Happy Holidays

  Hey guys and gals,

My novel is coming along quite well right now.  Did I just say that?   (knocks on wood)

Anyhow, to get this thing beta ready for January- I’m swearing off the Internet for the rest of this month.   Heh- only about 9 days, but I’m sure it’ll feel a lot longer.

So Happy Yule,  Happy Hannukah and Kwanzaa,  and Merry Christmas! 

Hmm…hope I got all the holidays.  Sorry if I missed yours.  And if you’re not celebrating anything…then I simply wish you good cheer.

see ya next year!  🙂

And remember,  Muppets rule:  http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=QXhWXiQXAXY&feature=related

Published in: on December 22, 2008 at 3:58 am  Comments (12)  

Writers: We’re Not Alone

1:05 am

music playing: Rasputina’s In Old Yellow Cake

I’m still stuck revising the first three chapters of my draft.  More and more I am learning how important the beginning must be.  Of course, I want my whole novel to be great.  (I certainly don’t want a reader to get to the middle and then throw it across the room)  But if the very first page isn’t flawless, an agent is never going to look further.  And there goes the chance for any reader to ever even get to the middle of my novel.

I’ve been working on this all day and somehow have managed not to O.D. on caffeine.    And I still frigging have not made much progress.

Grrr…

But as difficult as all this is- I also love it. I love thriving towards something. Have something to dream about, and work on every day. I think life must be rather dull for people who have no dreams.

And I’m further comforted by remembering that all writers struggle.

Nathanial Hawthorne reportedly destroyed countless manuscripts in fits of despair.

Emily Bronte wrote in July 1836:  “I am more terrifically and idiotically and brutally STUPID than ever I was in the whole course of my incarnate existance.”

Faulkner was certain The Sound and the Fury would never be published due to its experimental tone.

Richard Adam’s classic tale of rabbits searching for a new home on Watership Down was rejected 13 times.  Adults wouldn’t want to read about bunnies.  Or so agents gathered.

No matter what century- writers struggle.  They struggle with the first draft.  With the countless revisions.  And then they struggle with finding that initial agent who believes.

So fellow writers, when you get down, just remember every single writer on this planet- from the immortals to the midlist to the still unknowns- have gone, and are going, through the same thing.

And the ultimate victory is so worth it.

Book Review: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Author Robert Louis Stevenson  called dreams,  “that small theater of the brain which we keep brightly lighted all night long.”

Stevenson often used dreams as a resource for his stories.   The most famous example being his novella, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

“For two days I went about racking my brains for a plot of any sort; and on the second night I dreamed the scene at the window, and a scene afterward split in two, in which Hyde, pursued for some crime, took the powder and underwent the change in the presence of his pursuers,”  Stevenson later recounted.    The next morning, he told his wife,  “I have got my schilling shocker- I have got my schilling shocker!”

Stevenson wrote the novella in white heat.   Finishing the draft in 3-6 days and revising it within six weeks.   The tale which described the duality of human nature  first appeared as a paperback in 1886 selling for one dollar in the United States.

One Sunday, Mr. Utterson is taking the weekly walk he shares with his old aquaintance, Mr. Enfield.   Upon passing a windowless building with a door without bell nor knocker,  Mr. Enfield relates a sinister encounter with a man named Mr. Hyde who lives in that very abode.

In a sublime example of allowing readers to use their own imagination, Mr. Hyde is simply described by Mr. Enfield as,    “There is something wrong with his appearance; something down-right detestable.  I never saw a man I so disliked, and yet I scarse know why.  He must be deformed somewhere; he gives a strong feeling of deformity, although I couldn’t specify the point.  He’s an extraordinary looking man, and yet I really can name nothing out of the way.”

Mr. Hyde had crashed into a little girl on the street.   He’d trampled right over her body and moved on, ignoring her cries.  When eyewitnesses demanded he pay the family damages, Mr. Hyde agreed and brought out a check signed by the well-respected Dr. Jekyll.

Upon hearing of this event, Mr. Utterson is convinced the good doctor is being blackmailed.  What ensues is a well-wrought tale of London fogs, dark streets, murder, and the evils that exist in the human mind.

Written in a terse, yet evocative style- Stevenson’s, “schilling shocker”  will never be forgotten.

Published in: on December 9, 2008 at 8:45 am  Comments (30)  
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Writing: Evil Inner Editor’s Return

Observant readers may notice my avatar is different.  It’s still me, err, Mrs. Lovett, but I’m looking a little haggard after NaNo.  Plus, there’s that whole deal with blood stains on my collar.

Red Smith once said, “Writing is easy. You just sit down at the typewriter, open up a vein, and bleed it out drop by drop.”   Who am I to argue?

I finished my draft Friday at 8:00 a.m.   Oh, what a Beautiful Morning, Ode to Joy, Supercalifragilistecexpialidocious!

Aha!  But wait.  That means it’s revision time.  And that means it’s the return of …. (cue creepy horror theme music.  The Omen will do, thank you)….. The Evil Inner Editor.

Gulp.

Over the weekend, I dug out my key from its hiding spot and unlocked the closet door in which I’d thrown Ms. Evil Inner Editor.   Ms. E did not glare at me or even smirk.  She is above such things.   Ms. E knows she is needed as much as she is despised.   She walked by me, took a seat at the table, stared at the 250 typed pages and three different colored pens, and set to work.

“Bring me tea and play music.  Nothing with lyrics.   Rachmaninoff,” she said.

Ms. E is following author Holly Lisle’s One-Pass Revision Method that another blogger was kind enough to mention on her blog.    The method is brutal.   Ms. E must go through every single scene, one at at time, searching for different elements.  Some of these elements must be deleted out with a huge X.  Other elements must be added in.  Hence, all the pens.  Ms. Lisle says,  “Your final clean pages  to scribbled on pages ratio is probably 1:2, 1:3, or even 1:4.”

Har! Ms. Lisle obviously never attempted this against a NaNo first draft.   Ms. E is on page 60 now, and there is not one single page not splashed with ink.

It may come as no surprise that Ms. E is absolutely loving this.

http://hollylisle.com/fm/Workshops/one-pass-revision.html