Monday, December 31, 2012
Friday, December 28, 2012
Tuesday, December 25, 2012
"The only thing that made me able to bear it was jut the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off. You know — if you’ve ever picked the scab of a sore place. It hurts like billy-oh but it is such fun to see it coming away."
--Eustace Clarence Scrubb
Voyage of the Dawn Treader
There's something exciting about watching stuck things come undone. Band-Aids might hurt coming off, but there's a perverse pleasure in that rip. Same with scabs. And remember when you were a kid, bored in class, and you'd smear Elmer's glue all of the back of your hand just so you could peel it off? Or was that just me?
Unsticking something is WAY more fun than getting it stuck in the first place (unless you're talking scratch-n-sniff stickers. They trump just about anything, right?)
Anyway, anyone who writes is no stranger to getting stuck. I "finished" my second novel (for which I still do not have a snappy title) some time around late 2005. I thought it was really good--smoothly-written, good plot, etc. In short, the best I'd written so far. It probably was the best I had written to that point. I made a few minor edits and decided it was ready to send out. Then I got stuck on the synopsis and query letter. They are the dual banes of my writing existence, and I know I'm not alone in dreading them.
In this case, they turned out to be a blessing. I put the manuscript aside while I worked on other projects. When I picked it back up a bit later, I realized the manuscript was definitely not ready. Not even close. You know that new Earth-like planet they recently discovered? The one it would take a shuttle traveling at the speed of light about 75 years to reach? Still closer than my manuscript was to being publication-worthy.
Forget the half dozen glaring errors I found on a casual re-read. Forget the loose threads of plot devices I dropped and apparently just hoped no one would notice. A ten page prologue in a MG novel? Really? As my Chautauqua mentor gently (and wisely) advised: That's not a prologue; that's called chapter one.
It's a little embarrassing now. So thank you, wretched synopsis, for sparing me a bunch of form rejections!
Despite this minor (okay, ginormous) epiphany, I still felt this was a story worth telling. I decided to undertake some larger revisions. At first, I tried to make the prologue shorter and more engaging, but after several failed attempts, I suspected that what I needed to do was ditch the prologue entirely and integrate the crucial information along the way. The s-l-o-w reveal. This would mean completely demolishing the manuscript and building it back up from almost nothing. But I was willing to do it--reluctantly.
I couldn't do it. I made a few half-hearted attempts, then put it away. Every once in awhile, I opened it and started reading, remembering how much I love this story. I would make up my mind to try again, and I would...but again...Nothing.
Until this past Thursday. Enter metaphorical adhesive remover. (Industrial strength.)
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
The writing itself isn't so good. Frankly, it's a puddle of word vomit, and I know I'll have to toss some kitty litter on it later and sweep some of it into the bin.
I'm okay with that. Sometimes you have to get stuff out of your system, right?
And now that my own far-too-extended metaphor is making me nauseated, I'll get back to writing.
Saturday, June 25, 2011
Now that it's summer I actually have time to write. Where did my inspiration go?
Totally not fair.
Monday, February 7, 2011
What I enjoyed about my first national conference:
1. Meeting Lois Lowry. Meeting Lois Lowry. And meeting Lois Lowry. Now if I can just meet Megan Whalen Turner and Katherine Paterson, that pretty much takes care of all the authors on my top nine list! (I’m not holding my breath for Alison Croggon, since she lives in Australia, and JK Rowling? Yeah, right.)
2. Networking with other SCBWI Members in my region: The luncheon was fun. I wish I had taken a picture because they crammed so many tables into that room and jammed so many chairs around each table that I half expected the NYFD to storm the building at any second for fire code violations. Of course, who knows how they’d have gotten in the room, it being so stuffed with tables and chairs and excellent food and socializing children’s writers and illustrators. I had fun talking with other writers, and I started a business card collection in the back of my plastic name tag holder.
3. Keynotes. I enjoyed the keynotes much more than the breakout sessions. To be clear, it’s not that the sessions were bad; I’m just very good at picking the wrong sessions (for me) to attend. If I ever lose my mind and strike out on the pageant circuit, I have my talent prepackaged and ready to go.
4. Ginger Clark’s talk. She was wry and funny and at the same time, very down to business. There were two things I didn’t enjoy about her session, both completely out of her control. One was being crammed between two women, neither of whom were very large, but both of whom seemed compelled to take up part of my chair (and they didn’t have people encroaching on their other sides.) That was rather bizarre. In retrospect, I’m kicking myself for not glancing around the room for the Candid Camera people. The other frustrating thing was people asking the same questions over and over again. Poor Ginger Clark answered the same one about four times in one session. She was much more gracious about it than I was feeling. Apparently, I need to keep working on patience. (But other people need to work on listening.)
Anyway, back to the keynotes. Most of the speakers were awesome. The closing keynote was my favorite, delivered by Linda Sue Park. I had met her once before, briefly, when my roommate at Chautauqua (Hi, Natisha!) introduced us. I’d never before heard her speak, though. She’s so inspiring. Her basic message was…
DON’T believe in yourself.
Saturday, February 5, 2011
Okay I joined Twitter, but I am not super happy about it. It wouldn’t let me be mirrorsandmagicfrogs. Too many characters. Grrrrrr. I should blog about the evils of an outside entity limiting my verbosity. But anyway, feel free to follow (Who came up with that terminology? It makes me think of follow the leader, which makes me think of that song from the Disney cartoon version of Peter Pan, which is now running through my head. Tee-dum! Tee-dee! A Teedle ee do tee day!) me. I’m mirrors_n_frogs.