Tuesday, March 20, 2007

So sleepy, darn these morning schedules

I'm a night person, really I am. But I live with people who are, due to jobs and school, day people, and since getting a job, I must also wake up at a reasonable hour. And then I'm on my feet for at least four hours six days out of seven (yesterday was eight hours, and tomorrow will be seven--we have no chairs for employees). So the fact that it's 9:30 p.m. right now and I'm on the computer does not bode well. I'm already yawning, and even though I may be awake until 11 p.m. or midnight, working on the computer requires a functioning brain, which watching TV and reading manga does not.

Anyhoodles, I'm just about to edit five pages for my writer's group tomorrow. I won't have time to do it later because of my hours. In terms of the whole manuscript (I am behind my new year resolution goal), I'm on page 101. It really does a number on the flow when I'm working on editing a select few pages from chapters 12 or 13 (where I'm at with the group), and then trying to switch gears and look at stuff from chapter 7. I feel like "Wait a minute, I was just looking at this stuff, haven't I edited it already?"

It feels too familiar, although I haven't looked at that chunk for months. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing, though I'm inclined to think the latter since I've been stuck on the past couple of pages for a while now. I just need to buckle down (even on one day off) and take the whole day to read through the manuscript. I'm trying to read for flow and pace, which is difficult when I allow myself to stop after only two or three pages. I think I justify it by saying, "Two or three pages better than nothing."

So I'm off, and I hope all of you are writing and having fun as you write. Happy writing.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Last post on Fforde...maybe

Since the last time I posted here, I have finished Lost in a Good Book, The Well of Lost Plots, and Something Rotten, the last three books in the Thursday Next series. The only book of Jasper Fforde's (as far as I know, he may have more series beyond this and the Nursery Crime series) I haven't read is the first about Thursday Next, The Eyre Affair. I haven't yet found it in bookstores or at the library.

I really do enjoy his writing. The light, funny style, all the twists and plays on classic literature and genre literature. I finished it before heading off to work yesterday, and an hour in to working, I almost lamented having finished the book because I thought it would just be such a nice way to end the day. Go home after whatever work drama you may have, and read a good book.

These were all borrowed from the library, which in some ways is not a good thing. Because I have books that I bought years ago and have yet to read. One of my resolutions for this year was to read at least ten that fell into that category. I haven't read them, not because they're bad, or anything related to quality, but I get library books and read those first, or read manga which take half an hour to hour to read one volume. So one the one hand, ten books in a year's time really is an underestimation of what I can read, but at the same time, there's so much other stuff, other books that get in the way. I still have a Charles de Lint book and a book on Japanese mythology from the library, as well as that Dufresne writing book, The Lie that tells a Truth.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Classic Literature and why we love you

Wednesday I work until 7 at the store, which means I'm closing, which means that I probably won't get out until 7:30. That means that if I went to the writer's group this week, I wouldn't get there until 8 p.m. and my sister likes to leave at 9, so I'd only be there for an hour anyway, not really enough time for all the group members to read the pages as well as get a lot of feedback and I'd hate to make my dad drive back and forth so much. So I probaby won't go this week, although if my sister still does, I may give her my pages and just receive written feedback. I don't much care for the idea of them critiquing it while I'm not there though. My brain gets wrapped up in these issues with the writing and then sometimes I feel like, 'why bother bringing pages at all? It's all crap.' I don't feel like that all the time, or even most of the time, but I'm fighting that feeling right now even as I editing my pages with the group's comments in mind, because they had a point.

Swiftly veering away from talk of the group, however, I went to the library this Saturday and borrowed a pile of books. A couple of manga because they're fun and quick to read (satisfying my desire to read and complete a book, and look at pretty pictures), a Charles de Lint book, and three Jasper Fforde books. They didn't have The Eyre Affair, but they had books two, three and four:

Lost in a Good Book
The Well of Lost Plots
Something Rotten

I'm on page 212 of the first book, which is nice and a little guilt-inducing, as I don't work until 3 today, but will probably read for most of that time instead of editing which I would be doing.

Anyway, this post is jsut to once again assert my newfound love for Fforde's writing. this book takes place in 1985, but you don't notice that so much except in reference to fashion. Any other 80s references aren't so jarring (ahh, scrunchies, I bet I still have a bunch tucked in the back of a drawer somewhere).

Also related to literature, but not Fforde: I've seen commercials for a new movie called The Last Mimsy. I am almost certain it's based off a sci fi short story called Mimsy were the Borogroves, the title of which is taken from Lewis Carroll's "The Jabberwock" poem. As Fforde makes me want to look up all sorts of obscure nursery rhymes and reread Great Expectations, so does this make me want to drag out my sci fi anthology from a "Studies in..." course and reread that short story.

Books are fun!

I'm such a dork.

Friday, March 2, 2007

My attempt to not go all angsty/ranty

So I put this off a few days because I wanted to approach it as analytically as possible, although I know I couldn't be totally objective.

I went to the writer's group on Wednesday, received two cards and a gift card for my birthday, for which I am thankful (one card was homemade with a picture from Belgium, lovely picture, gonna use it for research/description/inspiration at some point, I just know it). There was actually another person with pages, but we took so long to get started and then to read and critique my seven pages that my sister and I had to leave before we could read the other girl's.

Anyway. I know how I react to critique. There is the inital 'they're criticizing my baby, how dare they.' But I am bringing in the pages knowing full-well what is to come, and knowing I will learn things about my stories I hadn't noticed before, and ultimately the experience will help. I set the emotions aside until I'm by myself, get it out of my system and then look at their written comments and my notes on their verbal comments with a clean eye. See what I can use.

Here's what I did not appreciate this week. Coming from a new member: 'I've noticed this will every writer under 25, that it reads like a videogame or RPG.' I am paraphrasing, but that was the gist. She added, anime too. Another women, a veteran of the group, said, "I was gonna say movies, but yeah." They referred to my pages as falling prey to this.

I exchanged a glance with my sister.

Here's the thing. I don't particuarly care for the fact that they were making a blanket statement about all writers under 25. Second, I don't play videogames or RPGs. At best, I occasionally used to watch my brother play videogames, and used to listen to my friend talk about her RPGs. But there's also the fact that there are many different kinds of videogames. And neither women bothered to explain further what they meant specfically. How is my writing like a videogame?

I understood their critique when they said the narrator sounded too distant, too observant and not close enough in the characters' heads, and it was after that point this woman brought up her blanket observation, so I guess they're related, but being unfamiliar with videogames I don't get the comparison.

I watch anime from time to time (and have a few favorites), but apparently not enough to see the point there either. As for movies...the woman who said that has always said to write description as if you're watching a movie of it in your head, now she criticizes me for apparently doing that?

I find their analogies confusing, even though the basic idea of a distant narrator and a few of their other points made sense to me. I agreed with them. Just making this comparison to other forms of media escaped me.

So I guess what I'm wondering is this: Have any of you ever read something and thought it sounded like a videogame or RPG, and if so, can you give me a concrete explanation of what that means to you? It may not be the same as these members were thinking, but it might help and I'd appreciate it.

I know a writer wouldn't want to write something and treat it as a movie, RPG, etc, because those are different media forms that have different needs, but a writer can use some techniques from other places to enhance their own writing. Where might that go wrong?

Thank you and happy writing.