Writing and Reading

While I have been on my Big-Five-Oh birthday gift to myself writing retreat, I have also been reading. So far, I have worked my way through a re-read of the whole Ben Aaronvitch’s Rivers of London series and I am nearly finished with re-reading Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series (minus the more recent co-author or other author Pern books).

Why am I rereading books I have already read many times before, particularly in the case of the Pern books? I am reading them not just for the joy of the story but also to see and analyze how two authors who I admire have constructed their stories and series as a whole and from various writing perspectives.

What this past two months of reading and writing has shown or revealed to me is that I have a preference for multiple person point of view / main character stories or at least multiple threads of story interwoven over a single main character’s point of view with one story arc.

McCaffrey’s Pern books are almost always, with the exception of the YA books, multiple main characters with multiple threads of story. While Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London series is from the POV of PC Peter Grant, each book weaves in multiple strands of story, including one series long story thread. One of the things that I also like about Jane Austen books is that by and large her stories are also ensemble stories, even if we see the story from the POV of one or two main characters.

The novel length story I wrote from 2015-2017, A Quiver Full, was a multiple character POV story. I started writing it as a short story for a writing challenge and it was originally written from the POV of two characters, after I expanded it to novel length – several more characters demanded their share of the conversation and stage time. After the fact, I got the feedback from a reader that it should have more of the romance of just two characters and not so much of the other stuff.

After finishing writing A Quiver Full, I printed it out, then I put it up on a shelf for a bit of aging before I reread it and started rewriting. It was six weeks on the shelf when I received the above feedback, which hit me enough of the wrong way that the first draft has stayed on the shelf and I started writing a whole new novel in December of 2017.

This second novel is from one character’s point of view. It is meant to be a humorous mildly unreliable narrator story wherein by the end the reader should be questioning if the main character really was all that and more or if we want our hero to be heroic rather than a mere man. Now more than seventy percent of the way through writing the story, I find myself longing for more strands of story – not in the novel I am writing now but in general.

Then it hit me about a week ago, as I was knee deep in my Pern reread that I prefer multiple characters with third person limited POVs in the plural to one or two main characters. I want more story, I want more points of view, and I want to be stretched. When I return back to California, I will be ready to take A Quiver Full off the shelf and start the rewrite.

But before I can do that, I have got to finish writing my one guy and his POV story.

Whimsy Hanging from the Ceiling at Hafez

Whimsy Hanging from the Ceiling at Hafez

05.27.18 – The Persian restaurant, Hafez, on Hereford Rd in the border-land that could be Bayswater or it could be Notting Hill, has a rather wondrous approach to interior restaurant decor. There are cookbooks everywhere, the walls and ceilings are festooned with antique and vintage silver and brass culinary and serving implements. Hafez is a delight to not only eat really good food but also a delight for the eyes.

This was directly above our seats this evening. Photo taken by Ms. Jen with her Lumia 950 camera phone.

The Nave at York Minster

The Nave at York Minster

May 25, 2018 – York Minster‘s nave. This cathedral is truly beautiful, next to Salisbury and Chartes it is the most beautiful high medieval gothic cathedral I have ever seen in person.

It has been a thirty year, since spring 1988, goal / life list to come visit this beautifule high gothic cathedral. Rather than go to Spain, my Mom and I decided to travel to Oxfordshire and to Yorkshire via train this week and I am very glad we did.

York is a lovely city.

Looking Out the Window, II

Looking out the Window, II

Black and white film photo taken by Ms. Jen on May 3, 2018 on the 4th fl. of the Tate Modern with her Nikon FM3a film camera, a Nikon Ai-S 35mm f/1.4 lens, and Kodak TMax 400 black & white film.

The digital color version taken with my camera phone can be found here.

* This post was first posted as an Early Access post at my Patreon account.

Ha!

Wed. 25 April, 2018.

When I was a young teen, I attended several sleep-overs where late at night some of the girls played the ‘parlour game’ Ouija.

Not me, as I was tucked into my sleeping bag trying to go to sleep. When they would encourage me to get up and join them, I would decline. One time I watched the first ten minutes of the proceedings but was considered a joykiller as I kept asking if it wasn’t their hands moving the game piece to get the answer they wanted.

I was sent back to my sleeping bag.

The second time this happened, I was in the state of nearly asleep when my friend Tiffany screamed, “Jenifer!! The Ouija board says you are going to die in your forties!”

“That’s nice, I am going to sleep.”

Fast forward to yesterday. My fiftieth birthday. As of today, I am officially completely out of my forties and am not going back.

Take that, Tiffany’s Ouija board!

******

p.s. Happy 15th Birthday to this Blog Today!

p.p.s. This post was originally posted as an Early Access post at my Patreon.

The Borg Has A Tree, I

The Borg has a Tree, I

A london plane tree to be exact…

Today, Saturday, March 31, 2018, I was exploring the back by-ways that would allow me to arrive at my favorite gluten-free bakery in London all the while avoiding the mess of Oxford Street when I found this new post-modern contemporary contemporary building in Fitzrovia with a poor, pre-leafed out London plane tree standing bravely in the rain defending the neighborhood from the Borg.

Good job, Plane Tree. I still have my own mind and life.

Photo taken by Ms. Jen with her camera phone type object.

* Photo and text originally posted as a Early Access post at my Patreon.

It has been a Rough Morning here at Camp Hanen

Ms. Belle has had a rough morning...

Tues. 03.06.18 – The fabulous Ms. Belle has had a rough and tiring morning here at Camp Hanen!

She woke me up at 6:00am to go out to use the doggy potty, it was cold and windy while she minded her chores. From 6:30am to 8:00am, she carried on a heavy kiss bombardment and foot stepping/stamping campaign to get me to feed her breakfast before 8am.

After her hard won breakfast, she got up on the bed and promptly went back to sleep.

Back to Plain Ole WP Vanilla Comments

Mon. 03.05.18 – I was using the Disqus Commenting plugin here for the last three plus years, but was never fond of it in the first place as it violates my Own Your Own Stuff on the Internet as much as Possible policy. The very idea of a hosted comment system when one has a self-hosted blog seems a bit silly.

Last week, when I read that Disqus had been amongst the legion with a data breach, I decided to ditch it. I have reset Black Phoebe :: Ms. Jen back to plain old WordPress comments and have added a plugin that makes all comments literal, thus no scripting. In addition, comments are now moderated and comments close after a week.

I welcome your thoughts, comments, and really – I don’t anticipate a flood of spam as one of the delights of the alledged death of blogging is that the spammers have gone elsewhere.

😉