Backwards Organized Writing

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When I write, I do so organically.  What I mean by this is that I do very little planning before hand.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t just come up with an idea and sit down to type furiously away at it.  I will often write down my idea and since I like writing fantasy/paranormal I will usually write down “rules” for my world.  Any fantasy writer will tell you that when building a new “world” or characters the rules are important.  You have to decide what can and cannot happen and if there are any loopholes.

I know that in the past I have mentioned that I often use John Truby’s book, The Anatomy of a Story, to help plan as well.  Once again, his book prepares the “rules” of the story.  Its all about the characters, the theme, the purpose of the plot, etc.  All this to say, I don’t sit down and outline my books, nor do I sit down and plan out every detail of every chapter.

I’ve read some writing blogs/books that suggest outlining or using index cards to put scenes on.  There are so many different ways to organize your book and plan it out before writing and I’m sure they are helpful to most people.  If there weren’t then there would be no market for writing programs, like Scrivener, to hold all of your notes/diagrams/outlines…stuff.

I can’t do all of that.  The more organized and structured I get, when working on a book, the more I feel the joy of the story being sucked out.  I write “organically,” meaning I just let the story take me where it wants to go.  As long as I have a general idea of its direction, I’m good.

Except…after finishing the sequel to my first book, Words Once Spoken, I kind of ran into a wee bit of a problem.  Once I finished writing Curses Once Spoken, I set it aside for a few weeks to let it marinate and to allow me time to detach myself, emotionally.  Just this week I went back to begin my personal edits before sending it off to beta readers.  Ummm, yeah, problem.

Due to my lack of organization, I am finding that I’ll mention something in an earlier chapter that won’t match up with something that happens later and then, because I don’t know precisely where those other mentions are, I am frantically scanning the entire document looking for them so I can fix them.  Oopsie!  So, does that mean I’m going to start outlining my books from now on?  Nope.  I’m going to outline each chapter after I’m done writing about them.

Wait, no, I promise I’m not crazy!  See the method to my madness is this: If I made notes of a chapter after I write them, then I can easily keep track of topics that have been discussed so I can reference them quickly when I need to go back.  I was constantly attempting to do this when writing, too.  I would be in the middle of a chapter, wanting my character to mention something, but then had to go back and try to find out if they already knew about something or if someone had already said it.  Exhausting!! Agh!

So, while this may seem really simple and “like duh,” I’ve never seen anyone suggest doing this.  Most people give the advice of doing all of this before hand.  If you are a super organized/structured writer, well then more power to ya.  But, if you are like me and all of that structure and organization is going to go out the window once your characters have been set loose to tell their story…weeeelllll…you need other options.

Does anyone else do this, or am I the only crazy one?

My thoughts on The Anglo Files

My thoughts on The Anglo Files

In my last post I mentioned that I was really excited about reading this book, and the minute I got my curious little fingers on it I devoured it.

I’m not usually into non-fiction works, because no matter how interesting they are, or how much I really want to learn about whatever subject they are espousing upon I can’t help but get sleepy reading them. I didn’t have this issue quite as much with Sarah Lyall’s book, and I think it had a lot to do with her voice throughout. She comes across as intelligent, witty, and as a woman who takes life with a grain of salt. I like that about her.

Of course, the subject matter was very fascinating to me. The British. Why am I so fascinated by these people, and why on earth do I always feel as though I should have been born and raised there instead of here? Well, after reading this book I am quite certain that several of my past lives must have been there. I do know that I have British blood in me (thanks Ancestry DNA!)

I’m not going to lie, though, this book was an interesting wake-up call about the people of that great country. Did it pop my romantic little bubble that I view them through? Not entirely. Some of the things she said surprised me (I find their entire culture ironic on so many levels), but in the end I still found them a fascinating lot. Especially when you consider the fact that even though they are a small country, you cannot pin down what makes the Brits, “British.” They are a unique bunch and as multi-faceted as a precious stone. Annnnnnnnndddd, I’m not going to lie, that accent will forever be sexy to me because it always sounds so intellectual. Have you ever noticed how 90% of educational programs have a narrator with a British accent? I rest my case.

So, what is the point of all this? If you want an interesting and funny perspective on the Brits, read Sarah Lyall’s The Anglo Files.

I do wonder, however, what has changed about certain aspects of the culture since the book was published in 2009.

Carly, where have you been?

ULM-Ad-for-webWhy, at Upscale Living Magazine! Now, my ramblings have a purpose!

Of course, I am still working on my books, and I am still reading—a lot. However, I can’t talk about anything I’m reading because its stuff that is unpublished. 😦

There is one book, however, that I’m dying to get and will possibly do so today. It’s called The Anglo Files by Sarah Lyall.  I read a portion of it in the store the other week and fell in love with it instantly. Anyone who knows me, will tell you that I feel as though I was born in the wrong country. This book, is a nonfiction story about a woman who marries a Brit and discusses the hilarious experiences she has as an American wading through the cultural differences of a country that is further removed from us than we think. Also, the fact that she was a journalist for The Times, who wrote about the publishing industry makes her story even more interesting.

I truly can’t wait to get it in my hands and devour it. 🙂

Late Fandom Bloomer

There are so many fandoms out there that it can be hard to decide which ones to join.  Being passionate about a book or television series takes a lot of energy, time, and sometimes money. It is also a lot like picking your favorite sports team, albeit slightly easier in the fact that very few of us were alive when the teams out there now first got started.  Still, our reasons for joining the fan base can be similar. Are we fans because everyone else is or are we part of an elite that sees the genius behind the story before everyone else does and it explodes upon the stratosphere that legends are made of. Fans of Firefly know what I’m talking about, right?

I’m not going to lie, when it comes to joining the bandwagon on certain fandoms, I take my time.  The main reason is because I have always been rebellious to what is popular or trendy. If everybody has one, wants one, thinks its “cool,” I automatically don’t want one (seriously I finally bought my first smart phone last January—and yes it is an Apple, but other than an iPod Nano, its the only Apple product I own.) So, when everyone starts raving about a book series or television show, I usually like to sit on the sidelines and watch the chaos unfold. (Unless, of course, I catch the debut along with everyone else, which is slightly easier with television shows—but that is also another story.)

My logic behind this is because, once the hubbub about the product dies down—it will someday—then I like to finally check it out and see if it was really worth all of the excitement. Sometimes things stay legendary and last while others go down in infamy for being preposterous. Harry Potter, is a great example something that will never fade.  I think that fandom will endure for generations, which is why, this past year I proudly jumped on that train.  Twilight and Fifty Shades of Gray, for example—erm, not so much.  I waited as long as possible on Twilight, but my mom bought the series, devoured it, and shipped them to me with a “You must read now!” command. I did, and I’m not going to lie, I enjoyed them.  I wasn’t paying attention to the editing issues that everyone bemoans or the few inconsistent word choices.  I paid attention to the fact that I was able to relate to the main character in regards to her childhood—a lot, actually—and I could feel the emotional connection of first love again. (All the people who complain about how the book is just on how you get/keep a boyfriend, really weren’t paying attention to the story, but that’s another debate for another time.) Say what you want about the writing, but if the story was that horrible it wouldn’t have made the money it did. I guess that is why Fifty Shades did so well.  However, I refuse to read that one, because I am deep enough in the writing world now, to know better—-let’s just leave it at that!

Television shows are the same way, I am just now getting introduced to Firefly and Dr. Who, because they have become iconic.  I watched one episode of Game of Thrones (and I’ve been encouraged to power through more—its worth it, promise—they say). I’ve also watched a few episodes of True Blood.  The problem, or maybe the blessing, is that there are so many fandoms to choose from that there is never enough time to dive into all, and if I’m not hooked by the first book or first few episodes, I can try the next one out.

So, am I the only crazy one who waits to see if a fandom is going to be iconic or a laughing stock before I join?

All photos from http://www.barnesandnoble.com

Pre-Fall 2014 Color Trend: Burgundy

Designers are already releasing Pre-Fall 2014 collections, and what is one color trend that is already very noticeable?

Burgundy.

“But wait,” you shriek, “that’s nearly a year away! Why should we care?”

Here’s why.  You probably won’t see a huge amount of burgundy in stores right now. There are a lot of navy blues, forest greens, blacks, and smokey grays, with a few pops of creams and soft neutrals dominating right now. However, if, when the winter clothing goes on sale (which basically happens pretty soon after Christmas in some areas), and you happen to spot something burgundy in a classic style, then guess what? Snatch that puppy up, and be ready and on trend for next fall.

Notice I did say a classic piece, right?  To make my money go farther I always pay attention to the trends that have staying power, and attempt to purchase what I can in a classic shape, so it lasts longer.  If I want something trendy that most likely will not last past a few seasons (neon or studs anyone?) then that is what Forever 21 and H&M are for.

Obviously, if we are paying attention to Pre-Fall’s color trends we can pay attention to their clothing trends, as well, right? Of course, but if it is something freshly recycled (because that is all fashion is) you are going to be hard pressed to find it in the store, now.  Depending on your price point for shopping you may have to wait until it trickles down to the Forever 21 type stores. I know I do, and thankfully that process is happening faster and faster.

Another reason why I choose to by classic pieces, when I can, is because if a color like burgundy comes into trend, I’ll want my piece to last even after the fashion world has moved on. Why? Because its a color that suits my skin tone, so even if the vast majority of people aren’t wearing it, it will always look good on me because it is flattering and classic. BOOM! (Just like those burgundy Converse—-want!)

All pictures can be found on CFDA’s Tumblr blog, here.

Getting Literary Heavy With The Help

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Even though this blog is called The Fashionable Bookworm I know you guys probably expect me to talk about books on here more often.  I was for a while, but if you’ve been following me long enough you’ll know that I deleted the majority of my “opinions” on the books I’ve read, save one and that is Rowling’s The Cuckoo’s Calling.  Why, then, if this blog is partially about books, do I not write about them much?  The reason is actually simple.  I write books and since I do so I’ve come upon a few conundrums.  One, as an author I need to protect my author brand and it isn’t fair for me to write reviews on other people’s works if I don’t have anything nice to say. I’m not saying that all of my reviews were vitriol fueled rages against the writing of others, but I was honest in how I felt about what I was reading. Most book reviewers are, but it must be remembered that most book “reviews” and even most “critiques” are nothing more than opinion and personal preference. Just like some people prefer fall over spring.  Very few reviewers will give helpful feedback on how well a book is written. It doesn’t mean that their word is gold or “right” its just their opinion.  So, I decided that unless I am 100% in love with a book, meaning I can recommend it whole heartily to a friend, then I won’t post about it on this blog. Because, lets face it, I am not an expert in writing, therefore who am I to review or critique another person’s work?

This brings me to my second problem.  Since I’ve read Rowling’s book, back in July, I have not read a book that I felt I could post on here. I’ve read many books from a variety of genres, but I have not been really excited about any of them.  I don’t know why, but the more I learn about writing the less I enjoy the writings of others because I can all of a sudden see the flimsy characters, plot holes, and awkward dialogue. (Once again, this does not mean I think my writing is better, its just I pay attention to these details more and they actually bother me now.)

Last night I finished Kathryn Stockett’s The Help.  Yeah, yeah I’m late on the bandwagon, but I usually always am. For some reason when something hits the stratosphere culturally I tend to shy away from it.  I honestly did not walk into my local bookstore with the intention of picking it up, but when I saw it on the shelf I flipped it open to the first page and read.

I was hooked.

The writing in this book is so different from my own, but in a good way. Everything is simple, precise, and clear without seeming too oversimple or thin….if that makes sense.  I’ve read a lot of books where the sentences are short and quick, but it often makes the pacing seem choppy and uneven.  The story is so rich in this book, that you don’t even hardly notice how simple the writing is.  I’m not saying her writing is simple in a bad way, rather it keeps everything clear and uncomplicated, which is a beautiful thing because the story itself is so complicated. I absolutely love the characters she told the story through, and wanted so many time to reach through the pages to help or comfort them.

I know Stockett said, in the author’s notes, that she knows she will never be able to truly speak in the voice of those women who were maids or went through what they did, but I think she did an amazing job bringing just a sliver of their experiences to life.  I don’t often read big, heavy, literary pieces, but I am so glad that I picked this one up and gave it a chance.  It is a beautiful story, brilliantly written. I am also really glad that, although society is still not perfect, that we have come a long way since those days of segregation.  I just wish they would have never happened to begin with.

Classier Eras Inspire.

I don’t know why, but I love regiment style military jackets.  Ralph Lauren has put out a few over the past few years, and he has several more for this season. These two are my favorites. I absolutely love them!

I adore how a lot of styles have been borrowing from the Regency and Victorian Era lately and making them modern.  Here is another example, of classier eras returning to fashion in the form of boots from ModCloth.

If you could choose any era to pull from for inspiration on a modern piece of wardrobe, what would it be?