NaNoWriMo Update


Our house isn’t put in order yet, and although I have an outline, the stuff connected to my book(s) isn’t put in order either. Ok, it wasn’t that bad until now, but it can be summed up in one quote:

“I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.”

(Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt)

NaNoWriMo – I Must Be Crazy! :D

I am totally doing this!!!

  • What does a griffin actually look like? Noone has ever seen one in my circle… 😛
  • How does it feel to be scratched by a giant dragon and then end up in the ER?
  • What if you woke up one day not being sure whether you were sane or loosing it?
  • How did the silly donkey end up with the Wanderer? Why is there a silly donkey anyway?
  • If you don’t have a heart, and you’re still alive, how does your blood flow in your bloodvessels? Magic might be a tad bit simplistic, right?

So, inbetween stacks of books, I am so determined to be ready for this madhouse by the end of October! But I had to post this, because I know myself – I have to be accountable!

5 Mistakes Nervous/Shy/Humble Writers Commit

In my humble opinion and short experience these are the following:

  • To always double-check everything in the writing process and every time loose a little bit of their confidence.
  • To easily be depressed by any criticism they get.
  • To always think their writing is lacking when they compare it to other pieces of work.
  • To not even try to get acknowledgement or to publish because of the fear of rejection.
  • To talk ill of their own writing or of themselves.

Can anyone relate to this? I know I can. 😦 Sometimes I don’t even have enough patience for myself…

5 Mistakes Nervous/Shy/Humble Writers Don’t Commit

  • To think their idea is very original and genious.
  • To do agressive advertisement on social platforms.
  • To trust the opinions of family members and friends – or anyone who doesn’t criticize harshly their writing, and in the meantime to not take seriously the criticism they get.
  • To do sloppy research or to fail to invest in necessary resources.
  • To boast about their work to every stranger they meet.

Ballads: fairy tales and music

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! 🙂

The Book Wars

I realize that my title above is a little simplistic; ballads are rather more than fairy tales set to music. I could have said that ballads are the fairy tales of the musical world, but that’s not quite it, either. The point I was clumsily trying to compress into a catchy title, however is that:

  • ballads and fairy tales, or rather oral stories, share similar origins:
    • they come from the people
    • at some point they were written down or recorded
    • ethnographers and other trained (or not?) peoples were and are fascinated with the form
    • writing, or recording this work of art necessarily changes it
    • enthusiasts, well-intentioned or not, have gone around for centuries making up their own stories
    • these may be fairy tales, or ballads, if by a looser definition, since they have one author/recorder
    • generally speaking, there are distinct regional variants; sometimes the song/story is found in several countries…

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5 Things To Consider When You Write Your First Novel

1. It’s not a patchwork of novellas or short stories.

That’s how I write my books – a piece of story here, a piece of story there. That’s OK. But you have to see the whole story with all it’s twists and turns and layered or one-sided characters as well, keep the flow and the action, and never leave anything in it just because you felt so good while you were writing it. It’s not a series of novellas, a novel must be homogeneous. You have to write it in a way that when you read it the whole text feels easy, graceful, fluent, as if the writing of it was nothing to you. And if you don’t stop thinking about the whole novel as bits and pieces, it will be visible for the reader as well. After all, everything happens in your mind, and if it’s intermittent, ragged in your head, what’s it going to be on paper?

2. If you get stuck, it’s not just in your head.

I never bought this. When I get writer’s block it’s never because of some mysterious trouble in my head that appeared because of some kind of psychological shenanigan. It’s not just my head playing tricks on me. There was always something wrong with either the plot, or the point of view or the character, or just the concept of the whole thing was flawed. I had no joy in writing it. I postponed it, because it wasn’t the way it was supposed to be. So if you get stuck, think about the reason why. You’ll figure it out!

3. Not everything that you want to write about should fit into this one novel.

When I’ve been writing my first novel I had this big temptation to turn every idea I had into a side-story of the novel I was working on. It’s a very bad idea: you’ll have too many side-stories, most of the ideas will not fit into your main idea, but some of them will be fine on their own – maybe for a short-story or novella, or even another novel. Not to mention if you’re keeping a journal… I’m not saying you cannot get inspiration from it, but not every seemingly brilliant idea should go into your novel. Some of them have to wait, even years maybe. Some of them need to be ripened, some of them need to be buried deeply, some of them need to be thrown out.

4. If the story gets bigger, don’t be afraid to think about a sequel or even a trilogy (mine became a series of 7 novels – yet), instead of trying to stuff everything into one monstruos volume.

The long story isn’t the problem. But it could be a problem if you make one novel as long as The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien + The Illustrated Edition of Salem’s Lot by Stephen King. And instead of cutting up one novel into several volumes, why not make a sequel and so on?

5. Don’t shy away from your friends – show it to them! Who else is there who should read it first?

Feedback is important! At the beginning you’re shy, you hide your novel like the binge-drinker hides the booze from his wife. But you cannot improve your writing otherwise. Criticism is as important and as painful as the growth of teeth. You cry at first but then…

Bookaholic – quote: C.S. Lewis

“All my seven Narnian books, and my three science-fiction books, began with seeing pictures in my head. At first they were not a story, just pictures. The Lion all began with a picture of a Faun carrying an umbrella and parcels in a snowy wood. This picture had been in my mind since I was about sixteen. Then one day, when I was about forty, I said to myself: “Let’s try to make a story about it.” C.S. Lewis: It All Began with a Picture

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen


I will discuss the themes of Jane Austen’s earliest published work, Sense and Sensibility, earlier called Elinor and Marianne. Austen’s niece recorded that the novel was firstly written in epistolary form, and then rewritten in its present narrative form. (Robert Liddell: The Novels of Jane Austen, pg. 13)

The major themes of the novel are of course the central opposing characteristics that of sense and sensibility, proclaimed in the title. The frame, upon which the whole structure of the novel is built up, is this opposition. I can say that in my observation mostly all of Jane Austen’s works are built upon a kind of opposition, a central disharmony of contrasting ideas, like outer appearance and inner wisdom, money and spiritual values, young and aged, men and women, old-fashioned ideas and new ones, marriage and adultery, rich and poor, intelligence and stupidity, manners and feelings, deception of appearances and surprising truth, virtues and follies, etc…

Robert Liddell says that at first the sensibility of Marianne must have been a literary joke, (pg. 16) which is probable, but I don’t think that it’s most important purpose lies in that fact. Though it has a certain air of parody in it, the opposition is not merely ideological, but Austen really searches the human soul and mind through this story of emotions and reason. To read the story only through this idea of opposition between Marianne’s sensibility and Elinor’s rationality would narrow the understanding of the complexity of the novel, but it undoubtedly is of a great importance.

There are parts, in my opinion, when the narrator seems to take this side or the other, balancing between agreeing with one or the other heroine, but on most part of the novel the narrator remains impartial, only showing by fine hints the attitude towards them, and working the whole plot into an almost perfect negotiation between the two major themes, creating a final state of harmony of mind and soul.

The interesting issue is not Elinor finding true, passionate love at the end, but Marianne’s wise and considerate decision to accept Colonel Brandon’s still and restrained love. To the contemporary reader it is of a natural acceptance that happy ending includes the reunion of true and passionate lovers, but in this case it is not so (or to be more precise: not in the manner of how one would imagine the true love to be – no matter how much we have developed a helpless sympathy towards the colonel). But if the reader is attentive, after a time it will be evident that Austen doesn’t treat Marianne’s love as a supreme and ultimate value, nor Elinor’s cool self-control as a model to be followed or a means of teaching, but as different world-views and characteristics that contain precious as well as destructive elements, and which should be over thought again and again. With these opposing ideas the ambiguity and complexity of human nature and life itself is revealed.

The novel can also be read as a Bildungsroman, as the painful and intriguing continuity of change in the characters of the heroines. There is a bit of didactical stream in the novel: Marianne learns a lot about acceptance of others, the value of trustworthy love and patience in human relationships; Elinor learns a lot more about the usefulness of showing emotions in relationships, and about the handling of the overflow of them. There can be said so much more about what they two and other characters learn during the events, and at what extent they do and don’t change, but in my opinion this isn’t the only and most important way of looking at the novel.

Maturity and passion are intertwined at the end, to show at another level the complexity of life: the mature Elinor learns about the depths of passion, and the childish Marianne gets more mature and ready for firm and lasting marriage at the end of the novel.

Another theme could be that of feeling out of place. This is also a common theme in the novels of Jane Austen. For instance in Pride and Prejudice Lizzie feels uncomfortable at home as well as in society, because she can find no interesting and equal match for her taste; in Persuasion it is the same case with Anne. Marianne feels just the same as the other heroines in Austen’s novels, but there is a slight difference between Marianne and the others. In other cases the heroines at least try to fit in, try to accept their fate, and try to understand others. Their fine taste is not looked at with a hint of irony, because they do not represent the naïve and stubborn rebellion, as Marianne does. Marianne feeling of out of place has its roots in egoism and selfishness that is why it is handled with tougher modality. “A large, united and intelligent family must always be tempted to look down on outsiders, and a woman of Jane Austen’s extraordinary gifts, living in a narrow neighborhood, must have almost overwhelming temptations towards an uncandid attitude to society. She would not have regarded the theme as trivial, nor should we: Marianne has, as a besetting sin, a lack of justice, and she habitually neglects a large part of her duty to her neighbor.” (pg. 22)

The impact of Marianne’s repentance is greater upon the reader in the sense that this feeling of not being in the right place is a common human experience, so it catches the reader with great power.

The peace and harmony with nature of the romantic soul is another important sub-theme, which reappears again and again in the Austen-novels. Contemplation, unity with nature are repeated characteristics of the heroines. But in this novel Marianne’s feelings towards nature are handled with a slight irony by Elinor, who is just as able to fall into silent contemplation, and possesses the same romantic quality of loneliness and spiritual superiority.

< “And how does dear, dear Norland look?” cried Marianne.

“Dear, dear Norland,” said Elinor, “probably looks much as it always does at this time of the year. The woods and walks thickly covered with dead leaves.” >

The explanation to this might be in the exaggeration of emotions with which Marianne takes everything, which gives us the queer sense that she goes too near the borderline of being ridiculous.

Money, and subordinate to this, the Cinderella-story, is also a vital theme in this novel. “Several critics have observed that in each of Jane Austen’s novels there is a Cinderella situation. In Sense and Sensibility Elinor and Marianne are turned out of the family place by their father’s untimely death; and their great-uncle’s injudicious will leaves them, their mother and Margaret with a very modest income.” (pg. 25)

In Persuasion the family heads towards bankruptcy, and they have to move out of their home too, while in Pride and Prejudice as if it would not be enough that they live in quite humble circumstances, after the father’s death, Mr. Collins, the ridiculous cousin would inherit the estate. In all of Jane Austen’s novels the poor, but virtuous and intelligent women are greatly rewarded for their uncommon character by fate: they get a good husband, comfortable home and money too. It must have been very important for Austen to highlight the important truth that money is not an honorable thing in itself, and that social rank and power don’t actually tell one’s worth. In addition to this however we can see the stressing and deploring aspects of pennilessness. The states of the heroines are not idealized, and though the main aim of the novel is not a purely social one, it does have a social connotation, and does present a credible social picture of Austen’s contemporary society.

The novel still has a tremendous effect upon readers, and the themes with which Austen works largely contribute to this.