January 14, 2015

What's Up Wednesday

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly blog hop created by me and my sister, Erin Funk, to help writers connect. With that aim in mind, we would like to encourage participants to swing by other WUW blog posts, get to know other writers taking part, and spread some writerly encouragement around. Before you go, make sure to leave a link to your post in the widget at the end of this post. Also, please remember to link back to the host blogs and/or use one of the fancy schmancy WUW buttons provided. We'd really appreciate it! For those of you who are new to WUW, these are the headings we have been using:

WHAT I'M READING
WHAT I'M WRITING (+ WRITING GOAL) 

WHAT WORKS FOR ME
WHAT ELSE IS NEW


*We have three new Winter 2015 buttons under the What's Up Wednesday tab above!*
WHAT I'M READING
I reread Tamora Pierce's IN THE HAND OF THE GODDESS and was about to dive into THIS SHATTERED WORLD when I remembered that there was a novella--THIS NIGHT SO DARK--bridging Book 1 and 2. I was under the impression that it was a must-read before starting Book 2.^ Nope. And about 60% of the e-novella was chapters from Books 1 and 2. Blurgh. :-/

After avoiding WAR AND PEACE for months upon months, I've finally parted ways with this epically boring behemoth. To be honest, I was only reading it to prove that I could get through it. But life is too darn short and this book is too darn long. So, for my new Chapter A Day Classic, I've chosen Jane Austen's NORTHANGER ABBEY. Nice and short and wonderfully silly.

Now, I'm beta-reading the lovely Becky Barrow's manuscript! I've only just started, but I can tell that I'm going to love it.

WHAT I'M WRITING
Well, at the time that I'm drafting this post (Tuesday morning), I'm not going to meet my goal. I managed to park my butt in my chair and do some writing for at least an hour three days this week. And it was hard. Like pulling big, snaggly teeth. Which only confirms what I've suspected: My outline needs more work, greater detail. Because right now I'm floundering.
Writing goal for the week → Add a lot more detail to my outline. Write for an hour minimum at least two days this week.

#sorrynotsorry
WHAT WORKS FOR ME
Serendipity. (See also: "serendipiosity" and "serendipatiousness".)
There's nothing quite like stumbling across WiP-related discoveries entirely by accident. This has happened to me with different WiPs, and every single time it inspires me to keep on going. A reminder that this is clearly the right project for me in this moment.

WHAT ELSE IS NEW
• My Christmas tree is still up because I'm (obviously) failing at life right now. Ha! Ugh.
• I had my first bagpipe lesson this week. Well, just chanter for now, but still. It's tough!
• I've jumped in on Megan Whitmer's #Vlogagram challenge. I'm all kinds of awkward.
• Thanks to Katy, I've been tweaking photos and doing the #CandyMinimal thing on IG.
  (Here's one of my contributions → a cotton candy dandelion.)


Well, that's it for my week.
WHAT'S NEW WITH YOU?






^ Some thoughts about novellas: I think they're fantastic for further exploring characters or for sharing tidbits that will enhance a reader's enjoyment of the overall series. That said, I don't love when novellas need to be read to "get" subsequent books or to actually "get" a character. (*cough* Warner *cough*) This is just a personal opinion, but it seems to me that novellas shouldn't take the place of character development and worldbuilding that should be in place in the actual books.
(Obviously, this wasn't the case with THIS NIGHT SO DARK. It's merely extras.) Anybody else feel the same about novellas?

54 comments:

  1. You're right: life's too short to spend it reading books you aren't enjoying. I think it's great you tried to give War and Peace a go; personally I don't know if I'm ever going to read any Tolstoy because all of his stories sound so depressing!

    Good luck with your writing goal, and well done for managing to write when you did! Progress is progress, however small. :)

    Have a great week!

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    1. The thing about WAR AND PEACE is that it's not a tough read, it's just excessively long and not very interesting. I always assumed it was hard. Nope. Just boring and sort of plot-less, to be honest. I'd much rather read other classics that I know I'll have some chance of enjoying lol. I have to keep reminding myself of the fact that progress is progress. Thanks for reminding me! :D

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  2. I don't think I've ever picked up a novella that's a tie in to a series. You're right though; all that character and world building surely belongs in the main novel. It's nice if the side story just adds to the pre-existing world, but should it include essential details to the next book in the series? Hmmm... not sure if I'm sure about that.

    I love it when WiP inspiration strikes out of nowhere. So fun and exciting!

    Have a great week. Good luck with that Christmas tree ;)

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    1. I don't tend to be a fan of them, in part because I don't count them toward my Reading Challenge, so it feels sort of like a waste of my time. There are some series with great novellas that I do want to check out, but for the most part I don't bother. When WiP inspiration strikes out of nowhere, it just makes me excited all over again about my story. Love it! Have a wonderful week, Cole! :D

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  3. Hahaha! I nearly posted a pic of Lars in a post recently too. Our brains are so on the same wavelength it's scary. So when you play the chanter, do you look like him? I think you should aim for that.

    You already know I agree with you on the novella issue, but I'll say it again. I think when a novella's only purpose is to set up the next book, it ends up feeling like homework or just a really long prologue. Blah. Novellas that stand on their own two legs as a story though? That's different. I still have a whole bunch of novellas to tackle actually. They tend to get lost in my TBR "pile" since they're small and digital.

    I hope working on your outline goes well this week. Once you get that sorted out, I'm sure the rest will fall into place much easier! Have a great week! :)

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    1. It's funny because Lars was a reference to the word "Serendipity", but I suppose it could also be a jokey reference to learning the chanter too. Ha! I generally hate animated gifs on blogs, but this one was too funny to pass up. So cheesy!

      As you know, there are series with novellas that I want to check out--Sarah J. Maas', Veronica Rossi's, Liz Briggs', etc--but there are just as many that I couldn't care less about. It still irks me that in order to understand Warner in Book 3 of the SHATTER ME series you had to read DESTROY ME. Otherwise readers would be seriously wondering how Juliette fell for a total sociopath. That feels a bit like cheating, filling in the gaps, you know? I also don't love novellas because I don't count them toward my Reading Challenge, so it's time I could be spending on full-length novels.

      I really hope I can sort out this outline thing once and for all, because that is 80% of what is holding me back. The other 20% is pure laziness. (Those percentages might be skewed a bit, but whatever.) Hope you have an awesome week! We should Skype again soon with lots and lots of tea. :D

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  4. I enjoyed the novella but didn't feel like it was necessary. I read it AFTER I read This Shattered World which was sort of nice. :) Now i'm waiting eagerly for book 3! Good luck beta reading and on your outline too. I love Tamora Pierce's Alanna series. I just read the first in Alanna's daughter book series (Trickster's Choice). I enjoyed it but loved Alanna books still way more. :P Have a great week, Jaime!

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    1. I'm sort of indifferent about the novella. It almost felt like reading an adult action story or something. I'm definitely looking forward to THIS SHATTERED WORLD though. As for Tamora Pierce's stuff, while I really liked the Alanna quartet, I loved the Trickster's duology. I really need to read more of her stuff, especially since I have a bunch more on my shelves. Have a wonderful week, Rachel! :D

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  5. Hah, don't feel bad about the Christmas tree - I was at my parents a few days ago and it was still full-out Christmas there :)

    Weirdly enough, I'm not sure if I've ever read a novella. I've got several on my eReader but just haven't gotten around to them. I think they're all things like side stories or showing a POV from a minor character.

    Good luck with your outline!

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    1. That sucker is coming down today. This week. Definitely this week. I hauled the boxes in from the workshop, so unless I plan on climbing over boxes all week, it's going to get done. As for novellas, I'm just not a major fan of them myself. I don't count them toward my Reading Challenge, so I feel like I should be spending my reading time on full-length novels. Crossing my fingers my outline *finally* gets sorted out this week. Have a great week, Jennifer! :D

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  6. We still have our Christmas lights out and I think we're the only ones in the neighborhood. Doh :P I absolutely love that dandelion picture. It's gorgeous and love watching your vlogagram videos! :) Cheering you on for your writing goals this week!

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    1. Christmas lights don't seem so bad. In fact, I'm planning on swapping out our Christmas lights with white cord twinkle lights, because that seems more acceptable year round. I just love the ambiance they create in our living room. :-) I've really been enjoying both the candy minimal thing and the vlogagram thing. Though, I have to admit the latter is a challenge for sure! Still, it's nice feeling like I'm actually "meeting" people, you know? Hope you're having a wonderful week, Elodie! :D

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  7. I LOVE serendipity in writing. It is a huge motivator and really keeps you on task. I applaud you for even attempting to read War and Peace, that is one big book I will not be approaching any time soon.

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    1. Isn't it the best? It totally feels like confirmation that you're working on the right project. Plus, it's great just to mine whatever the thing is for material/inspiration. You know, WAR AND PEACE is a pretty simple read, just an overlong and seriously boring read. Honestly, I got 1/3 of the way through and still couldn't find a plot anywhere in there. Time to move on to more enjoyable classics. Hope you're having a wonderful week, Prerna! :D

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  8. I usually don't bother with novellas unless I'm CRAZY into the series.
    I can't stand to have my tree up long after Christmas. I've even taken it down on New Years Day in the past. This year I left it a little long- meaning I did it a week ago!
    Love the new button. I'm going to have to use that next week.

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    1. I don't tend to bother much with novellas period, though there are a few series with novellas that I might check out. I don't count them toward my Reading Challenge, so it feels like time I could be spending on reading full-length novels, you know? The Christmas tree is driving me insane. I finally brought in all the boxes from the workshop, so it's going to happen sometime very soon, hopefully today. Otherwise it's going to get inconvenient really fast having to climb over all those boxes. Normally I try to take it down right after New Year's. Just lazy this year, I guess. Hope you're having a great week, Melanie! :D

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  9. I really need to read some of Tamora Pierce's books - I feel ashamed as a fantasy fan that I've never read her books!

    I'm in two minds about novellas. Sometimes they can be good for exploring backstory in more detail without being absolutely essential to understanding future books in the series (I loved the THRONE OF GLASS novellas, which give a more in-depth view of events in Celaena's past). I've written a novella for my own series which shows some events readers know about already, but in more depth. It's up to readers if they want to pick it up or not as it's not essential, but it was a fun experiment.

    Have a great week! :)

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    1. Rereading the Alanna quartet, I sort of feel like it's a wee bit more juvenile than I remembered, though still enjoyable. I really loved the Trickster's duology, though. It comes after the Alanna books, but I think you can read them in whatever order. Novellas can be totally fun, especially when you want more in a world or more about a character. I just find it hard to take the time to read them when I don't count them toward my Reading Challenge. I'd rather immerse myself in a new book/series. There are some novellas that I definitely want to check out, though. Hope your having a wonderful week, Emma! :D

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  10. I love the new button so much I had to go and put it right in this week's post. Very nice! And I usually take my tree down on December 26. My kids think I'm such a scrooge, but it just takes up so much space in our tiny little family room. This year I left it up until New Year's Eve, just to show them how awful it is. It wasn't so bad. :)

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    1. Thanks, Melanie! I was sort of thinking that the winter buttons we had felt a little too Christmas-y. I usually take my Christmas stuff down just after New Year's, but this year I've been seriously lazy about it. It has gotten to the point where it is really bugging me, so it'll happen this week for sure. Hope you're having a great week! :D

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  11. I've been wanting to read Northanger Abbey for a long time now. I need to get on it, especially since you enjoyed it. :)

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    1. Oh, I haven't read it just yet. I'm just starting it. :-) I've seen a movie version of it and thought it was totally fun, so I expect I'll like the book as well. Plus, it's Jane Austen, so...

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  12. My first comment went away! Grr. Good luck with your writing goals this week. Cheers to inspiration and validation via serendipity. Love the new WUW buttons.

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    1. Blogger has a nasty tendency to eat comments. Boo. Thanks for the luck! I need all I can get. :-) I really hope I can buckle down and get some serious work done on my outline this week. Have a wonderful week! :D

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  13. I adore the new buttons!!!!
    I set Anna Karenina aside for the foreseeable future too. I'm now reading Great Expectations which isn't exactly short but I'm loving the characters so it makes it easier to stick with.
    I am with you on the novellas. I like it when they explore the world or show a parallel story that you only got a glimpse of in the book. I don't like needing to buy them to understand a book that I bought... I couldn't get into This Night so Dark so I'm just moving on and enjoying This Shattered World.

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    1. Thanks, Sarah! We needed something wintry that wasn't Christmas-y.
      I found WAR AND PEACE easy enough to read (surprisingly so), but it was really, really boring and WAY too long. Plus, after reading 1/3 of the thing, I still couldn't find much of a plot there. I really enjoy Dickens because he had such a great sense of humour. I mean, just look at his characters' names. I often suspect J. K. Rowling was inspired by some of his weird character names when she came up with some of hers. I could be wrong, though. :-)

      Novellas are a tricky thing. For people who want to read more about a character or about the series' world, they're great. For people like me, I would rather immerse myself in a full-length book than spend the time on something super short. Plus, I don't want to have to read a novella. I didn't love THIS NIGHT SO DARK, unfortunately. It felt a bit like an adult action story or something lol. I'm eager to get going on THIS SHATTERED WORLD, though! Have a wonderful week! :D

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  14. So impressed that you're learning bagpipes! I wouldn't even know where to start. Hey, maybe you'll end up in a bagpiping championship over in Scotland and I can say hi. :D

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    1. Well, hopefully I can get the hang of it. The chanter is so much more difficult than I anticipated. Our band went to the World's some years back, so it would be cool if we did that sometime again. Either way, I plan on returning to Scotland in the future. "My heart's in the Highlands" and whatnot. ;-) And I would definitely look you up and say "hi". The crazy thing is, I was in your neck of the woods last time I was in Scotland. One of my absolute favourite places in this world.

      Hope you're having a wonderful week!

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  15. Sorry to hear you didn't love War and Peace. I was so excited when I finally got around to reading it at age 24, and still feel disappointed it took 19 days to read when I'd hoped for two weeks minimum. I loved every moment of it except for the last 60 pages or so, which is some rambling treatise on history and has absolutely nothing to do with anything that came before. To me, it's still the book of books, and reading it made me grown-up intellectually. Having the right translation does help, though.

    Good luck with improving your outline!

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    1. It's not that I found WAR AND PEACE difficult to read or anything--it was surprisingly simple--but I just couldn't get into it. I read 1/3 of it and was bored, to be perfectly honest. I love reading classics, but I guess I'm just not a Tolstoy girl, and that's okay. To each his/her own, right?

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  16. Pretty flower! (I'm not registered on IG, so I'll tell you here ;) ). Lol! My hubs would love to have our Christmas deco still up. He gets all depressed and frustrated when I take them down...so he'd be proud of you. Congrats to getting some writing done. Better than nothing.

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    1. Thanks, Tonja! I think the background of the flower is supposed to be more minimal to be true candy minimal, but I like it all the same. I love having Christmas decorations up, but now it's starting to agitate me because I know it all needs to come down, like, yesterday. I hauled all of the boxes in from the workshop, so unless I want to be climbing over boxes for the foreseeable future, it will all go away sometime very, very soon. As for writing, better than nothing is right. I need to keep remembering that. Have a wonderful week! :D

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  17. I agree with you on what you said about novellas in series. I like if they add something extra, like a new story, or something from another character's POV, but I don't want them to be must reads in a series. I prefer if they're just bonus content.

    My What's Up Wednesday post.

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    1. Novellas that add a little something extra are great. Then I don't feel like I'm missing out on something big if I don't get around to reading them. And if I feel like spending more time with characters or in a particular world, then they're awesome. Since I don't count them toward my Reading Challenge, I always feel like my time is better spent on full-length novels that do count, you know?

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  18. I just joined. I won't write my post until later today, but moving forward I'll be sure to have it ready early in the day.

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  19. I love Northanger Abbey. It's my third favourite of Austen's novels (after Pride & Prejudice and Persuasion). It's some of the funniest satire I've ever read. I actually just bought a modern retake on it by mystery author Val McDermid, and am going to be doing a group read with a friend who is as much of a Janeite as I am.

    I only just got the last vestiges of Christmas put away yesterday, myself, so you're not alone in the Holiday Decorating Hangover.

    Bagpipe lessons sound very challenging. As does the IG challenge. Great dandelion pic.

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    1. I've only seen the movie version with Felicity Jones, but I really enjoyed it. The funny thing is, I can totally see a modern spin on it, especially when you think about the paranormal craze that came up when TWILIGHT was so popular. Just swap out Radcliffe's MYSTERIES OF UDOLPHO with Meyer's TWILIGHT and boom, you're golden lol. (Just looked up the Val McDermid book, and that's what she did.) I expect I'll enjoy NORTHANGER ABBEY, having read Radcliffe. Gothic stuff is just loads of fun.

      I hauled in all my Christmas boxes, so it's going to get super inconvenient in here unless I deal with the decorations soon. It needs to go away, like, yesterday. Hope you have an awesome week, Wendy! :D

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  20. I still love your chapter a day classics. I failed miserably with that, but it's in the back of my mind to try again. Also, no shame with the tree. All my decs are packed up but not actually put into storage yet.

    Love the wintery button. Very cute!

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    1. I feel rotten about the great WAR AND PEACE derailment when it comes to my Chapter a Day classics. It's been over a year since I last actively did my challenge. I'm so psyched about starting a new classic that I know I'm going to enjoy. Dasvidaniya, Tolstoy! I hauled in all of my decoration boxes about an hour ago, so now I'm that much closer to having it all away. Otherwise, it's going to get super inconvenient in here really fast having to climb over all those boxes repeatedly. Hope you're having a wonderful week, Stephanie! :D

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  21. I love Northanger Abbey! I've been thinking about rereading that this winter. And I still have some of my Christmas decorations up. Life has been too busy this month to take them all down. :)

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    1. I've always meant to read it, so I'm excited about starting it. I've seen the Felicity Jones movie version and it was lots of fun. Plus, I've read Radcliffe's MYSTERIES OF UDOLPHO, so it'll be great catching all the little references in NORTHANGER ABBEY. I finally hauled in the Christmas boxes, so with any luck, all of the decorations will be away soon. Have a great week, Crystal! :D

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  22. I just love the new buttons for WUW, perfect for this time of year.
    Definitely a good idea to ditch War and Peace, I have never attempted it, it just looks so long!
    I'm glad I'm not the only one struggling to get back into writing, I possibly need to properly outline my ending, as I am just finding it tiresome to write, so I imagine it will be tiresome to read!
    I thought your Vlog was charming and I love your accent.

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    1. Thanks, Alexa! With all the snow, I figured we needed a wintry button that didn't feel Christmas-y.
      WAR AND PEACE was a reasonably simple read as far as classics go, but it's overlong and overly boring. I had a hard time finding any semblance of a plot there too. Time to move on to a classic that I know I'm going to like.
      As for writing, I'm finding that I'm meandering and not actually writing stuff that is important for any real reason in my WiP. I'm so not a pantser. I really hope beefing up my outline will solve that problem. Hope you have a wonderful week, Alexa! And you should consider doing a vlog yourself! :D

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  23. I just finished reading an Austen myself! Hope you enjoy Northanger Abbey, it's been a few years since I read that one, but I remember it being fun, =)

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    1. I've always wanted to read Northanger Abbey, so I'm excited to get going on it. I've seen the movie version and I know just how Gothic the thing is, so it should be fun! Hope you're having a great week, Mere! :D

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  24. You're not alone. I still have my tree up too. :) Northanger Abbey is my favorite Jane Austen book. I had to read it for a class in college. I like novellas but agree with you it's only great if it helps enhance the story. I wrote a novella for my 80s WIP but that was mainly for me for backstory. Good luck with your writing goal for the week!

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    1. About an hour ago, I hauled all of the Christmas boxes inside from the workshop. I figure I'm going to hate having to climb over boxes more than actually packing it all up. It's time.
      My favourite Austen is PERSUASION, but I'm very excited to read NORTHANGER ABBEY. I've seen the movie version with Felicity Jones and really enjoyed it. Plus, I've read MYSTERIES OF UDOLPHO, which Austen references in her book, so it will be fun spotting all of that in there. As for novellas, they can be a great way to get more out of a world or a character. There are a few I want to read, but generally speaking, I prefer full-length novels. Hope you're having a great week, Amy! :D

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  25. Oh man. War and Peace sounds hard. Good luck on your writing goals!

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    1. The funny thing is, WAR AND PEACE is so much easier to read than I was expecting. But it's also way too long, way too boring, and doesn't have much of a plot, in my opinion. I would so much rather spend my time on classics that I know I'll enjoy rather than slogging through the remaining 2/3 of this one. Bleh. Hope you're having a wonderful week, Niki! :D

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  26. I usually wait until the end of January to take my tree down, so you're good! Also, I know the writing has been tough, but progress is still progress. Sounds like you're making strides. :)

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  27. WAR AND PEACE bored me to tears! I'm with you, life's too short to waste on books you're not digging. Good luck with your writing goals and the bagpipe lessons. That instrument looks sooo intimidating! :)

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  28. Depends on the novella. I don't think that a writer is obligated to stick to one form in order to explore their fictional world. Novellas or short stories set in that world can be just as valid as novels. I wouldn't view a novella as supplemental just because it's short, but as its own thing. I read a lot of fantasy, so novellas can be nice for exploring aspects of the fantasy world that you don't get to touch on in other places. A good example of a novella I liked was "Nicholas Sayre and the Creature in the Case."

    I know a friend or two who seems to have gotten a lot out of War and Peace and is enlightened by the experience of reading it (if Facebook posts are anything to go by) but part of me always suspects people are pretending when they say they enjoy it. :P Anna Karenina is a better story if you ask me...

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  29. Oops, I think I got one of the headings wrong on my post...Oh well. I'll do it right next time!

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