the glamorous struggles of an aspiring author...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Hey, the egg timer rang! Your 10,000 hours are up!

Hey, the egg timer rang! Your 10,000 hours are up!

So I finished Levitin's The World in Six Songs: How the Musical Brain Created Human Nature and really l liked it so I gamely purchased his first book, This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession. It was wonderful. Really. Until I got to the part about 10,000 hours.

"... ten thousand hours of practice is required to achieve the level of mastery associated with being a world-class expert -- in anything. In study after study, of composers, basketball players, fiction writers, ice skaters, concert pianists, chess players, master criminals, and what have you, this number comes up again and again. Ten thousand hours is the equivalent to roughly three hours per day, or twenty hours per week, of practice over ten years."

For some reason I became irrationally irritated by this. Particularly since he mentioned "fiction writers" by profession...along with master criminals. Rather an interesting sensation to be grouped with master criminals.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Blame the name, Mame.

I have three characters in my book who are interestingly named. Griffin Bowen, which is meant to evoke adventure as well as mystery. Right rhythm, two beats, Griff-in, followed by two beats, Bow-en. A hero's name.

Then there are my dear villains.

The arch villain is named Murdock Bowen, Griffin's uncle, which begins with an unpleasant similarity to murder, and his character is certainly capable of killing.

The villainous partner in crime is named Erasmus Snood. I love the rhythm of Erasmus. Like the wobbly wheel on a shopping cart or the wear of an uneven heel, its the extra third syllable that makes it carry so much extra baggage. Then the final 's' of Erasmus slides in to the doorstop word of Snood, the double 'o' pitching a snooty slam. The whole thing is intended to imply a secretive nature accompanied by a superior attitude (which is comically misplaced).

I am tempted to write a Victorian novel just to use the girl's name Mehenatible!