Friday, May 27, 2011

The Writing Diet: 30 Minutes Alone with a Notebook

I'm dieting. It's a different sort of diet than any other I've tried. You team up with at least one other person and team up against one other team. And you get points for eating meals according to the diet, exercising, getting 7 hours of sleep and not breaking any of the rules (see the link below to the book). But here's the part that was most intriguing to me: you also get points for adding one good habit and getting rid of one bad habit.

As my new good habit, I chose to spend 30 minutes alone (no TV, no computer, no books, no iPhone) with a pen and a notebook. It's not the only way I write, but I've found it's one of the best ways for me to problem-solve in the middle of a project. I can sort of "talk things out" on paper. So I thought this would be a snap. An easy 10 points every day.

Can I tell you right now how green with envy I am that my sister-in-law chose flossing as her new good habit and gave up Starbucks for her bad habit? I mean, come on, that takes, what, 5 minutes a day and an extra k-cup in her Keurig? I've got to find 30 uninterrupted minutes each day and face a blank page. There have been a couple nights when I sat bleary eyed in the near-dark while my spouse snored softly next to me because I hadn't gotten this done during regular hours.

So, I'll admit, I haven't been perfect. I haven't gotten this done every day. But my manuscript has changed SO MUCH in the last 12 days of dieting. I found out that my main character is going through a major life change - an incredibly humiliating one - that I hadn't known about before. And I found a means of getting her arch rival there to bear witness to the entire embarrassing thing. And best of all, I found my ending (it had been a sort of vague "battle ensues, so-and-so wins" thing in my notes up to that point). And I also found out a whole lot about my villain which will never actually end up in the book (but it will be richer for my knowing it).

Try challenging yourself to 30 minutes alone with a notebook -- or your manuscript if you're at the revision stage. Just like a diet, it's harder than it sounds at first, but it's really rewarding.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Book Mash-Ups

I've had this idea in my head for weeks: what if, instead of mashing up two songs we could mash up two great books?  I keep scribbling ideas down in my notebook. Eventually a couple of them became art:

To Kill a Mockingjay

I can just imagine Scout as a district tribute, can't you? And Haymitch has a certain Boo Radley quality about him, I think.

The Phantom of the Tollbooth Opera

This one's more of a stretch. Could Christina Daae and Meg Giry be Princess Rhyme and Princess Reason? Surely The Humbug has a few things in common with Carlotta.

I found a few more via Google Images:

CBC Book Cover Mash-Up Barbara Bovaird

CBC Book Cover Mash-Up 8

A few more ideas:

  • We Have Always Lived in Howl's Moving Castle
  • 20,000 Leagues Under a Tuscan Sun
  • Diary of a Wimpy Anne Frank
  • A Game of Thrones of Fire

Got a mash-up idea? Share it in the comments!