Sunday, November 30, 2014

Beautiful Books #2: The Venice Novel Again


It's November 30th, so I should be at 50,000 words by now, right?

Yeah, about that. I'm still where I was when I left you a week ago. 15,418 words.

Okay, so this NaNo was a bit of a fail, that's certain. But hey - college has been a success, at least so far! I've got three more exams and two more papers, and then I'm done with an eighth of my undergraduate career.

And I've learned so much about myself as a writer this NaNo, even when I wasn't writing for these past few weeks. This winter break (my first ever winter break when I am absolutely free of all my studies), I am going to work on three different WIP's, and maybe even give my darling Venice novel a break.

BUT I am still going to talk about it here for Beautiful Books! The link up closed, but it's still November 30th here, so I'm going to post it anyway. HA. And so, we commence with the questions:

1. Be honest: how's your writing going?

I guess I sort of talked about this above, but what about outside of NaNo? Writing is going decently. I've come a long way from when this story started back in June, and my characters have developed most pleasingly. However, if you look at my post-it-note-story-plotting-wall, you will notice a huge blank space between the beginning scenes and the end scenes. I've got about 1/3 plotted out, I'd say, but I don't exactly know how to get from there to where I want to be at the end. So that's where I am right now.

2. What's your first sentence/paragraph?

The beginning of the prologue:

She twirled her little childish fingers through the golden sequins and watched, enchanted, as the moonlight reflected onto her hands. It was the time for fairies.

3. Do you have a book cover, and/or pictures that reflect your book?


Though the title might change.

Also, see my pinterest board for more Venice awesome pictures. :-)

4. Do you have pictures of each of your characters?

First, Zaneta Soranzi, our MC, as a young adult, and a child.

Zaneta  (Her eyes are green. GREEN, I SAY)   Little Zaneta

Nicolo Dolfin.


Angelo da Vale

Angelo da Vale

Zaneta's friends, the siblings Giovanni and Angelina:

Giuseppe   Angelina

5. Which scene are you most excited to write?

I really like the scene where Zaneta and Nicolo meet (I've written this one already). Because it's both dashingly romantic - and super awkward. Simultaneously.

But I'm also looking forward to the scene near the end, where da Vale must judge his father. And he doesn't exactly like his father.

6. Share a snippet or a scene that you enjoyed writing.

I liked writing the prologue and Baby Zaneta:

"Come dance with me, cuore mio," exclaimed Bartolomeo, clasping Besina in his arms and twirling her around his workshop. Zaneta, enchanted, leapt around, arms twirling, in the sort of graceless yet perfect dance that only children are capable of. Besina, with a mother's mind, gasped out, "Don't break anything!" but Bartolomeo only cried, "Dance with me!" and care was tossed to the wind. 
Laughing, twirling, and gasping for breath, the trio made their way out into the fresh and cold air of the Venetian autumn. "Don't catch cold," Besina said, still smiling, and draped her shawl over her daughter's tiny shoulders.  
"The canal drowned the moon!" Zaneta shrieked, awestruck, gazing at the reflection in the water before them. The little canal lapped onward, unknowing of its great misdeed.  
"The the moon isn't drowned," Bartolomeo laughed. "Look, the canal is only its mirror. It wants to see how fine it looks on such a clear night." He knelt down to Zaneta's eye level and pointed towards the shining moon in the sky. "Don't you think it looks fine?" 
"It's a fine moon," Zaneta agreed, soberly. "Moon! You're looking quite wonderful tonight!" 
She knelt down on the cobblestone and peered into the canal before her. "Ohh," she sighed, "I'm looking quite wonderful too."

7. Now that you're writing, have any of the plot details, or the process itself, turned out different from what you planned or imagined?

Da Vale is a deeper character than I could ever have planned. I have to plot out backstory for him, not just regular story!
Also, Zaneta is extraordinarily stupid sometimes. Seriously, girl! It's messing with my plot.

8. Is there a character or aspect of your plot that's difficult to write?

Not in particular (da Vale is intense and multifaceted, but really fun to write), but I have found that it's becoming a bit of a mystery story. And those are always hard for me to write. Middles, people! I've got my beginning and my end, but I can't make them connect!

9. What's your favorite aspect of this novel so far? Favorite character?

Da Vale. Hands down.

10. Have you drawn off of any life experiences or people you know to create your novel and your characters?

What, you mean other than the fact that this whole thing was inspired by my trip to Venice?

But otherwise? No. Da Vale is inspired by a few fictional characters, but no one real.

11. Do you have a playlist or certain song for your novel and/or characters?

No, not really. I don't do playlists or music when noveling.

12. Let’s have some fun for a moment: imagine you are somehow transported into your book’s world. Which character are you most likely to be found hanging out with?

Oooh. Maybe Zaneta? We might complement each other nicely. She's more chatty than I am, though not quite so chatty as Angelina. But actually, I might be found hanging out with Nicolo. No, not just because he's handsome and dashing - WHAT ARE YOU IMPLYING - but because he's sort of quiet-ish like I am. He might not compliment me the best, but I gravitate towards people like myself.

13. How do you keep yourself motivated to finish your daily wordcount? (Pinterest? Internet breaks? Chocolate?)

I... um... don't? At least not this November, since it's been such a writing flop. But usually I motivate myself with the idea of that shiny new novel. Confession: I've never gotten a novel to the point where I can actually write a second draft. So my motivation is the desire to reach that.

But chocolate helps too.

14. What is your favorite writing quote or piece of writing advice?

"Fool," said my muse to me, "look in thy heart, and write."

~Sir Phillip Sidney

15. How does this book make you feel so far? Are you laughing? Crying? Frustrated?

Right now? FRUSTRATED. Which is why I'm probably going to take a break from this WIP for a bit.

How'd your NaNo adventures go? Did you win? And - more importantly - did you write something you're happy with?


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Winter TBR

As always, hosted by the lovelies at The Broke and the Bookish
(Covers link to Goodreads.)

I am popping out of my short blogging vacation to write this post, because I always love the TBR Top Ten Tuesdays. After I post this, I will be disappearing once more into my world of math practice tests, final papers, and pink story boarding post-its. (While we're on the topic of noveling, mine's not going so well. This weekend, I missed my local write-in and all I did was math. MATH. That's it. But I got it done. Hopefully it's the last homework of the semester.)

Anyway, on to my Winter TBR! I've got so many exciting things on my list to read during my Christmas Break.

1. The Girl with All the Gifts by M. R. Carey

2. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke

3. Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater


 4. Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

GOSH None of these are really Holiday, are they? They're all eerie or heartrending or both. Definitely not seasonal. Let's remedy that.

5. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

THERE. Nothing more Christmasey than Dickens! And the Dead Writers Society on Goodreads is reading it in December, too (join us, if you wish)!

6. A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall

Take that. More sweet feel-good stuff. See, I can do Nice if I want to.

7. The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exeupery

This one keeps showing up on my TBR posts, and I STILL haven't gotten to it.

8. The Once and Future King by T. H. White

9. Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimentions by Edwin A. Abbott.

My math-loving friend mentioned this book, and I fell in love. It's dystopia + math. How perfect! Just go read the summary on Goodreads. Go.

10. Finishing the Old Testament of the Bible
 If you were around more than two or three months ago, then you may remember that I did a thing called The Bible Project. It was a challenge that I made for myself to read the Bible in a year. It rolled along nicely, until college showed up, and everything ground to a halt. (The fact that I was in the middle of the prophetic books and feeling a bit bored didn't help either.)

So now I'm making a new goal. Finish the Old Testament by the end of the year, and save the New Testament for 2015, ideally finishing it by March-ish. I haven't updated the page yet to reflect this new scheduling, but I will, soon. If you want to read more about it, you can here.

So that's my Winter TBR! Link me yours, and tell me what are you most excited to read in these coming months!

And now I slink away back into my retreat of review sheets and post it notes. Farewell, until Saturday!


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

I am leaving you... for a few weeks

Have you ever gotten to that point where every day feels like it should be a Friday? And then it isn't? And then the disappointment just becomes unbearable?

Yeah, that's where I am right now. My family is getting tired of me saying, at least once every day, "I am so DONE with school." But I am! And I still have three weeks to go. 
This is my NaNo graph. Sad, huh?

I need to give myself some extra "free" time in my day so that I don't feel like I am cramming every second of every hour. I'm still doing NaNo, but that has faded away a bit, because whenever I DO have time, I am so tired that I don't want to do something that requires effort. I haven't even been reading lately, because blogging and NaNo has taken up my time. This is NOT GOOD. Reading is what keeps me sane, and my lack of reading may be contributing to my present madness.

My solution: I'm going to disappear from this blog until Thanksgiving weekend. I might even disappear from the internet for a bit. I'll devote free time to NaNo and reading more than I have been, and hopefully feel more relaxed when I have a bit more time on my hands.

The only post you WILL see during this hiatus will be next Tuesday, for my TTT, because the topic next week is Winter TBR, and I really want to write that one. :-)

So - farewell, for now. If all goes according to plan, I will return somewhere around November 29th or 30th, hopefully with a 50,000 word novel written. (Actually, I'm just aiming for 30k, given how this NaNo is going, but 50k would be nice too...)

See you then!


P.S. How is your NaNo going? (if you're doing it)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Sequels I Can't Wait to Get

As always, hosted by the lovelies at The Broke and the Bookish
(Covers link to Goodreads.)

Today's topic is Top Ten Sequels I can't wait to get... and I have a feeling this is going to be rather short, since I am not in the middle of very many series right now.

1. Fairest by Marissa Meyer (The Lunar Chronicles)


2. Winter by Marissa Meyer (The Lunar Chronicles)

3. Four: A Divergent Story by Veronica Roth (Does this count as a sequel? It does now.)


4. The Woman Who Died A Lot by Jasper Fforde (Thursday Next) (I seem to always have this on my TTT lists and never get to it.)


5. Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater (The Raven Cycle) (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)


And... that's really all I have. But I do have a ton of new series that I want to start.


P. S. I am featured on Book Bloggers International! Go check out the post here!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Bookish Questions - Classics Club Style! (Part 2)

This is the second part of yesterday's questionnaire. You can read part one here!

We continue on with the fifty questions:

26. Which classic character reminds you of your best friend?

This is tougher than it looks. My best friend is my sister and she is quite... an indescribable person. I've known her her whole life, and I still don't know her secrets. (Darn!)

BUT for the sake of this questionnaire, I'll say - she's part Hermione, part Thursday Next, part Elizabeth Bennett, and part Lydia Bennett. (Don't kill me, Dionna, if you read this. You're not the irresponsible thoughtless flighty parts of Lydia Bennett. Don't worry.)

27. If a sudden announcement was made that 500 more pages had been discovered after the original "THE END" on a classic title you read and loved, which title would you most want to keep reading? Or, would you avoid the augmented manuscript in favor of the original? Why? 

I actually think I'd avoid those 500 more pages. The author clearly intended them not to be published, for whatever reason, so the original title would have been exactly the way she/he wanted it to be published. They thought it was perfect without those extra pages - for a reason. That influences my reading/analysis experience.

28. Favorite children's classic?

The Chronicles of Narnia. And Winnie the Pooh.

29. Who recommended your first classic?

Didn't you hear my answer to question #9 (First classic you ever read)? I grew up on classics! I suppose you could say my mother recommended my first classic?

30.  Who's advice do you always take when it comes to literature? (Recommends the right editions, suggests great titles, etc.)

Um... there isn't a specific person. I used to get my recommendations off high school classic curriculum reading lists. I don't think there's one person who's advice I ALWAYS take, because each of us has our own tastes when it comes to literature, and my friends have slightly different reading tastes, even with regard to classics.

31. Favorite memory with a classic?

This one's a toughy. But I'm going to have to go with that Christmas Eve when I was 13 and my aunt got me The Complete Chronicles of Narnia - with the original illustrations by Pauline Baynes. It's so special.

32. Classic author you've read the most works by?

Well, I've sure read a lot of Jane Austen (all of her works - and juvenilia - except for Sandition.) That adds up to - eight books? Oh but wait - I think CS Lewis beats her out. All the Narnia books (seven), the Space Trilogy (three), The Screwtape Letters, and Surprised By Joy. (And I own Mere Christianity but haven't read it yet.) TWELVE! Lewis wins!

33. Classic author who has the most works on your club list?

Willa  Cather. For no reason in particular.

34. Classic author you own the most books by?

...well, I own "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare," but they're all in one tome. Does that count?

If not, I also own many Jane Austen e-books. Does that count?

If not, then there are a lot of authors tied with two books each.

35. Classic title(s) that didn't make it to your club list that you wish you'd included? (Or, since many people edit their lists as they go, which titles have you added since initially posting your club list?)

I sort of wish I'd added Dante's Divine Comedy, but am sort of glad I didn't. I don't want it enough to modify my list for it.

36. If you could explore one author's literary career from first publication to last - meaning you have never read this author and want to explore him or her by reading what s/he wrote in order of publication - who would you explore? Obviously this should be an author you haven't yet read, since you can't do this experiment on an author you're already familiar with. :) Or, which author's work you are familiar with might it have been fun to approach this way?

I feel like I've had a finger in a bunch of pies when it comes to authors, so this question is a bit of a challenge. So this is how I am going to answer it:

I actually DID do this with Jane Austen (though after I was familiar with her works). It was fun, and interesting to see how her writing style and skill progressed from Love and Freindship to Persuasion.

37. How many rereads are on your club list? If none, why? If some, which are you most looking forward to, or did you most enjoy?

I've got 9 rereads, and so far, I've crossed off three. I'm looking forward to ALL of them, or else they wouldn't have made it on my list, okay? But I'm especially curious to see how I react to Joan of Arc by Mark Twain, which I read when I was much younger. Oh, and same thing for A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. THAT BOOK. I don't even know how to describe it.

38. Has there been a classic title you simply could not finish? 

For the CC list so far? No.

Bu there are a few on my CC list that are second attempts:. Ben Hur by Lew Wallace and The White Company by Arthur Conan Doyle. That's why I put them on my list, because I knew I didn't finish them simply through a lack of maturity and readiness. I really think I'll enjoy them when I reach That Point.

And apart from the CC list? There are a few Dickens that I never finished. The Old Curiosity Shop (eternally given up on) and Bleak House (strong potential for a second attempt).

39. Has there been a classic title you expected to dislike and ended up loving?

No. I always go in expecting enjoyment.

40. Five things you're looking forward to next year in classic literature?

Going to see more awesome Lifeline Theatre adaptations.
Tackling some authors I've always considered to be intimidating (for whatever reason). [Looking at you, Steinbeck.]
Using my classics reading studies to enhance my own writing.
Getting back into Shakespeare. (Haven't read him in a while.)
On a related topic, going to see my sister perform in A Comedy of Errors! (Does that count?)

41. A classic you are DEFINITELY GOING TO MAKE HAPPEN next year?

Probably The Little Prince. I've been longing for a reread of that for a while.

42. A classic you are NOT GOING TO MAKE HAPPEN next year? 

Ben Hur by Lew Wallace. It's staring at me from my shelf most intimidatingly, but I think it can stare for another year.

43. Favorite thing about being a member of the Classics Club?

The motivation to finish my list. The community of readers. BOOK DISCUSSIONS AND ANALYSES. (Book discussions are my oxygen.) 

44. List five fellow clubbers whose blogs you frequent. What makes you love their blogs?

I've been a bad blog follower lately, but I PROMISE I will return to comment on all my favorite blogs once school lets out. DECEMBER 12TH people!
Here are friends to whom I shall return:
Cleopatra at the Classical Carousel (one of my first ever bloggy friends when I started in May 2013).
Ruth at A Great Book Study (awesome reviews and in-depth analyses).
Lois at You, Me, and a Cup of Tea (a wonderfully friendly and splendidly nerdy young lady).
Bex at an Armchair By the Sea (READALONGS and MORE READALONGS)(Also, like me, has more than a smattering of YA and more modern reads.)
Jean at Howling Frog Books (succinct reviews and pleasant writing style).

Someone whom I'd like to mention additionally is Marianne, the lady behind A Passion for Dead Leaves. Her blog wavers in and out of being private, so I sadly can't read her posts much anymore. :-( But she is AWESOME.

45. Favorite post you've read by a fellow clubber?

Um so I haven't been frequenting blogs much lately, so I'm afraid I may pass on this. Ask me this question again in late December and I'll give you a list of superb posts!

46. If you've ever participated in a readalong on a classic, tell about the experience? If you've participated in more than one, what's the very best experience? the best title you've completed? a fond memory? a good friend made?

 I've done two readalongs, one for Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, and one for Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert. I personally enjoyed the book ToTC better than I enjoyed the book MB, but both readalongs were equally fun! I loved discussing the book with others at the same pace. My one issue is that I'm discovering more and more that I am a mood reader - not good for readalongs. But that's just me.

47. If you could appeal for a readalong with others for any classic title, which title would you name? Why? 

I'd sort of like to do a Les Miserables readalong, just to give me another excuse to gush about it.

Also, I think this summer I want to reread LOTR (and Narnia and Harry Potter and The Chronicles of Prydain), so if anyone's up for a readalong... ?

48. How long have you been reading classic literature?


49. Share up to five posts you've written that tell a bit about your reading story. Reviews, journal entries, posts on novels you loved or didn't love, lists, etc.

50. Question you wish was on this questionnaire? (Ask and answer it!)

Now then, Sophia, which do you like better: Les Miserables or The Chronicles of Narnia?

AW DARN I was hoping you wouldn't ask that. And I won't answer. I CAN'T answer. It's a tie.

But you must! CHOOSE.

But it's like favoring one of your children!

*crosses arms menacingly* 

*sticks out tongue*

*rolls eyes and walks away in a huff*

Okay, thank God I got rid of her. Now you can tell me - which are your favorite classics club bloggers? Give me recommendations for when I actually have time to read them! Also, if you suddenly discovered that there were extra pages that weren't published with your favorite book - would you read them?