I’ve Been… (Vaccinated Edition)

  • Yes, I’ve been fully vaccinated! Yay! But still a bit anxious about returning to “normal” life, minus the masks and social distancing. It’s really amazing what you can get used to!
  • A bit conflicted about Sanditon being brought back. While I enjoyed season one of the show, the fact that Theo James won’t be returning takes it even further from Jane Austen. I was ok with it being left open ended after the first season, because Sanditon is, in fact, a novel fragment. However, Jane Austen wrote happy endings as a matter of personal policy, so it’s fair to say that Sanditon was intended to have one. While Theo James says in his statement that he likes the “broken fairy-tale,” Austen didn’t, saying of her novels: “Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery. I quit such odious subjects as soon as I can, impatient to restore everybody not greatly in fault themselves to tolerable comfort, and to have done with all the rest.”
  • Speaking of Jane Austen, I’ve recently stated reading Not Just Jane: Rediscovering Seven Amazing Women Writers Who Transformed British Literature by Shelly DeWees. It’s interesting so far, but I was turned off by DeWees’ claim in the introduction that the reason that the work of Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte and Emily Bronte are so popular, while other female writers have been forgotten, is that they paint a “pretty” picture of a sort of romantic idealized English lifestyle. That’s true of Austen to an extent, but she does much more than that. She’s also a satirist, and a social critic. This book gets into some of the social and political implications of her work. Charlotte Bronte also engaged in social criticism including commentary on the position of women in a patriarchal society. And Emily Bronte’s work isn’t pretty or romantic in the least! On the contrary it’s very dark and subversive. It can be downright “ugly” at times! I think the aim of the book, to look at the lives and work of several lesser know female writers is worthwhile, but that’s not because Austen or the Brontës lack depth.
  • Reading a lot of fantasy in May for #WyrdandWonder’s Challenge. Check out some of my posts here:
  • Really loving author Katherine Harbour’s blog. Harbour wrote the Night and Nothing trilogy, which I read and enjoyed a few years ago. I look forward to more of her work. Her blog is sort of a treasure trove of book recommendations (with some nice hidden gems!) and writing tips.
  • Enjoying the Britcom Miranda. I’ve blogged about my love of sitcoms before, but this one isn’t my usual style. But it’s really funny nonetheless, and is great comfort viewing. “Such fun!” Supposedly there’s an American version called Call Me Kat. I haven’t seen that one yet, but I’ll check it out at some point. I’m a bit skeptical though. For every one American version of a British TV show that translates well, there are about five that are just horrible!
  • Through an edit and several rounds of beta reading for Frost. I found this point in the process difficult with Beautiful too: how to tell when it’s “done?” And how to get from the “done writing” point to the “it’s a book!” point? Like is my next step a copy edit? Proofread? I thought that with my second book I’d know how to do this more, but it still seems like I’m sort of feeling my way through.
  • Reading more short fiction that usual, in both novella and short story format. I suppose that’s because I’m more interested in short fiction for my own writing, but I’m still in the process of working out how it’s done. It’s very different that a novel which develops over time. But most of my novels (as if I’ve written so many! We’re talking 2 out of 3 here!) have started as short stories and gradually expanded. I think what I’m trying to figure out is how to keep a short story a short story and make a novel a novel.

11 thoughts on “I’ve Been… (Vaccinated Edition)

  1. I can see where the line between which stories to leave as short stories and which to make into novels would be difficult. So far the ideas I’ve had for shorts have stayed short, but I can see that not always being the case.

    Yay for being vaccinated! Mr. Wyrm and I are as well, and we are also trying to figure out how to find the balance with what we’re comfortable with now. It’s going to take some time, but at least we’re on the way there.

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    • I think one of the good things about starting off planning for a short story is that it’s less intimidating. There’s not really an “OMG I’m trying to write a novel! Am I really able to do this?” kind of feeling. But I think it also interferes with my ability to actually write short fiction because I’ve become so used to it expanding!

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      • That’s true! I like the planning part, so I don’t have an issue going into novel planning. My issue is keeping up my excitement and motivation for a project in the later stages of planning so that I can get to the actual writing.

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      • I’m actually not the biggest planner when I write (which is weird because I’m a big planner for, like, everything else!) I like to go where the flow takes me. I think that’s why I sometimes go outside the boundaries of my format. But the downside of the is that I often don’t know where I’m going until I get there.

        How do you usually plan?

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      • My planning method used to be pretty solid in my head: I would have a feel for the characters and write down the important parts and I would write up a pretty complete outline. But then for NaNo a few years running, I tried pantsing it, and now I’m having trouble getting my outlines and characters to match up again. So I’m currently using the Two Year Novel format to help get my outlining back on track—and so far, it’s working. Someone else is telling me what part I should be working on now, and that gives me the freedom to figure out what my story is doing.

        I can see where it would be weird to plan most things, and not plan your writing! I’ve always liked the idea of writing where the flow takes you, but it hasn’t worked out well for me yet. (I end up rambling a LOT. 😉 )

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      • Maybe I’ll try using a format like that at some point. Actually I’m starting something new that still in its infancy. For the first time I’m actually PLANNING to make it a novel. We’ll see how that goes. I can see it ending up as a short story!

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  2. I love you Jane! I love your policy of giving happy endings to any characters who remotely deserve them!

    Does DeWees’ book mention Dorothy Sayers, or is she later in time than the period it covers?

    Hope you figure things out with Frost. I found the same thing with having children, by the way. I thought that giving birth to one, would lead me to know what to expect, but … no. No. Each birth is different, and it’s not possible to become an expert. Not to curse you, but perhaps that’s true to an extent with books as well.

    For me, my first novel grew out of a short sketch that I wrote. But the sketch was never very satisfying, it was more like a prompt. I guess that’s why I’m not great at short stories. Whenever I start something, I always feel like I’m striking out on this huge epic that will be a really long and wrenching journey to finish. Even if I never end up finishing it, I always have in the back of my mind “… and then eventually they’re going to do X and Y.”

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    • Exactly!

      I think Dorothy Sayers is a bit later than most of what Not Just Jane covers. DeWees seems more interested in 19th century authors who have been forgotten/overlooked either by people of their own time, or from a historical perspective, so by those standards some of Sayers work might be a bit to “popular.”

      I actually really like the birth metaphor! And I can definitely imagine it being true of books.

      In a way, I think it’s good that I don’t feel like I’m striking out on a huge epic at the beginning. I’d find that really scary. I think that’s one reason I’ve never fully planned books. It seems so intimidating if you look at it as a whole book! But it can also help streamline writing, so I’m looking into different, more structured ways of doing things. In the meantime, I’m continuing my “whatever works” approach.

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  3. P.S. Forgot to say. Years ago I somehow stumbled on some episodes of Miranda. So good! Love that she’s a big girl, aware that she is not conventionally attractive, but super self-aware and spunky. A heroine for larger ladies.

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