Transcript for #writechat 061409 I missed today’s #writechat because I’ve been staying up until 1 or 2am writing and it finally just came crashing down on me this afternoon. Slept for hours and hours. And now I’ll be awake for hours and hours. Yikes. This happens every Sunday, and tomorrow I will be sleepy and cranky because I can’t sleep tonight. I would have loved to participate, because it was on editing, something that is the bane of my existence but it so necessary. My process is almost obsessive, but, reading through the chat, I find I’m not the only one. Lately, I’ve been trying to just write, write, write, but if I have to stop, for any reason– to go to the restroom, eat dinner, go to work, any reason– I can’t just pick up where I left off. I have to go back and edit, and write what I meant to say, and put those missing words in, and fix that comma, and ‘does that dialogue seem right?’, and do some research and do more editing until it’s “right”. Only then can I move on. And then I do another chunk until I can’t write anymore, and then I go back and edit the same way, BUT FROM THE BEGINNING. Yes, people. I am… yeah. The further a person gets away from the material, the more objective a person can be. At least that is the theory, because when I move on to a new chunk, I’ve separated myself from the first piece and my mind is elsewhere. When I read from the beginning again, I’m kind of reading with new eyes and I see things I should have said better, in a different way. Not only that but reading back from the beginning helps me make sure the chunks fit together like a puzzle piece. One of the last comments on today’s chat was from @KarlBimshas, who asked: When looking back at your old writing (years) what […]
I don’t mean that the way it sounds. Sometimes when I’m going to do something that I sort of don’t want to do, I change the atmosphere so that it becomes inviting. A pile of papers to file? Turn on some music, set a timer, make it a game to see how many pages I can file in X amount of time. Got to unload the dishwasher, scrub the bathroom, fold laundry? I usually call up one of my yappy friends and let them talk to me so I’m distracted and I don’t realize I’m doing the things I didn’t feel like doing. When it comes to writing, it’s not that I don’t want to do it… it’s that sometimes I just have ideas, because things write themselves in my head. Ideas write themselves in my head and then I leave it up to my fingers and my brain to form those ideas into words that make sense and have meaning and impact. And to me, that’s work. It’s enjoyable, but it’s work, kind of like having kids or being married (neither of which I have experienced, but every mom or wife says ‘oh gosh, it’s hard work. It’s fun, but it’s hard work’). So, when I sit down to write, the atmosphere has to be conducive. I have friends who can sit down in 15 minutes during their break at work and shoot out a drabble that makes me laugh or cry, or… something else emotional. 15 minutes isn’t even enough time for me to really get started with anything. I can’t really write at work– besides, it’s too busy and my boss is too nosy. At the most, if it’s quiet and slow, I can blog or edit a story. I cannot produce new material at work.
I’ve never had a blog long enough to get an award. ALRIGHT! My pal over at One Nerve Left gave me an award yesterday. I’m so proud! Thanks Lizz! In exchange for this FABULOUS award, I am supposed to award five blogs, and name five addictions. Holy……okay. 1. My Blackberry. Like Lizz, I love and adore this lil thing. I love it so much I sleep with it. Before I even have a second eye open, I check the Blackberry. First email is always my bank balance. Second email is…….whatever else comes overnight– emails from friends, blog comments, what have you. I have several email accounts and they all roll to my Berry. I have the BlackBerry Flip. FREAKING LOVE IT. Then I check Twitter, because I like to see what the Gremlins do at night when I go to bed. I also have several Twitter accounts. I may need help…. 2. The Internet. You know how when you have Internet, you can take it or leave it, but then it goes out and suddenly you have 83 things you could be looking up RIGHT NOW if you had Internet? That’s how I am. That’s how everyone is, I guess. I just can’t stand to not have internet access. I have it on my phone and if I can get wifi on my iTouch. Speaking of…. 3. My iPod Touch. This thing… is so much better than my old iPod. You get all the bells and the whistles of an iPhone but with more music storage and APPS APPS APPS. There’s an app for EVERY LIVING THING, I swear. I haven’t loaded mine up with a bunch of games because I’m not much of a gamer, but I do have solitare and Tetris and I play those a lot. My fave application is the Kindle App from Amazon. Just………… LOVE IT. I mean I also have eReader and Stanza, but I usually just use the Kindle. I zoom right through […]
… when I hear this song. Will Smith, Summertime Here it is the groove slightly transformed, just a bit of a break from the norm. Just a little somethin to break the monotony… Every year at the beginning of June, radio stations start BLASTING this song. There is nothing like cruising (or crawling) down the road with your windows or top down, your arms hanging over the side of the car, this song blaring from the speakers. Get a little head bob, a nod and a grin at the car next to you.. Ahhhhhh. SUMMER. Summer is my season. I just… love it. Anywhere, as long as it’s sunny. I live in the South and summer in Atlanta means HEAT. Last summer was a SCORCHER, temps over 105. I… I kind of liked it? Sort of? Yeah I know I’m crazy. Summer also traditionally marks three long months of doing nothing, followed by fall, when I look back on my summer and go “man, I didn’t do anything all summer.” Well. Not this summer.
Lesson #6– we’re halfway through! OMG!– focuses the class on the use of scene and sequel. The purpose of scene is to move the story along, and contains three elements: Goal, Conflict, and Disaster. The sequel is the followup– how your protagonist reacts to the scene: Emotion, Thought, Decision, Action. Every piece of fiction has scene and sequel and as our instructor points, out the best works have a great balance of the two. Our assignment for this lesson was to take a story or a scene and identify the elements of scene and sequel– are they included? Were they used welll? Could the scene or sequel be beefed with dialogue or action? Does this scene move the plot along? After identifying the elements, does the scene read better? Like professional writing?
Lately, I can’t handle Firefox. I mean, I love the browser. I pretty much live in Firefox and if I have to use a site that only uses IE, I throw myself on the ground and scream and kick and cry. Seriously. You should see them stare at work. So lately I can’t get it to work! It’s crashing on me just about hourly and I get NO information as to WHY. I’ll just be typing or surfing and POP! goes my browser. And it’s very annoying! I’m doing serious work here! Okay not really, playing with plug-ins for WordPress but still. So I’m trying out Chrome. Again. I’m remembering when it first came out that it used to freeze up on me a lot and there is no google toolbar which–HI, google. Miss M here. Why do you not have your most popular add-on available for your browser? I don’t fully understand! Anyway. I miss twitterfox and the google toolbar already, but I did find twitlet and some weird way to create a bookmark that will let you do a google search. For that matter, could I not just bring up www.google.com? No, no. Links, shawty. Links! It’s sort of not the same. *sigh* But “The Bourne Identity” is on. \o/
Advanced Fiction Writing Lesson #5: Setting, Theme, Detail, Research Tonight’s lesson was relatively easy, in a way. Generally about setting and how it sets the mood and helps the theme along. And what helps the setting along is use of detail and doing your research. I have declared myself to be the Queen of Research. Not really. I just alwys need a realistic standpoint to come from, so I’ll look something up in a hot second. So back to setting and detail– it’s something I think I am pretty good at, but not offhand and not all the time. And sometimes some well known authors irk their readers with overuse of descriptionary (is that a word? Is now) terms. I was just talking with a classmate about this and said that my mom cannot STAND to read Toni Morrison. She says she doesn’t want to read about all the hues of the flowers in bloom— get to the darn story!! I think a well written story, novel, memoir, is one that tells you just enough to paint the picture, and no more. I personally like to leave a little mystery.
Even if they’re digital, new books have a smell. I love bookstores, because I love the smell of the paper that books are printed on. I love the stiffness of a new page, an uncracked binding, a smooth, unwrinkled cover. *warm fuzzies* I know book people know what I mean. Digital books have a different feel. I use the Amazon Kindle app that works with the iPhone. I also use stanza and eReader but I mostly use the Kindle app. I love being able to drag 20 books around with me at a time. I love being able to read while waiting for the oil change, or while eating dinner (if the waitstaff will leave me ALONE. Its like a woman dining alone is the international signal for “she’s lonely, ask her how everything tastes 100 times’) or while taking a bath or—you know. That time when you’re “indisposed”. I wont admit to how many books I packed during my recent move that were in my bathroom. I like to pick up a book and open it to a random chapter and start reading. Even if I’ve read the book 100 times. I digress. Digital books feel different. Smell different. Okay, not really but figuratively. The thing about Kindle is that there are no page numbers. So you have no idea where you are in the story. You never know when you’re almost done. Until you’re done. See, I have a bad habit of reading the ending first. And then starting at the beginning to see how the author got there. It’s a weird little game that it’s a little harder to play with Kindle. And frankly, it’s given me some great surprises– like at the end of
Here’s what I can say: the plot is intricately weaved and the imagery is VIVID. Flynn is… OMG… I think my new favorite author right now. Grisly and gory but nail bitingly exciting. I’m still spinning from this book.
We meet Libby Day immediately in the book and we’re shocked by such an unlikely protagonist. I think Flynn’s golden arrow is an unlikeable hero, because Libby is just as or more unlikable than the protagonist in Sharp Objects.
I’ve had this little ditty by Fairly Odd Parents’ Chip Skylark in my head all day. It’s sung by *Nsync’s Chris Kirkpatrick and since I’m a HUGE fan, I actually have his songs from FOP on my iPod. It’s rather fun to go from Ludacris “Slap” to Chip Skylark “Find Your Voice” to Madonna “Holiday”. I love shuffle. There is a point to my rambles about iPods and cartoon songs. Lesson #4 in my Advanced Fiction Writing Class is about Viewpoint, Voice, And Tense. Viewpoint- or uh. Point of View, or the intentions of the narrator. Who’s telling the story and from what vantage point? We learned about three viewpoints: (cont;d)