I read Divergent in November during NaNoWriMo

As the title says, I read Veronica Roth’s Divergent (only the first book) in November (when I was not writing)

I usually prefer books before movies, but this one I happened to see the movie first. I had heard about the trilogy before and had read an article about the ending of the trilogy and about the author justifying that ending (yes, I know the ending even though I have not read it, but no ,more spoilers here please).

I watched the movie on a gigantic plane on my way to India. Twice. Because I liked it. Then I decided to get my hands on the book and more or less gobbled it up whole. 🙂

I like the idea of the factions, the world seems quite well thought out, the words are simple, it’s a quick read, it’s YA, and I like the heroine – even though the movie gave me a quite skewed look on what she look like. I like the dystopian future books (sadly I suck at writing dystopian futures, but I would very much like to write one some day).

Apparently the Divergent trilogy has been compared to the Hunger Games trilogy, and I happened to come across the following article comparing the words of the most popular YA authors of today:

Divergent trilogy, by Veronica Roth: A textual analysis comparing it to the Hunger Games, Harry Potter, and the Twilight series..

This is the article before the above one, I recommend reading it too:

Hunger Games: Catching Fire: A textual analysis of Suzanne Collins’ novels, and Twilight and Harry Potter too..

I think the links in the images with the text analysis is not working, so here is a link to the full image: Most common sentences, by author

 

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Inspired

I’m not sure if I should write this or if my writing streak will end just because I’m telling others about it.

The other day I started thinking about Cupid (you know the god of love) and I did some research and found out that he fell in love with Psyche (I remembered he fell in love with someone, but not whom). I forgot all about it until 5 am one morning when I woke up to feed my baby. A thought hit me and I couldn’t stop thinking. I wanted to write it down, but I was too tired to get out of bed and find a paper and pen (or start up my computer) so I just laid in bed, eyes closed and thought. I thought as I would read a book. I thought in sentences, forming paragraphs and chapters in my head, afraid I’d forget it if I didn’t think. So I lay in bed, just thinking thinking thinking, and when baby woke up again at around 7 I got up and started writing. And I have been writing ever since, producing 5000+ words every day.

I’m currently on the 4th day and have some 18’000 words to show for it, and they’re still coming. The words are still flowing (now, just because I write this the flow will stop, I’ll complain to you if it does 😉 ) and I’m so surprised that they are. Because usually I have flow for the first couple of thousand words, then it slows down until it’s merely a dribble, but not now.

So I’m writing a love story in Swedish! (yeah, I know, and it’s actually intelligible Swedish, not something that’s chopped up and half filled with English words! (Okay, some English words find their way in, but it’s usually if I’m thinking of an English phrase to which there is no direct Swedish counterpart.

I don’t have time to write more here, I’m gonna turn off internet and continue on the story

*dances away singing to herself*  I’m in love with my characters

Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night and had a superdupermegaidea?

Confessions

I have something to confess. Well, actually a couple of somethings.

1. I still haven’t finished the Twilight saga by Stephenie Meyers. I read the first book, barely managed to get through the second and stranded somewhere between the middle and the end on the third. Haven’t even looked at the fourth.

2. I said I was going to read 50 Shades of Grey. Failed that one too. Think I fell off the wagon somewhere around mr Grey sending Ana a first edition of Wuthering Heights, or was it Sense and Sensibility? (I’m thinking the picture of Dorian Grey would have been very fitting here) worth loads of money, and an email exchange between mr Grey and Ana which ended with them both in her bed.

This got me thinking. Why couldn’t I finish these books, although the rest of the world seems to worship them (okay, not the whole world, I know I have fellow human beings out there who haven’t even touched these books).

In both, the main character is a boring girl/woman. Very plain, clumsy, single…

And then there is this hot, smexy, wonderful malecounterpart, very opposite the girl. Outspoken, powerful, dangerous, agile etc.

In both series they think it’s a bad idea to get together, still they get together.

Okay, here I have to stop, because I actually don’t know what happens in 50 Shades, and I still have to read the final Twilight book. I’m probably not the first one to draw these parallels, but I just realised this, so to me it’s news.

And then comes The Question: WHY? Why are these books so popular? Are girls/women so insecure that they like to read about other insecure girls/women who happen to come across hot guys who happen to be really really into them? Is it a dream most women have? Or is it something else?

How to write a novel: the 30-day method

After failing pretty badly (okay, I shouldn’t say fail, because I did write over 20’000 words) in NaNoWriMo, I’ve re-thunk my ambitions and my goal with writing. And I realised I don’t really NEED to be published. It would be a nice side effect, but what I mostly want is my books in my bookshelves, and with todays POD and everything I could basically just slap together a jumble of words and pay for postage etc. and then I WOULD have my book in my bookshelf.

Then we come to the actual writing part, because my brain is flooded with ideas and plots and characters that are just waiting there, with the grey dust between my ears, playing chess, waiting to come out. I always write about writing, but lately I’ve done more thinking about writing than actual writing. That makes me a bit sad. I’ve been “home” for Christmas and New Years (visiting my parents) and I haven’t had access to a computer all the time (nor have I actually had the time to sit in front of the computer either) but I’ve somewhat had the urge to write. Now when I have a computer I’m sitting here, staring at the screen and thinking ‘what now?’

So my New Years resolution is going to be to finish at least one novel this year. And I found this to help me and you, if you’re in the same swamp as me:

How to write a novel | How the 30-day method works | Books | The Guardian.

Write on! 🙂

Stephen King On Writing

I finally ordered the book (from Amazon) and it arrived a couple of days ago. I haven’t had time to start reading it (trying to get throuhg 50 Shades of Grey. Yes, me too. Although I’m struggling and desperately want to shake the main character Ana so that her teeth fall out. Hello? anybody home? I’m stuck at page 100-something, after the first sex-scene. I got through it (okay I admit, I skipped some parts – if I wanted to read about sex I would have bought playboy) and was so disgusted by the end of it that I put the book down… I could go on, but I’ll dedicate a whole post to that book later on)

Back to On Writing; I have somewhat big expectations, like some revelation is going to occur after I’ve read it. (I’m talking about On Writing here, not 50 Shades… keep your pants on) I’ve heard so many good comments about that book that I’m sort of daunted to even open it. I’m a huge fan of Stephen King (although his writing scare the shit out of me. My favourite is The Running Man and The Langoliers (however that is spelled) and I hate Misery <.< ) Now I’m sort of afraid I’m going to be disappointed when I read it, so I try to postpone it…

Maybe I should just take the bull by the horns and read it and stop procrastinating. Would be good if I had read it before November starts.

(50 Shades is still bothering me… I’m one of those who, once something is started, it has to be finished no matter how pointless it is. Although I never finished the 3rd Twilight book, I read the first and second, so I’m thinking I should at least read the first book in the 50 Shades-trilogy. But I’m having a hard time…)

How to Write Funny

Janet Evanovich is one of the few authors that has written a book that has made me laugh. And she has written several, some more laughable, some less, but her writing is still entertaining to read, and sometimes snort-out-funny. Reading her works made me think; what makes it funny? Is it the characters? is it the plot? or is it the scene and setting that makes it funny? the dialogue?

I don’t remember which book of Ms Evanovich’s many, but one piece of dialogue stuck with me: (I’ll try to remember it as accurately as possible, because I haven’t got the books here with me now)

“Maybe the second button doesn’t explode it. Maybe the beaver sings a song or something.”

“The button says BANG!”

“It could be mislabeled.”

It might not be that funny taken out of context, but it had me doubled over when I read the book. There are different sorts of funny of course. I wouldn’t put Douglas Adams Hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy and Janet Evanovich’s books in the same fun-category. Evanovich’s is more character-do-or-say-funny-stuff-or-behave-clumsily, while The Guide is more wittily (is that a word?) funny. If you could combine them, would you create a self-combustible novel that cracks everything up? or would it be a flat fall? Obviously you CAN try too hard at being funny. But where’s the line and how do you do it?

I’m currently trying to write a sort-of-funny novella or short story (don’t know how long it will be yet) called Off-piste, you can read it here (so far only two parts are up.) The premise is:
Jessica’s friend bought her a trip to the Alps as a birthday gift but unfortunately Jess is less than average on skis. Getting help from the skiing instructor is not really something she wants to do, especially not when he’s so cute and she is more prone to go freight train down the slopes rather than slalom.
Please tell me if I’ve failed. :S

I found this on writetodone:

Humour is a delicate balance of implausible and plausible.

Mathematically it looks like this:  [ T(x) = ½ Be!2×2 ]

Where:

T = the god’s Truth;

B = the belief system by which the Truth is made invisible;

e = the existential quotient discovered by Jack Kerouac in a Mexican cantina;

x = is what we don’t know (although Arthur Black claims to know it).

Oh, yeah, and the “!” is a graphic reminder how serious this is.

Head over there and read about How to Write Funny.

Beginnings – are they easy?

I’ve been thinking for a while (yeah, since June actually) what makes you turn the page? I am still in the middle of a postmortem on Amanda Hocking’s novel Hollowland, the one I wrote about earlier. The one I couldn’t really put down until I had finished. And I don’t even read zombie books! So far I have found out that she ends every chapter with a line that makes the reader ask the question: “What will happen next?” and then turn the page.

(The rest of this post might contain small spoilers for the beginning of Amanda Hocking’s novel Hollowland)

For example the very first chapter ends with:

I didn’t see anything until the zombie dove at Sommer, and she started to scream.

Do you want to turn the page or not? I’d be turning the page faster than I can read. Chapter 2 takes off where chapter 1 ended. And by the time you reach the end of chapter 2 you just want to know what it is that she is watching:

There were definitely zombies, I could see them, but something else made a strange guttural roar. It didn’t really make sense. Then I finally put it together, and I stopped and stared.

And you want to know: What did she put together? And what is she staring at?

Chapter 3 ends with:

Then there was a loud clatter, followed by a gun going off, and Harlow screaming.

Again, wouldn’t you want to read more? Find out why there was a gunshot, and if oh-my-gosh is Harlow hurt when she is screaming?

But this page turning-end-of-chapter is all secondary. How can you get someone to turn to chapter 2 unless they’ve read chapter 1 first? And for them to read chapter 1 you need a killer first line. Amanda Hocking has (again in Hollowland) a pretty good one:

This is the way the world ends – not with a bang or a whimper, but with zombies breaking down the back door.

Don’t you want to read the next line? I do. And as I wrote – I don’t even read zombie books.

One of my absolute favourite authors is John Marsden and he starts one of my favourite books like this:

It’s only half an hour since someone – Robyn I think – said we should write everything down, and it’s only twenty-nine minutes since I got chosen, and for those twenty-nine minutes I’ve had everyone crowded around me gazing at the blank page and yelling ideas and advice.

Why should they write everything down? Who are they? Who is the main person? And why are they all so excited about “writing everything down”? This is from Tomorrow when the war began, by John Marsden, the first book in a series of 7. They are really worth reading!

Killer beginnings are hard to write. I wish I had some advice here, but the thing is that it is all up to the reader to decide what is a killer beginning. For example, I stumbled over this Angel Girl « Pine Bookshelf. The beginning isn’t really killing, but quite interesting.

One of them was a man like any other.

and the next paragraph tells us where this common man is sitting in a flight. Why? And why is the row number and seat letter important? The third paragraph starts:

One of them was a man like no other.

This uncommon man is sitting next to the first one (row number and seat letter). The empty seat next to them is for a third man, but he is on the toilet. The three of them are travelling together. Why? And who is the third as of yet unknown man?

It doesn’t suck me right in, but when I somewhat press on, the questions are there, wanting to be answered and so I must read on to answer them.

Have you come across a book with a real killer beginning? What made you continue reading?