Tuesday, December 30, 2008

New Year, new stuff to do

So Deb mentioned posting the new goals for the new year....

I'm not looking at my sidebar at the moment so please forgive me if it differs at all:

1. NANO January novel = rough draft (meaning I'll write a really quick, useless novel in January to restart my writing muscles
2. Submit FJR to agents = gonna put my list of fave agents together and start bombarding them with my genius (right after I finish that last, polishing push in February--I want them to be pleasantly bombarded, after all)
3. rough draft of La Llorona novel = the real focus work of the year...or at least six months of it, if it takes much longer than that to knock it out I might cry.
4. NANO in the real NANO month of November = rough draft of another possibly useless novel, I don't care how random or wild it is
5. three short stories for future short story collection = pretty self explanatory

Other things that will probably occupy some of my time:

1. UGWP round story finishing and editing (as we actually have something [however weird] there, this might take some time)
2. rearranging the submissions of FJR--rewriting query letters, etc.
3. submitting current short stories in submittable condition
4. family
5. work
6. work
7. work--which I hope I can quit after this year because I'll have made some gigantic book/movie rights deal
8. critiques for the group (very important, can't forget them!)
9. random other things

Monday, December 29, 2008

Nervous energy.

Tonight the CWCers will be giving me feedback on the 2nd draft of FJR. I admit to feeling a bit stressed because I so want it to be close to submitable. (I also hope they don't read this before hand and adjust comments...so: no adjusting people!)

Here's the thing when you've put so much work into something--it's easy to want to let go, to let the thing go forth into the world and wow the world, etc. And it's really hard to admit that there might be even more work needed. I mean, enough's enough right?

But the truth is, sometimes you just have to keep plugging along. I'm hoping that my next plug won't be as intense, though. In the recent Poets and Writers interview with the 'new guard' of agenting the agents talked about how a book needed to be at a 6-7 and they would help make it a 10. Right now I'm okay with a 5 that I can turn into a 6-7 and then submit within the next month or so. Then just rewrite for folks who might be paying me.

Assuming the publishing world hasn't exploded by then.

Reading Experiment=No Go

Well, so much for 10 books in a month. I have succeeded in reading only 3 1/2....which isn't too bad when 1/2 is the 1200 pager Monte Cristo.

I also made it through part of Garden Spells and Old Man and the Sea.

Knew it was a stretch during this most busy of times: the Holiday Season!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Free at last from retail hell!

For three wonderful days I don't have to ask people if they want gift receipts, or gift cards, or a foot up their watoosie. Now I get to be on the buying side of things.

And the first thing I bought is the new Poets and Writers with the up and coming young agents on the cover.

The only one I've met in real life is Dan Lazar and I have one really complimentary thing to say about him right up front: he's very consistant. All the information that he gave in the interview/round table discussion was very similar to the information he presented a year and half ago at the Pikes Peak Writers Conference. So, in working with him you'll know that he's not a schizophrenic psycho...and he loves Stephen King. He's soooo gonna rep me--even though he doesn't know that yet.

If you get the chance, check out the whole article. It's really interesting and touches on a lot of business aspects of writing that we writers need to know that we need to be willing to do.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Initial issue with Count of Monte Cristo: caricatures instead of characters.


Enter Edmond Dantes, handsome, charismatic, beloved by boss, parent, and fiancee. He is a good guy. As spelled out in capital letters by Dumas before page two of the book.

Then the enemies come in: Danglars, jealous of Dantes's recent promotion to captain; Fernand, jealous of Mercedes Love for the Hero. And some random neighbor who is unsavory in general.

In other words, there's not a whole lotta depth to these guys. They are good or they are evil. The characters that come up will either help the Hero or try to destroy him--part of the novel's lengthiness is the fact that so many people are jealous of this upstanding gentleman, and the lengths they go to bring to him down are extreme, to say the least.

I realize that Count is kind of dated. Some of the reading issues are with me. After reading so many writing books and reading so many contemporary authors who follow the new, established rules of writing fiction (with perhaps the notable exception of Palahniuk...whose extremeness stretches those a bit) I need to stop looking for the 'psychology' of the character and just enjoy the ripping ride Dumas has in store.

At 1200ish pages, there's one hell of a plot going on. Each character has their own motivation, which is a bonus in my opinion. Far too often the characters just go through the motions. But each one is acting on their own principles and I've gotta give Dumas credit for that.

Now if only I can keep on turning the pages. One page at a time right?