19 February 2010

My Progress

It's been a while since I posted about my writing progress. Here's the latest ...

Well, it only took me 8 weeks to finish Lesson 1 in my revision course. Eight weeks? Yep, eight weeks. Life interuptions (the holidays, family visits, daily life, new books to read) made it difficult to always get in my 2-3 hours a day to work on the revision. Eventually I got through it with pen, pencil, lots of worksheets and even more determination. But, man, that first lesson was a killer!

Now I'm working on Lesson 5, which is all about identifying conflict in each of my scenes. Or finding out that I have no conflict in the scene; found quite a bit of those yesterday. On scene 55, only 200+ to go. Wonder how long I'll be working this lesson? Any bets?

At this point I am only seven lessons behind with lots of completed worksheets but little new work. Everything so far has been about identifying broken and weak spots in my manuscript. I'm also supposed to find strong points, but me being me, I've focused on the bad stuff and everything else just seems ok.

No beast slaying yet, but lots of looking at my beast from different angles to find broken bones, blemishes, missing scales, grime and strange behavior. Through this process of looking at her, really getting to know who she is, I realize I don't want to kill this awkward beast. Every once in a while, I spy her potential through the mud and blemishes.

Hope and excitement are welling up again, making it bareable to review, yet again, each scene and jot notes for possible fixes. Fixes that will make my beast shiny, healthy and beautiful. In my mind, I imagine my beast looking like Saphira from Eragon ... sleek, beautiful, smart, engaging, but with attitude.

Until then, I'm off for more observations of my beast. Hope she doesn't breathe fire ... at least not in my direction.

04 February 2010

Love of Reading Month

For those without school-age children nearby to tell you, February is Love of Reading month. And I thought I'd take this opportunity to mention a book that I recently finished reading that I loved. (Get it, love, reading, Love of Reading month?)

The Endless Forest by Sara Donati, aka Rosina Lippi, is the final book in the historical fiction series started with Into the Wilderness. In the series, the Bonner Family, headed by Nathaniel and Elizabeth, have trekked into the back country of New York and Canada to preserve family holdings, crossed the Atlantic Ocean to reclaim stolen children to find unknown family in Scotland and Canada and survived the war of 1812 with many scars. Characters brought together through hate, greed, conniving, manipulation, friendship, courtship and love.

I've read each book many times and now, with my Audible subscription, listened the audiobooks as well. (I'll use this month's credits to purchase the last audiobook in the series. Can't wait.) I was drawn in to the Bonner saga with that first book when Elizabeth rode into the village of Paradise and could almost feel the electric spark between her and Nathaniel. I instantly fell in love with the characters. (Thanks to Jen for introducing me to the series.)

Please forgive me if I just give you just the highlights without much background detail. Trust me, you'll want to read all the books for yourself.

Onto this last book ... it made me laugh, made me cry, made me gasp.

I chuckled when Curiosity, a dear Bonner family friend, welcomed me back to the story, letting me know that the Bonners are still around but not unaffected by change, and wouldn't I like to know what change? Of course I would, but she makes me settle in and wait for the story to unfold. She's a tease that Curiosity. I laughed out loud when Daniel Bonner gets the best of Martha, his new bride, as she found the note he left for her, letting her know he's onto her and her search for that special book he used to educate himself on learning how to please a woman. Tears rolled down my cheeks when Curiosity received kind justice from Elizabeth after Curiosity revealed her hand in preventing a love union so she could save her own future. After years of heartache, Lily and Simon finally get the one thing that's eluded them, but Lily must give up some of the art that makes her heart sing, cruel I tell you. And that 'Mima, always crass, crude and stone-hearted. Is it really possible she finally learned to love, at least a little?

And the Epilogue! Truth be told, I peeked at this section first and gasped when I read the inevitable news of Nathaniel's passing, then Elizabeth's own obiturary. After reading the first 100 pages, I read went back to the Epilogue again, it still made me sad. The last time I read it, at the place it was supposed to be read, at the end, I cried again, grieving the loss of so many ... what can I call them but friends.

This was a bittersweet reading experience ... I loved the story, I couldn't get to the end fast enough but I didn't want to get to that Epilogue. I want more Bonner stories, and here's hoping that the book fairy grants my wish. But as of now, alas, it is the end.

It's stories like this one that make me love reading. So, if you are looking for a excellent read to celebrate Love of Reading month, buy yourself this book. And heck, the rest of the series too. Then sit back with a warm blanket, a cup of hot tea and enjoy. And if you are so inclined, then head over to Rosina's weblog to join in the story discussion.

Here's to a fantastic story. Thanks, Rosina. Happy Love of Reading Month.