Monday, August 30, 2010

Slave to the Novel


Two months into revisions and edting. How do you feel?
Frustrated.
The middle is my plague, my bane, my ruination. For every thousand words, I have to go back and cut another thousand or two because it never fits right. I’ve been up, I’ve been down, I’ve gained and lost and now I’m pretty much in a deadlock. Word counters are evil wrapped in wickedness, fired by something so dark you can’t even name it.
Dramatic, much?
Kick ‘em. Well, I did. I kicked and then I gave a miraculous gift that fits in with the plot. And then I kicked harder and lo and behold, it led to another gift, the bright, shining gift of all gifts. And then what did I do? I kicked really hard. Not once, buttwice. Of course, when you do that, it kind of leaves a little sniveling. I hate sniveling. Buck up and move on. Not that I do when I get kicked, but then my story is a lot longer than 75,000 words. I have room for sniveling. Bridgit is limited and more than anything, I don’t want her to come off as a whiner. I did have this great scene where she attached lace to the sleeves of the dress she wore to cover the scars on her wrists and then when she got snivelly, she raised her hands and the lace fell back, showing them. But it seemed soooooo dramatic I had to cut it.
If she thought Jonah was going to marry someone else, capable, determined, solid Bridgit wouldn’t sit by and cry about it. She’d go to him and demand to know what was going on. She’s very no-nonsense, but in a sympathetic way.
It’s going to work out. It’s going to come together. Maybe sometime in the next twenty years. Patience. My dad always told me I never had any. I think he might have been right.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Fight to the Death (with editing)


Well, I hope not.
I’m reminded of a blog post I read a couple of weeks ago. It’s actually here: Roller Coaster Ride with the Devil at A. J. and Charli Bite Back.
A. J. didn’t know it at the time, but she was speaking to me loud and clear. She wrote about the little voice of doubt that lives in every writer’s head. I wonder if Stephen King as a little voice like that. Pfft, he has lots of voices inside his head. Has to. Anyway, she wrote (and I’m paraphrasing here) the voice of doubt sits on her shoulder and says, “Don’t quit your day job.” She looks back at it and says “I’m over-educated and unemployed. This is my job.”
I’ve had, wait, let me do the math. Nothing plus nothing equals, um, nothing. Let’s see, that brings us up to… right, a total of zero job interviews this month. In fact, not a nibble since I didn’t get that title clerk job I should’ve been a shoo-in for (no skin off my teeth, it was only a million miles away from my house). I have a total of one scheduled for this upcoming week, so that should be exciting. Right now sleeping weird hours, doing revisions and a crit here and there is my job. The pay is lousy, let me tell you.
Chapter 12. I’m reminded of why I hate editing. It leads to revisions. Due to unforeseeable changes in the plot, chapters 10, 11 and 12 are very, very, very different from the originals. Bang head… right about here———> ( ) should do the trick. Awww, an interactive blog. How fun. It’s 12:30 in the morning, in case you were wondering. No, I’m not sleepy.
I’m writing this blog because I took A. J.’s words to heart. This is my day job. I got up, I did have to clean a trojan (what is wrong with you people, why are you making trojans and viruses and sending them to innocent people’s e-mails? I have better things to do than look up how to get rid of them, pray I’m not going to screw anything up, and sit there while malware programs scan a hundred million files! It found 38, in case you were interested. From one e-mail.) off Husband’s computer. Then I decided to update my MP3 player, so I cleaned off the songs I’m sick of, synced some different ones to the player and finally figured out how to get chapter two—but wait, wasn’t I working on 10, 11 and 12, oh yes, I was, but I had to fix two first—to end.
I sat there and waited for inspiration. It came, grudgingly. Dragged its heels, put up a good fight, but it settled in. I watched Whisper the gerbil frolic in her tank. I listened to two hours worth of music. I forgot to eat. I did have a glass of grapefruit juice and most of a Dr. Pepper. I thought about boiling eggs, but I didn’t want to misuse my time. I wrote my fat little fingers to the bone.
At one point, after I’d re-scanned the malware program, I was staring off into space. Husband asked, “What are you looking at?” I blinked, looked at him and smiled sheepishly. “I was looking at cows. In a field. There was tall grass, about twenty-five cows. They’re mostly red.” The answer to that was “Huh?” I had to explain that Jonah isn’t good at small talk, so I was trying to figure out the dialogue. Let’s cut to 11:00 p. m.
Here’s the heading on the page: TWELVE. The cursor is waiting for me to type. Do it. You know what has to be done. Okay, I know what has to be done. I don’t know how to execute it. I’m not even convinced chapter 11 came off so good. Which as been a major fault in the entire plot of C&C. Some of the chapters just didn’t come off so good. I reread that part about the goat, by the way. When I sit and think about the goat, I think man, a scene with a goat is so corny. But it introduces another character, which used to be pivotal to the plot. And sort of still is, but not as much. Tell you what, right now, today, this second, for the low, low price of $1000 cash, C&C can be your problem. I’ll hand over every file pertaining to the plot and characters the second I see greenbacks or you make a deposit into my account and I can confirm it’s gone through. I tried that once before and had no, that’s right, count ‘em, zero interested parties. Do you really want to disappoint me that way? My stress is the fault of anyone who won’t take this story off my hands.
Oh, right. And then what would I have to complain about? Well… NaNoWriMo is coming up. Don’t think I haven’t been wracking my brain to come up with something for that.
Looking at last summer, I try to remember where I was in August. Had to have been around 50k. I finished the third week of September, that sounds about right. I was sick, I’d stopped eating, I sat around plotting all the time. All I did was drink Dr. Pepper and plot. For real. I was sick as a dog the last two weeks of September. I got the call about the Missouri Literary Festival and was terrified I wouldn’t be able to go to the reading because I couldn’t talk without hacking my head off. The key to success there was to keep a peppermint in my mouth the whole time.
I didn’t like that person. She was scary. Now, here am I with those words etched into my brain about the day job. Seems like a pretty good excuse to sit in front of a computer all day. But thing longer I sit, the faster my brain runs into standby mode. When I’m not revising, I think I should be. When I am, I wish I was writing something else. Sitting down and writing something else. I hate revisions no matter how necessary they are. I’m not sorry I didn’t work on this for… what was it, like six, seven months. I needed to get away from it. I don’t know why I like editing other people’s stuff, but hate my own.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Putting it All Away


And it felt sooooooo goooooood.
What? What did she put away? Oh! Okay don’t get so excited. All I did was stop worrying about word counts. And it felt fabulous!
I had to chop, hack, cut and revise chapter 10 of C&C. So I reluctantly removed something like 4000 words. And made them up last night. It was so refreshing. And this morning I wrote a scene with a goat in it. That was fun. I’m a fan of goats. They kind of stink and the rectangular pupils are a bit frightening, but lots of them are super sweet. We went to the Ozark Empire Fair last week and this little goat was sucking on my finger. I wanted to stick it in my purse and run for the car. He was considerably bigger than my purse, so that wasn’t going to work, but he was such a cutie! The scene was inspired by a goat we used to have. Her name was Lulu and she “laughed” when I used to chase her. I had to chase her because she kept getting loose and running away. She thought she was a dog and some mornings I would wake up and find her sleeping on our porch. I miss that goat.
I really feel like the characters are coming together better. I don’t have the constant desire to strangle Jonah anymore. I have added some new elements and still have to work out the next chapter, but I figured out the part where Jonah realizes he loves Bridgit. Whew!
Hey, you know what? This blog, well not this blog has been around for a year. It started out on Blogger as Insert Clever Title Here, of course, and I had to move it Wordpress because Blogger was deliberately provoking my anger for its own amusement, but I’ve been blogging for a year. Everyone collect a party-colored balloon and slice of cake on your way out!