This month is getting back to normal, though my writing has stalled for obvious reasons—a new semester. On top of this, I didn’t really send my new novel out to as many agents as I would have liked, but I did get valuable feedback on my query letter from a real agent.
First off, I wanted to get into a little writing again, so I whizzed through ‘Save the Cat.’ Now, essentially, this is a book for script writing, but the basic does apply to all stories. The one drawback or disclaimer, rather, would be the fact that the guy had few good credits to his movie scripts made—Blank Check, and Don’t Move or My Mom Will Shoot. Still, most of it was on point and good guidance.
Second, I found a cheap version of Treasure Island and thought it wouldn’t be bad to see what this classic had to offer. However, sometimes that thinking is wrong. I had an unbelievably hard time getting through this book. For one, the writing was dense and not very direct. Secondly, it all seemed so ‘done before’ and maybe only because it was the book that had started all of it in the first place. Maybe if I had read when I was younger, then I would’ve enjoyed it more, but as is, I couldn’t wait to finish.
To bid my time while reading the above, I jumped into Moonwalking with Einstein. This book was exactly what I was looking for, especially when it came to non-fiction. So many writers nowadays have latched onto Malcolm Gladwell’s way of presenting non-fiction, that few actually know how to do it well. Here, with Foer—the author—he knows what he’s doing, and he should. He’s the younger brother of Jonathon Safran Foer. Overall, good read.
After that, I wanted to see how the professionals did it and read Patterson’s Pop goes the Weasel. This guy is supposed to be a pro and all, but—wow!—what nonsense. The book was a whopping 450 pages, but barely any of it played well or piqued my interest. Furthermore, the main character, Alex Cross, came across as unbelievable and annoying. I wasn’t sure what aspect of the book was supposed to be good because all of it sucked. The only good thing was that it was written at such a low level of ability that it took me three days to read. Seriously, this is not even brain candy. It’s like brain mush because you don’t need many brain cells at all to get through it.
Then, almost as if I were jumping from one pole to the opposite, I read Train Dreams. Here—thought a short book at 114 pages—this guy had mounds of things to wade through. I took me two days to read, and over two weeks to mull and tweeze out all the details. It’s a puzzle of a book that is so cleverly hidden and wrapped in a setting of slow industrialization that most I would have to believe miss the best parts. Wonderful book.
Lastly, I read Appointment in Samarra. I’ve wanted to read this book for a while, and although not whole-heartedly impressed by it, I did enjoy the straightforward narrative. It felt in vein with Rich Man, Poor Man—just plain, old good story. Ultimately, the story ended sharply—which I’m still not sure why the author did so—but I walked away feeling pleasant enough.
Progress on 2017 goals
- Finish Crasher: Done—sent to: 0 this month. Total: 82 agents
- Read Life: A Manual: Done
The Fountainhead: Done
Here I Am: Done
Ship of Fools: Done
Tess D’ubervilles: Done
Middlemarch: 300 pages.
- Send ‘All the Things in the Unknown World’ to agents: 225—done!
- New Book: Brief Lives: finishes at 83,000 words.
Next Month’s Agenda
I hope to go through Brief Lives for editing and possibly send Crasher out to more publishers. I’m still trudging along with Middlemarch, and clearly plan to hit my goal of 75 books for the year. With a trip to Japan, some of this might suffer. We’ll see.