temps. I've even taken some time to sit and think about my story, a rare commodity to be sure. Some days, I write like a woman possessed, and other days I barely come up with a new phrase. I'm on about page 170 now, and I figure it'll be somewhere around 270 when I'm done with this first draft. I had hoped to be done with the first draft by the end of August which now doesn't seem realistic, but hey, you never know. It's summer. Anything can happen.