Blogging Contest · Books I Love · NaNoWriMo

#20 Words Or Storyline? How Do Books Make Your “Favorites” List?

Image attributed to ALA TechSource from Chicago, USA via Wikimedia Commons.

Words certainly count for a lot, but I’d have to say storyline. And even then, if something turns me off I shut the book. Conversely, if I really love the storyline, I’ll read it again and again. So I guess I’ll talk about the repeat favorites.

As a kid, my favorite book was The Secret Garden. I loved how the magic of a simple neglected garden could benefit the lives of two neglected children. Burnett didn’t even have to mention it, but you could feel Lily’s spirit helping her son and niece become happier and healthier children. Personally, I don’t believe in ghosts but it’s fun to dream about them.

A Christmas Carol is another favorite. Another ghost story. Go figure. I suppose it’s nice to think of a spirit giving us a gentle nudge (or in Scrooge’s case not so gentle) in the right direction. But I’ve also favored books such as Pride and Prejudice, where a girl doesn’t give up her values and marry for money just because her family is in a bind. I was going to list Jane Eyre and The Lord of the Rings, separately, but as odd as it is to lump them together they are both classic underdog stories. I’ve always loved the underdog.

Speaking of underdogs, Harry Potter is another favorite, but more so because of the lesson against bigotry that the books teach. A less epic, but more grown up version of this theme can be found in By the Light of the Moon. I love how the course of the story forces the characters to realize just how strongly they detest bigotry. The bonus in BTLOTM, is the words. Koontz is very descriptive, but I especially enjoy how poetic he seems to get during the more intense scenes.

One of the more frustrating books that I shut? Love In the Time of Cholera. I was enjoying the plot of life on a sugar plantation, but then it turned into page after page of details with prostitutes. What? Okay, really, I didn’t need that. Just a small description of how he went philandering, so I can get back to the plot that drew me in. Ugh. Never finished it.

[This post was written as a part of the NaNoWriMo Pre-game Kick Off over at Jessica Schmeidler’s blog.]

NaNo word count: 18,912 lol, don’t think I’m gonna make 50,000 by November 30th, but I’m loving how my plot is going. At least it’s been circumstances that keep me from writing and not writer’s block. 🙂 I’ll keep pushing though, to see how much I can manage this month.

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Writing

Sprints!

Um, are we saying that I belong in a museum too? Oh, I’m saying that! Okay.

A while back, I wrote a post about writing with pen and paper. Recently, I’ve participated in my first two writing sprints with some of the other authors from Astraea Press. The winner gets bragging rights and a bunch of virtual chocolate. 🙂

Yeah, that winner will never be me…

After an hour of writing, the superstars cranked out 1500 -2300 words. WOW! This past week’s winner was Heather Gray. Who, by the way, just released a new short story Late for the Ball? With 2300 words in an hour, no wonder she has two books scheduled for release this summer and one for this fall!

My grand total? 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, … yeah, had to count by hand too. Oooh! A whopping 596! Twelve words short of the week before, but the pen I chose ran out of ink and I had to stop and find a new one.

I’ll just pull over to let the Corvette pass me. I’m quite comfortable in my Model A. Um, I like the way it drives. Yeah. I, uh, love to take my time… looking at the scenery…

Don’t get me wrong, the other authors were super sweet when I posted my meager number. They knew I was writing by hand. I knew I had no chance of winning. Winning wasn’t my goal. My goal was to write with my comrades for an hour and see how many words I could manage.

But maybe I’m too nostalgic?

Right now, I think that it’s awesome that I’m writing this particular book in a red leather-bound journal. After I got started on it, and then was doing some research on Irish faeries, I found that the color red was a significant magical color in the stories. That was completely unplanned.

I’m totally writing about a red leather-bound book of faery magic spells IN a red leather-bound book!

Ooooh! My book of magic! It's almost full...
Ooooh! My book of magic! It’s almost full of my scribbles…

Sometimes I go to the journal section of the book store and just study the beautiful bindings and think, “Hmm, maybe that one next… is it worth $30 though? But it’s just soooo pretty!!”

I wonder if there’s a way for me to un-see the hand written copy of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre when I went to the British Museum in London. Maybe that was too influential. My nerdy heart fluttered wildly when I was looking down at her penmanship.

*snaps fingers in face* “Er, Shea? You’re not anywhere near the level of Charlotte Bronte.”

The thing is, I knew that writing this way is slow. But until these sprints, I never quite realized just how slow. I think for my next book, I’ll try to break out of my comfort zone. I just hope I don’t end up staring at a blinking cursor for hours.

Maybe one day, I’ll do a sprint and actually be a contender. 😀

What are your thoughts? Do you think that there are just some things that need to be done more efficiently? Have you been screaming at me as you read this post, “Get with the program?”