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"Practical" Writing

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Sep. 14th, 2008 | 04:45 pm

In an unusual convergence of what I want to do and what I need to do, editing Rabbit and Cougar has become important to my grad school applications. I'm going to use the beginning of it as my writing sample. This is highly convenient. I needed, for aforementioned sample, either a few chapters of a novel (I assume that, like agents, they want the first chapters) or one to three short stories. Not only is it nice not to have to edit another piece (or three) while I've already got one editing project going, but I feel my novels represent my writing style better than do most of my short stories.

I also recently wrote the personal statement for my applications. I had to mention that simply because it meant me writing about me writing about my writing. And now I've written about writing about me writing about my writing. And now . . . the madness must end!

Of late, I have plenty of reading time and am finally taking a look at some of the recent blockbusters and big names in YA fantasy. Not only am I curious as to what they might have in common and whether I can see why each is so successful, but I do like to see what other people are doing in the genre. I'm currently reading Eragon, and hope to try out Inkheart and perhaps The Spiderwick Chronicles and Twilight. Feel free to suggest others. I have already read Harry Potter, Narnia, and every book I can get by Diana Wynne Jones. I also, when the planets are aligned just right, read books written for people my age. I recently read From Dead to Worse; at some point, I will have to try some other non-YA works of fantasy. It fascinates me to see how experience (and discussions from Advanced Fiction class) makes me a more critical reader, much more able to find what specifically went wrong or right in a book.

To round out this rather general entry, I read a suggestion in Writers Digest that writers not make their blogs about writing. It made the very good point that some readers aren't writers and don't care about the how-tos of writing or the ins and outs of a writer's life. Many people do care, hence the existence of Writers Digest, but some do not. I chose that subject for this journal because:

A. It is extremely relevant to me and what I do on a daily basis

B. It holds great interest for me, making weekly updates doable

C. For the "writer's life" aspect, since I am living it continually, I cannot run out of material

D. I enjoy reading other peoples' blogs and articles on writing

Besides that, I don't see a clear alternative subject. If I wrote, say, nonfiction, that would be easy: the topic of my blog could be related to the topic of my books. The closest thing I can think of is general "medievalesque" research. This does not seem like a coherent subject. However, when I'm in England and hopefully have access to loads of historical sites, ruins, castles, etc., I may write some entries as "research profiles" to record interesting things I learn there. But as of now, I expect this blog to remain centered on writing.
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from: magic_7_words
date: Sep. 14th, 2008 09:24 pm (UTC)
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This is what I love about blogging. If people aren't interested in what I have to say, they don't have to read it!

One fantasy series I loved as a child was The Dark Is Rising, by Susan Cooper. I also liked The Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander (though those are for a younger audience than any of the books you've mentioned, I think), and The Lost Years of Merlin by T. A. Barron.

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The happy phantom

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from: miss_maxine
date: Sep. 14th, 2008 10:18 pm (UTC)
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Oh, please spare yourself the horror that is Twilight. This will tell you everything you need to know. I suppose it's possible to enjoy it on a WTF-level, but...but...no.

Non-YA fantasy: try Charles DeLint (although he does, I think, do some YA.) I really enjoyed his Memory and Dream, which is about an artist's creations coming to life, and the consequences thereof. But there's a caveat: I've found some of his other stuff to be uneven. He has this white upper-middle-class guilt thing going on, and it grates on me in a lot of his short fiction.

Also, Emma Bull. War for the Oaks. Fairies and rock music all mixed up together. It's wonderful.

The Swordspoint series by Ellen Kushner. The first book can be a little hard to get into, but it's rewarding. Plus, lots of gay men to squee over.

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