NaNoWriMo Update

I have tried on a couple of occasions to record a podcast about A Question of Honor, but I find myself embarrassingly forgetful of some details. I opened it up today, for instance, and I discovered that I had completely forgotten a character in the book. My reaction was “Oh, that’s right. Now I remember who that was.” Kind of embarrassing. I think I need to refresh my memory on some details before I record more podcasts about the process of writing that book.

My NaNoWriMo novel Quicksand is beginning to live up to its title. I am really happy with how it’s going. I had an idea today that meant I would need to do some substantial rewriting and revising, and that’s hard to do on a NaNo schedule. I wound up adding a chapter near the beginning and changing some details here and there, but in the end I think I fixed nearly everything I need to fix to make my new idea work. I think once I’m done, I’ll print out the book so I can see it in print and made revisions that way. It is hard for me to read something as lengthy as a book on the computer (which is one reason why my PDF of Kelly Gallagher’s Readicide has gone so long unread on my computer).

I am caught up on the word count despite taking a day off on Friday. I have 23,390 words written (the suggested word count for today is 23,333). I’m happy about how naturally the writing is coming. I didn’t make an outline, which I suspect will mean I will have some inconsistencies to clear up.

I wondered how long the average adult novel is, and I found a fairly good word count guide at Tristi Pinkston’s blog. The 50,000-word requirement for NaNoWriMo will yield a fairly short adult novel or long young adult novel. I think I read somewhere that it’s about 170 pages, but I assumed that count referred to word processor pages rather than typeset pages. If you figure 250 words per page, as Pinkston suggests, then I have written about 93.5 pages. I tried Pinkston’s trick with a Matthew Pearl book and estimate it might have between 92,500 and 111,000 words, depending on the number of words per page. I don’t want my book to be that long. I picked up a copy of Finn by Jon Clinch, which looks about as long as I want my book to be, and I estimate it at about 70,000 to 84,000 words using Pinkston’s method. Thus, 50,000 isn’t going be enough. I just need to get to 50,000 by November 30, but I think I’m going to need to keep writing if I want my book to be about the average length for an adult novel. I am going to shoot for about 75,000, and we’ll see. I was glad I found Pinkston’s post because word counts mystify me. Still, as Pinkston says, what you really need to focus on is how many words you need to tell the story. The way I figure it, if you’re talking word count, I’m almost at the point where Siddhartha ends, and I am not nearly done; yet, Siddhartha is a well-written, influential novel, and I have never heard anyone complain it’s too short to tell its story.

Question of Honor Podcast #1

On the way home from dropping my daughter off to stay with her father for the weekend, I decided to record this podcast using my iPhone. I didn’t edit it much, and as such you can hear some mild road traffic and the windshield wipers slapping every now and then, but I think it works. It’s informal—just me talking about some elements of writing my book. With NaNoWriMo beginning this weekend, I have been reflecting on the process of writing the last book I completed, and I really wanted to record these thoughts in the form of a podcast rather than writing so that I could turn off the editor and just talk.

A Question of Honor #1

BookCast Podcast

I started doing something new with my classes each Friday this year.  I shared book reviews for books I thought they might enjoy.  Over time, in order to save class time, I began recording these reviews as BookCast podcasts.  I am not sure if my students are listening to them or enjoying them (they don’t know it, but using the class blog and responding to what I do for them at that site will be a grade requirement next semester), but I thought I’d post them here as well, for those of you readers who might truly enjoy them.  Keep in mind the podcast is aimed at teenagers; however, you might find some new reading material among the reviews.

BookCast 1: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll and The Coffin Quilt by Ann Rinaldi.

BookCast Episode One

I’ll add the other BookCasts over the next few weeks and from thereafter, I’ll cross-post the BookCasts here.

Between the Lines: The Commoner

The subject of this week’s episode of Between the Lines, a book review program broadcast on Atlanta’s NPR affiliate WABE, is John Burnham Schwartz’s The Commoner. My tastes tend to skew Western, but this book sounds very interesting. It’s definitely going on my to-read pile, which is growing quite large while I am taking two online professional learning courses — I haven’t had as much time to read fiction as I’d like.

You can listen to this week’s show and learn more about The Commoner by clicking the plus sign on the flash player below. I finally subscribed to the weekly podcast so I won’t miss any more episodes.

Download link

Do you have any literature-related podcasts to recommend?  Feel free to discuss in the comments.