Archive for the ‘The Business of Writing’ Category

Editing

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— Originally published 4/23/2009 @ LiveJournal

I had another day of massive editing on very few words, so I could get my scene turned into the class. I’ve learned some interesting things about editing from doing these two scenes so far. The “teacher” has set a strict limit of 2 pages of text, 12pt TNR, double-spaced. Anything over that she won’t read (and who can blame her; she’s got college classes to teach and her own books to write, in addition to reading and commenting on all these scenes. She’s a busy gal!). I’ve learned that in my own personal style, this amounts to roughly 700 words, give or take 50 words. And both times so far, what I’ve wanted to use has been closer to 2 1/2 pages, but I set my sights on making it 2 pages. Both times I’ve hit my goal, though it’s taken several hours to do so. I’ve been not just fixing awkward phrasings or picking new verbs, but adjusting action to better show character emotions and move towards the big moments I want to reveal in more efficient ways.

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The Importance of Setting

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— Originally published 8/21/2008 @ LiveJournal

I originally thought to write this as a defense of setting, until I reread the comments in the previous (friends locked) post and realized I’d misread comments: people weren’t dismissing setting as important, but rather questioning why I was so wound up about starting my story in a saloon. Thoughts like “Are you people nuts? Of course setting matters!” came racing through my head on my first hurried read through the comments last night, and I do stress hurried:-D. In the calm light of morning, after a good night’s sleep, I see the danger in reading hurriedly and forming opinions based on such readings. It’s a good thing I didn’t flap my gums off last night!

I still want to talk about setting though because the thoughts are there in my head right now and who know, maybe they will be useful to others. I for one never really fully understood the importance of setting in story until I attempted to switch settings of a story a few months back and saw the story completely fall apart. Setting is one of those elements that is so ingrained into how characters view their world and how events unfold that to switch settings is to create a completely new story, because setting is so much more than just the pretty picture on the wall where your characters play.

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What We Should Tell of the Back Story

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— originally published 10/22/2007 @ LiveJournal

I’m sure many of you have heard the news that Harry Potter’s mentor Dumbledore was declared to be gay by Rowling in a Q&A session with fans. I’ve seen some rather interesting discussions going on about whether or not this was information that Rowling unfairly sprung on folks after the fact and that nothing in the books’ text support this assertion. It was a little startling for me when I first heard it, because I’d never even considered Dumbledore’s orientation and it didn’t strike me as odd at all that no love interest, past or present, was ever mentioned for him. Nor did the relationship between him and Grindelwald strike me as anything other than them being just “really good friends.” It does make sense now that I know though, but others seem greatly appalled by Rowling dumping this information on us after the fact and that she should have given it to us in the books. I don’t necessarily think this information was pertinent to the overall storyline, but it does beg the question of just how much of a character’s back story are we obligated to give to the reader, and would there have been as much fuss about the withholding of information had the information been something like “Dumbledore was a Don Juan with the ladies when he was a young man”? I think the answer is no.

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Clarion

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–originally published 5/9/2007 @ LiveJournal

In comments yesterday, wordyk asked me: “Get out of town, I didn’t know you’d been to Clarion; what was that like?”
And there’s really too much to be said in just a reply so I figured a new post about it would be worthwhile.

What was Clarion like? It was by far the most frantic and exciting six weeks of my life. I think it’s also responsible for the fact that I haven’t given up on writing despite my lack of any real significant success almost five years later. It taught me perseverance.

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I Got…Fan Mail Today

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–originally published 4/4/2007 @ LiveJournal

Not in my email, but in my MySpace mail. Quite shocking, really. I’m used to getting snide mails from folks whose friends requests I denied, or spam trying to get to me to buy gift cards and such. And I expected this one to be no different (though I knew it wasn’t someone I’d denied their request for friending, because I didn’t recognize the avatar.). The subject line said “I love it!” and inside the mail it said, “thanks for your work….”

I suppose it says something about me that I wasn’t willing to accept this at face value and had to go investigate who this person is. I was highly suspicious and wanted to know what he really meant by that, but as soon as I clicked over his page, I knew it couldn’t be a joke or some sly attempt to get me to friend him. He’s a local musician of techno-instrumental-native-inspired music. His myspace page is decorated with Mayan themes, and upon browsing his photos I see that he’s got cool vision serpents tattoos. Obviously a Mesoamerica fan, so his comment makes sense, and now I’m quite tickled that he thought to drop me a note. I’m listening to some of his music right now; not the sort of thing I’d pick up on my own, but I find it strangely compelling. It reminds me of the instrumental “Teotihuacan” from the X-Files: Fight the Future soundtrack.

So, my first piece of fan mail from someone who I don’t know and doesn’t know me. What a nice start to the day.