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.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Random stuff:

1. Yesterday I worked on the w-f-h proposal, and also watched a TV show about the same subject. It's not something I know a lot about, so I'm trying to get a feel for a real-life situation that would work. I'm also trying to use this proposal as an opportunity to think deeply about how I can pull plot and character together in ways that work for me--and I noticed yesterday that the real-life situation doesn't quite match the tone the publisher wants. Somehow I have to try to navigate between subtle psychological evolution and splashy eye-catching hooks.

2. While I was waiting for new tires (to replace the ones that I suddenly realized were on the verge of blowing out), I started reading a current book by an extremely popular author, the rare kind of author who is actually growing rich from writing books. I was reading along being pulled in and caring about the characters--and growing impressed by being made to feel that way--when suddenly the story went off on a weird preconceived plot-driven tangent that was titillating, provocative, and kind of insane, if you ask me. If I was fourteen, I bet I'd eat it up. But holy cr*p, it was waaaay off target writing-wise. I was thinking, okay, this is what I need to keep in mind as I work through the proposal. My target audience is a fourteen year old who wants to be shocked and titillated, the way the fourteen-year-old me wanted to read V.C. Andrews and The Exorcist. But I also have to write something I can stand to work on for months at a time. Therein lies my dilemma.

3. Today I worked some more on my thingee* for the swordfighting ms. I noticed that at the end of two days' worth of work, I had a complete scene and knew what the point of it was. It already has a clear arc (character-wise, of course) that could be part of a story line. If I was working my normal way, I'd do this again and again and then figure out how the scenes fit together to make a plot to go with the character arc. Unfortunately, this scene takes place about eight years before the events of the book, and this character isn't currently the main one.

4. What I need to think about: Is there a way to combine my natural way of working and a preconceived plot? Or, if I go with the flow and write whatever feels like it needs to be written without thinking about plot at all, will the ms eventually disclose the shape it wants to take? I guess the question is, how much do I have to push, and when and where, to get a workable end result?

5. I think it was the last post where I mentioned Murphy's Law. But Murphy's Law is something like "Anything that can go wrong, will." I think the one I meant was the Peter Principle. And it's a sign of my state of mind lately that a few weeks ago I was having small writing epiphanies in the wee hours around dawn, but now this is the kind of suck-@ss epiphany I get. "Wait! That's not Murphy's Law! You called it the wrong thing!" I suppose one should be grateful for any kind of epiphany, though.

*I call it a thingee when you write stuff on the side to work out a character. Usually it's just the character's thoughts or feelings about something, but it could be the character's own words, or a journal entry, or a scene unrelated to the story, or anything. In this case it started as me writing down why the character was a certain way, and it turned into a scene from his childhood.

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