I am going to take a 31 day challenge; but I need your help (don't worry it's not money, just your life experience I need...that and sexy, sexy photos). The 31 day challenge is where I push myself to try and complete something, usually something complete absurd in 31 days. I think I once read something about Confucius advising that a musical instrument could be learned by spending 16 hours for 16 days. I thought, “what if I just half one and double the other?”
When I was going to college and working in a bookshop I took the challenge of reading 100 books in 31 days (everyone who worked there got to pick 10). I failed, but ended up reading 80+ books that I wouldn’t have otherwise. When I wanted to learn the double bass, I practiced 4 hours a day for 31 days and got the basics down pat and when I wrote Zed I wrote the entire first draft in 31 days.
Right now, I am stuck on with my revision of my novel Control Group. I know what needs to be done; a complete rewrite of all characters, cutting some chapters entirely and rewriting everything else. So I have decided to give myself a 31 day challenge. To immerse myself entirely in the work, hours and hours every day until I either am found huddled on the floor, drooling and muttering “so many split infinitives” or I succeed (or make so much progress that the rest is merely clean up).
This is where I need your help. Spending hours and hours on editing and rewriting, I have found that because I am in the same mental state, the work becomes slightly stale. I used the same descriptive words. Someone is “placidly ironic” on page 42, 44 and 46. When you spend so much time in the same head space in such a short period of time, it tends to capture a single linguistic picture. To counter this I try to read a book every day, particularly authors who have such dominating world views that they tend to take over your mind. Reading books like these are an enforced kick-in-the-head to my creative and linguistic centers and keeps the language and imagery from getting stale.
If anyone can help me out by suggesting books I would be in your debt. It doesn’t matter about the author, subject or genre (though fiction is preferred) as long as the author has a distinctive and unique world view. Examples from last rewrite are the depression writer, David Goodis, who wrote Don’t shoot the Piano Player or Peter Hoeg’s Borderlines or Smilla’s Sense of Snow. Memoirs are good too, as when I was rewriting Zed I read a lot of memoirs from the Vietnam war. Sorry the stuff about the need for sexy, sexy photos was a lie (well, any other month, just not this month - too distracting!).
I have four days to fit my study with time locks, get my paper, pens, stocks of root beer, pretzels and books to read before I begin my functional insanity (spending that much time with so many imaginary people in your head, talking to them, interviewing them, finding out their likes and dislikes, it makes me a bit...odd). So please, any help or book suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
9 hours ago