Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Interviews and Breakthroughs

Quote: “I try to leave out the parts that people skip.” Elmore Leonard

Walk on Water by Aerosmith

Hello all! How’s it going?

Fill in appropriate response:

*---Great! Good to hear!

*---Awww, sorry to hear that. I hope everything works out.

(I find it a little eerie that my responses are appropriate for most of what you would respond to “How’s it going?”, if generic. Makes you wonder if people are actually listening to you when you talk, or basing their comments on your facial expressions.)

I have been very productive this morning, despite the weird dreams the night before (you know the one, where you confront your former boss and it devolves into a screaming match, shortly followed by the recurring dream that I am awake and getting dressed when I am still asleep).

After reading over an email by Joseph Selby (who has an awesome livejournal you should totally bookmark and/or follow here: ) and sitting down with my rough outline for my rough draft I determined roughly that:

a) The antagonist is totally not who I thought she was. Like, I had the wrong person, not just she secretly loves to knit.

b) The protagonist is totally not who I thought she was. Still the same person, but better developed now.

c) I will never write another book without planning out more ahead of time.

Caveat: I should never say never (crap, I just said never again), because the universe will hear me saying “never” and immediately place a situation in the works that will cause me to write a book with LESS planning than I did on my current rough draft, Masquerade. Case in point, my zombie book has NO preplanning, I just sat down to jot some ideas down, and only thirty pages later did I stall out because I didn’t know what was going to happen next.

So I amend my statement to: I will not be lazy and skip the preplanning stage that I have proven to myself over and over to be so helpful to my writing process just because I want to get on with writing the book NOW. Instead, I will plan out what I feel is important, and treat each book as it’s own entity. I read someone quote someone else on some blog on the Internet (that narrows it down, I know) that there really is no writing formula, because no matter how comfortable you are with a certain routine, you never write a book the EXACT same way again. You might always use character sheets, but you might not fill them out the same way.

I wrote the book I am revising, Masquerade (working title), right after another book a year ago, and both of them have major plot issues. This is because much of the book was written by the seat of my pants. Not that there is anything wrong with this method, but you tend to have more work waiting for you on the other end. I was not expecting this sort of work, because I thought I did enough developing and planning beforehand. Clearly, I was mistaken.

However, I am not delusional enough to think that just because I plan books out much more nowadays, I will always avoid problems like these. Stuff comes up you never planned for during the process of writing the book. One of the most awesome aspects of writing: your book is a living, organic creation of yours, that continues to evolve and change.

(that bunny is unraveling my plot as we speak)

So my current attack plan is to look at my book like a skeleton. I have some great scenes, and awesome characters, and the plot arc is in decent shape (I think), but I definitely need to do some revision. I will continue to develop the character, question the plot, the events, and re-dream the dream as James N. Frey says. We’ll think of the rough draft in another way: a test run.

While I am revising, I will also continue to work on my WIP, a book I have tentatively titled “How to Breath Underwater”. This way I have something creative to work on, and the thought of all that revision doesn’t crush me under it’s bulk with despair (because I thought I was done! Done I tell you, done! But I’m not. I can see a huge difference between the main characters in the partial book zombie book I wrote a month ago and the main characters in “Masquerade”).

But enough about me, how are you? Fess up, does anyone write by the seat of their pants? How do you do it? How do you revise later? How do you mine your rough draft for what’s crap and what’s gold?

Also, I am I trying to get some job interviews together for our edification. Yay edification! I am interviewing the people around me about their job so I can then post them here. That way, we have a spring board for professions so your secondary characters will seem more lifelike. It’s not enough information for a main character’s job, but it’s a start. I am harassing most of my co-workers at the spa, so expect a hair stylist interview, an esthetician (they do facials and waxing) and of course, a massage therapist. If any of you would like to participate in this job interview bonanza, please email me, and I will send you the questions. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a glamorous job. You’d be surprised what seems boring and mundane to you is interesting to someone else. And you never know what sort of job you might want your characters to have. At the very least, your main character’s parents could have a “normal” job, causing your character to gripe about it. So fess up people! What’s it like having the job you have?

And yes, I count “student” and “stay at home mom/dad” as a job.

Another set of interviews I am working on are writer interviews. I have another set of questions for writers, both published and unpublished. I like reading about other writers, their process and journey, their outlook on life, and so on, and I am sure you do to. So email me if you would like for me to interview you about writing. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never been published or just starting writing yesterday. Everyone has a story to tell, so let us know yours.

I plan to post both sets of interviews on my blog, and I off course will let everyone know who it is I interviewed, and I will link to your blog or livejournal if you have one. Participants also get a free cyber cookie, baked fresh by yours truly, and my undying love and affection. Because everyone wants to be loved, right? And everyone loves cookies.

My email address is: writer (dot) elizabethpoole (at) gmail (dot) com. Go ahead and put what set of interviews, Job or Writer, you want to do in the subject. Yes, you can do both.

I have a truckload of writing ahead of me, plus the day job, so that’s all for now. But tell me, what is the worst writing problem you’ve encountered? Writer’s block? Did you have to tank an entire novel after careful revision and start from scratch? Share your war stories!

Mia gave me an award! So I will be lying about people tomorrow! Can’t wait to see what I make up!

1 comment:

  1. Oh! Can't wait for the lies! *yay*

    Haha, I used to write on the seat of my pants (the first few thousand words of my current WiP came into existence that way) but quickly realised I needed a plot and that, fortunately, my mind actually had one all nicely set out anyway. After writing a rough mini-plan, I found it much easier to form the story and that my head ached less as I typed!

    Oh, I'd love to join the interviews thing! Count me in, I'll chuck over an e-mail :~D

    War story, well this is more of a smarting wound... I never really found that word document I lost a few weeks back... I re-wrote most of it, but am still worried there were little gems hidden in the text I'll never get back *weeps* I've learnt my lesson though. EVERYTHING is now stored in at least FOUR different places. Never again will I let that mistake happen...