Showing posts from January, 2010

A Read Down Memory Lane

I got together with a few friends on Thursday night to see The Lovely Bones. As these friends are the ones I most often do my best complaining about my novel and particularly my troublesome characters to, there was talk of the Shitty First Draft.

Which is not nearly as shitty as a great deal of the fanfiction I wrote as a teenager. I mean, for all their faults, at least the three books that this blog has chronicled the writings, meanderings, and such of have endings. And characters of a reasonably original variety. And yet, I think of the fics with fondness. And I'm surprised at how well my dear friends remember some of the twists in them--and actually, you know, they're not entirely shitty...I'm pretty surprised at that aspect...and also at my terrible sense of fortune telling *sigh*

For fun--here are some excerpts from various fics over the years. Girls--how many do you recognize?

“Neal!” I exclaimed.
“Mar!” Neal said back. “’Sup?” He looked me up and down. “You look so……

Shitty First Draft: done!

On January 31, 2010 (only 10 or so days behind my arbitrary "oh, I'd like to finish this before I'm 24" deadline), the first draft of My Last Request (officially and affectionately known as the Shitty First Soul Swapping Draft) was finished.

Official stats:
26 chapters
259 pages
68, 427 words

Thank you all for your indulgence, advice, swift kicks in the ass, encouragement, deletion of clogging blog emails in your inbox, possible perusal of occasional inbox messages (it's only that way 'cause I know without bringing it to the people, the people don't come), actually reading, and waking up with thoughts of my characters in your very confused mind.

Seriously--that last is the best thing to happen to me as a writer, ever. Period.

Now I can mark up the last 12 chapters of this book, read, read, read, absorb, learn some new writing tricks, and get crackin' on a serious revision process.

Otherwise known as: Marginally OK Second Draft.

Questions, Questions

So this is a question I thought of while on the phone bitching about the not-yet-finished first draft to Sunny (thank you for listening, by the way. I really appreciate it.)

How do I make a character--a major character--seem more real and redeeming when the story I'm writing has constraints--namely the first person narration?

And a more fundamental question:

What exactly is the difference between showing and telling? I thought I understood, only to find that I really don't.

Also, I just read a blog entry by a favorite romance author, Sherry Thomas, and her latest Shitty First Draft (not her first; apparently, as she's discovered, it's just how she writes) and it made me feel oodles better.Sherry Thomas: "So About His At Night..."

Barbara Dawson Smith

Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird:
Bird by Bird: Shitty First Drafts

Inventory: 12 hours, no stopping

Inventory night began at 10 pm on 1/12--a Tuesday night. I started out recounting rods in Junior's Dresses that had already been counted (literally, counting dresses). Then I was put on reticketing.

Reticketing is this, basically: price tags fall off. During inventory, new tickets have to be put back on. The information and price is printed out from the register on cardtag-paper and stapled on the clothing. And that's what I did, chasing down items in all areas while the others scanned items (for counting purposes).

We were running on schedule until...

this rod full of clothes with no tickets appeared around 9 am. Mind you, 9 am was when we were supposed to clock out and go home. But no.

So a swarm of tired, irritated associates swooped down on two rods. We reticketed. We sorted. We found the same items with tickets and brought them back to the register to ticket the next item. Half the rod was "out of town"--clothes not from our floor, so at 9:45, we split up the clo…

I wanted to be a writer so I could avoid charts

I hate math. No, really, I despise it. I know why it's necessary and all, but excuse the petulant child in me who didn't understand the purpose of subtraction. Or the one who didn't get what teacher meant by "1/2 is part of a number" because, well, didn't she just write a 1 and a 2 and separate them by a line?

When I was in high school, I had this brilliant novel idea. No, really. It had something to do with Ireland and a female ancestor of a modern American woman and I was going to tell both stories in the book fizzled out. I didn't know have a plan, so I wasn't sure what to research and since I wasn't living during the Potato Famine, research is kind of important.

Dad found a workbook called The Marshall Plan at B&N and I wrote out my plot and characterization stuff in there. It's still on my bookshelf, in case I find a time when I need an aid again. I'm not one of those people who reads very many, if any, writer craft books…

Some news!

was just revising something on the blog, literally right this moment in time (if you happen to visit the blog, you'll notice in the right-hand corner a new text box. I'm keeping track of my daily word counts on the novel.)...

...when I opened my Gmail account...

and found an email from Patty Henderson of The Emily Contest, the contest I entered the first 35ish pages of the romance novel into. Remember that? Well, I didn't final (I would've been notified New Year's Eve), but I got score sheets and comments back! And guess what? It's not terrible!!!

So here's the text of the email:

Thank you for participating in The 2010 Emily Contest. As you know by now, your entry did not make the finals. Attached are two score sheets, possibly three, along with a corresponding judged entry. The judge's number is noted after the entry number in the saved files. If you have three, it means that the two original judges’ scores were more than twenty points apart, and that one …


As I'm sitting here fighting with the employee website to find out my schedule for the week of 1/17-1/23 (seriously, they'd better not have me scheduled on my birthday), I think I'll pop off a quick blog.

I've been thinking a lot, as I write more of Eva's story and specifically, Eva's story with Brixton, about friendship. It's a pervasive theme in this story due to Eva and Brix being friends for so many years and how they support each other through hardship and success all the way into adulthood. I've been re-reading Little Women lately after so many years (I found clips of the 1994 movie version on YouTube, the one starring Christian Bale as Laurie and Winona Ryder as Jo). When I read it as a 12-year-old, I related best with Beth, the shy, quiet, feeble sister but I wanted to be Jo the writer. Now, I relate better to Jo, in quite frightening ways (right down to the nighttime writing and mood swings and disdain of being too girly).

The thing I will alw…