Monday, January 8, 2007

Hello, Mr. Grapevine

So I heard along the grapevine, or rather, directly from three sources, that the Sobol award was cancelled.

The Writer Beware blog also has an interesting post about facts to keep in mind when looking at literary contests.

When I first heard about the Sobol Award, I checked out the rules and prizes and such. I won't say it was a scam, but there was enough fishy stuff that I wouldn't have entered ($85 for an entrey fee is way too much for a poor, no-longer-college-student). Of course, I'm not a contest person myself--I fnd some and think they'd be a good contest to submit to, but I never get around to it. The best part of contests, in my opinion, are those that can garner you name recognition and publishing credits (and a little prize money is nice too, but I say that 'cause I'm poor). But overall, I tend to prefer focusing my writing efforts on books that I'll later query agents about. It's another one of those, 'to each his own' moments.

There's actually a fiction contest looking for stories about pirates and the high seas, which I was tempted by, and my latest story has pirates, but...I don't know. I have until March, I believe, but they're looking for short stories and this will be a novel. Maybe something else will hit me, but I won't push it.

It's also a matter of many contests looking for short fiction, and I am notoriously bad at that. I start what I think is a short story and it begins to develop into a novella or flat-out novel. heh. Go figure.

Speaking of which, though, I just read through some comments, and saw Written Wyrdd's about "the 'real story' isn't the one you sit down to write'." I'm paraphrasing and not currently looking at that particular comment, so I think that was the gist of it. And I believe that really is true.

Every story I begin, I have an idea of where I think it's going, but that idea is so vague, that the story inevitably steers toward something I never would have anticipated. Even this current story. I have 10,000 words, just shy of 30 pages. Two chapters and a prologue. Even in that short span of time, my character has already gone beyond where I expected him to be by the end of the book. (Literally--he's running away and originally was going to end up with a distant relative across the sea. By the beginning of chapter 2, I had him at a not so distant relative's home, across a short stretch of sea, and I knew he wouldn't stay there long.) There are aspects of my original idea that haven't come into play at all yet, and even in the course of writing the first chapter I realized some things about the history of these kingdoms that I hadn't even thought to consider before. Some of these are things that I've already thought about incorporating and know how, if not when, and others points are so interesting that I want to include, but haven't the foggiest idea how to go about it.

hee. This is the giddy side of me few get to see. I'm sitting here, trying not to grin like a loon as I think of all the fun possibilities still open for this book.

That's why I don't like to rewrite (not edit or revise, but actual, massive rewrite)after a certain point (to tie this back to the post that prompted the comment). The story may take a fun turn that makes the opening chapters obsolete, but then another change later that makes them pertinent again. Hence the countless notes to myself. ~grin and eye-roll~

I don't quite understand how someone can write out an entire outline and follow through with that to the end of a book. I know some people do it, and some can even leave it open enough to allow for big changes. I'm not trying to knock it. If you use an outline, good on ya. I just don't entirely understand it. I don't quite get how they don't feel boxed in by the structure right at the get-go. How do they do it effectively? I like having a general sense of where I think the story may go, but I know my stories morph over time and I end up with scenes I never anticipated. I think, for me personally, an outline would make me feel like I maybe couldn't write that unplanned scene. But maybe I'm wrong. I've never been enough of an outline girl and I've never known enough about my story when starting it to really give the whole 'outline your book before you begin writing' idea an honest shot. Any other takes on outlines and detailed plans of stories before you start writing?

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