I spent a great weekend at the Surrey International Writers' Conference. Susan Juby was there, and she's just as personable in person as her writing would lead you to believe. Ivan Coyote gave a brilliant workshop called Bootcamp for Procrastinators, which was exactly what I needed to hear. Mary Robinette Kowal gave an inspiring keynote speech and a terribly useful workshop on what puppeteering taught her about writing. (I bought her book just so I could get her to sign it, and it was great: Jane Austen plus magic.) And I got my "This Day We Write!" t-shirt to remind me of Robert Dugoni's brilliant Lord of the Rings-inspired rallying cry. I highly recommend all of these authors, and if you are a writer I strongly recommend attending the SIWC next year. It's all kinds of inspiring, and fun, too.
I was almost convinced that I should sign up for National Novel Writing Month, in which one commits to writing 50 000 words in 30 days (seriously!), but having checked it out, I think it might be more distracting than inspiring. (And, let's face it, there's no way I could do it. I can't even write a blog twice a month!) So instead I am going to commit, here, in this most public and non-retractable way, to writing some words in my new novel every day in November. Even ten words counts. And I commit to recording here in the blog the number of words I write.
So I'd better get caught up on all the books I've been meaning to recommend, since I may not have any time left for blogging in November.
The Kneebone Boy, by Ellen Potter, was a great book. I still think so, but I'm going to cheat a little and direct you to Book Aunt's review, because she did such a good job! I second everything she says about the quirky characters, the atmosphere, the surrealism that feels like magic even though technically it isn't, and the very funny writing. I diverge from her opinion only at the end: I thought the ending of The Kneebone Boy was brilliant. Yes, it totally turns all your expectations on their heads, but that just gives the emotional punch more weight. And it makes you rethink everything that went before, in a resonant, many-layers-of-theme kind of way. It's like when you order chocolate mousse for dessert, and it seems all light and sweet and yummy, and then there's a raspberry truffle in the middle.
I just got completely distracted from this blog entry when I went looking for The Kneebone Boy's cover and I found Ellen Potter's blog. She has a great blog, you have to go read it! Particularly this entry: Blame it on Mary. I have a new motto now (to go along with This Day We Write!)(I need another t-shirt): I am the carpetbag. I Am the Carpetbag. If that isn't inspiring, I don't know what is. (Just go read her blog entry; I can't possibly do it justice.)