Welcome to this Saturday Edition of What We’re Writing and Reading where we share some of what we’re up to with our writing (when we’re not here) and what we’re into with our reading (around the web). We’ll also pull back the curtain a little to give you a behind-the-scenes look at what went into a piece.
We hope you enjoy this little diversion and encourage you to share your own posts and picks in the comments.
Happy writing! Happy reading!
What a gorgeous, gorgeous week we’ve had around here – quintessential New England fall. I must admit that it makes it a wee bit tricky to focus on anything so mundane as sitting at my desk. All those clear blue skies and frisky winds seem bent on luring me out of doors. I’m really no match for the temptation.
Despite my definite lack of butt-in-seat-time this week, I’m not feeling too guilty. First of all, it was my birthday on Tuesday, so I figured I deserved some time off what with being (according to my daughter) so old and all. Second of all, fall is my favorite season and I know there will only be so many of these perfect days. I want to enjoy as many as I can. The Farmer’s Almanac says we’ve got a long, hard winter ahead so there will be plenty of time for hunkering down at keyboard once the snow flies.
For now, I’m writing things in my head while I’m out enjoying the season’s best. 😉
What I’m Writing:
Well, not so much in the writing department this week. I did put together an ode to fall for my column (I’ll share it here next week), but that was really all the writing I accomplished.
I’ll get back in the saddle next week.
What I’m Reading:
On the flip side, I enjoyed quite a bit of reading this week. (It was my birthday and that was part of my birthday present to me – several uninterrupted hours of guilt-free reading … curled up on the couch, with tea … and a cat.
This week, I finished Into the Wilderness, written by our very own Deborah Lee Luskin. This is a survival story, but not the man vs. nature kind of survival story. The book’s main character, Rose Mayer, is a sixty-four year old jewish grandmother who relocates to the “wilderness” of Vermont where her son and his family have a summer home.
This is another “quiet” story that grew on me the way a relationship takes root and blossoms. By the time I reached the last page, I felt like the characters were real people whom I might run into at the grocery store or down at the coffee shop. I cared about their happiness. I also really enjoyed hearing the story told from the perspective of people older than me. It was a refreshing change.
I’m really looking forward to Deborah’s next novel. 🙂
On a completely different note, I also read a collection of short fantasy stories curated by one of my favorite authors, Neil Gaiman. Unnatural Creatures (affiliate link) includes tales about griffins, sunbirds, carnivorous plants, time-traveling unicorns, and many other fantastic creatures. I was both delighted and dismayed at how quickly I tore through these stories. I was reminded of the way I used to consume books in my youth – tearing through them as if their words were my only sustenance.
The stories in this anthology cover a lot of ground in the fantasy genre, some verge on horror while others are definitely humorous. I loved the fact that the collection includes stories from as recently as 2013 and as long ago as 1900. The variety of voices was particularly intriguing to me. It was very interesting to study how each author handled the narrative elements.
This book felt like a perfect indulgence.
Finally, I took some advice from a reader (Andrea Badgley) and subscribed to a great short story email list called Short Story Thursdays. The brainchild of author Jacob Tomsky, this service delivers one short story (“All classics. No garbage.”) per week. On Thursdays. So far, I’m loving it. I especially loved the intro email that made it perfectly clear that if you can’t make time to read one short story a week, Tomsky doesn’t really want you on his list. This guy is very serious about short stories.
I’m still learning to appreciate the short story, but this subscription feels like a great way to immerse myself – one story at a time – in the genre. I’m enjoying the education.
And let’s not forget the blogs. Here are a few of my favorite writerly posts from this week:
- How to “Write Like Rowling” by @storyfix – This post actually links off to another blog where an aspiring author dissects the structure underneath the Harry Potter books. Pretty cool.
- Eat, Pray, Love, Get Rich, Write a Novel No One Expects by Steve Almond via The New York Times – This was a bit of a long read, but it was interesting enough to hold my attention even though I am not a fan of Eat, Pray, Love.
- Write More Easily: Understanding, Embracing and Moving Beyond Resistance by @aliventures – We all face these demons. May as well learn how to slay them.
- Lessons Learned From 2 Years As A Fulltime Author Entrepreneur by @thecreativepenn – Writing is a business. To succeed, you have to think like an entrepreneur. Joanna Penn has embodied that business model for years and in this post share her insights.
- Pixar’s 22 Rules of Storytelling by @chrisrobley via @bookbaby – I’ve seen this list before, but it’s always as good as the first time.
- Why the stories you tell yourself decide your success by @PeterShallard – As writers, we believe in the power of stories; but we sometimes forget that we are as susceptible to their charms as anyone … for better and for worse. This is important. Know your stories so you can understand how they shape your life.
- You, Dear Writer, Are Going to Fail Miserably by @wegrowmedia via @writerunboxed – This is actually one of the best writer pep talks I’ve read in a while. 😉
- Why Don’t Publishers Believe in Author Websites? by @JaneFriedman – Great, in-depth discussion about the pros and cons, opportunities and pitfalls of the author website.
- 12 Facebook Groups for Writers You Don’t Want to Miss by @CordeliaCallsIt via @thewritelife – I’m looking forward to checking some of these out!
Finally, a quote for the week:
Thanks for sharing part of your day with me. Happy writing & happy reading & happy all things word-y and bookish! 🙂
Jamie Lee Wallace is a writer who also happens to be a marketer. She helps her Suddenly Marketing clients discover their voice, connect with their audience, and find their marketing groove. She is also a mom, a prolific blogger, and a student of the equestrian arts, voice, and trapeze (not at the same time). Introduce yourself on facebook or twitter. She doesn’t bite … usually.