A.M. Jenkins blog
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.
Monday, May 14, 2012
I have pretty much given up most of my financial expectations for this book, because it's taken me so long to get it done, and also it's pushing the line between adult and YA, sex and violence-wise. That's not to say it isn't YA, just that sex and violence tend cut out a sizable portion of the "YA" audience. Too bad for me, but the story is what it is.
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Ignoring that possibility for now...I don't know if I want to shoot for a working draft sent to agent by the time I leave for VT, or if I want to lay off the ms while I'm at residency then do a revision between my return to TX and first packets coming in. Will decide later.
Friday, April 27, 2012
My copy of Story came, but I haven't had time to open it yet.
Sunday, April 22, 2012
Friday, April 20, 2012
So I guess the way to describe what I've been doing, amidst my fretting and picking at stuff, is to say that I've been honing and slanting my scenes to try to give "decent" the most power I possibly can.
In related news, I have finally ordered a copy of Story: Substance, Structure, Style, and the Principles of Screenwriting (Robert McKee), and a fellow writer and I will be attempting to read it at the same time, so we can discuss its practical applications to our own mss re. tension and pacing. I say "attempting" because I just heard that it's a thick book (I never checked the number of pages, d'oh!), and I zone out quickly on craft-speak; my brain just doesn't recognize or retain it. Craft-speak has to have direct meaning to a writing problem I'm struggling with, or it's like I'm reading Chinese or Sanskrit. So stay tuned.
Anyway, in the same order I also finally rewarded myself with a book that's been on my list for a long time, Brittany and the Angevins: Province and Empire 1158-1203, by Judith Everard, and it's going to be hard to force myself to stay with pages and pages of theoretical writing advice when I could be reading a case for why everybody is so f*cking wrong about Henry II's fourth son being a sly, amoral lowlife. But I will try. And who knows, maybe Story's not really that long--maybe it's even a page-turner of a craft book.
(Here's to writer friends who read craft books and tell you the parts that are pertinent to your ms! May the writing gods bless them with many days in the Zone and also lots of cash.)
Friday, April 13, 2012
I'm almost through this first rough pass, so soon it will at least be all one piece.
Last night as I knitted two bits of dialog together I noticed that one character's comment would completely knock my MC for a loop. I sat there and looked at the gap between the two lines of dialog, trying to think what would go there--just some kind of emotional marker to be replaced later with something sturdier and more carefully thought out. But I came up totally blank. I looked at the situation, and couldn't for the life of me think how to get across the stunned feeling my MC was hit with.* Finally I just put down:
which is slightly pathetic, but at least it's still a step up from pieces of unknitted dialog scattered all over the page.
Anyway, I don't feel too bad, because I keep remembering that w-f-h piece where I started figuring out this whole idea of "layering," and also the fight scene from this WIP that was so boring to work through, mechanics-wise, but that people seemed to get into when they read or heard it. I know by now there's a good chance that, although the first few layers are an excruciating drag to write, the scene will probably start perking up after I get it grounded and the characters start to enter into it more.
*I can't stand the thought of writing "stunned" as a placeholder here. "Stunned" is exactly what the MC is, but it's so smoothly generic a tag that I can't afford to stick it in there now, because that might allow me to ignore the gap and not pay attention to it. If I'm going to use "stunned," it will need to be chosen and placed,** not tossed off and then forgotten about since it more or less fits the bill.
**"chosen and placed" means I need to play around with sentence structure, paragraphing, and also think deeply about how it really feels when you get this kind of news, like physically, and also what it does to your perceptions of what's around you (what are you noticing as you feel that way?). I cannot afford to stick in f*cking "stunned" just because it's easiest right now. Sloppy writing is a slippery slope.
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
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