Friday, June 25, 2010

Chapter Twenty-One

13,635 words - my longest chapter so far. I think it has turned out pretty well. With this chapter, the first half of my second main plot arc is completed. If I keep a consistent pace, then I should finish in four or five chapters.

But there are still many issues I need to deal with. Again, emotion. Scene 95 was the closest I got to crying in this entire project, but why doesn't it reach up out of the screen and throttle me with everything my characters are feeling? They get hit with a proverbial sledgehammer to the stomach; even if the POV character has some emotion-suppressing issues, she should have a reaction.

I get what I write, but there were at least three lines that I just had to delete because they wouldn't make sense to anyone else. You are your own brand of crazy. Clarity is essential to exporting it to everyone else.

I think I actually did a decent job of pacing it this time. Wow, that never happens to me.  Unfortunately, I'm not sure how I did it.

Lastly, I'm starting to get the sinking feeling that my story is unpublishable. POV changes every scene, the eight distinct plot threads at the start have just multiplied as the story goes along, and all those characters. I myself need an excel spreadsheet just to remember basic information.

Still, even if this won't ever land on an editor's desk, my writing is definitely getting better because of this story. For me, publication isn't the main goal. I'm just here to write.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Paint Chips

I would take paint chips
From the shelves of Home Depot
And arrange them

By color, worried
at different shades green, for
Seafoam and olive

Should not be neighbors
And what about the colors
Not in the rainbow?

What of brown and black?
Eventually I learned
To group them by their

Numbers, but that made
The paint chips lose their magic.
Strangely, now when I

Go to Home Depot
I touch the paint chips and I
Get a paper cut.


Your eyes are stars, supernovae
But like black holes they pull me in

And implosions happen when I see you
Which is good because explosions

Are messy like finger-paint
And if I were five

I would choose my bluest crayon
To draw your eyes

Except they would be too round
And I would think of Neptune

Discovered by calculations
Existing as speculation before being found

A Roman god, a knockoff Poseidon
But that just isn’t you

Tell me what you mean
Tell me who you are

And, actually, I don’t even know
What kind of blue your eyes are

Blue like ocean under sun or
Blue like blood under skin

Because I keep forgetting
Even when I remember to look

For the black hole swallows even light
And under those bright supernovae

Color doesn’t really matter
Does it, blue-eyes?


Used to have "Paint Chips." That has been moved to its own post.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Dear School System,

Summer reading is supposed to encourage a love of literature.  However, taking notes on a book while reading it is a tiresome experience, and greatly detracts from the reading. Also, I am lazy and do not want to do this.


Regarding reading in general: Every since piece of writing advice I get seems to start with, "Read a lot." It is good advice, because reading increases your vocabulary; equally important, only through reading can I find out what works and what doesn't work in writing. Only through reading can I find something to which I must aspire.

On the other hand, sometimes the books I'm reading steal time away from the book I'm writing. This is especially true because I'm trying to incorporate more nonfiction into my reading diet (nonfiction books take me a lot longer than fiction does). Recently, I finished Collapse, by Jared Diamond. Great book, but a with average print size and fewer than 600 pages a book should not take me week.

Despite the time conflicts, though, my reading and my writing have a symbiotic relationship. Mutualism, you could say. My writing benefits from my reading - that's a given - but, less obviously my reading benefits from my writing. My appetite for nonfiction mostly stems from my writing project, which for convenience I will refer to as the Utopia-project from now on, and nonfiction has led me to some very interesting books.

Virtuous cycle, no?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Summer Break

Work on chapter 21 has been going a lot slower than for the other chapters because for about a week I was tied up in a scene that I was trying to force to go one way when it really wanted to go another way. Well, I've learned my lesson: bow to the story.

Rough beginning aside, it has been one of my favorite scenes to write. I can get into the viewpoint character's head pretty easily (he's crazy.  This bodes ill for my own sanity) and after I decided on the more in-character route, the writing came - not easily, but well. It ended up as a rather dark scene and I hope I have done it justice.

Worries: Perhaps 93 and 95 will be too similar.  The flow can get pretty off. Scenes are too self-contained; chapter divisions are mostly arbitrary.

To celebrate: In my current format, I should hit page 300 sometime late this week or early next week. In three chapters or so, I might get to 200,000 words, meaning I'll need to do lots and lots of condensing. But, and I feel like I'm repeating myself, all I need to do for now is just write.