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  • Why I Love My Local Independent Bookstore

    Walking into this bookstore is a different experience than walking into pretty much any other bookstore for one very good reason: it isn’t any other bookstore. It isn’t just another of a large chain of stores striving to make every shopping experience absolutely identical. This bookstore has an identity.

    I’m talking specifically about Shelf Life Books in Calgary, but I’m sure a lot of this applies to whatever independent bookstores exist in your community.

    To understand what Shelf Life Books is, let’s first see what it’s not. When I walk into a big chain bookstore like, oh say, Chapters, I usually need to know what I’m looking for specifically. It’s not really set up for browsing, confronting me instead with shelves packed with dozens of copies of the current best sellers. It feels more like going to a grocery store than a bookstore, and I tend to treat it the same way. I go to a specific aisle for a specific item. I can be assured to find the latest from any of the major publishers, but the chances of discovering something new and relatively unheard of is unlikely.

    Here, I have to browse. Even if the store is laid out into genres—I can’t imagine a book store that isn’t—the displays and the books themselves compel me to slow down, walk around, and really look at what’s there. For the first time in my life I’m deliberately looking beyond the fantasy section for something different. I’m looking—shock and horror—at non-fiction, finding books about things that interest me and things I didn’t even know interested me. Picking up The Last Lingua Franca: English Until the Return of Bable by Nicholas Ostler was hardly a surprise seeing as how I love language, but Debt: The First 5,000 Years by David Graeber was something I never expected to get into but did. Today it was the ninetieth issue of The Believer and Light Em Up, a book of microfictions that fits in a matchbook. Some of these things I wouldn’t be able to find at a Chapters, and the rest I wouldn’t even think to look for.

    Shelf Life Books encourages me to linger a while. I can sit at a table and write, just as I am now, which is something I haven’t been able to do easily at a Chapters (I’ve tried. The tables at the mandatory Starbucks are tiny and noisy.) The atmosphere here is an escape and not just another mad-dash stop at the mall on the way to the movie theatre.

    Another thing that bears mentioning is that a local, independent bookstore is, well, local. There’s a section for local authors—fiction, non-fiction, and poetry—and works from local artists on display. The red chair on the wall behind me is by a local painter by the name of Veronica Funk, who also has paintings on display at Café Koi on 1st Street.

    I never know exactly what I’m going to get when I walk into Shelf Life Books, and that’s the beauty of it. What I do know is that I’ll find something new and interesting to discover, and is there any better reason to love a bookstore than that?



  • A Good Writing Group Is A Great Thing To Have

    As writers, we tend to be solitary creatures. It’s the nature of our work. Sitting in the dark pounding away at a keyboard for hours upon hours doesn’t really lend itself to rich and varied social life. Add the fact that most ‘normal’ people don’t want to hear how our characters hijacked our story yet again, and it looks like we’re doomed to be hermits, doesn’t it? So we can’t be allowed around the general public. But what about… other writers?

    Other writers? They get us. We can vent about our character troubles or share an exciting yet disturbing epiphany about our plot and rather than backing away slowly, a fellow writer will say, “I know, right?” Suddenly, we are not alone. Gather one or two more, and we become a writing group. And a writing group is something we want to be a part of for many reasons:

    A Writing Group Provides Support

    Having a writing group means having people we can go to when we’re stuck or frustrated or feel like giving up. These are the people who can offer workable suggestions for our stories, and even if we don’t use those suggestions, they get us thinking about why giving the MC a pet alligator isn’t going to work which can lead us to an idea that will. They remind us why we wanted to write in the first place even as they commiserate with us. They encourage us as we battle through word count and edits, and they celebrate with us when our hard work pays off. And we do the same thing for them.

    A Writing Group Pushes Us To Improve

    A good writing group is never satisfied with simply writing; a good writing group wants us to write better. This includes critiques and writing challenges, sharing resources we’ve found, and coming up with new ways to work on our craft together. A writing group gives us structure, which as much as we hate to admit it, is something we all need. One day we look up and realize that we’re sitting with a group of friends, analysing something we half-killed ourselves to write, and that we’re doing this voluntarily. That is when we know we’re in a good group.

    A Writing Group Forces Us To Finish What We Started

    In order to discuss each others work, we have to have something written to discuss. A good writing group won’t let us off the hook with a half-finished story; they will make us finish it even if it means shunning us over dinner while we pound out the penultimate battle and final confrontation. And when we finally submit our masterpiece, they will still give us brutally honest feedback, because that’s what friends are for.

    A Writing Group Is An Idea Factory

    Put writers in a room together, and we will feed off each other’s insanity. Our conversations are wild, and often wildly inappropriate (just ask any server who’s waited a table of writers.) The littlest thing will spark an idea. A joke becomes canon, a ‘what if’ becomes a story, a ‘we should’ becomes a reality. A critique group spawns short story challenges, and a short story spawns a forum where our multitudes of characters can interact, just to see how someone from one person’s universe interacts with someone from another’s.

    We make each other work hard, but we also play hard, having so much fun that it’s hard to tell where the ‘work’ left off and the ‘play’ began. We leave each other energized and ready to dive back into the editing we’ve been struggling with or start that story we’ve been meaning to get around to. A good writing group helps us do what we love, and helps us feel less alone while we do it.

    And now for an announcement!

    FELT TIPS – The World’s Greatest Charity Anthology of Office-Supply-Related Erotica is coming out December 12, 2012. It includes What Is It, Suzie? by yours truly, as well as many other exciting stories by authors I am proud to be featured along side of. Check out the ‘Coming Soon!‘ tab above for more information and updates.



  • Self-Directed Writing Course

    In a bit of a continuation of my previous post on planning after the fact, I thought I’d share with you one of the things I’m doing to help myself figure out what I’m doing with Fallen Things.

    It started as a spur-of-the-moment suggestion from my critique group to help me with identifying and writing description: going through a favourite book and highlighting instances of description. I’ve decided to take it a bit further by also marking whose POV a scene is from so I can identify POV balance, another place I’ve had a few… issues. In that spirit, I bought a fresh copy of Lynn Flewelling’s Stalking Darkness. I chose this book for three reasons: 1) There’s description. There must be, because I can picture characters and settings clearly and consistently whenever I think of them. 2) The story is told through multiple POV, and yet it’s clear who the main characters are. 3) Even if it is the second book in the series, I’ve read them all so many times that I nearly have them memorized, and can therefore focus on the mechanics of the writing.

    Now before you worry too much, this is not an exercise in plagiarism. Fallen Things is its own world, full and complex, and I certainly don’t need to steal someone else’s. This is me brushing up on my technique. Are there inherent similarities? Of course. Whether we admit it or not, there are no new ideas, we are all influenced by what we’ve read before, and the only thing that makes our work different from the rest is how we put it all together.

    Anyway, back to the lesson. What I’m doing right now is going through the book highlighting every instance of description and marking the POV of each scene. What I plan to do with this is to look at all the description to see what she did and why it works. I’ve already come to the realization that, sometimes, description occurs in dialogue. I’ve also noticed that this makes what could otherwise be a fairly dry passage more active.

    For POV, I plan on looking at what is happening in each scene and why it’s important for that scene to be told from this character’s perspective rather than another’s. One thing I’ve already noticed is that, surprise surprise, the bulk of the scenes go to one or the other of the two main characters and that there are only a handful of other regular POV characters. I on the other hand am juggling more, and I may need to decide whose POV to cut and whose I should focus on.

    All in all, I’m looking forward to this, and not just because it gives me an excuse to read a favourite book all over again. It gives me a chance to delve into why it’s my favourite, and the chance to improve my own work.

    What strategies do you use to improve you’re writing? How often do you look at your favourite authors to see what you can learn from them?



  • Critiques, Revision, and Editing

    There’s something amazing that happens when you join a good critique group. You begin to develop a keen sense of what is and what isn’t good writing. This can be a mixed blessing as it means never being able to read (or in some cases watch TV) for pleasure without critiquing ever again, but the impact on your writing is well worth it.

    It almost goes without saying that receiving proper critiques can greatly improve our writing. However much we study the craft of writing, and however many times we go over our own work with a fine-toothed comb, there will always be something we overlooked. Some big, glaring problem that we just can’t see because we are too close to the story. We need a fresh set of eyes to look at it over and point out the problem. With a good critique group, that’s multiple sets of eyes. And these eyes know what to look for.

    Sometimes it’s as simple as a really embarrassing typo. More often it’s a fundamental problem such as a complete and utter lack of description, or chapters with short scenes that switch POV four times in five pages. (Or was that five times in four pages?) In any case, it’s a good reminder that just because we know what we meant, doesn’t mean our readers will.

    Getting an outside perspective on our work is an obvious benefit of a critique group, but the side-effect is that we also learn how to critique.

    Suddenly, we see writing through a different lens. We notice things like sentence structure, or where the author struggled. This perception may get in the way of simply enjoying a book, but when applied to chapters from our group members, it becomes invaluable. What’s more, it spills over into our own writing. We become more aware of what we are doing. We begin to develop a little voice in the back of our head commenting on what our group will think of the scene we just wrote. This isn’t to say that our group will always be right, or that fear of critique should stand in the way of how we feel our story needs to be told, but being aware of what we’re doing helps us make better decisions about our writing.

    And because no story is ever complete on the first draft, this leads us to revision and editing.

    Personally, I don’t let my critique group see anything less than draft 2. I’ve even taken to revising my chapters before sending them in. I figure if there are issues I can see on my own, it’s in my best interests to fix them so I don’t get a critique coming back with problems I already knew about. So there’s always a little polish done before the critique.

    After? Well, that’s where the fun starts. We now know where others are seeing issues with our work and whether we agree with every point or not, we still have to deal with it. We have to make the hard decisions. Kill our darlings. We need to edit.

    It’s a lot of work, but in the end it’s worth it. Once cranked through the critique machine and edited, our stories will (hopefully) be ready to send out into the world, be that querying agents or publishing.



  • Where I’ve Been, and Where I’m Going

    I may be a little late to the New Year party, but I still think this is the ideal time for a look back at what’s happened in 2011–especially during those months of silence on this blog–and to look forward to what I have planned for 2012: The Year Where Things Happen.

    A lot happened for me last year. My career and employment prospects went up and down like a mad rollercoaser; my trans history began to be just that, a history, rather than a daily struggle; writing became central to my life, giving my a greater drive and purpose; I began to face and manage my ADHD which brought focus to my drive.

    I also found God, or maybe He found me. Either way, I’ve been delving into my theology like never before, finding that if I can ignore the vocal factions of fundamentalist bigots calling themselves Christians, there’s actually a solid and powerful message of acceptance in the faith itself. It’s made me question my beliefs about a lot of things, but rather than changing my values, it’s strengthened those I already held dear, principally: love each other.

    2011 was a year of discovery, a year of finding out who I am and what I want to do with my life. 2012 will be a year of action. It will be the year where I put myself out there and Make Things Happen.

    I’ve been working on my novel, Fallen Things, for over a year now. In the next few months I’ll be putting on a final push to polish it up and get it out the door. It’s being cranked through the Critique Machine with my group, A Bitch Of Writers. And if you’ll take a peek at my friend Danni’s blog, you’ll notice a little counter on the side bar. I’m participating in her Epic Year of Querying, and therefore have no choice but to get Fallen Things out to agents.

    I’m also putting together a portfolio on this site, showcasing my cartography and graphic design work. I’ll be adding to it over the next few weeks, but until then you can check out the land of Felsirq.

    Also in the next week or so, I’ll release the details of an experimental publishing project that’s just waiting to be funded and developed. If this goes well, and I have every intention that it will, I’ll be able to devote more time to my creative aspirations, and write a book in a way I’ve never written, or seen a book written, before.

    2012 is the year to take risks, make mistakes, and create something glorious along the way. I plan to do all of the above, and lucky you, you get a front row seat to it all.

    Any grand plans for 2012? Who else is jumping in feet first, and damn the torpedoes? The year is young; let us bask in the glow of optimism and Make Things Happen!



  • The Close Relationship Between Foreshadow and Irony

    The other day I was working on some rewrites, and found myself giggling at the irony of a character dismissing as irrelevant a piece of information that would later become very important. Then it occurred to me: the only reason I find this ironic is because I know how important it will be. To a brand new reader, this is foreshadow.

    For a writer, or someone rereading a story, foreshadow takes on an incredible transformation. We are no longer following clues, we know where this is going. This is officially Dramatic Irony. The character says something, does something, thinks something, and we get this little voice in the backs of our heads singing, “I know something you don’t know!” and we squeal with delight/dread/titillation. At least, that’s what I do.

    It’s why we reread our favourite books, isn’t it? That extra pang of sadness when a beloved character we know won’t survive the book puts on a brave face. The feeling of complicity when someone’s true identity is hinted at but not yet revealed. The heart-sore sighs as you watch your favourites dance around their love interests, or else stand oblivious to their friend’s affection. It’s what brings us back time and again.

    This is why foreshadow is such an integral part of storytelling. Not only does it give a first time reader clues so they aren’t completely blind-sided by the plot twist, but it adds a layer of irony for those returning to the tale. It’s what brings a story to life.

    Have you ever noticed how foreshadow turns into irony? How do you use it in your own work?



  • Hello, Who The Hell Are You and What Have You Done To My Storyline?

    If you’re a writer, you know what I’m talking about here. We’ve all been there, merrily writing away, when along comes some new character we hadn’t planned on. Or maybe it’s a character we’re well acquainted with, but they decide to go in a completely different direction than we’d anticipated. Suddenly we’re left standing there going, “Wait, what just happened here?”

    I’ve seen it happen to planners, watching their meticulously choreographed plot get obscured by post-its when the random girl in the hall takes on a life of her own. Even pantsers, for whom the whole process revolves around following where the characters lead, find themselves somewhere entirely different than where they thought they were going.

    I’ve seen it happen to others, and I’ve had it happen to me. In fact, it’s happening to me right now. With my second book, I thought I’d be all organized, give myself a rough time line so I knew where I was going from the beginning, rather than build one half-way through when I started to get lost. Plenty of room for surprises of course, but I thought I’d given myself a solid enough structure to work with.

    Then one of my characters went for a walk. He met up with another character he hadn’t seen since the first part of book one. And that’s when it all went to hell.

    I hadn’t counted on their reactions being so intense, or their abilities so unevenly matched. By the time I realized that I had left my two most volatile characters alone in a room, unsupervised, it was too late. The damage was done. They’d ripped a great, big, gaping hole in my time line, leaving myself and a host of my more stable characters to clean up the mess. Seriously, things haven’t gone this far sideways since I realized in book one that my supposed villain was actually the main character, and kind of a nice guy besides.

    The damnedest thing about it though, is that when my characters take the story completely off the rails like that, they’re usually right. They take me some place I hadn’t expected, some place completely off my radar. I may never know how they managed to find the plot equivalent of a swamp in the middle of a desert, but watching them struggle their way out of it is always far more interesting than what I had planned in the first place.

    We’ll never fully be able to control what characters make it into out stories, or what they do to them once they’re in there. If we aren’t ranting about our characters turning left when we were certain they should be going right, we’re doing something wrong. Because the best way I’ve found to create full, dynamic characters, is to let them run rough-shod over everything. All we can do is make things difficult for them, take away the things they rely on and put obstacles in their path. Give them tough decisions to make, rules to follow and consequences for breaking them. The rest is up to the characters themselves.

    What about you? How have your characters surprised you, and how did you deal with it? Give us your best tales of the unexpected in the comments.



  • 24-Hour Read-A-Thon Wrap-up and Debriefing

    Now that I’ve had some sleep and can think clearly, if not rationally, I can give you a more objective run-down of how the Read-A-Thon went.

    Did I say I was going to do a lot of research during this thing? I lied. I only got a little bit of research done around the 1-2pm mark. I might have to try being more selective about my book choice next time, or I might just have to read more. I think I like option 2.

    While I wonder if I would have gotten more done it I’d done it on my own rather than with friends, I know I wouldn’t have had as much fun. There’s something about being sleep-deprived around other sleep-deprived people that makes it so much more intense. Twice I stared up in amazement at the ceiling, and at one point I expressed my deep and abiding appreciation for bricks. I’m not sure even I knew how much I loved bricks up until that point. ‘Coherent’ was the word of the day, mostly because it was completely absent.

    I still maintain that ‘editing’ is ‘reading’ because I spend most of the time reading words that have already been written. Besides which, I restructure sentences in published works while I read all the time… the only difference is that I don’t take a red pen to those one. Other than that, I spent quite a bit of time reading comics/graphic novels, depending on how you define each, or possibly when during those 24 hours you caught me. I also made what I consider to be decent head-way in our book club book, never mind that everyone else has finished it already. Apparently page 289/290 in the paperback is pretty terrible/gruesome; I can’t wait!

    For those really interested in what I was reading, I’m giving you a list. In order of reading:

    Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld. The ebook does include the wonderful illustrations by Keith Thompson, but I still plan on getting a print version, because the screen on my phone really doesn’t do them justice. The story itself I find captivating, and I can’t wait to share it with my niece!

    My own work. Currently going under the working title of Daemons because there’s an awful lot of them running around in there.

    The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen. I don’t know why I’ve never read a procedural like this; I love these sorts of shows on TV. Bones, Castle, Profiler… all favourites. And this one is brilliant. The problem is, great writing makes me want to write, otherwise I may have finished it already along with the rest of my book club.

    The Emperor Constantine by Michael Grant. I’ve gotten some good stuff out of it so far, but I’m also coming up against a lot of new things to look up, like ‘Mithraism’. He also seems to assume I know certain historical elements which I don’t. This is not necessarily a failing on his part; I am after all delving into a period of history that is mostly foreign to my experience.

    Hellblazer: Original Sins by Jamie Delano, John Ridgway, Alfredo Alcala. Because the Emperor Constantine is an obvious lead-in to John Constantine. Naturally. DC’s Vertigo imprint is my favourite for comics/graphic novels, and Constantine here is no exception. He’s my favourite kind of anti-hero, flaws exposed and acknowledged with a cheery ‘sod off.’ Knowing that a good thing can never last makes the whole thing that much sweeter.

    Agatha H and the Airship City: A Girl Genius Novel by Phil & Kaja Foglio. I originally encountered Agatha while reading the Girl Genius webcomic, now and always a rollicking good time. From what I remember, the novel follows the comic pretty much exactly, though with perhaps a little more getting into character’s heads. It proclaims Adventure! Romance! and Mad Science! and delivers it all with a delightful comedy.

    Ezekiel 37.1-14 from The New Oxford Annotated Bible, New Revised Standard Version with the Apocrypha. There’s something about Ezekiel that just grabs me by the throat and refuses to let go. When I first read this passage about the valley of bones, I realized that whether I’d known it already or not, this was the theme of my novel. Knowing that there’s something deeply wrong with the world right now, trying to find a way to get it all back together again… It’s daunting, it’s desperate, and it’s the only thing I can do.

    And on that cheerful note, I give you a video of me singing Close to You as a Jägermonster. (I’m the Jägermonster of my primary triumvirate because I can do the accent, und I gots a noice hat.)

     



  • April 2011 Read-A-Thon Progress Blog

    6 AM

    *Stumbles blearily out of bed*

    …And a good morning to you too! I’m up, I’m packed, I’m ready to go. On today’s menu is everything from graphic novels to scripture, with stops at fantasy novels and historical essays along the way. Mixed metaphors aside, I’m off like a herd of turtles.

    7:15 AM

    What an adventure! Both in the book and out of it. It’s been a while since I’ve read while walking… good times. En route I read Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan on my phone. Excellent thing about having Kindle on my phone: I can hold it in one hand and turn the pages with my nose.

    8 AM

    Right. Now that I have some tea in me, time for a proper update, yes?

    I made it to Krissa and Blair’s place easy enough. I must have been quite a sight on the bus in my pyjamas and housecoat, lugging books and soup. All the while I was, sometimes literally, nose-deep in Leviathan. I am loving this book! Seriously. Deryn is my favourite, but I really like Alek, too. And the lady boffin, Dr. Barlow. So much fun!

    Now the question is, do I continue with Leviathan or move on to research? Or our latest book club book, The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen? Time will tell.

    9 AM

    So, I kept on with Leviathan after all. Too bloody good to put down! Short update this time, as I’m anxious to get back to it.

    10 AM

    At 68%, I decided to drag myself away from Leviathan for a spot of editing. Editing is reading, so it counts! And it’ll ease me into me real purpose for today, which is research. I brought a lot of books with me, and I don’t want that to be for naught!

    So now I’m fixing the head-hopping POV in the early parts. I hadn’t thought this was a problem for me, but apparently it was.

    11 AM

    All kinds of excitement! We got food, Danni’s here, and all is awesome! I was a little distracted from my reading/editing by a phone call to confirm a meeting time… we both had different ideas of what day I was to show up, so it’s a good thing we got that sorted. Anyway, back to it!

    Noon

    Ok, I lied about jumping into research after editing. I picked up The Surgeon instead, and holy crap! Love the prologue. First chapter? Awesome. Now go away so I can get back to reading it! ;)

    1 PM

    People (Danni) were distracting me from reading The Surgeon, so I switched to research. How does that work? Either way, I’m now reading The Emperor Constantine by Michael Grant. The fact that the author’s first name is the same as my MC’s has nothing to do with the book selection, of course >.>

    Also, Blair apparently has the Force. At least insofar as getting someone to pass him the chip bowl while he’s covered in dogs.

    2 PM

    I’m running into a slight snag with my research. Reading about Constantine in preparation for my Medieval reading works better when the book I chose doesn’t assume I have a background in Roman and Christian history that I don’t have.

    …I think that last sentence was coherent, but I’m really not sure right now. Perhaps book choice is not my only problem with doing research right now. I’m contemplating lightening things up with a graphic novel. Would John Constantine: Hellblazer be too silly a choice?

    3 PM

    I’m remembering now that the first story in this volume wasn’t perhaps my favourite. Still, John Constantine is hurting my brain less than the Emperor Constantine. I’ve been more easily distracted from my reading lately; hopefully this next hour will be more productive, if that’s a word that can be applied to reading comics.

    4 PM

    Late lunch/early supper break. We had the chicken carcass soup I brought to share with folks here, along with the bread I made earlier. Very yummy, if I do say so myself. And now, cookies!

    As far as the reading goes, I did get a more of Constantine read, before getting pulled away for cooking-type duties. Still love this guy. Getting a craving to read his storyline in Sandman, but I left those ones at home (alas!)

    5:15 PM

    Yeah, my hourly update’s a little late, but I wanted to get that chapter of Constantine finished. That bloke’s right messed, but I love it. Definitely not to be confused with the Emperor, though.

    Feeling sleepy. For some reason this inspire me to edit my own stuff again. Apparently for me, editing and fatigue go well together; this won’t be the first time I edit tired. May get some more tea in a bit.

    6 PM

    Bloody hell, is it update time again already? Just as I was getting into the swing of things, too. Chapter 2 is now starting mid-way through what was originally Chapter 2, before I cut the beginning and turned it into Chapter 1. See, this is why I’m using Scrivener and not numbering my chapters until the end!

    In other news, Danni is making the rest of us look bad by having already read an entire book since she got here, and she’s not even officially participating, besides.

    7 PM

    Still editing. Only have a few kinks to work out of the early bit; I’m impressed! Well, only a few that I know of so far. Who knows what will happen in later passes.

    Contemplating switching to Agatha H and the Airship City by Phil & Kaja Foglio, even if only to justify having talked like a Jägermonster most of today. My condition will probably worsen from this, but it’s a risk I’m willing to take.

    8 PM

    No Jägermonsters in this chapter. I’m disappointed.

    In other news, I’m apparently doing one of these Read-A-Thon challenges, making a sentence out of book titles. And so I give you The Devil’s Hatband Sparkles Hotter Than Hell. Enjoy!

    9 PM

    What coherency and/or sanity I may have had has gone out the window. It’s entirely possible I was singing Yellow Submarine to myself with a Jägermonster accent. And now I’m giggling over the three tenses of ‘having’ in a row there.

    That my brain cannot grasp the subtleties of prose in a steampunk adventure novel worries me. I’m going back to comics for a while…

    10 PM

    John Constantine’s got my head back on track. Reading The Surgeon again. Back later.

    11 PM

    As I just said on Twitter, editing is reading, damn it!

    Ahem. Anyway. So I was reading The Surgeon, and it made me want to write. So I did some editing, and found that my character’s Spock phase started earlier that I remembered. You know, that one where they all express emotions by raising their eyebrows? Yeah, that one.

    Midnight

    I missed watching the date tic over on my watch. Disappointing. In about an hour it’ll start telling me it’s ‘Samedi’ until about ten to three, when it will admit that it’s Sunday.

    In other news, The Surgeon is still being awesome. I like that. Still wanting to intersperse said reading with editing, but doubting the wisdom of that. Either way, good times!

    1 AM

    After a certain amount of arguing to no one in particular that editing is reading, and getting distracted by Twitter, I got back to reading my comics. Getting back to reading them again. Yay, Constantine! :D

    2 AM

    Still alive, and still reading! Yes, more Constantine. Rereading this, I’m noticing shards of the story that have burrowed through my brain and into my own book in new and dazzling forms. Brilliant is what it is.

    It’s just Blair and I left now. Everything’s quiet, peaceful. Just reading.

    3 AM

    You can always tell when Todd Klein’s the letterer. Beautiful work. The fact that I set out to do a whole lot of research during this thing but instead spent a good deal of time reading comics amuses me more than anything, really. Nothing wrong with that of course; I read quality comics.

    Watched my watch tic over to Sunday. It occurs to me that I am way too aware of the precise moments when the day and date change on my watch. It looks like I’m the last man standing here. Even the dogs are sleeping.

    4 AM

    Hullo! Other people are awake again. Got a bit more Constantine in, of course, and some more editing (which is totally reading!) but had to stop when I ran up against some potential POV issues that I don’t think I can wrangle just now. Returning to The Surgeon, because writing and writing-related activities always make me want to read something awesome.

    5 AM

    There was going to be something terribly interesting that I was planning to write for this post, but I can’t for the life of me remember what it was.

    Quite frankly, I’m surprised it took me this long to get to this point.

    Long story short, yes, I’m still awake. Reading… has been happening to some extent.

    6 AM

    Oh! Now I remember what I was going to say at 5 AM! I find it interesting that part way through I  switched from ‘graphic novels’ to ‘comics’. Still not 100% on the difference, but that doesn’t keep me from reading them!

    Ending things today with a bit from Ezekiel. And really, outside of Twitter, that’s the only thing I’ve read for this past hour. This has been a wonderful and surreal time, folks! After this, I’m off to sing hymns.

    Seriously. I’m in the choir.



  • 24-Hour Read-A-Thon Pre-Blog

    So, starting at 6am tomorrow (my 6am–your time zone may vary,) this blog is going to start getting weird. All right, weirder than usual. Let’s face it, I’m always weird. Tomorrow, I’ll be participating in the April 2011 Dewey’s Read-A-Thon, where I will stay up for 24 hours and read. That’s it. Read. And then blog about it.

    When I first heard about the Read-A-Thon, I wasn’t sure if I was going to do it. Did I really have time to spend the entirety of a Saturday reading, when I could be writing or working on other things? Then I went to the library and picked up a big stack of books for research. I looked at the books, at how much reading that would be and thought, What the hell. Bring on the Read-A-Thon!

    So the plan it this: at 6am I will get up and begin with what will no doubt be a delightful and cheery good morning post. I will then update that same blog post for hourly reports, unless I pass out at some point, so you will get to learn all about the Crusades and early Christian history, and whatever else I read to give my brain a bit of a break.

    I will also be spending a significant part of the day at my friend Krissa’s place, reading with her and the rest of our triumvirate of four. This will give me a chance to exercise my skills of reading while walking, since I refuse to leave the house before 6am. And yes, I will be doing this in my pyjamas. There will be soup. And munchies. And lots and lots of Earl Grey tea.

    So join me tomorrow in my reading adventure, as I no doubt dissolve into an incoherency rivalling that of Charlie Sheen. Tomorrow, reading becomes a spectator’s sport.