Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Post from the blog that brought us NaNo

Read it, thought it was interesting : http://blog.lettersandlight.org/post/6978037422

I seem to dive into ideas without knowing everything about the setting or, especially, characters. Which is fine, but it annoys Buzzy and then, you know, I have to revise and....I'm not exactly very good at that yet.

I kind of like the idea of just free writing the idea down.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Regency House Party, or, visual research

This is Part One of Regency House Party. I'm only up to watching Part 9 on YouTube. It's interesting because it's obviously modern people trying to live by Regency era rules and customs--analogous to me writing a story taking place in that time and trying not to litter my characters with too many modern notions of personal freedom or independence or political correctness.

Edited to Add:

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Revision Methods

It might seem premature to be revising when I'm nowhere near finished with this piece, BUT...Buzzy won't let me rest. I'm sorry. Buzzy, the Inner Editor, has a pathological hatred of the Shitty First Draft method.

I've proven that I can write and finish an entire first draft. Alas, I'm not such a genius that I can write a magically perfect first draft, so revision is required. What I thought was "revising"...isn't. Not really. I remember correcting spelling, grammar, punctuation, crossing out pointless passages and writing long, sharp remarks about how fixing this would make sense and how a scene about this here would make the flow better...and I rewrite parts of it.

But, yeah, nothing has really happened there. I wasn't--still am not--entirely sure how to revise a 200-something page book.

So...I'm going to take this one 50 pages at a time. I'm going to do this using the different methods written and explained in the August 2011 issues of Writer's Digest.

The big one seems to be distance and perspective on your work. I haven't had my computer for a few days and have been working longer than usual hours, so there's that.

Other tips that I think may be helpful:
-Cut, cut, cut
-If there's a line you like, take it and write something else based on that. Overwrite--there might be something that comes out that you can use.
-Analyze each scene. Is there a clear POV? Does it move the story forward? Is there a clear objective? Is there a struggle? Is there an outcome that forces the reader to read on?
-Deepen details. No word should be underutilized.
-Word choice

And then there was an article on something called "status"--it's borrowed from acting, I believe--and it was about how to make sure your characters keep the upper hand in certain situations, because the central character should always be at their "best," so to speak--their behavior should be consistent and they should be sympathetic and stronger than the villain, if there is one. Silence or stillness signal confidence. Protagonists should be confident (I'm not sure that I agree with that, necessarily).

I've only gotten to redo the first page or so. I think what bothered Buzzy is that there are lots of threads in the beginning, lots of set-ups, but it's not smoothly realized yet and Buzzy is a perfectionist.

Here is part of the re-written first page:

Monday, June 13, 2011

Some Administrative Blogness

Just a quick update to let you know of a few changes that some of you may not have been aware of on the blog.

1) There are reaction buttons at the bottom of each post. Check them for a quick comment. They range from "funny" to  "huh?"

2) You can through posts and links via the search bar. That way, you don't have to wade through the different labels looking for something, if one so desires.

Saturday, June 11, 2011


Alexandra Keegan is born in January 1794 in Boston. She is Miles Keegan's oldest child, though he doesn't meet her until she's a few months old, because he's settled in Barbados and gotten married. Alex's mother, who she doesn't know much about except that she's American, named Mary, and was likely part Native American, was a "wild girl." In the 1790s, a lot could make you a "wild girl."

Miles, being a young, rich, single guy, had a regular mistress--Alex's mother--who he broke things off with before he moved to Barbados and married. Mary realizes she's pregnant, gives birth, then abandons the baby with Miles's best friend before disappearing herself. So when Miles comes to Boston to claim his daughter, he faces no opposition and has the baby christened, finally. Nick's been calling the kid "Alexandra" because his mother is named Alexandria, so Miles tacks on "Hannah" for his own mother and Alexandra Hannah Keegan is officially brought home to Barbados.

She turns out to be a loving older sister to Mady, but also a free spirit. Alex loves to ride her pony. She loves ships and  sailing, like her father. She is willful, stubborn, and highly intelligent, but often restless. She's sort of the girl that the village gossips talk about, wondering who can ever get this girl to settle down and become a proper wife, although she's kind, sweet, hardworking, virtuous and intelligent. She's best friends with Mady and their stepsister, but also friends with many of the girls of the neighborhood. But being a tomboy, Alex is capable of running races, horseback riding, and swimming with the nearby sons of the local lord.

Later, after Miles dies, after spending a ton of her life in the English countryside, Alex is calmer, more ladylike, but still kind of a rebel for the time: she's actually good at math and while her stepmother is suffering from illness and unable to run the house and estate, Alex takes on the burden. She manages the finances of the house and estate, tells the housekeeper what needs to be done, and then even snoops around in her father's company's records. A woman of her time would have been expected to be able to run a household by Alex's age of 20 (through marriage), but it's comprehension of finances that makes her unladylike.

Alex becomes the maternal figure of her sisters. She meets a man at her guardian's mansion in 1814, an Irish-born army engineer who has brought his three sisters to their English relatives to be socialized and possibly find husbands.

While her sister Mady's main conflict is her mixed race background, for Alexandra, it's the frustrating position of intelligent women like herself at the time--that, and being illegitimate. Alex is in a comfortable position for a bastard daughter, she knows, but she always has that odd sense of having to prove herself.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

I'm trying to figure out exactly how I have managed to forget how to write proper paragraphs of description.

Because what I have down, so far, in 48 pages of this particular rehash is....a teensy bit of description and a lot of dialogue. Streams of dialogue. It's starting to look more like my ScriptFrenzy challenge than any of the other past books I have written.

But: I have an idea of where this one is going. As in, we begin with father and two children moving into the neighborhood. Part One is consumed with them fitting into the society in their new country/ village/ etc. Part Two...remains to be seen. Somehow, the father meets and courts a widow in London and then, somehow, travels to France during the very short Treaty of Amiens.

Why? Why the hell not?

I'm going to get this up to 50 and then put a halt on it and revise the first 50 pages into something more acceptable for Buzzy. Hopefully, by doing so, Delilah (my muse) will reappear.

I'll blog about the quickie revision because I'm going to use the methods Writer's Digest suggested. These methods are quite interesting.

Monday, June 6, 2011

A short post on concert (or really, any live performance) etiquette

A few things one should never do during a concert, play, musical...but this one is more about concerts, since I was just at one. With contributions by Sunny. 

1. Videos and pictures are awesome! Take them! However, if you're going to be at a show and insist on staring at your iphone/crackberry the entire time, either monitoring twitter or Facebook, then perhaps you should go to the nearest cafe and do that kind of thing there. 

2. No cheerleading formations, please. Especially if there's been drinking!

3. Please don't try to impress your valley girl girlfriend by making ludicrous statements such as, "I like the first band [SafetySuit] better than the Script." Really man, it's just embarrassing, they are the headlining act for a reason. So unless you work for Rolling Stone just shut up and hold her drinks.

4. To the crazy ninjas in the crowd: Please don't shove your elbows into people's faces after you spent half the concert on your fancy picnic blanket. I'm not the reason you are entirely devoid of common sense. Your elbow joint is mean to connect three bones: the humerus of the upper arm, and the paired radius and ulna of the forearm. Or in your case to text message and updated your facebook status all night long so you can remember what you did the morning after. There is a three-strike policy on inappropriate use of elbows. Next time you decide to go all concert ninja on someone, remember Harry Potter is going to zap those suckers away.

5. Don't come to a concert with a group of friends and then proceed to act like you don't care/ are too cool to be there. If you grow bored, then go in the back and give the rest of us more up-front space. 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Script. 6/4/11. Rumsey Playfield.

Before I go into dreamland and must wake up for more Adventures in Retail, I wanted to jot down a few things that happened during the concert.

  • Upon reaching the end of the line to wait for gates to open. Rei: "Thank fuck!"
  • Lead singer of opening band, Safetysuit, says, "We're playing the greatest city in the world." Crowd cheers. Jessi: "Aww. I bet they say that in every city."
  • Lead singer during "We Cry," singing the last bits of "together we cry-y. Cry-y." Goes down front row, thrusting the mike into peoples' faces. 
    • Lead singer: "together we cry-y." Random Front Row Person: (very off-key) "Cr-yyyyy" Everyone else: cringing
  • Before playing "Nothing."
    • Guitarist: "So if you have a drink, cheers. If you don't...I can't fucking help you there. By a show of hands, how many of you drunk dial? Drunk dialing, drunk texting, twitter, facebook...all the same thing. Those of you who raised your hands, you're very honest. The rest of you standing there with your hands in your pockets, you're probably texting right now."
    •  Our friend Danny here has that problem. This next song is not about Danny's drinking problem. I'd like to write a song about Danny's drinking problem one day. This song is about his drunk dialing problem."
  • Guitarist: "Man, we're playing Central-fucking-Park!"
  • Guitarist: "So, at his count of 3, you guys go mental! It has to be 3, because he can't count up to 4...it's a lead singer thing..."
    • Later. Lead singer says, "4." Guitarist: "Oh, shit, you can count to 4!"
  • Girl jumps up on her friend's shoulder. Waves and screams to get attention. Lead singer walks the opposite way. My friends and I laugh our asses off. 
  • "So they told us we had to play a little lower than usual...so I want you guys to blow the--well, this place doesn't have a roof..."
  • And:  the script 

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Dear Buzzy,

I know you're just concerned that this story isn't good and it won't turn out well and why the hell are these latest scenes so boring when it began with such promise.

I know how you feel.

But it would be nice if you could perhaps go away and just let me write the damn thing before we start picking it apart. As we've learned before, editing while still writing the piece equals nothing to show for the effort afterwards.

Plus, now that we have the very timely issue of Writer's Digest--with huge articles all about how to revise--perhaps this time, the revision will actually be a revision instead of a copyedit. And then I can finish it, polish it, and send it out into the world.

'Cause I accept that the finished books I've written are good enough as building blocks, but this one cannot be like that. Why? 'Cause I say so.

So, Buzzy, I'm begging you--just leave me alone for a while. K, thx, bye!