Old School Writing Style

J. R. R. Tolkien had an old-school writing style. He studied mythology and Old English extensively, and his prose in Lord of the Rings reflects a high, mythic sound reminiscent of older books and stories. A sound I don’t run into anymore in the world of literature. That is, until now.

Imagine my surprise when I ran across a modern book (copywright 2002) with a high wordy sound like Tolkien, and in a very similar universe. The Namingby Australian poet Alison Croggon is my newest summer read, and a good YA fantasy at that.

I must admit, there’s something charming about that style of writing. Though modern readers like things quick and snappy (heck, so do I), we can also find value in a slower pace, in intricate description and high language. It puts us in mind of times long past, and helps draw the setting and action clearly in our mind’s eye.

I’m now in the mood to read Shakespeare, the King Arthur legends, Greek and Norse mythologyand to finish The Odyssey, for heaven’s sake, which I’ve been working on for a solid six months now and haven’t even gotten a third of the way through.

So just for the heck of it, let’s all go pick a good old-school book and have a reminiscent summer read.


Online Networking and To-Do Lists

Here are the quick and easy online networking tips I used today:

1. Subscribed to a blog concerned with my writing genre

2. E-mailed the creators of another relevant blog and commented on their site

3. Follow-up correspondence about guest writing on other sites

I also wrote up an official To-Do list and made it less daunting using a tried-and-true trick. Many of my overall tasks (example, Get Web Site) involve so many steps that the whole process looks impossible. So I set up an outline which looks something like this:

Web Page

  • Buy domain name
  • Design
    • Research other authors’ sites
    • Ask my friend about helping with design
  • Write content
  • Get head shot for front page

Broken down into a hierarchy, I know exactly which things need to be done first and how many baby steps are involved in each big step. This somehow made things easier to swallow.

Happy writing all!


Under the Avalanche of Publishing Research

I’ve been skipping around blogs and web sites which talk about querying, publishing, agents, author platforms, and other subjects relevant to a hopeful writer. After about a week of this, I feel that I’m only at the tip of the iceberg. I also feel more than a little overwhelmed.

The sheer number of said blogs and websites contributes mightily to the problem. One site can have five links that I want to visit. I click on the first one and–lo and behold–it has about ten links that I should follow up on! It’s impossible to tell ahead of time which ones are going to be more helpful, so I wade around until my brain starts oozing out my ears and then turn off the computer, having visited maybe half of everything I wanted to see. And that’s on a good day when I’ve actually had hours to search, and only read one or two posts on each link.

Of course, eventually it comes down to taking the information you’ve got and starting the darn queries already. All the research in the world can’t get you anywhere if you don’t start moving on some actual concrete submissions.

That’s why, starting this Monday morning, I shall write up a plan of action for the next few weeks. It’ll include all the steps I need to take before querying, and perhaps that will make the task less daunting. I seem to work better with laid-out lists than with a vague cloud of responsibilities hovering over my head.

Right now I’m so sleepy that I think a nap is about to win out over any more work.


Happy Independence Day!

I feel like I myself have just won a great independence by finishing that third draft of Flynn. I am now free to take a short break, step away from the work, and do other things for a couple of weeks. This will renew my mind and allow me to be more objective when I come back to the novel again.

It also signals the start of my querying agents, which I find both daunting and exciting. I will have to keep this blog updated on the experiences I have while querying. Also, I need to start a filing system to keep track of who I’ve queried, what response I got, what their guidelines for submissions are, and what exactly I have sent them.

Questions abound regarding what sort of submissions agents want for fiction books. Some sources tell you agents only want a query, then a synopsis and sample chapters. Some sources tell you to write up entire novel proposals, although proposals seem to be considered more useful for nonfiction books than fiction. I rented a book about novel proposals from the library, only to find that what they consider a novel proposal is just a collection of things such as the synopsis and sample chapters, etc. Very different from what agents and editors require for nonfiction. I suppose each individual agent may have different specifications for what they want, too.

Later today I will e-mail Flynn to those individuals who have volunteered to read it for me. I’m so excited. And to top it all off, I have two flavors of pie and a pan of brownies to look forward to at tonight’s Fourth of July Festivities. Happy Fourth,


Still July 3rd

I almost missed a day of posting right after my commitment to NaBloPoMo. But it’s still technically the 3rd so here’s a quick update:

I finished my third draft of Flynn! It had a few unexpected snags but I have overcome them all!

I’m really tired, and need to go to bed.