Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Just When You Think You're Done...

"Edit" is too soft a word for the work I needed to do on my essay. "Surgery" would be better. I moved an entire point from one paragraph to another, tore up my conclusion and put it back together in a newly improved version. And yes, it was fun, but I had better get a good grade on that essay.

In my story, I wrote about 700 words yesterday but I need to rewrite maybe the last 100 because the viewpoint character would not have reacted like she did. I'm not entirely sure where this scene will go, but I have an idea - and I'm going to stop writing this post now because I want to get to writing that story.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Progress

Chapter Twenty of my crazy story is done, at 13,396 words in three scenes. Temporally, this chapter was quick - it took just over a month to write, in fact. But in some ways it dragged on. For example, the second scene (scene 90) was one of the most difficult to write in this entire project. Scene 91 was not easy, either, but it was really fun to write and I got some nice imagery in there.

Problems?  Yes.

Pacing: I feel that some parts should be elongated and some parts condensed. When I'm reading a book, I can tell when the pacing is bad, but I've never taken notes on when it's done right. I should start keeping track of what I can learn from the books that I love.

Emotion: Mein Gott. How is it that I am so bad at this? Maybe it's because I don't get emotional very often and I've never experienced anything like what I'm putting my characters through - but that's what empathy is for, so I'm not using that excuse.

In scene 89 one guy is supposed to completely snap, but I don't think I built up to it well - in pacing or in emotion. Scene 90 has one character receive a figurative slap to the face. She doesn't read as shell-shocked. My only "emotion" success story is scene 91, when the deterioration of a friendship is actually done fairly well, if I may say so.

I really need to figure this one out if I ever want my books to feel human. All the writing advice I see says to "put yourself into your stories," but what if there isn't anything to put in?

Oh, yes - I'm finally done revising my language arts essay. It actually isn't as bad as I thought it was - or rather, it became less bad after I threw an hour of editing at it. I'd like to think that I've a talent for fiction, but for essays and nonfiction the A's are won with lots of work.

I could probably go on, but after reading some articles on the Holly Lisle site, I am excited to keep working on my novel.

Forza!
Los! Los! Los!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Something Wicked That Way Goes

Work on my insane story is progressing well - I'm up 46 kilobytes from the beginning of the month. I slogged through a scene that I didn't really want to write, and the one I'm working on right now is less pointless. Yet even so, I'm not really feeling the writing. What makes this scene stand out? Why is it important that I write this scene and not another?

I thought I had figured it out. But 3000+ words in, I'm still not sure what the heart of this scene is. And I need to know, or else I cannot reach in and yank it out.

But - and again things change - I have a better idea now. My book is dark. Death and betrayal are everywhere. A good character, one who I'm going to have to show more in earlier scenes to establish as sympathetic, is starting to go bad. His friend, whose POV this scene is from, is going to feel the brunt of his change.

So this scene is about a friendship souring. It's about how strong gravitates towards stronger, and how the weak are left behind. It's about ugliness. The ginormous sea snake is definitely not the only monster.

And isn't that what the whole book is about? It's about fear and hatred and danger and tragedy, if I can pull those off. Oh, there's a more positive moral waiting at the end of the road, but for now I'll have fun putting my characters through all sorts of hell.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Essay

Normally, I adore essays. I like the feeling of stitching sentences together and using reason. When I write a good conclusion, it is heaven. Revising my own essays is unbelievably rewarding.

However.

My current language arts (it'll be strange to call it "English" next year) essay says to compare my experiences/conflicts/traits with the main character from my reading novel. All right, good. So why is it so stupidly difficult to write this essay? We have a format - a strict format - to follow. There's a formula. Just plug the numbers in, right?

Of course it isn't like that. And yet - every new point seems like a reiteration of the old ones, I'm not even sure if I'm following the prompt correctly, what is the difference between a concrete detail and a commentary, why does the example essay use "this shows" and "this reveals" when those phrases are the equivalent of a wooden leg, are they supposed to be there just to get the actual writing going, how am I supposed to revise when I can't even think of a conclusion...

Then again, the last essay involved multiple hours of work. I can't expect to get this one done effortlessly. But honestly, I've had enough of it for today and I'd rather work on something that does not cause me pain.