Friday, January 27, 2006

Will I Ever Blog Again?

Just checking in briefly to let you know I'm still alive. Thought I'd give you some stats on my novel shrinkage: at the beginning of the month I had 111,000 words, with a goal of 100,000. Right now I have 103,200, so that's about 7 words per page yet to cut. The read-outloud software is helping greatly. It's getting there. Got the whole weekend to take the axe out and hack some more. Taking Monday off of work too.

One of the nice side effects is I'm getting to know my characters better, so that will help me with the pitching/explaining part later.

Unplugging now. Onward!

Friday, January 13, 2006

My-Novel-is-on-a-Diet Blues

Hey, friends, sorry I've been posting so infrequently. I've been UNPLUGGING my network cable and moving the computer to another room, to facilitate Project A: making my big novel less so.

Part of the novel workout is focused on "problem areas." Tons of cellulite in the first few chapters, so I'm going through the same damn text over and over, looking for more to jettison. A fellow student in my writer's class is revising a novel too, and he mentioned that he is using text-to-voice software to hear it outloud. I went WOW! I have been reading it outloud, but if you know how I read, you know that is no help. If the text is bad, I do a pretty good job of covering that up. Not to be full of myself, but my voice makes the little darlings priceless and hard to kill. I can't help it. But a computer voice? I'll try it!

So last night I did. I used free ReadPlease software I downloaded from the net. You can select from several Stepford-wife "readers," both male and female (they even have pictures!), slow it down, pause it, etc. All you gotta do is paste your text into the little window. Here it is reading the imperfect page one of my novel:



It sounds like a distraction, but it actually helped me cut 300 words toward my 10,000 word cut goal last night. The real distraction? Um, blogging...

So, I'm gonna unplug again now, because this capturing-the-screen-shot thing took way too much time.

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Thursday, January 05, 2006

Fall in Love With Jim Carroll (Again, If Applicable)

More web audio! I've just discovered the Naropa University Archive Project on Archive.org. Among the many downloadable lectures (taught by Ginsberg! Burroughs! Baraka! Creeley! Etc!) is a one hour reading by Jim Carroll. He leads with a monologue/story about hanging out with his amusingly superstitious junkie friend Curtis, then gives several kick-ass poems, closing with a tearjerking rendition of "People Who Died," accompanied by the Fugs' Steven Taylor on guitar.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

PW Podcast: Sigrid Nunez

Podcasting has saved my sanity and faith in the world, I think. All my 1980's fantasies of having my own pirate radio station have exploded into the universe of truly free radio. And even better, if I hear something great, I can rewind and hear it again.

Among the many literary offerings, Poets & Writers magazine has joined the party. Paste this string into your ITunes to subscribe:

http://www.pw.org/audio/PW_podcast.xml



The first installment is Sigrid Nunez reading from her new book, THE LAST OF HER KIND. After listening to the excerpt, I can't wait to read it.

Monday, January 02, 2006

More of Why I Love Brooklyn...



The Polar Bears hit the beach! Complete with a serenade from the beautiful Hungry March Band, some brave souls made their way into the icy Atlantic on New Year's Day. People splashing and shouting in all sorts of languages. Others, wimps like me, watching from the rocks nearby. More Tuba!

Special thanks to my husband for taking this groovy photo. He says, "let's go in the water next year!" True, it looks fun, and we do bother to come down every year, why not jump in? But I'm not ready yet. So, the typical answer from me: "we'll see."