Saturday, May 30, 2009

Take One Take Two

I'm now looking at two different versions of Chapter One for the novel.

I wrote the new beginning as something of an experiment--a way to get a clearer picture of what came before. Now I'm thinking it might do better as the start of things as a more detailed way of setting the scene. But I've gotten so used to the notion of the book beginning where I first began it that I'm reluctant to throw it away completely. So right now I have two different Chapter Ones saved in Scrivener and I'll be figuring out which one works best as I go.

I must say that the new opening seems to have refreshed my interest in working on it.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Excuse Note #6 and Tropes

Please excuse Sheila from working on her novel yesterday as she had her time devoured by She did complete work on her novel today.

If you didn't shudder in recognition, you probably aren't familiar with It is an extensive wiki that started as "Television Tropes and Idioms" and eventually sprawled into just about every storytelling medium. It is also an enormous timesink because there is so much of it to read and each link tempts one to click, if only to find out what the heck a "Big Lipped Alligator Moment" is. (In case you wondered, it's a scene that comes completely out of nowhere, has no bearing on the plot and is never spoken of again.)

Tropes are things like plot devices, characters or settings that are seen over and over in various iterations. Anybody who thinks they have the most amazingly original idea in the world can quickly be disabused of that notion with a trip to, where they can find entries for just about every little thing that they thought unique about it--with a long list of examples from various media.

I've come across a number of tropes that apply to my work-in-progress. It's simultaneously enlightening and humbling. I'm a touch relieved that none of the tropes I've discovered in my work appear to be particularly threadbare ones (the term "Dead Horse Trope" is used for those) and some even seem to be popular in a way that suggests that there is indeed an audience for this work beyond myself.

I'm tempted to insert my own examples once the book is published, though that's probably cheating. I know I'll have definitely achieved my dream if a complete stranger reads my book and loves it enough to make sure it's properly indexed there.

Monday, May 25, 2009

When Ideas Attack

I spent my Memorial Day at home because I decided to start working on this nifty idea I had for a sort of instruction book on different free writing techniques I use. I think I may have gone and drafted the thing. It's more of a pamphlet than a book, but it's out of my head and in a Scrivener binder, so I can figure out what to do with it from there. May add to it a bit, but the main methods I use are in there so far (including the odd names I have for them like "Sub-C Session", "Catbook" and "Clicktappity.")

If nothing gets done on the novel between now and the end of the day, this may serve as my Excuse Note.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Wait, why am I doing this again?

On the plus side, obviously, I've been working steadily enough to avoid having to post Excuse Notes here.

On the minus side, some of the work has been on the level of rewriting one sentence and scampering off into the night.

That's probably not too helpful. I mean, it may well get it done, but I'd like to have this thing finished by the end of the year, not the end of next decade. Since I'm not working under any external deadline and I do have other matters to attend to (such as finding a job before my unemployment insurance runs out) it's all too easy to file it under Things To Be Done Real Soon Now.

I pondered this in my morning pages (yes, I do morning pages, yes, I know this makes me a cliche, no, I don't actually give a damn as long as it works for me) and it occurred to me that part of my reluctance comes from a lack of focus on the reasons why I'm writing, so the reasons why not wind up driving my actions. Since the only Reason Why that I've been paying attention to is avoiding having to write an excuse note, I put in the minimum to satisfy that requirement and that's the end of it.

The Reasons Why Not are various--not wanting to waste effort on something that may well wind up rejected, not wanting to go over the flaws and be reminded that I'm not that great a writer on the initial draft, indeed, not wanting to confront the possibility that I'm not that great a writer at all.

What, then, are The Reasons Why? I have quite a few of them, some noble, some petty, but perhaps worth mentioning here so I can remind myself of them when I have need.

Because I really don't want to become that typical white person who talks about the novel she's working on and never actually finishes it.

Because the idea for this novel has been kicking around in my head for something like ten years and it's not going to stop haunting me until I've brought it into the world one way or another.

Because I like the idea of leaving something of myself behind, even if it just winds up on a dusty shelf after I'm gone.

Because it's a love letter to the art and music scene in Atlanta that I'd hate to leave undelivered.

Because people will undoubtedly take me more seriously as a writer if I have a published book with my name on it.

Because Tanith Lee said she was looking forward to reading it.

Because I've started this dang blog about it, so I might as well make it worth the bandwidth.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Excuse Note #4

Please excuse Sheila from working on her novel yesterday as she had . . . just a really weird day, okay? She did work on her novel today. Thank you.