Monday, November 30, 2009

40,000 words and counting

I have hit 40,000 words of the book--15 chapters, 152 pages--and I'm sort of proud to say that I don't think one part of this story is mere filler. I keep thinking, "Oh, this is an important part," then I realize I say that about all the parts. Which is good, right?

Anyways, I survived Black Friday. It was busy for a while during my shift, but then it quieted down and we had to clean, i.e.,pick up clothes off the floor and sort them out. Also, this woman tried to buy three cashmere sweaters that had the wrong tags on them--those tags listed those sweaters as $20 each. Had to call security, find the items on the 3rd floor, note down the prices and go down to the security office. Guess what? Those three sweaters are actually worth something like $300 total.

So, basically, I saved the store a lot of money.

It was pretty busy on Sunday. A steady stream of customers. I hit 192% of my sales goal (yay!) and had a HUGE $113 Pre Sale.
And someone agreed to sign up for the card. I'm relieved, because now I can stop worrying about that and just do my job.

Oh---and just a general question. My story takes place in 2009, with flashback chapters through the 90s. I'm now flashbacking around 1999 and the timeline will move up to the 2000s and such. Does anyone with a better memory than I remember when cell phones, texting, laptops and digital cameras became so huge?

I had a laptop when I was 15, which means around 2001, and I used my mom's cell phone around the same time and remember thinking that those things were everywhere in the city. But digi cams, anyone? My protagonist is a photographer, so it's kind of relevant.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Adventures in Retail

So far I've learned that...

Standing for five hours is not foot-friendly.

Sensor removal machines are evil. And temperamental.

Always read the tags before you scan them.

People need to learn to put the shit back where they got it from.

People really do buy more if you say "Hello" to them when you see them.

No one wants a friggin' store department card. Shit, I wouldn't get one, so I can't really blame them. The interest is too high, it's another credit card, and 15% off on your first two days is not terribly enticing when there's a sale coming up.

Clearance racks are the devil. And no, that shirt is full price. I know it was on the clearance rack, but it scans up full price. Someone must have left it there and not put it back where it belongs.

Ahhh...not working till next week's sale. I'll let you know if I survive.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Just bringing this over from another blog, Risky Regencies...

href="http://riskyregencies.blogspot.com/2009/11/characters-take-over.html">Characters Take Over

See? I'm not the only one who argues with her characters. Or has elaborate conversations with them as I'm about to fall asleep. Or has arguments with them, once in a while. Out loud. It might be an only child thing, this talking to myself thing.

And I am definitely not the only one who yells at Mark Teixeira when he grounds out to first when Johnny Damon is on base, there are two outs, and A-Rod is up next. Despite this, I want Damon and Teixeira T-shirts for Christmas.

Yankees in 6! *crosses fingers and toes*


Quote from above blog: "As the creator of the tale, I can make the characters do what I want--in theory. In fact, if they don't like where I am taking them they often make the story stall. It won't move forward no matter what I try. They're like stubborn toddlers who sit down in the middle of Target and start shrieking because they don't like where things are going. Once I figure out how exactly I am going against their characters, how the story is being forced on them, things usually start moving again."

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I'm pretty sure that I've repeated the phrase, "Where were all these ideas when I needed them in college?" several times over the last few days. I just noticed that I posted the summary on October 10th, which means I finished the outline around that time or soon after. Which means I've written 8 chapters and 80 pages in less than a month.

Excuse me while I let out a lot of expletives...in disbelief, mostly.

Here's what I remember about college writing classes: none of the stuff I wrote for those classes was anything I was going to continue working on afterwards. We all wrote different types of fiction, if it was a fiction class. Emerson was a pretentious school. I say that lovingly. That extended to workshopping. It was more critical than constructive. I got the word "saccharine"(someone's word of the day) thrown around about stuff I'd written more than once. Oh, yeah, then there was "fluff."

I had one writing teacher for Fiction II, who tried to get us to lift our fiction skills.Kimberly McLarin writes a lot about race and race issues. It's heavy, serious stuff in some ways, obviously, and she wanted us to write stories that had some substance--any substance. It's hard to get substance out of 19-year-olds, especially relatively privileged ones who were able (mostly through bank robbing and loan carrying) to attend Emerson. Note that I was one of maybe two so-called minority kids in a class of 12 or 15.

I remember the class trying to puzzle out what she meant by "Fiction is not real life. I need more description. Okay, but why did that happen? It needs to have a purpose in the context of the story." I can understand and appreciate all that now, but at the time? In Fiction One, we'd worked on basics, like dialogue. Realistic dialogue, realistic fiction. I got tripped up on the difference between realistic and real.

Just because a story is meant to be realistic does not mean that it follows the pattern of real life. I used to use the "oh, but it really happened that way" excuse for some of my stuff. That's great and all, but fiction is an organization of life. There's a character who grows, there's a point in the theme, there are events to move it along. Everything has a purpose.

I'd write, but there'd be no overall point to it. What was I trying to say? Did I have anything worthwhile to say?

I remember often feeling like I wasn't digging deep enough. (Digging deep being a popular phrase at Emerson; we were mostly artsy-fartsy kids, after all). I wanted to be able to combine description with emotion in my narrative. It felt to me that I never quite succeeded. I tried writing stories about friendships that were changing, a couple in a crisis in their relationship because of a loss; depression, but nothing rang true to me. The emotions weren't translating and it was frustrating. The characters were flat or blatantly autobiographical. I think I just felt out of my depth a lot of the time.

For all that I've spent the last years going-going-going, I think I've grown the most as a writer, and as a person, this year.