Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Iggy's Summary

I have been on the NaNoWriMo boards like nobody's business. They're amazingly fun. There's a forum for authors divided by age group, another about working out your plot, finding facts and references for your plot, there are forums  for stories divided by genre (I firmly live in the Historical Fiction forum--so many interesting plots and facts. If you post something, someone is going to reply with links to information for you! It's awesome!)

I just posted a topic asking for more information for 1520s France and Italy and the Netherlands, because while I know and can imagine a story set in Tudor England quite easily (and picture Henry Cavill as the Duke of Suffolk. Yum), the other European countries at the time...not so much.

Anyways, I sort of finished my synopsis for Iggy to post on my NaNo profile and thought I'd post it here, too.

The bastard son of a Catholic monk and nun comes of age during the English Reformation.
Ignatius FitzClement was born in a Yorkshire priory. Aged 10, his routine world changes when a young girl named Isabel comes into the priory orphanage, Ignatius is sent to the learned monk Clement to begin his true education, and Iggy finds out who his parents are--Brother Clement and Sister Benedicta.
As he grows up in the early part of King Henry VIII's reign, Iggy must grapple with his loyalty to the Church and to his parents: his father, who is increasingly in favor of reforming, and his mother, who insists Iggy's conception was a sin. Iggy must also balance his two childhood friends, Isabel and Tom, and the wishes of his social-climbing uncle, Sir Robert.
Ignatius travels through 1520s and 1530s Europe: experiencing the Renaissance in France and Italy; experiencing war between France and the Holy Roman Empire, seeing Martin Luther speak, and watching as King Henry takes down the power of the Catholic Church--by divorce, by law, by executions and by suppressing the largest rebellion against his power, the Pilgrimage of Grace.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

November is National Novel Writing Month

The cold, bitter, gray days of winter are ahead of us and November is national novel writing month. Nanowrimo.org is  a month-long event of novel writing--50,000 words to be precise by the end of the month. A month of written verbal vomit. Ignoring my ponderous inner editor. I just registered as an official participant. There are daily word counts to be updated and articles on the site I have to read---the only rule is that I can't use anything I've written beforehand.

So I'm going to get 50,000 words of Iggy down in November. I've been researching. I have an outline going. But I'm not sure where and what the story is really about--and what better opportunity to get it down?

Last year, I couldn't do NanoWrimo because I already had 20,000 words of Last Request down before November 1st.

In other news, I got my first issue of Writer's Digest in the mail yesterday and I am flipping through it, particularly the article about online forums and critique groups. Maybe I'll get lucky this November and find someone other Nanowrimos!

And yes, in addition, I am scribbling over the hard copy of Last Request.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Crap to Fix in Draft 3

So far, by own re-reading:

  • Eva alludes to bad moods and deep depressions and she thinks her mother's death is a cloud over her life, but it's never really in a strong scene. So...fix that. 
  • Streamline!
  • Up the stakes. Eva thinks she might be dead and/or possibly dying through most of the "present day" bits. So, you know, make that a bigger theme. It drives her. Eva is not a person who is comfortable with dying right now. 
  • Increase the number of scenes or chapters from the past? Not sure about this yet. 
  • Figure out a good narrative/ scene balance. Ugh. 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A quick soundbite from Kazuo Ishiguro, the Japanese-born (from Nagasaki!), British author of Never Let Me Go and The Remains of the Day. Haven't read him, but I feel compelled to read Never Let Me Go now. I'm attracted to melancholy. After all, Atonement is my favorite book.

Plus, he's talking about how the dystopian, sci-fi aspect to his book isn't really what it's about, which is how I think about Last Request.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

I have just gotten the first 11 chapters of Last Request back from my reader and I'm looking over her printed-out pages, smiling at the smiley faces she drew in the margins (because smiley faces are much more awesome handwritten than on the Comments feature in Word) and reading the scant comments written here and there.

We also have a few emails about favorite scenes of hers or at least, details that need to be cleared up. So I'm actually reading my own ms for the first time in quite a while and I'm catching things in draft 2.5----which I think means that work has commenced on Draft 3.

Basically, in addition to nit-picky things (such as how many times I used the word "incongruously" in ten chapters--ugh), I'm noticing that there's a lack of...depth in some parts--I think I was rushing to fulfill my own ideas and connections and such. I tend to feel that way about my writing after not reading it for some time, that it lacks depth and emotionality. That maybe it spells things out too honestly, without hiding behind literary devices.

I'm also noticing that I need to get into a closer POV to Eva, the main character, particularly in regards to her oft-referred bad moods/dark times etc. I'm still struggling with the balance between description and narrative, what to show and what to tell, what to explicitly state and what to just leave as flavor in the background.

But, this is why I wanted someone else to read it. To see if they could delve into it and piece together what this story is about and help bring something more out of it.

So, you know, for those of you who are bored...or need new reading material...or are just curious after reading so many blog entries about this ridiculousness, feel like being another reader? I've always had this dream about a manuscript being totally marked up (something I've done on my own, as you'll recall, in highlighter and pen and post-it strips) in different people's handwriting, some of the comments conflicting and everyone just generally getting into a needlessly deep discussion about my book.

'Cause you know, I'm a writer. I have an ego. And I so want this and need this draft to be good, to see if I can write on a level that will sustain an entertaining but hopefully thought-provoking piece of fiction.

I've only been dreaming about this since I was 12, after all. No pressure there.

But, no, seriously--having another reader or two would be amazing. I keep getting emails from Writers' Digest about their 2nd draft readers service, but it involves shelling out bucks to have someone read your stuff.