I've been slugging through Cassandra Clare's CITY OF GLASS, which was difficult to get into, difficult to put down through the middle, and hard to finish toward the end. I don't know what's wrong with me, whenever I get to just before the final conflict, I lose interest - I mean come on, I've been waiting for this for 300+ pages, why don't I want to know the outcome? I've got to get through it tonight once I get back from seeing Love and Other Drugs because Saturdays are now to be my review days.
CITY OF GLASS is pretty good. Better than the earlier ones, I think. The series is a guilty pleasure of mine - you know, I should be reading something classy and taxing on the brain, but while I'm going through revisions, the last thing I want to do is strain myself any more. Simon has been consistently pleasing, and the Clary and Jace problems have resolved nicely. I've got something like 100 pages left.
The HSC results were released yesterday, the Honour Roll was in the newspaper, and I read through it all. Now, you probably don't know this, but the general consensus around here is that I will top English Extension 2 and Modern History, and that I'll get an ATAR of 99. People want me to go to Sydney, or NSW. I want to go to Oxford or Cambridge. Yeah, England. So I was looking at this list, and then I looked over the syllabus for Years 11 and 12.
Half of my HSC will be Russia, the Revolution and the like, the other half will be the Arab-Israeli Conflict (with Crusades topics in Ancient History). This morning, I bought DOCTOR ZHIVAGO (and came across a snooty Dymocks clerk), a HOLY BIBLE (to study as background text for English, Art and History) and a whole lot of $2 old classics from Vinnies.
Character voice. I have a cast of six. Six characters that used to sound exactly the same are being slowly beaten with a club into six individuals. It's working, yes, but I may be developing some form of psychosis.
How do you deal with character voice? Do you believe that you should be able to pull out anything a character says and be able to put it aside and know exactly who said it? Personally, I don't use adverbs as dialogue tags. Hell, I pretty well only use the "he said, she said" tags, if I even use tags. I like changing the dialogue patterns itself and the physical movements of the speaker.
For example, say we have Ronan. Alright. So Ronan is reclusive, bookish and very clever. He doesn't have good social skills, so his initial words are usually stammers, he fidgets and pulls at his clothes/hair/etc., and he can't make eye contact. He talks with his hands, especially when he's explaining. He's one of those people who talk in long sentences, having to explain every little thing, and make sure that everything's thorough and he has left no room for doubt or for anyone to debate with him. (:
Christmas Traditions. I don't know about you, but I have certain things that happen around my house during the holiday break. December 1st is The Day the tree goes up. We always watch the Lord of the Rings movies (Well, I do. Everyone else watches the first half hour of the Fellowship and then fall asleep). We always have a Christmas Pudding. We always have turkey and special sauce on Christmas Day at my Aunt's. Those are my family's.
I personally abandon Facebook for five days before and after. I exchange presents with my best friend, B. I read The Picture of Dorian Gray and Brideshead Revisited. Every Christmas. Yeah. (: I'm starting new traditions this year. I'm not going to touch my manuscript all day Christmas. Not once. I will watch my top Doctor Who five. I will drive to my Aunt's. I will not be the first person up and making breakfast.
So what are your traditions if you have any?
The one thing I know you want to hear about. My revisions. Oh, my. Revisions are going slow. RETURN is giving me a head ache and I want to stab a spork in my eye. My character problems are only the beginning. I think I need to move my desk - maybe work in my bedroom. The light is terrible and I'm losing interest really easily. Thankfully, I've restructured one of my antagonists so now she rocks instead of sucking. I'll probably need to redo my settings, particularly in the cityscape. Some of the dialogue is a bit cheesy and I've been working my fingers to the bone trying to mould the Cast of Six into real people. Hopefully it's working.
So for those of you who are revising, how's it going? I'll probably start doing a series of revision posts, give you some link lists, my own opinions from my experience. I might do a photo blog next and show you the set-up. The post-its, the wall scribbles, the tape and The Folder. Oh, yeah, it's capitalised. I have profiles, maps, etc. (:
In the mean time, I'm going to the movies.