Sunday, September 30, 2012

I'm Not Moving: Part 4

Read Part Three 

Disclaimer: I do not own the movie Once or the musical Once or any of the songs written by The Script, clearly. This is purely for entertainment purposes, based on an idea that my friend and I riffed out while cutting through the crowd in Times Square after seeing Once the musical.

Part Four

The guy logged in to the website, his fingers tapping out the login information as deftly as they played his guitar.
            The computer was secondhand, old and slow as hell, but it still worked and working at Best Buy the last four months had taught him how to program the bloody thing so he could make scratch recordings of his songs.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Step 2 of revising?

I wrote a while ago that I thought I'd try a post-draft outline to see how far my story has deviated from my original vague outline and to see if I could fix a couple of big issues (plotlines, subplots, etc.) without becoming distracted by the mounds of crappy prose I'd written.

Hey, it's a draft.

One of my friends, in a moment of fatigue and foolhardiness, has volunteered to go through the outline and then, perhaps, to skim through the manuscript (though I hope she latches onto something in it and actually reads it...)

I only made it as far as Chapter 17 in the outline. I'm not a detailed outliner anyway, so while the process has been helpful in many ways, it is unremittingly dull, too.

Here's how this step 2 of revision, outlining, has been helpful:

  • Analyzation. I've been able to analyze scenes, characters and plotlines more in a barebones way. Does it add to the story? Is it hokey? Does it make sense? Why are my chapters so long?
  • Distance. Distilling it down to pithy bullet points and paragraphs has detached me from the passages I love and the characters I love. Which is only good when one is preparing to once again, in short order, rip the hell out of it. 
  • Ideas. I'm seeing where the weakness is and as I'm going through writing ideas and reading research again, I'm having ideas as to how to make the weak parts stronger. 
Things I wasn't too thrilled with:
  • Re-reading the story and trying to make it succinct. Ugh. 
  • Realizing that chapter ten is, in fact, that long. 
  • It's boring. I've already written it. Why am I outlining it?

Friday, September 21, 2012

I'm Not Moving: Part Three

Disclaimer: I do not own the movie Once or the musical Once or any of the songs written by The Script, clearly. This is purely for entertainment purposes, based on an idea that my friend and I riffed out while cutting through the crowd in Times Square after seeing Once the musical.

Read Part Two. 


Part Three
           
            "I don't understand," his girlfriend said for the billionth time as they walked home from the subway after one of his gigs. "Look, it's not that I don't support your music. I think you're wonderful. I don't know why you're hawking a CD you made full of songs about me."

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Structure & 3 Acts



I've come to realize, through outlining (a truly tedious exercise, but helpful, I suppose) and through reading Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell that one of the problems I am having with my WIP is not its plot--apparently, it actually has a plot and subplots as well--but its structure.

I thought beginning when my lead moves to England would be a good starting point, but actually, it's almost as cliched as starting a story when a character wakes up. There are lots of hints about his past, but I've come to see that while his past is tension-filled (i.e, good stuff), it's not showing as well as it could because the reader doesn't get to go on the journey with the characters because it's happened already. It's not getting shown. I need to use some of the immediate backstory to make this character clearer. In fact, when I do that, my story will have a three-act structure.

The Three Act Structure comes from the theater. Basically, the beginning, middle and end. Set-up, plot thickens, resolution. Novels can work this way as well.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Fanficlet, part two: I'm Not Moving

Disclaimer: I do not own the movie Once or the musical Once or any of the songs written by The Script, clearly. This is purely for entertainment purposes, based on an idea that my friend and I riffed out while cutting through the crowd in Times Square after seeing Once the musical.

Read Part One here


Part Two

            "So are how things then?" The guy asked into the phone.
            "Oh, they're grand," Da replied. "Shop's doing well."
            "And Barushka?"
            "Grand."
            "Well, grand," the guy said. They fell silent for a few beats. "I've been playing gigs here and there. Open mics and such."

Friday, September 7, 2012

Marginally Okay Second Draft

From Shitty First Draft to Marginally Okay Second Draft. There are a lot of things about the second draft that bother me----but that is why writers revise. And, in my case, now that the second draft is done, I will now proceed to outline the sucker to see what I can easily eliminate (the first scene is now on the chopping block), send it off to a beta reader, sleep, have a good think, read other people's books once again and continue reading and doing writing exercises from Plot and Structure.

Then it's on to the third and hopefully last draft. What'll we call that one?


So, stats:

First Draft
Words: 94,926
Pages: 351
Chapters: 43

Second Draft
Words: 86,268
Pages: 313
Chapters: 40

Saturday, September 1, 2012

James Stephen

In a tale that proves that history is often stranger than fiction, I bring you an abbreviated version of the tale of James Stephen's romantic woes in eighteenth century England; it makes the romantic entanglements of my main character look tame by comparison.



James Stephen became a lawyer in the British colony of St. Kitts. However, upon arrival in the West Indies on the island of Barbados, he witnessed a trial of slaves generally believed to be innocent, who were found guilty and burned to death. Horrified,  Stephen became an abolitionist, sending correspondence and evidence back to William Wilberforce, the only MP fighting to abolish slavery in Britain.

 In 1800, Stephen married Wilberforce's sister. He helped draft the 1807 bill to abolish the slave trade. He became an MP. His great-granddaughter was author Virginia Woolf.