Making Better Use of My Time

 

Google Reader helps keep my blog-reading habit under control. One day I took the time to enter the URLs of my favourite blogs as ‘subscriptions’ and now I can access them all in one place. A quick glance lets me know which ones have new postings so I don’t have to waste time travelling to each bookmarked blog to check.

Sounds simple enough, but on second thought my opening sentence is misleading. Better to say that Google Reader consolidates my favourite blogs into one place. Period. Nothing really keeps my blog hopping under control except self discipline or good old lack of time. But what it does is allow me to use my blog-reading time to better advantage.

That’s how I managed to catch up on some of my favourites while taking a brief break from NaNoWriMo this morning. That’s how I discovered I’d missed two valuable posts by Rosslyn Elliott. That’s how I was inspired to create this post. I still haven’t made it back to NaNoWriMo.

Something Rosslyn said created an eureka moment – one of those ‘I knew that but she said it so much better than I could’ thoughts. In What Makes a Novel Feel Real? – Part 1, she suggested, Don’t get so focused on a slamdunk pace that [you] leave out the everyday moments, the normalcy that makes the novel feel real.… I’m not saying we should never have burning buildings, but unless we balance those events with the more mundane dramas that fill most of our lives, novels feel fake.”

I’m not going to re-run her posts, but I do suggest you go read both of them. I’m heading back to Google Reader now to re-read her Part 2. Then I really have to get back to my NaNo novel. At 21,300 words I still have a long way to go, and today is already the middle of our NaNo’ing month!

To reiterate Rosslyn’s question, what does it take to make a novel feel ‘real’ to you?

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16 thoughts on “Making Better Use of My Time

  1. My brother suggested I get the Google Reader. I procrastinate on things that I’ve not done before. I must tackle this one. Thank you for the little nudge. Maybe tomorrow. (Is that more procrastination? Na.) Blessings to you..

  2. Laura Best says:

    Google reader is great!

  3. joylene says:

    Great post. I have used the reader for quite awhile and agree … it makes life simpler. As for making a scene real, I love those little human idiosyncrasy appear endearing and recognizable. When the mother spits on her hanky and wipes her son’s cheek. When the manly man sticks his favourite hard candy into his mouth and it makes a big fat mound in his cheek. Or when the couple have an argument while doing the dishes. I love anything that pulls me into the setting and lets me imagine being there. I love when the descriptions are familiar yet read as refreshingly original. I love…

    I better stop or I’ll never finish. Have a great evening.

  4. Love Google reader….not sure how I would function without it as I too use it to scan through all my blog subscriptions. I have also found that I have caught things I would not have otherwise.

  5. I tried Google Reader once and was overwhelmed by the number of posts it showed me. Maybe I try to follow too many blogs. 😦

    Some of the things that make a novel feel real to me are: the characters have jobs that average people do; characters are kind to animals; characters take time to eat and sleep. I don’t enjoy reading about the super-organized, never-does-anything-wrong kind of characters.

    • There are some posts I want to read and comment on regularly, some that I visit but only comment when I’m provoked to respond. On GR I can pick and choose. As I mentioned to Joseph, the posts accumulate and wait for me; but if I’ve been away and don’t have the time to play catch up, I can click on the option for any blog to ‘mark all as read’, and then start over fresh with current posts. It works for me anyway.

  6. Novels feel real when the characters have real faults as well as quirks, the settings and situations are researched so they aren’t contrived, and the dialogue is down to earth.

  7. Rosslyn says:

    Carol, I am so pleased that my post helped, and honored that you mentioned it!

    • Thank you for the wisdom in your posts. As we push our way through scenes, sometimes we’re often so conscious of “leaving out the boring bits” we forget to include the important little things, the intimacies of everydayness. I appreciated the reminder.

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