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12 Books in 12 Months

writing books and blogging about it

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isabelallende

What Is Literary Fiction, Anyway?

Pic © the fantastic Tom Gauld (http://www.tomgauld.com/)

As you may already know, for this November’s National Novel Writing Month I will mostly be writing a work of literary fiction. 

I was originally going to do a graphic novel, but if I stick with that there’s no point signing up because I won’t reach NaNoWriMo’s 50,000 word target even if I take the whole month off work and do nothing but write and draw.  And given that NaNo is one of the main reasons 12 books in 12 months happened, it seems churlish to ignore it this time round.

So I’ve switched, and now the graphic novel is going to happen in December and will probably be a three panel strip about Santa or something.  Well, actually it’s more likely to involve a series of cartoons about me trying to write 12 books in 12 months… But I digress. 

A couple of folk have asked me, “hey Ali, what do you mean by literary fiction?  Surely the word ‘literary’ derives from the Latin ‘litterārius’ simply meaning ‘of or used in writing’?  Are not all your books then literary fiction, as they are written down?”

Continue reading “What Is Literary Fiction, Anyway?”

End of Books: The Return

“I’ve got an idea for your blog,” Bob said mysteriously at the office tea point one morning, “but I won’t tell you about it now, I’ll speak to you later.”

Then he vanished into the mist like he’d never been there at all.  Being as how I’m not much of a pre-10am person this was a little befuddling.  Why was our office so misty, and on a sunny day?  Still, an hour or two of putting together resource packs sorted me right out.  By the time he reappeared to expound on his idea, I was alert as a tack.

Continue reading “End of Books: The Return”

I Have Questions

Further to Monday’s shout out for guest bloggers, for the rest of this week I am answering the queries of Andrew Blair, an Edinburgh-based writer of comedy and other things.  You can see some of his work on this website, or follow him on Twitter @aagb1884.

Tuesday 26/4/11, 08:00

Ali,

I have been reading your blog sporadically. I have questions.

Number 1. You are writing in 12 different genres. This is not a question. What genres of books do you predominantly read and have you enjoyed the experience in researching others? That is a question.

Andrew

Tuesday 25/4/11, 13:01

Andrew,

I don’t really have a favourite genre, although I lean towards books with a sense of humour and quite like things with a fantastical element.  I also like a lot of YA and kids books, and Scottish fiction.

To give some examples: some of the best and funniest books I’ve ever read are the Mr Gum series by Andy Stanton, which I’d recommend to anyone (even though they’re really aimed at 8 year olds).  Meanwhile in fantastical terms, I go from the very dense prose of Isabel Allende to Neil Gaiman‘s Sandman graphic novels with a bit of future dystopia from Aldous Huxley or Margaret Atwood along the way.

In terms of YA, I’ve recently enjoyed stuff by Holly Black and Gemma Malley, as well as The Gates by John Connolly who started out writing adult crime novels.  You can read the first chapter on his website, and I think it’s awesome.

Great kids books I’ve read lately include The Girl Who Could Fly by Victoria Forrester and The Secret Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart.  I’d also recommend Steve Augarde‘s ‘Touchstone Trilogy’ which is suitable for 11+.  Good Scottish novels include The Ossians by Doug Johnstone and The Incredible Adam Spark by Alan Bissett, and anything by Muriel Spark…  Essentially I like to think I’ll give anything a go, and as such my ‘to-read’ list is very, very long.

In terms of research for 12 books, so far I have probably enjoyed the romance month the most because the genre is often unintentionally very funny.  It’s quite rare to find a romance book that is genuinely romantic, I think partly because a lot of authors tend to get caught up in sex scenes – one of the reasons why I decided to go for unrequited love, actually – and these are notoriously difficult to write well.

Ali

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