Just a quick post here since NaNoWriMo started today, and I've been furiously working on a new project. It's a YA fantasy starring ... my granddaughter. This is going to be her book. My hope is to present it to her for her birthday in July when she's no longer a child but an adolescent.
Speaking of NaNo, John Waverly had a fabulous suggestion for mastering your use of time in his blog post here, using the Pomodoro Technique. Even if you're not doing NaNo, you ought to check it out.
Last weekend I downloaded the Focus Booster and practiced with it on some editing I was doing.
Um, can I say THRILLED?
Having that little 25-minute timer sitting at the edge of my monitor really did help me focus. I blew through a ton of pages whereas I'd been struggling prior to that.
I'm so going to kick NaNo's derriere this year.
Now, for the metal part of my post. Anyone who's read this blog much knows I'm a huge Brandon Sanderson fan. That's a caps lock HUGE.
Brandon's got a book coming out this month ... one I'm not going to be reading until December because he's part of the reason I was a NaNo Epic Fail last year (he'd released the next to the last Wheel of Time book last November--total sabotage, and I'd have cried foul except I was so engrossed in the book that I forgot).
Satan, get thee behind me! No temptations allowed during NaNo this year.
But really, I'm excited for this book which is set in his Mistborn world. It's called The Alloy of Law. Brandon speaks a bit about what's he's done in this fantasy book and wonders whether his 14-year-old self could approve.
I really liked what he says about our tastes in certain genres:
Perhaps we fantasy readers sometimes mix up correlation and causation in our fantasy novels. In fact, I’m more and more convinced that taste for a specific genre or medium is often built on shaky ground.
An example may help. I have a friend who once claimed he loved anime.
Over the years, he consistently found anime shows superior to what he found on television. But as he started to find more and more anime, he told me that he discovered something. He liked the anime he’d seen at first because these were the shows that were successful and well made, the ones with the quality or broad appeal to make the jump across cultures. He found that he didn’t like all anime—he only liked good anime. Sure, the medium had something important to do with it—but his enjoyment came more from the quality of his sample than the entire medium.
Likewise, I’ve come to find that what I enjoy is a good story. Genre can enhance this—I’m probably going to like a good fantasy more than a good thriller or romance because worldbuilding and magic appeals to me. In the end, however, it isn’t the lack of guns (as my young self assumed) that draws me to fantasy stories. It’s the care for setting, pacing, and character development.
This is actually a correlation/causation fallacy, and I wonder if I’m the only one to have made it. Many of the books in the fantasy section we love (perhaps because of the setting attention or the types of writers attracted to fantasy and SF) have dragons. Do we therefore make the assumption that we only like books with dragons? These two things (the dragons and our enjoyment) are parallel to, but not completely responsible for one another.
You can find the rest of the article on the Tor blog here.