Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Book review: Code Name Verity

I know today is Tuesday but I spent yesterday writing so had no time to blog. Today though you're getting a book review.

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

When I saw this sitting on top of a library shelf something about it seemed familiar, as if I'd heard about it but not paid much attention. So I picked it up along with Judith Kerr's "When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit." which created an unintended theme to my recent reading. 

Code Name Verity is written basically as two journals. The first by Verity herself who is writing the story of her friend Maddie as a sort of confession while being held prisoner in German occupied France. The second is Maddie writing her own journal from where Verity's writings end.
And that is about all I can say without completely spoiling the book. That's not because it's badly written and full of cliches, it's because it is so well written and so well thought out that even the tiniest hint of what goes on will spoil the thrill of it all. I could compare it to a famous film that uses the same sort of techniques but even that gives too much away. What I will say is that you'll want a paper copy of this, and you'll probably want to read it more than once to see exactly how well Wein has pieced her story together.

Essentially Code Name Verity is about the friendship that arises during the Second World War between two young women from vastly different backgrounds, and the lengths they will go to protect each other. It's a thrilling ride with heartache, a lot of heartache, some laughter and some rather gory bits. I really enjoyed it, more so than I thought I would enjoy a book that spends half it's time focused on a prisoner being tortured into betraying her country. I definitely think it's worth a read if you enjoy strong female leads, historical fiction or even just a piece of very well written literature.

Monday, 11 June 2012

The new blog schedule and why it's happening.

After a lot of thought and staring at possible blogging time tables and reading this excellent blog post on slow blogging I have reached a conclusion.

When I look around at the blogs I follow, all the people trying to be writers, all the ones with agents trying to get published and all the published ones, do you know who tends to post the most? The unpublished, unagented wannabes. I don't know, maybe it's different if you move away from YA writers because YA writers feel the need to be all hip with the modern media or something. Maybe we feel that if we just write enough blog posts we'll somehow show prospective agents/editors/buyers of books that we are someone worth reading, that we have what it takes to make it.
But is that really the message coming across?
Are you sure what your really saying isn't "I have too much time on my hands so here is yet another short blog post on a strange topic just to remind you all I can write things down"?

Look at it this way, if I spend less than 10 minutes on a blog post of about 300 words am I going to have written anything worth your time to read? What if I spend and hour on 1000 words? Or, as I did not so long ago, 4 hours on 1667 words? The chances are the longer I spend thinking about, writing and editing a post the better it will be. However this takes time, time I could spend writing the next New York Times Best Seller. 

So, I spend 4 hours a day, 3 days a week writing well thought out, beautifully written blog posts. What have I achieved? 3 blog posts very few people will read and 12 hours of writing time not spent on my WIP. That's not really going to progress me far down the road to authordom is it? However, what if I take those 12 hours. I use 1 every 3 days to read well written blogs that will teach me something or give me something to think about like the one I linked earlier. What if I use 1, 2 hours at the most touching base with other bloggers, commenting on their blogs and replying to their comments on mine. What if I use just 1 hour a week to post a quick update here, or a writing challenge, or a book review of a book I honestly think the world must read. It's 6 hours out of my writing time each week but it'll do a whole lot more for me than publishing reams and reams that no one will ever want to read.

And what, you may ask, does this mean for this blog, for the posts I will write, for the schedule that on Friday seemed so important. The honest answer is this: I don't know. I still want to write my blog, I still want to do monthly challenges and book reviews and silly little things. But I don't want to burn up my writing time trying to think of the next great post and then writing it. So here, in a rough, probably going to change, form is what the schedule is going to look like:

1st Monday of the month: Writing challenge - recap from last month, post/link some favorites, post the next one.
2nd Monday of the month: Books - review if I have one, wish list, general book talk.
3rd Monday of the month: Touch base - where my writing is at, current problems, possible teasers.
4th Monday of the month: Unknown - could be thoughts on a topic, commendation of another blog, a revisit to old projects or something else entirely.
5th Monday of the month: These are rare so I might use them to answer questions (real or made up) about me, my writing, writing in general, how to fit through a tennis raquet, whatever.

It's an odd kind of schedule but given how often I'm wide awake at 4am I can probably come up with a lot of the ideas then rather than just when I sit down to write it up which will save writing time. Yes I realize that by this I should be giving you a book review but I'm not, this is a 4th Monday kind of post instead. We'll just shuffle things around a bit this month and I'll give you a book review next week instead.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

A schedule me think will be a clever plan.

Some of you may remember back to a time when I did writing challenges and book reviews and teasers and such. Well, I'm thinking of getting back to that.

Probably slowly at first, probably with some kind of posting schedule too. See I think the problem is that I don't really know 'what' to post about but I'm still trying to post so I end up not posting. You follow? So maybe a schedule with set things to post on would help.

The only question is... what to start with. The writing challenges were easiest but work better with audience participation of which this blog has little to none. Book reviews might work but I'm only finishing one every month at the moment, not the 3 or 4 a week of before, unless you want reviews of baby books. What about something new and exciting? Then I'd have to think of what.
any suggestions?

I've put a reminder into my phone to blog on Monday. Guess I'll just have to see what I feel like posting when they day comes and go from there but hopefully whatever I post will be a weekly thing from now on. Or as weekly as I can manage.