Friday Six, April 18th

1) David Macaulay gave the Arbuthnot lecture in Madison last night. It’s an honorary lecture that floats geographically every year. There had to have been close to 800 people there. He gave the perfect lecture — sometimes serious, often funny and with a nice glimpse at his life as a writer and illustrator. I’m not the ideal lecture audience member because if it’s at all boring and it’s at night I will start to nod off (probably because I don’t drink coffee) or to daydream (something I think writers have a tendency to do — your brain keeps working on the story even when you think you’re done working for the day), but I was with him the whole time.

2) Self-editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King is a great book. I’ve picked it up at least once a year since I first read it and it’s a good reminder on how to keep your writing neat and concise. The examples in it are super helpful — they make it clear why it’s so important to be strict when you’re revising. Sometimes when I’m going through to take out every lazy little blip I’ve made I just want to shout “But everyone else does it! Why can’t I go crazy with adverbs???” Then I read something like this and I think “Oh yeah, that’s why.”

3) I’m half-way through this round of revisions for the novel I’m currently working on. Woo hoo! That half-way mark always makes me feel like the end is in sight. Except that I go back and re-read the first half all the time just to make sure it’s exactly how I want it and sometimes jump ahead to later scenes that I need to work on, so it isn’t a clear sign of linear progress. But it still feels good to know that I’ve touched every word in the first half of the book (and changed most of them at least once).

4) I tried to read Uninvited by Amanda Marrone this week — the vampire story where the girl’s ex-boyfriend dies and comes back to haunt her as a vampire, but I couldn’t get into it. It’s probably not the book’s fault — I haven’t given it enough of a chance to be able to judge it. Might be the wrong book at the wrong time for me, but the ratio of depressing to sexy in the beginning of the book was too high and didn’t work for me this week. It’s a great premise though, so it’s probably just me.

5) I’m just starting The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry. It’s such a different direction for her, I’m excited to read it. It’s got these kids who want to be orphans who have parents who don’t want kids (or that’s my take on it from reading the bookflap). It sounds really dark, but the art is all old fashioned/sort of goth so I’m wondering if it’s dark humor ala Lemony Snickett. It’s a CCBC Book Discussion book this month.

6) It’s Friday. Yay! I will be watching Enchanted tonight (again). It’s sooo funny. When we saw it in the theatre I laughed so hard at her singing scene that I was literally doubled over my stomach hurt so much. Just when I’d start to get my breath back, it would crack me back up again.

Have a great weekend!

BZ

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