The reasons for this blog: 1. To provide basic author information for students, teachers, librarians, etc. (Please see sidebar) 2. I think out loud a lot as I work through writing projects, and I'm trying to dump most of those thoughts here rather than on my friends.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

a little bit of business talk in here, sorry

Did a readthrough of the second half yesterday. I see three trouble spots.

1. A chapter ending has to be fixed. I'm trying to cram in a metaphor just because I like it, and it's not working to the point of embarrassment. This should be an easy fix.

2. One scene/chapter isn't quite working. The reason it's not working is that it's a pivotal scene where the MC has been hit by a huge tragedy--but by the end of the chapter, he has to be back on track in the story, moving on as he was before. Now, this happens in real life--where the choice is to keep moving or die--but making it believable in a book, and making it to where the reader can follow it, is another matter entirely. I'm guessing I'll probably just do the best I can with it and leave it at that for now. A writer friend suggests stopping and having a chapter where the MC absorbs what has happened, and that's something I'm likely to consider in more depth later.

3. The next-to-last chapter (I guess this is called the denouement? But there's a very last chapter that's sort of a denouement-a-few-months-later, so who knows what the right word is) isn't working either. It is...glib. Yes, glib. I'm thinking that's because it's so new that I haven't had time to go over a million times like I have some of the other chapters, plus it's got a similar problem to #2 above, in that there are quick changes of emotion and mood. And--I think this is the biggie--there are a bunch of characters in the scene, all of whom have emotions and mindsets that have to be painted clearly, and which we have to see changing in the course of the chapter. Let's see--one, two, three, four characters at least, three of whom are completely new to the reader. Then there's the MC, and a bunch of spear-carriers. No wonder it's glib.

This last one is something that really requires a lot of time to fix--rereading and rewriting in context and out of it, over days, weeks, months. But I'm just going to patch it as best I can for now, and let it go. And I'm not going to do that very last tying-it-up chapter right now, because it'll take me forever. The reason I'm doing all this is business: I'm going to see my agent in Anaheim and I would like him to have skimmed what I have, so that he can have a good idea of what the whole looks like, and we can discuss in person. I know that normally it's a bad (very bad) idea to show stuff early (or incomplete) to anybody on the business side. More bad things than good can come of it: the business-type may not "get" it and (depending on who it is) advise you to stop working on it, or reject it outright before it's done. Plus, they've got a lot to do, no matter who they are, and it's just plain freakin' rude to take up their time with stuff they can't do anything with because it's not ready. Much better, I say, to take up your writer friends' time, and to let them take up your time in return. Also, occasionally the business-types love what you have and want to see the whole thing, which as often as not makes you send in something that sucks. It's hard for a writer not to feel that if a business-type loved a piece of it, they'll love it all. But I'm telling you, most of the time they don't, because it sucks, and that's because you rushed it, thinking it was better than it was.

Anyway. I don't want to burn any bridges by showing this before it's ready, but I think it will be okay if I make it clear that this is for discussion purposes only. I hope it will, anyway.

So today: type in changes I noted yesterday, and I really, really want to try to do a full readthrough. This is a pipe dream, I know, because readthroughs take me hours upon hours. But I still have a fool's hope that I can manage it. Sigh.

And so to work.

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