Monthly Archives: August 2010

Two Steps Forward…Or Was That Sideways?

I finished (finally) reading Bob Mayer‘s the Writer’s Toolkit on Monday night.  Yes, I was partially avoiding my current WIP due to the aggravation that results from spending too much time with only one thing for too long.  Rather like being cooped up in a small white room with one other person for days on end.  Sometimes you can get a bit testy with the other person.  I was testy with my novel.

So I finished reading the Toolkit’s final chapters which focused more on submissions, the next and terrifying step of the publishing process that I must face.  And did it help me get ready for the publishing side?

Perhaps.

But what it really did was give me even better insight into ways to tighten up the ending of my book and a few other ‘flavor’ changes to make to the story.  Those changes that are relatively small (no big plot changes) but that add depth or intrigue or emotion to the story.

<bangs head on desk>

Not that these ideas aren’t great, they are!  But that means going back through again.  I’m caught between the desire to finish!!!! and the need to take a break.

This past week would appear to be a break as I did not finish my editing as intended.  But don’t let appearances fool you!  The story, Broken Blessings is the title btw, has been simmering on the burner (not even the back burner) as it works on telling me what it needs.  Or vice versa.

There is definitely a frustration to the feeling that every time I feel that I’m getting close to done, that some new realization comes to the fore and I’m back into the editing trenches.

When I finished actually writing the novel (first draft), there was this toe-to-hair-tingling sense of achievement.  Does that ever happen with editing?

I hope to find out.  And soon.  But not as soon as I’d originally thought.  Because in the end, I want to be selling the best story possible.

Back to the land of the red pen I go.  Tomorrow.  Tonight I think I’ll just relax and try not to think about it at all.  A night off.  Sounds good, don’t you think?

~Samantha

Settling in to work

I’m trying!  Really I am!

Okay, clearly not really.  If I actually put my will to it, I’d be editing my novel right now, not typing up a blog post.  So obviously the procrastination has a leg up on the getting shit done.

But at least I’m writing?

Actually, I’m feeling pretty confident that I’ll put down the distractions and settle in shortly to the work my heart 3/4 wants to do.  The other 1/4 is contemplating all the other ‘feel good’ things I could do.

I spent some portion of last night reading through Robert J. Sawyer’s recent note on the future of the industry.  While fantasy is only one area I write in, it is my personal love, and reading his thoughts on SF in particular and the industry in general and the replies to his post, well it drummed out a bit of my optimism which is a necessity for any aspiring writer in my opinion.

But I certainly can’t stop now!  Dammit, this novel is going to be ready to go and the query letters are going out by the end of this week if it kills me.

Or, well, preferably someone else.  😉

Just kidding.

Movies will Never be the Same

I don’t know if this is typical for pansters, but I personally have a hard time with editing.  I just couldn’t see how to do it.  After all, the words are there, written out in the way that seemed most appropriate at the time. How do I change them for the better?

The answer to that has been my quest for the past two years.  And I have learned much.  It even appears that some of it is has made an impression.  Maybe even usefully so.

A couple of the things that are currently stuck in my head to watch for:

  • Does the characters’ actions flow naturally from their natures?
  • What’s the conflict in this scene?  This question has some subsets about where the conflict is, is it external or internal, is this the moment when the protagonist has their call to action? Or the moment from which they can’t turn back?  Things like that.
  • Logical fallacies or other plot failures.

These are great things for me to watch for, things I need to work on in my own novel.

But now they’re in my head.  I’ve been infected!

There I am, cheerfully enjoying the, let’s face it, relative mindless entertainment of a movie, and what does my brain do?

Oh, look, there’s the protagonist’s save the cat moment.  Ah, and now the training montage.  And it’s about time for, oh yeah, the stakes just got raised.

I’ve turned into a dissector of movies, books as well, but for some reason it strikes me more with the movies.  Maybe that’s because it’s that one step removed from the novel-writing process (where obviously novels, aren’t).

My friends are sitting there enjoying (or not, but that’s the movie’s problem, not mine) the flick, and I’m sitting there debating the strengths and weaknesses of its plot and characters.  Was that realistic?  Did the writer force that situation or did it flow so naturally that you believe that it couldn’t have gone anywhere else?  Could they have made that conflict bigger?  The stakes higher?

So much for watching the movie and just enjoying it.

I feel like I have passed some barrier, that I have entered a new stage of my editing skills.

But will the joy in movies return?  Or will I always have the little voice in my head deciding the quality of the writing?  It’s very distracting.  And it’s not like I need another voice in my head.  😀

For now I’ll take the change in my editing perspective.  Maybe I’ll just need to start watching a better class of movies.

Nah, I just love watching things blowing up too much to ever give the action flicks up completely.  Guess I’ll just have to enjoy picking them apart, too.