Wednesday, July 7, 2010

In Which I Gush Again About Patrick Ness and Inundate You With Links

I have been flirting with the idea of attending a Whole Novel Workshop offered by the Highlights Foundation. It sounds like such a fantastic opportunity, kind of like a lion I might chase into a pit. It fills me with urgency to finish the novel I started for Nanowrimo. The thought of working closely with Carolyn Coman (author of What Jamie Saw) makes my knees shake. Carolyn's books, like the one I'm writing, approach sensitive issues young adults might face. Moreover the idea of a week in a cabin to myself, no cooking or cleaning, no children demanding, just freedom to write and focus and indulge my imagination to its fullest ... ah, wake me, I must be dreaming.

Of course, this workshop is slated for a complete week in November. This gives me pause. For one, I had hoped to participate in Nanowrimo again, this time on another serious novel (one I had tackled briefly with my instructor at the Institute for Children's Literature). That was an incredible experience and I would love to duplicate it.

Secondly, I find myself doubting my ability to stick to my guns and complete the novel in time. Then, I discovered there was a second offering of this same course slated for June of 2011. My gears were eagerly whizzing as I wondered whether my parents would be willing (or able to handle that much exposure to my boys) to hold down the fort while I depart for a week of writing ... in a rustic cabin.

Finally, there comes the little detail of money. The course is over $2,000. While I am certain it would be worth every penny spent (it wouldn't be a lion if it didn't seem risky or costly, now, would it?), I'm not certain our budget would allow it or my husband would consent to it. But, still, I find myself dreaming.

Now, you're probably thinking, "from the title, I was expecting her to gush about Patrick Ness????" So let's get down to that, shall we.

After I posted my recent review of Patrick Ness' second book in his thrilling Chaos Walking series, my blogging friend Amy directed me to a fantastic link where Ness shares a prequel story of Viola prior to her arrival on New World. It is like discovering there's an extra appetizer being offered to your table because the cook is lingering over the preparations for your main course.

As I read, though, I continued to struggle with the character name of Viola. My brain just can't get around it. I tried to search for audio or video clips of interviews with Patrick Ness to see if I could find out how he pronounces this name. Is it V-O-la (like the instrument), or is it Vie-ola (like the flower)? Surely, it couldn't be pronounced like the french word, "voila," although that would fit with her grand entrance onto New World.

Unfortunately, audio versions of the book are not in the works until August and I found nothing on the Internet to answer the question. I did cruise around Patrick Ness's site, however, and found an exciting and entertaining trailer for the third book in the series, Monsters of Men.

Plus, I discovered several reviews of this final book. Either the book is out in England already or these are lucky souls who have been given copies to preliminarily review (now that would be a dream, wouldn't it?).

What I found over and over again, was that these individuals are absolutely raving about the book and raving about this series. In fact, the last linked reviewer even directed me to a delightful poem with romantic mood music. This guy, Ness, is just bursting on the scene like an explosion, isn't he?

So, now I am developing a back-up plan for the pipe-dream novel writing course (something I haven't even spoken to hubby about yet, but I did at least chase the lion enough to request the proper application forms). If the dream remains unfulfilled (either by spousal veto or failure to be accepted to the limited available slots), I am hereby drawing up a plan to secure a cabin for a day or two and purchase all three of Ness's books so that I may while away a day or two in rigorous reading from beginning to end (that seems like the only way to go with these books). Either way, I get some time off in a rustic cabin, ALONE, doing something I love. Sounds like a win-win, no?


Amy Sorensen said...

tee hee! I am glad you liked that link. I thought you would! I listened to an author speak at our library last week. He said one of the most common questions he gets is how to pronounce one of his characters' names (I can't tell you the name because I don't remember it and I'm too lazy to look it up). The question-er will ask if it's pronounced one way or the other, and he said he always answers "yes." I think he's's up to you! In my head she is the flower.

Now I am off to watch the book trailer. and, oh, yes: the book IS out in England. Lucky Britts!

Wendy said...

Amy - I think the author's observation is dead on. However, I guess I just can't make up my own mind how to pronounce Viola.

Thanks again for sending me that link.