Monday, December 17, 2007

What are Your Plans?

Will you be writing for the next two weeks, or will you enjoy a break and a time with family? Maybe a little of both?

I'll be taking a break and family time, which means no more blogs for the next two weeks. While I'm gone, I sure would appreciate some suggestions on where this blog should go. I started out with a clear vision but sometimes I feel I lost that along the way.

Keep writing. Stay warm. Be safe.

I'll see you next year, insha Allah.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


I read through and revised parts of 17 pages yesterday. Not a milestone, but progress.

Rome wasn't built in a day and books aren't written that quickly either.

I think one of the major differences between a writer and a non-writers is that a writer is too stubborn to give up even when common sense says she should.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Page by Page

I have been working on this one book, Silence, for about a year now. At least five times I have started writing. Twice I finished a complete draft but I wasn't satisfied. Now I'm going back once more.

The early pages and chapters work well. I know where the story breaks down. I simply haven't found the magic tonic yet to bring it all together. I'm working on it.

I've decided to create a new file. I copy and paste a few pages, maybe a full chapter, at a time. I read through that chapter carefully, finding ways to express myself better. I delete some sentences and add more for clarity.

I'm sure it will be a slow process. This time I'm determined to get it right. I know the dangerous curves in the plotline lie ahead of me. I hope I can negotiate them smoothly this time.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Just Blogs and Emails

Not a single word or a single sentence today. Unless you count blogs and emails. It's not writer's block. It's merely the knowledge that I have many things to do and I can't afford to spend my time enjoying myself at the keyboard.

Oh, and we had a very, very nice day today. Around 66 degrees and sunny. Who can work on a December day like that?

Hmm. I wonder if more novels are written in cold climates.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Reading and Writing

Last weekend I read a book. I was tempted to review it here, but I'm afraid I was in such a hurry to finish the story that I missed much of the symbolism. This is the sort of book I should have read when I was younger and more keenly aware and analytical.

Life of Pi. Is it simply a story of survival? I don't think so. I really would have to read this book again to get the full meaning. Not now, though. Sometime later.

I was surprised at the references to Islam. They were, for the most part, accurate. But no one could call this an Islamic book.

I would have to say that if you're looking for something to read and you're in a deeply analytical mood, you might want to read Book of Pi.

And as for writing? I always write. No new progress to report today, but there will soon be, insha Allah.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Still 'Falling'

I'm getting there. The plot is probably 2/3 done. I keep thinking about Silence and how much I want to work on that story.

So what should I do? Keep writing the story I'm on and finish it, at least, so I can come back later and at least have a full novel to revise?

Or abandon it and begin working on Silence?

I think Falling will be a good read, once it goes through some heavy revisions. But my heart hasn't been in the story for the last six days.

It's the age-old question. Go for excitement or go for commitment?

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Islamic Fiction

I'm a member of Shelfari is a great site for bringing together readers, and often writers, from throughout the world. I've made many cyberfriends through this site.

There are many groups on Shelfari, most of them dealing with a particular genre or maybe a certain author. This last summer I started a group for Islamic Fiction.

A few members trickled in. I started some discussions but there were few, if any, responses. After about six weeks I decided I should close the group. But I have a hard time quitting anything, even a lost cause, so I kept it open and didn't visit too often so I wouldn't get depressed.

Suddenly, members are flowing in and Islamic Fiction is revived. Last night we had twenty-six members. When I checked about an hour ago the number was up to thirty-nine. Discussions are going on that I didn't have to jumpstart. The group is alive.

Storytelling has been going on throughout the Muslim world for hundreds of years. In the last few decdes some Arab novelists have emerged. Now a dedicated group of writers is working to establish Islamic Fiction in North America. There are opposing forces, and some losses, but there are increasingly more victories.

Some Muslims contend that writing a story is like lying. But when a reader picks up a book of fiction, he or she knows the story didn't really happen. There are other reasons for telling a story, from entertainment to a way to impart universal truths.

I like what Mark Twain said about fiction. "The difference between fiction and non-fiction," he said, "is that fiction has to make sense."

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Falling or Dragging

I thought I would be finished with my NaNo novel by now, but it continues to haunt me. I haven't yet reached the conclusion and I can't stop until I get there.

I'm not writing much these days, though. There are so many other things to do. And I'm not talking about Christmas. I've bought Eid gifts for my family. I do need to send a package to my granddaughter. But I don't have to worry about decorations and parties. We'll have a simple Eid and a lot of family time during winter break. Nice and easy, insha Allah.

Still, my to-do list is long every day and I almost never complete every task. And I need to write. I must finish Falling.

The novel is dragging these days. I do think it will make a good story right now. But I'm ready to set it aside and move on to something else for a change. I've developed a middle-age case of ADD.

Have you ever felt dragged down by a project or manuscript? What did you do about it?

Monday, December 03, 2007

A Short Achievement

I finished polishing a short story today and sent it in for a national contest. It's probably hubris to think I'll win anything, but I like taking the chance.

Short stories don't come easy for me. It feels very good to be able to accomplish this.

Now I need to finish writing Falling so I can get back to Silence.