Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Priming the mental pump for NaNoWriMo

I decided to indulge in a trip to the library this morning. I have not been scheduling myself efficiently in recent weeks, and I have not been making enough time in the day to just sit and read away from the computer and its projects. I have plenty of stuff in the house already that I could be reading, but none of it has been grabbing me (though I have been re-reading some Sherlock Holmes stories lately and enjoying them; hadn’t read any of that since I was a young kid).

I decided to go somewhat literary in my library selections this time. My planned novel for NaNoWriMo seems to be a “literary” story as opposed to a genre story. There does, however, seem to be some speculative elements creeping in as I contemplate its outline in my mind. Since I am headed in this direction for the November project—“Literature,” with maybe a dash of genre—I thought I’d pick up some items from the lit shelves. I picked two books by Michael Chabon. He seems to be a guest on public radio shows all the time. Just in the past week, I’ve heard him on at least three different programs. I enjoy listening to him talk, but I have never read any of his stuff. But I know he is a very well-regarded Literature dude who also has a lot of affection for the speculative genres. So I selected his short fiction collection, A Model World and his novel (a longish novella really) The Final Solution.  These books will introduce me to the sort of writer that I think I want to emulate with my NaNoWriMo project. Or so I think right now.

Next, the fiftieth anniversary of Naked Lunch, got me in the mood to take another look at some William Burroughs. I know Naked Lunch quite well and have a copy in the permanent collection, so I decided instead to go for The Soft Machine, one that I tried to tackle as a teenager but I don’t really remember it and don’t know if I actually finished it. Not being familiar with that one seems like a gap in my education, so here it sits waiting for me.

Last, I chose Brian Aldiss’ short fiction collection Supertoys Last All Summer Long (the title story inspired the film AI, planned by Kubrick and finished by Spielberg, and of which I am evidently the only living fan). I expect I will find that I have read at least some of the stories in that one before. But that’s all right. I think this group of books, with its mix of “mainstream” and the weird, will be a good mental fortification for my NaNoWriMo project. And they are all quite short, so I should be able to get them read in a reasonable amount of time. That whole stack in my hand is less than 800 pages.

I am known as "mbranesf" at the NaNoWriMo site, and am available to be buddied there.

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Mechphisto said...

Good luck on the NaNoWriMo; I'm giving it a (fourth) try myself. :)
Oh, you're not the only A.I. fan--I've had a great many heated conversations defending what I see is the misunderstood brilliance of the film.

Christopher Fletcher said...

Amazing. I never thought I'd meet another AI fan!

Anonymous said...

I was all set to do NaNo this year, before a kinda big project landed in my lap. Now I gotta work on that, but good luck to you this year Chris!

Merc said...

Very cool! :D I shall buddy you.

Good luck on the novel!


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