Tuesday, August 25, 2015

What Is the Best Time to Write?

I've recently bumped into an article by +Tanya Golash-Boza in her blog Get a Life, PhD. Her article deals with productivity and shares some tips on when it is better to write and how often you should engage in this activity. From her personal experience, she says that she gets up before everybody's awake and devotes this time to writing because that's the time when she's the most productive. Moreover, she mentions a study that looked into 3 groups of writers. One of them was called “the forced writers” who were to write five days a week. The findings have shown that other writers, who had to produce texts only when they had inspiration to, wrote much less than the forced writers and had few creative ideas. So, the conclusion here is that daily writing is a really fruitful activity especially when you have a lot of deadlines.

I decided to try this method and scheduled to write for two hours from 7 a.m. till 9 a.m. five days a week. I have been following this plan for 4 weeks so far and I have to admit that the results are amazing and you’ll understand why. The timing was perfect because my husband was already at work and my kids were still sleeping (school holidays could not have come at a better time). I was able to arrange my writing space in an ultimate order, turn on my favorite music and plunge into words without being bothered.

As it appeared, I’m really much more productive in the morning because my previous experience of being awake at 2 a.m. and doing what is called “writing” ended up in multiple revisions and editions. But my morning endeavors have brought about lots of original texts with minimum changes afterwards. Isn’t that great?

But let’s move to the actual numbers. So, before my experiment, I wrote approximately 1-1.5 page a day (together with drafting, revising, editing, etc.). But at present, when I follow the schedule I produce 2-3 pages and sometimes even more! Apart from my planned writing sessions, from time to time, I return to my texts several times a day, just because I have inspiration.

Well, you can see it for yourself that the results are incredible, at least for me! It’s totally worth trying, even just because you must always try something new.

So, write and enjoy, my dear friends.

Thank you, +Tanya Golash-Boza for such valuable tips!

The Book Fangirling Blog Award

I have been nominated by A J Colher to take part in a very interesting cross-blog thing. I am pretty excited because it's all about books and you know that I'm a true reading geek and will always be one! So, let's see what it's got.

According to the rules of this blog award I must:
- create a post to accept my award (and I'm doing it right now. It's always cool to accept awards, especially just for loving books!);
- add the blog award button into my post and put it on the side of my blog as a widget (you see the button, as for the widget I'll try to realize it. I'll try hard:);
- answer the questions by A J Colher (the part with the most fun);
- nominee 5-10 book bloggers who also deserve this award;
- make up 5 questions for my nominees;
- notify my nominees that they must link me to their posts for me to see their answers.

Sounds exciting, doesn't it?

Here go the questions:

1. What book would you love to see made into a movie?

Actually, there are more than one story that I'd like to watch on the screen. I am a sci-fi fan and like all the supernatural things but recently I've bumped into a new author, Wilbur Smith. He writes realistic (a bit romanticized) novels about Africa and Egypt and they are so exciting that I just can't pull myself from them (totally worth reading). They are full of bright pictures and I would love to see them in the movie. When you read the books, you'll get what I'm talking about.

2. If you could rewrite the ending of any book, which and why?

"Christine" by Stephen King. I adore this writer and love all of his books. And this one, in particular, attracts me with its extraordinary plot and creative idea. But from the very beginning I could predict the ending and the death of the main character. It was too obvious, so I would modify it by adding a bit of unexpected twists. This way, it would make the book even more interesting.

3. Which fictional character would you love to date?

Khal Drogo from "Game of Thrones". He is gorgeous both in the book and in the TV show. Of course, I would prefer a more contemporary version of him but, you know, if I had an opportunity to date even a tribe man Khal Drogo, I would definitely give it a shot.

4. What is your best memory of early childhood reading/ the book that has had most impact on the rest of your life?

Undoubtedly, "Harry Potter" by J.K. Rowling. The best memories of dreaming about Hogwarts and flying broom.

5. Do you have any pet peeves when it comes to reading?

Of course, "50 Shades of Grey". I won't join the club of its haters. I've read all the books and they are written unquestionably good. Interesting plot, popular types of characters and sex, everything that makes this book successful. But I just can't stand all the fuss that has grown around this book and film. All the people rambling about how fantastic it is or how stupid Anastasia Still is irritate me very much. So, I'll just stop here before I haven't started to expand on it.

My questions:

1. Do you think there are some film adaptations that are actually better than books?
2. Name the book that you used to like in the childhood but now it is not so appealing to you anymore. Give your opinion on why it happens.
3. Which books make you laugh?
4. Does reading help you writing? If yes, then how?
5. Which book do you think your children must definitely read?

My nominees:

1. Nick from Nick's Book Blog
2. Natalie from Book Lover's Life
3. Brittanie from A Book Lover 
4. Kayleigh from A Book Lovers Playlist
5. Becky from Becky's Book Reviews

Hope that my questions are interesting for you!
I am eagerly waiting for your responses.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Under the Dome or What the Hell?

You know I like the word geek because you can fit it to any other word and make it sound cool. It doesn’t mean that “I love reading” sounds lame. But when you present yourself as a reading geek it certainly takes you to another level.
So, as you’ve already got it, I am a true reading geek. And I have all the necessary things to hold that title: clear book weight, a waterproof book cover bath bag and a handmade reading nook. And also I’m a Stephen King’s fan.

To tell the truth, when I heard that there would be a TV show “Under the Dome”, I hadn’t covered the book yet and that wasn’t my priority. First, I decided to watch the series and understand all the fuss around it. And I did.
After the first season, I wasn’t impressed and all this egg thing kind of perplexed me. That was the time when I started a book. As a result, the novel was fabulous as always and the TV show made me quite angry. Finally, my next step was watching the second season of the series. And it went totally wrong. I mean guys, have you opened the book? I’ve got the feeling that the directors only took the names of the characters and the motive of the dome.
The whole deep point of this novel is the power that drives people towards committing horrible things. However, the directors of the TV show considered that the pink stars falling nonsense and the four hands security that must kill Big Jim would be much more interesting. But that’s their call.

The first difference between the book and the show that has struck me much is “Big Jim” Rennie. In the novel it is the most vicious character that wants to transform the dome appearance into his benefit. He encourages the panic, makes people scared and arranges riots and clashes to sabotage the order in the city and all this is done to turn people into the flock of sheep. He doesn’t care about anything (even about his son), he sees only the perspective of taking over the power and ruling. The perfect villain. But what do we see in the show? Although Big Jim is a bad guy, has a meth laboratory, tries to kill Barbie, he also worries about Junior, suffers when his wife dies (who is killed, by the way, by Rennie in the book) and, most importantly, has guilty consciousness. I know that it may draw more attention to the character and people will feel with him maintaining hope that Big Jim will change. But it rarely happens in real life.

The next thing that is greatly different in the book is Junior. The novel says that Junior is a crazy sociopath with a brain tumor who kills two girls and keeps their corpses in the basement. He hates Barbie and by all means tries to mess with him. But in the show he has a kind of relationship with Angie (one of the killed girls in the book) and is very jealous. In due course he changes and has a noble will to help people affected by the dome. Oh, really?

Dale 'Barbie' Barbara is also one of the protagonists that has a controversial character. On the screen he is depicted as a forced-by-the-consequences “criminal” who killed Julia Shumway’s husband and is involved in some shady affairs with debt collection. He is one of the good guys in Chester’s Mill and tries to help the citizens to cope with the dome issues. Well, the book tells us more about his military past, says that he lives in Chester’s Mill for a while and works as a cook in the Sweetbriar Rose. It doesn’t mention anything about his criminal involvement. And I truly don’t understand the reason why this has been added to the show. Maybe to tag more sympathy to the “bad” boy who returns to the good side or more drama to the relationships with Julia, who knows.

Well, I can chew over all the mismatches for a long time. You know, these changes in the TV show really disappoint me. Phil Bushey, the meth cook by the book, is a popular radio DJ? Are you kidding me? And according to the novel the dome doesn’t contract or cause the North Pole. I’ll just stop before I start boiling over the egg thing and the crazy attempts to breed a virus. From pigs. By the school teacher. Genius.

All I want to say is that the TV show has missed all the main points of the novel: bad people very seldom become better; important facts, that can save everybody, don’t always appear on time and the evil triumphs over the good much more often than vice versa. The dome is created to show how people change when they are boxed in. Stephen King wrote a letter to his fans saying that “If the solution to the mystery were the same on TV as in the book, everyone would know it in short order, which would spoil a lot of the fun (besides, plenty of readers didn’t like my solution, anyway). By the same token, it would spoil things if you guys knew the arcs of the characters in advance.” I agree with him at some point but the fact that he was forced to write this letter says it all. Apparently, I’m not the only one who doesn’t like the pink stars falling thing.
I didn’t keep on watching the series because I’m not ready for the new “Easter eggs” the directors have prepared for us. I know that the TV show is not the book but Stephen King’s fans put it on the first place in their watching list simply because it’s done on the motives of their favorite author’s book. And what do they eventually get?
But it’s only my opinion.

And what is yours?

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Take Totes or Take Notes

Academic writing really differs from other kinds of writing and you know that if you are a freelance academic writer. Imagine that academic writing is your new roommate who shares some space with you. Before you start to get along, it takes you a great load of time to get used to each other, to learn the habits and choose the best strategy for effective communication. And it’s all the same with academic writing. Through tries and fails you gain the knowledge of techniques that suit you most and make you productive.

As always I’m eager to share my experience and tell you about one of the greatest strategies that I constantly use in academic writing: note-taking. Let’s take an essay as an example given that it’s the most common academic assignment and examine this technique in practice.
When you are to write an essay, say, on cruelty to animals, the first thing you do is research. While surfing different web pages you spot the most discussed points of this issue and note them:

-          - Cruelty to animals/animal abuse/animal neglect is …;
-          - Laws regarding animal cruelty;
-          - Approaches to the issue;
-          - State of affairs in different countries;
-          - Cecil the Lion.

So, I’ve chosen the most highlighted moments in this sphere and I’ve already got the structural plan for an essay. I start, as always, with introduction where I define the notion and its importance. Then, in the body of the essay I have 3 paragraphs with different directions of the same issue where I expand and, depending on the type of writing, give arguments or your opinion. The last step is the conclusion where I summarize all the above mentioned information and, as you’ve noticed, I’ve noted Cecil the Lion – the most discussed issue in the animal abuse news feed. It can be given as the finalizing example and intensify the impression from my essay with important facts and consistent information.

Now, let’s review what has happened here. While researching the topic I was taking notes because when I try to remember something I want to write about, it lives in my head for about 5 minutes. So, it’s better to write down. Well, apart from helping me to memorize the points that must be included in the essay, notes have also organized the structure of the future paper. Two birds with one shot.

Now you understand the true value of this technique?