I’m always inspired by the lists that Katie Gibson creates on her blog. (And I made the list today as she is totally zenning her closet). So I’m making my own today, though I can’t keep from commenting on each one, so this is hardly a neat little post. Just look at all the links though!
I’m ankle-deep in those revisions I was raving about recently but keep finding myself distracted like the dogs in UP. Only these distractions are way harder to resist than a squirrel because I’m convinced they would actually help me revise in the long run. Still, basically these are the equivalent to the reorganizing of nuts and bolts instead of just starting the project already.
1. Emma by Jane Austen.
All the signs are there that I should read this book again to see exactly how Jane Austen created a selfish, shallow character that we care about as she changes and grows up. (The signs being that Felicity mentioned literary heroines on her blog today and my new best friend, SECOND SIGHT by Cheryl Klein, uses Emma as an example during its revising exercises). Like Emma, my main character has a change ahead, and I’d love to perfect the flaws as well as the growth.
2. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins.
I keep hearing about this one. Plus, it has the Eiffel Tower on the cover, which I’m always drawn to and especially in light of the novel I’m revising. It’s on the list for sure.
3. Markus Zusak
I told you about The Book Thief, right? It’s a young adult novel set in Nazi Germany, narrated by Death, telling the story of a young girl who steals books and hides a Jew. It’s beautiful. Fortunately, when I was in a chemo stupor and didn’t quite realize what I was doing I also bought another YA book by Zusak – this one featuring a 19-year-old, which is similar to the age of my own YA characters, so that I can further study his language, storytelling, and ability to weave a YA story that is definitely enjoyable for adults.
This one can’t help me revise at all really. I just love it. I want to marry it in haste and learn about it later. The circles! I love them.
5. How I Met Your Mother
Creativity everywhere. (I’m finally watching, Felic!)
6. Plot techniques a la the aforementioned Cheryl Klein
That book is both an indispensable tool for revising and 101 Ways To Avoid The Actual Work. Shrink your manuscript and view it in miniature to see how the plot develops! Write out each chapter in one-sentence to see if there’s enough action inside! Map the exposition/inciting incident/rising action/and climax for EVERY SCENE!
Ee! I want to do them ALL.
7. The New Yorker
They come every week – thick, beautiful articles that teach me important things, like what our President is up to and that Pixar is an awesome place to work. Read this paragraph from an article by Aleksandar Hemon, and you’ll see why it takes time to read and think about these articles. (And to plot reactionary blog posts as well).
One of the most despicable religious fallacies is that suffering is ennobling – that it is a step on the path to some kind of enlightenment or salvation. Isabel’s suffering and death did nothing for her, or us, or the world. We learned no lessons worth learning; we acquired no experience that could benefit anyone. And Isabel most certainly did not earn ascension to a better place, as there was no place better for her than at home with her family. Without Isabel, Teri and I were left with oceans of love we could no longer dispense; we found ourselves with an excess of time that we used to devote to her; we had to live in a void that could be filled only by Isabel. Her indelible absence is now an organ in our bodies, whose sole function is a continuous secretion of sorrow.
I know. It’s not a happy quote. But it’s so very honest. I can’t see any immediate or worldly good for the death of his infant daughter either. Even though in general I do subscribe to the belief that there is always something to learn and oh yes there IS another plane. And I do believe it’s good. And he’ll wipe all tears from their eyes, I’ve heard. And there will be no more death, nor sorrow, nor pain.