Another 5-star review for "Verbosity's Vengeance"

Author and book blogger K Orion "Rion" Fray just posted a review of "Verbosity's Vengeance", giving it 5 stars. It's a detailed and informative review, so I encourage you to read it in its entirety. Some excerpts:

At a perfectly surface level, this is a fairly classic superhero tale. Graham is half Bruce Wayne, half Tony Stark, though he’s got more brains than the two put together. (Plus a few more for good measure.) We have the arch-nemesis. We have the Avant Guardian, the well-meaning but usually useless “helper” hero. There’s a girl. (There’s always a girl.) And we have a climax to blow the roof off of a tall building, with a lovely dash of betrayal mixed in. All the necessary pieces for the superhero genre.

What sets VERBOSITY apart is that it doesn’t rely too strongly on those tropes, while still acknowledging that they exist. Alex would most likely be perfectly happy to only be the antique book guy; he fights as the Grammarian because he feels he has to–because there is a debt to be paid, and he knows he can never truly pay it. Kate Hunter isn’t some damsel in distress; she’s a strong character in her own right, with her own plot twists to reveal that have absolutely nothing to do with the fact that she’s a woman or even a potential romantic interest. (Also, I like how she and Alex are handled at the end, but again, spoilers.) No one is introduced just to be introduced; each character serves a purpose–something I’m always very aware of, and appreciate when authors make a point of using each person intentionally.

However, Dear Reader, be warned! Rion goes on to say that "Verbosity's Vengeance" is NOT for the faint of heart, weak of mind, or tremulous of soul:

Because both the Grammarian and Professor Verbosity fight using language memes, it relies (logically) on grammar and sentence structure. My failing: somehow, through 2 writing degrees, I have never been made to take a grammar course. I never learned the words; I don’t have the vocabulary to follow. Also, Alex Graham’s IQ is over 200, and mine is decidedly not. In the simplest of terms: I’m not smart enough to keep up with Alex or the Grammarian. Part of me wants to critique that, and say that there is a certain level of arrogance in writing a book that is (somewhat) strictly designated for “smart people/readers” and saying to hell with the rest of us. The rest of me hates when writers dumb down to match the lowest common denominator, and thus I have no argument. So since this is a problem solely with me, I don’t fault the book for it.
But in conclusion, the book gets a thumbs up:
All in all, VERBOSITY’S VENGEANCE is a wonderful book with a fascinating main character, and I’d highly recommend it. And if you know grammar better than I do, well, then you’re probably more the person Noland would rather have reading his book.
You know who I'd LOVE to have reading my book? YOU! It's only $0.99, so why hesitate? After all, you might even like it! And if not, give it to your English lit professor, or the moderator of your MFA seminar series. They're SURE to like it!

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Help keep the words flowing.

NaNoWriMo: The Secret Weapon

I've signed up for NaNoWriMo once again. I'm writing a sequel to the 2013 New York Times surprise bestseller, "Verbosity's Vengeance", which, as you recall, was made into a moderately successful indie movie of the same title in 2014. The book this year is titled, "The Secrets of Spectrum":

Kate Hunter is a woman with secrets, and the effort of keeping them from the people around her is slowly driving her insane. If her colleagues at the university knew about her superpowers, her career as a scientist would be over. If her mentor and friend, the Grammarian, knew about her true motives in pursuing a hidden life as a crime-fighter, he'd be forced to become her worst nightmare. And if the world knew her deepest secret of all, she would never see her family again. With time running out, she must decide which secrets to guard, whose trust to betray, and whose life to save.
It's an act of courage for me to sign up for NaNoWriMo. It requires me to ignore all the rational parts of my brain which, in looking over my schedule of obligations for November, goes utterly berserk with red flags, alarm klaxons, and dire warnings. They go something like this:

NaNoWriMo is a stupid thing to do! You don't have time for this!

To which I respond, that's true, rational brain, all very true.

No, you're not listening to me! Aside from all the normal STUFF you have to do in November, you're also going to be running your first 10K, traveling to Japan for a week, AND taking a week-long road trip to the Midwest for Thanksgiving! You will be overworked, worn out, jet lagged, and consumed with business, family, and social obligations for the entire month of November. Your wife is going to kill you! YOU DON'T HAVE TIME FOR THIS!

Again, all of this is 100% true. I'm not denying any of it, nor am I contesting the premise that attempting NaNoWriMo is a horrifically dumb thing to do. However, what my rational brain doesn't seem to realize is that I have a secret weapon, one which will defang all the terrors that stand between me and success.

What could that possibly be? A time machine? A drug that lets you go without sleep for a month?

Nope. It's a fresh, blank notebook and a pen.

That's it. You've gone insane. You can't seriously be thinking of doing NaNoWriMo in longhand? How is that NOT a thousand times worse than typing it?

Simmer down, rational brain. You and I both know that I have semi-compulsive hypergraphia, right? Well, instead of writing out my usual stream-of-consciousness text, or notes ABOUT the novel, I'll write the novel itself! It'll be perfect!

You are an idiot.

No, hear me out. The one huge advantage of typing out the first draft is that the text is captured. You don't need to transcribe from longhand later. However, the problem with using a laptop is the bulky, cumbersome, slow startup nature of it. It's not amenable to odd moments in airports, or comfortably writing on an airplane tray, let alone in the passenger seat of a minivan. A notebook will be instant-on, infinite battery life, and silent.

Also horribly inefficient and messy. Plus, you'll just have to type it into the computer at some point. You're doubling your work! And do you really think you'll be able to do 50,000 words longhand? That's impossible! You type WAY faster than you write by hand!

Yes, it's messy, but no, I won't necessarily have to type it. When the draft is done, I'll eventually read it in, using the voice dictation function of my iPhone in Evernote. That'll transfer it to my computer, where I'll copy & paste into yWriter. And who knows? Maybe during the reading, I'll be able to correct the first draft on the fly, making it a revised second draft.

You're hallucinating.

And as for hitting 50,000 words... I'm not going to worry about it.

WHAT?!? The whole point of NaNoWriMo is WINNING!!! If you don't write 50,000 words, YOU WON'T WIN!!!!

Listen, rational brain... I've been meaning to have this talk with you for a while now. I think you might be taking things a bit too seriously. This year, I'm just going to enjoy the process of writing. In all the hoopla about publishing and sales numbers and such, I've kinda lost track of the fact that I just like writing. So I'm going to ignore the wordcount part of it, not worry so much about "winning", and be happy with what I can get done in the time available to me. I really think that -



So, anyway, that's me and NaNoWriMo this year. I'm taking a different approach - let's see how it goes.

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Help keep the words flowing.