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, January 31, 2010
I don't like to use the word "theme," but that's what this is. The story has always had one basic main idea I want to explore. But these scenes of personal loss are so strong (in theory, anyway; I don't know how they actually read right now) that they sweep away everything in their path. However, they're not the kind of events you can deal with offstage or offhandedly, either; they are a big deal. Ugh.
The only fix I can think of right now is to show the passage of time before and after each event, to kind of tamp things down and bring everything back to normal. I don't know if that's enough, though. I'm afraid it's not--I have a very uncomfortable feeling that it's not--but we'll see.
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Been working with other writers on their WIPs, and thinking about their stuff is sparking writing parts of my brain that usually lie dormant. I'm thinking maybe when I'm ready to pick up the swordfighting ms, I'll do so with a big jolt of nice, fresh energy and (I hope) a new angle of attack.
Was thinking about American's Next Top Model, one of my current guilty indulgences (along with Wife Swap; no longer of interest are Ghost Hunters and Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares). For some reason, I like the parts where the models practice/learn their runway walks. I don't know anything about it, but you certainly can tell when their walks have energy and power and when they don't. Then at the end of the runaway they have to hit a pose: BAM! Like, here are the clothes, and here I am, and I'm looking at you. And I was thinking there's something similar in writing novels; that's kind of how a scene feels when it's done properly--it moves in one direction with energy and power, and then it hits you with the point it wants to make: BAM! And you can feel when a scene's not "walking" properly, even if you can't define it. If there's no "pose" hitting you to make you understand or feel something, then the whole thing is a letdown and comes off as limp and dishraggy.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Sometimes moving forward is overrated, IMO. Sometimes it's good to forget about progress, to plunk yourself down in the middle of a ms and just start doing stuff to it. Digging in, ripping out, plumping up, rearranging. Sometimes that feels very damn good. And...sometimes I guess it feels alarming and counterproductive. Today, however, it was the exact thing that needed to be done.
Monday, January 25, 2010
However, I don't feel too bad about it, because I worked my butt off for many hours before that, and made some fairly large structural changes. Large for this stage of the game, anyway.
I was thinking again that if this had been a regular book, I'd have been long done with it by now. The weird format means that every tweaked thread stirs up more changes than it would in normal prose. Every time I rethink something, I have to fix all kinds of stuff down the line. I'm going to be 90 years old by the time I finish it, and that's if I'm lucky and my mind holds out till then.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
All I know is that this level of complexity in combining plot and character is totally beyond me. The whole story shifts purpose in the middle of the book--it's like two different books put together. Yet everything keeps moving along. I'd give some good cash money to hear what MWT's writing process is. I suspect it's something like Louis Sachar's, because they both have that ability to combine character with plots that loop around multiple times, picking up on prior points that looked like throwaways at the time, but turn out to be keys to the story and to reader satisfaction.
I need to think why the story keeps moving along after that halfway point, with all its exciting scenes. Multiple problems are solved, characters revealed, and the book ought to end right there. But somehow the new problem that's brought to the fore doesn't let the story slack off enough to make the reader lose interest. There's no question that I was able to put the book down and go to bed, rather than staying up reading. But there's also no question that I'll pick it up again and finish it today--even though I've already read it and know what happens.
The first time I read it, I wasn't able to put it down at all.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
*Because I printed it out already. And I haven't looked at any of the ms in a while, so I ought to get a fairly fresh read, which would be ruined if I just dive in and start adding new stuff and trying to smooth it in with the old. I can't afford to waste a fresh read at this point--been working on it too long.
Friday, January 15, 2010
Thursday, January 7, 2010
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
I am bitterly disappointed by the fact that IFC has stopped having Samurai Saturday. I asked them about it, and they replied:
"In 2010, our inventory does not have an adequate amount of Samurai films to sustain a consistent weekly airing."
I can't express how much this sucks. Samurai Saturday was like a good librarian; it put stories into my hands that I never would have sought out or even heard about otherwise. Even if somebody just told me about certain movies and recommended them highly, I probably wouldn't take the time to get hold of them myself and set aside time to watch them. But there the movies were, all kinds of them, right in my hands--my mind and creative eye expanded exponentially, and all I had to do was get up and be in front of the TV at 7:00. a.m.. Damn.
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