Writer’s Block & NaNoWriMo

Confession: I have writer’s block.

Yes, I’ve already heard the classic argument that there is no such thing as writer’s block. And to a certain degree, I buy it: writer’s block should never be used as an excuse to avoid putting words on a page. Whether I feel like doing so or not, I sit down every week and complete my allotted writing hours, even when it means working on a project I’m not as excited about (editing, penning proposals, etc.) while I wait for inspiration to strike my fiction-writing brain.

But believe me: writer’s block is a genuine condition. Sadly, the past few months have afforded me plenty of personal experience upon which to ground that theory.

Approximately nine months ago, I finished writing (I’ve been told by my test readers) my best novel yet. Continue reading “Writer’s Block & NaNoWriMo”

Livin’ in Pearl-adise

An Advisory: To my male readers, I hereby issue fair warning: the following is an unequivocally girly blog post. Read at your own risk.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get down to the important stuff: pearls.

This past week, I was fortunate enough to take a short business trip to Beijing. (I know; boo hoo for me, right?) It really was a work trip, so I didn’t have much time to explore Beijing’s touristy side. But there was one spot I knew I had to make it to, even if it meant facing off with Beijing’s infamous rush hour traffic to get there: Hongqiao Market (a.k.a: the Pearl Market).

As a pearl enthusiast, I’ve been hankering to pay Hongqiao a visit since my move to China. Having now made the trip, I can officially endorse it; if you share my fashion icons–women like Jackie Kennedy, Grace Kelly, and the incomparable Audrey Hepburn–you’ll want to make a stop there, too. Continue reading “Livin’ in Pearl-adise”

Calligraphy & Character

This week at the Consulate, one of the local Chinese staff complimented my handwriting. She said it was beautiful, then added (incredibly sweetly): “Just like you!”

I’m not sure such glowing praise was warranted, but it led to my friend sharing with me one of China’s ancient idioms:

Zì rú qí rén.

Or, in its more stunning native script:

Character Like2Translation? “The character is like the person.”

In other words: Someone’s writing, the physical style of their words, is a reflection of the author’s being. Beautiful writing evidences a beautiful psyche; strained writing is the exterior reflection of a tormented interior. Continue reading “Calligraphy & Character”

Meditative Books & Movie Rights

As an aspiring novelist, I have a semi-psychotic relationship with contemporary books.

Obviously I love reading. And there are plenty of books I enjoy “well enough”–unique, entertaining reads I wouldn’t mind recommending. These are books about which I can’t complain. But there’s also not much I-wish-I’d-gotten-there-first about them, either. For me, Anita Amirrezvani’s The Blood of Flowers and Cathy Marie Buchanan’s The Painted Girls fall in that category.

Then there are the books that have my husband making this face:

Dog Hiding His Face

Why? Because for weeks days, I’ll periodically burst into a rant about how terrible Book X was. How unappealing the characters. How poorly researched. How unbelievable the conclusion. I’ll now confess that my husband was right (I really hope he doesn’t read this): the fury I felt over the ending of Veronica Roth’s Divergent Trilogy was perhaps disproportional (though not nearly so much as that of those making death threats over it). But I’ll save my Allegient thoughts for a future post. Continue reading “Meditative Books & Movie Rights”