"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." —J. R. R. Tolkien

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Five on a Thursday Night

Happy Friday (or Thursday night for those who haven't yet gone to bed)! Hope you all have a great weekend ahead of you.

Here's my five:

1) I'm happy to say I actually read the Newbery winner BEFORE it won! (The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman for those who haven't heard.) This has to be a first for me. And I know tons of people seem to be concerned with the knife chapter at the start. Really, this didn't bother me. It was smoothed over, quickly forgotten, and not gory or anything like that.
Thoughts from others who have read it?
(I'd have no problem letting my son read it when he wants to. And I am totally the kind of person who avoids serial killer movies and stuff like that these days.)


2) So I'm the proud new owner of not only a new ice maker, but new springs and cables for my garage door opener. The ice maker was easy - did it myself. The garage door stuff - I didn't even try. I took one look at the snapped cable and broken spring and looked in the phone book (yes, the actually book version).
Some things I will do. Some things I won't.


3) Finished Bliss by Lauren Myracle. Totally loved this book and totally recommend it. It's so not what I expected, and I was surprised in a very positive way. It's creepy. And I'm not sure I'm totally satisfied with the ending (which I guess means I want more. Wonder if a sequel is in the works?)
So now I'm starting The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl by Barry Lyga. Anyone read it?


4) So I tried something for the first time on Tuesday. I'd been wrapping up revisions on a project, so I printed it out and headed to the public library. I got there when they opened, found a table, and read the entire thing. No computer. No laundry or dishes. No changing errors as I found them. I marked them and kept reading.
Really, it's amazing how much different my manuscript looked. I could see word repetitions, bad transitions, all sorts of stuff. And this is on something I had read just the day before on the computer! I bet I marked 500 different things.
Totally, totally try this!


5) Huge computer improvement today. I bought and installed Registry Mechanic and Spyware Doctor. My computer would start running so slowly I wanted to chunk my mouse through the monitor. But the sane part of me realized that wouldn't help, so I followed my mom's advice and bought the software. It's great.
(Sidenote - if I'd followed my dad's advice, I would have started using my Mac full time.)

How's everyone's reading for the year going, BTW????? I'm so enjoying it!

Hope you guys all have a great weekend!


Jim Danielson said...

Good thinking on the garage opener...springs can be dangerous. My opener took a dive this week and I replaced a shredded drive gear. Cold metal in a 37 degree garage wasn't ideal condition, but it seems fixed.
Can't wait to have time to read THE GRAVEYARD BOOK.

beth said...

I find switching media really does help in identifying problems. I used to print chapter and revise, but I think because I teach so many essays and grade for grammar, I found myself only noticing grammar errors when I do that (which isn't bad--it's just that I became blind to plot structure). So I use the computer to help find consistency errors. Sometimes, just switching font helps (between Courior and TNR, for me--something about the different appearance of the text helps me look at it as words instead of just story).

But with the last WIP, I used Scrivener. Splitting the ms. up into Scivener and analyzing it in that way really helped me to identify how the plot worked, where I should cut things, what needed adding.

So for me, it's a combo of print and new formatting!

Miriam S.Forster said...

Oh, I'll have to try that library thing! :

I tried reading Fan Boy And Goth Girl, and I loved the voice and the writing. But it was a bit depressing, and I can't read depressing books in the winter. I plan to try again in July!

Sheri said...

PJ, I always have to edit with a hard copy. I don't seem to find typos, repeated words, etc on the computer screen. Also, changing scenery like you did really helps things stand out too. For some reason when I read my work somewhere other than home, I seem to hear it differently - almost as if the first time hearing it.

I will read the Graveyard and then decide if it's for my daughter. But she has Emerald Tablet next to read after Harry anyway.

Gottawrite Girl said...

PJ, everyone has always talked about Neil, and I'd always say 'I gotta read him...' And now that the Newbery's out, there no more excuses!

PJ Hoover said...

Yeah, Jim, the springs kind of frighten me. It's that whole bungee cord coming back in your eye kind of fear. :)

I was amazed, Beth, and will do this everytime I have a major revision. So worth it. Not to mention it gave me a great excuse to get out of the house and spend the day in the library.

Miriam, I totally see what you mean about Fanboy. It is a bit sad so far. I'll keep going with it and see how it goes.

Sheri - yay that she's going to read The Emerald Tablet next!!!! And you should read Graveyard Book because it really is such a cool concept.

Susan, that's exactly how I was. So now I've read Stardust, Coraline, and Graveyard Book. I think I have one more on my reading list for the year!

Happy Friday!

adrienne said...

So glad you didn't mess with the garage door - those things are dangerous.

Kimberly Derting said...

I print my manuscripts out now too, and it really helps to pick up things that I pass over on my screen! And my reading...sad. Very, very sad! I've been working so hard on getting this second book finished, that I can barely find the time to get dressed, let alone read!!! But I'm almost ready to send it in, and I plan to do some catching up...

Working Mom said...

I always print my documents and "bleed all over them" at least once prior to sending out a final product (to someone else who also proofreads the printed document before shipping it out). Call me old fashioned, but I find it greatly improves the poofreading and, ultimately, the final product.

PJ Hoover said...

I'm so glad I didn't either, Adrienne! It was so nice writing while it was being fixed :)

I totally know what you mean, Kimberly! When really deep deep writing is going on is when I let the reading slide. I'm trying to read even still before falling asleep.

Totally it does, Working Mom. It's just so bizarre how our minds operate!

Thanks for visiting!

lynn said...

ice makers are essential!

good idea for going to a library to look over the hard copy of your project--at home there's always SOMETHING to distract :)

PJ Hoover said...

I could have lived without the ice maker, Lynn, but my husband really, really missed it while it was broken!
And home is so distracting! And comfortable!

lotusgirl said...

I plan on getting the Graveyard book soon.

I'm so glad to be working on a mac these days. The slowness of my PC was killing me in a sloooow death.

Lady Glamis said...

My reading hasn't started for the year since I'm still finishing up my current manuscript. I don't read while I'm writing. I get too distracted.

Also, I have to edit on a printed copy. It also helps to read it out loud.

PJ Hoover said...

LOL, Lois! My computer I realize doesn't have enough memory. Actually my Mac doesn't either, but I'm going to upgrade it!

I totally understand on not reading while writing, LAdy Glamis. I feel like I'm stealing time away from my brain.

Hope you guys have a great weekend!

Solvang Sherrie said...

I totally agree with you on printing out the manuscript. It's amazing how much more you notice when it's not on the screen! I should take it away from home, too. The interruptions are wearying...

PJ Hoover said...

Totally wearying, Sherrie. And the library is downright peaceful!

Kelly H-Y said...

How funny ... the spring in our garage just went out two weeks ago! After an agonizing conversation with Sears (mind you, we needed to leave for school, work, etc. ... these things don't happen when you DON'T have somewhere to be!), I headed straight for the paper-version of the phone book and found a fantastic company who took care of us that day!
I completely agree with you ... printing out your manuscript (vs. reading on the computer) gives such a wonderfully different perspective! And, what a great idea to leave the house/home office to do it ... get away from all the potential distractions!
Have a wonderful weekend!

Devon Ellington said...

I often find that when I take a manuscript with me to a different location, I can really look at it with different eyes.

I do that for writing as well as editing.

Good for you!

PJ Hoover said...

Kelly, that is exactly what happened with me and Sears and all that! Too funny! And I found a great small company in the phone book!

Devon, I am truly convinced printing it and reading it is the way to go! Not to mention it's a nice change.

Beth Kephart said...

It is essential (and oh so hard) to try to see one's own work in a brand new light. Congrats on having the foresight to do that.

Patty P said...

Hey! Love your 3-column blog! Looks good.

PJ Hoover said...

Thanks, Beth! I'm so glad I did it. And it was such a getaway!

Thanks, Patty! I worked long and hard getting the three columns. There's just so much stuff I wanted there with the reading list.

Nora MacFarlane said...

I haven't read Neil Gaiman's book yet. I did read Coraline. It was good, but it gave me the creeps. However, I believe that was the intent.

I'm going to try your library suggestion. I've been revising on the computer. It always looks different in print!

PJ Hoover said...

Coraline was super creepy, Nora. In just an excellent, adorable way. I actually loved it, more than The Graveyard Book.
Have fun at the library!

Sheryl said...

You probably won't go back and read this but I LOVED Fan Boy and Goth Girl...

PJ Hoover said...

It was just making me really sad, Sheryl. Maybe after my kids move out :)