Saturday, April 28, 2007

Man That Hurts!

It's been an interesting two days. Yesterday I realized that I had written myself into a corner. I got so excited about the story I was on that I ignored my instinct of where it should go, and instead forced it where I wanted it to go.

And, surprise!, it didn't work. I'd had this inkling that things were not working for two or three days now, but I ignored it. I knew where I was going; surely I was on the right road.

But, no. My train was completely derailed and headed for Louisiana when I intended to go to New York City.

I've seen this before. And not just in my work. (Though certainly I've seen it in my work.:)) You try to force the plot, pacing, whatever. Now, rough patches happen, and that's not what I'm talking about. Those can be cleaned up with a good heavy edit. I'm talking about writing cancer. The kind that you simply have to go in an cut out or it will poison your whole story . . . come to think of it, that's really is a good metaphor, because that's just what you have to do. You have to cut.

You have to back up to wherever you got derailed, and start over. And then, on top of that, you have to go the right way. You have to avoid that right turn that looked so perfect at the time and stay true to your course.

That's where I'm sitting now. 20,000 words in, and I had to go back to 10,000 words, cut, and start that part all over again.

And it's really hard. That 10,000 words represents a lot of hours and thought. And there are some darn good scenes in there. Some of them I will be able to rescue later (just minor pacing issues--too much too soon) but some of them . . . most of them . . . will just be lost.

But you know what? I'm not going to end up in Louisiana.

And that's worth it.

And I can hardly complain. I got those 20,000 words in 6 days of furious writing on an idea that won't quit. I can't expect all of those hasty words to make the cut. But some of them will. Probably 12-14,000 of them.

But 6-8,000 words are something I just have to let go of and chalk up to experience.

Tonight I am going back to the place where I cut to and starting that journey afresh. You can wish me luck, but what I really need is simply the ability to see where I got off track and avoid it this time. And if hindsight is 20/20 as they say, I've got a clear view all the way up the track.

See you in New York City.


Friday, April 20, 2007

You May Say It's Friday; I Say It's Friend-Day

Several things got me thinking about this post, one of them being Kristin Nelson's post the other day about mentors. I don't know that I'd call them mentors, but I have writer friends and they are invaluable to me.

My husband's wonderful, my family is wonderful, the lady next door is wonderful. But no one can understand a writer like another writer.

I spent a lot of time this morning e-mailing with some of my friends (cuz, Yanno, I've never actually met any of them in person. But I've seen pictures!!:)) offering support and sympathy, receiving the same in kind, giving and receiving advice, letting people know I care.

And they let me know that they care . . . even though they, uh, have never met me either. Ahh, the wonders of the Internet.

But it's fun to see people slowly slog through this world we call publishing. Where everything moved at the speed of glaciers and you wish they'd take a lesson from the cheetahs instead. A world fraught with rejection where almost nobody stops to pat your fragile ego. . . and when they do it's usually just to build you up for the inevitable rejection that comes next. Go figure.

It's like a battle field where you know most of you are going to die before reaching your goal, but you can't help but try anyway. All you can do is surround yourself with comrades who are holding big shields and hope that neither you nor they will fall short.

Doesn't it feel better to have those extra shields around you?

And doesn't it feel good to know that you are helping shield someone else too?


Thursday, April 12, 2007

Critically Acclaimed?

Okay, it has been a long time since I laughed out loud at a blog entry and read parts of it out loud to my husband. But I did both when I read this entry by Jim McCarthy of Dystel and Godderich Literary Management. The man is hilarious . . . or maybe he was just having a good day. Either way, I laughed my head off.

But he makes a good point. Do you read the books that are critically acclaimed? Do you like them despite being critically acclaimed? Because they are critically acclaimed? Or do you loathe them for the same reason?

Jim mentioned some movies as examples and I'm going to follow suit. (Mostly because I have submissions in too many big houses to bash any of their books, so I'll stay away from books entirely. See, I know PR.;))So first up on my list, the movie The Notebook. Totally snoozed through the whole thing. (I can definitely see how it would be a great book, but the movie just didn't do it for me.) I think I disliked it for two very definite reasons. The first was that I had heard so much hype on it that I expected it to be this incredible, phenomenal movie. Maybe I would have liked it more if my expectations were not so high. And, of course, I saw Fifty First Dates the night before. Incredible movie! Absolutely riveting and endearing. And because both movies deal with memory issues (albeit very different kinds) I couldn't help but feel like Fifty First Dates had done so much better of a job portraying the devastation of forgotten love and the never ending hope involved than The Notebook. It just seemed lesser in my eyes. So between not living up to the hype and the coincidence of a thematically similar movie, The Notebook just crashed and burned for me.

Movies that have lived up to the hype in my opinion: Moulin Rouge, The Kill Bills, the new Phantom of the Opera, the third Lord of the Rings, Chicago (I love musicals, so shoot me;)), The Shawshank Redemption, and the Hours.

Movies that just didn't cut it for me: The Notebook, Forrest Gump, the third Harry Potter movie, the new Star Wars (yeah, everyone groan with me), Down With Love, and strangely enough, Cheaper by the Dozen (now there's a disturbing movie. Trust me, disturbing.)

I don't think that hype makes a whole lot of difference for me. If I'm going to like it, I'm going to like it. I think the effect comes when it is a movie I would have been lukewarm about. If there was a ton of hype and I just wasn't a fan, the hype can make me dislike the movie because I really expected to like it.

So how about you? What are some movies that did or did not live up to the hype? And for those of you whose MS is not out on submission, feel free to name books as well.


Monday, April 09, 2007

Fun Quote!

I stole this quote from the signature line of a fellow writer's post on Absolute Write.

"I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves."

Anna Quindlen

I thought it was a fabulous concept! And very true in my life. When we were looking for houses last year one of the things we really liked about the house we now live in is that in the front room there is a fireplace in the middle of the wall and on either side are two sets of built in bookshelves.:) We were totally stoked. More bookshelves just waiting for more books!!!

That, of course, on top of the three bookshelves we already had.

Now we have lots of bookshelves!! (And my husband is doing his best to fill them with law books. Really, they have so many textbooks in law school!)

I have always loved reading. My parents passed this love on to me when I was very young. I can't remember a time when I wasn't seeking out books. It's been a life-long love affair. On the flip side, I am working hard to pass that same love down to my children. I read to them often and generally when I am done, they are NOT ready to be done and it's all I can do to limit my reading aloud enough that I won't get hoarse! I take my kids to the library every week (though admittedly, they get more excited about the movies they can check out and the stamps on their hands, but hey, it's a start.:)) and try to make sure they get a new book at least every couple of months.

I personally believe that loving to read is an important part of any child's future life. Even if they go on to be an accountant (a number-smith rather than a word-smith) the amount of intelligence that is built through constant reading as a child will be invaluable. In my not-so-humble-opinion, a child who loves to read will be more successful in life because of it. There's no quantitative way to measure that, but I am 164% convince that it is true.

One of our future dreams--yanno, when we get out of our little student house and into the real world--is to have a house in which we can reserve a whole room to be a library. Can you imagine! A whole room full of books and comfortable seats to read them! Of course, we also want to design a house with secret passages in it, so maybe we're just crazy.:)


Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Aaaaaand Cut! . . . Everyone Take Five.

Or, yanno,two.

So it's a vacation for everyone this week! I am at my mom's house enjoying food I didn't cook and a bit of free babysitting (yea!) and basically just having a good time. However, Jodi is also out of office today and tomorrow, so I am taking two days off of the stress-fest too.

So no stressing and no being nervous and no compulsively checking my mail for two days. Hmm, cool. I can handle that.

Unfortunately for you, I've also decided to take a few days off of relevant, intelligent blogs.

So, uh, that's it.