Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Day Off

There hasn't been any more progress on the counter since I last posted. I've cleaned, but the floor still has a grayish tinge and the contents of the kitchen are still in the living room. Ibis has promised the next step (smoothing? sealing? not sure...) will happen tomorrow.

Meanwhile I've been busy editing The Other Side. As you know, I wrote it by hand and it's hard to do much with it until it's in the computer. I can't imagine being a writer two hundred years ago when most everything was written longhand, including all the drafts. *shudder* I'm at the 13K mark, or 45 pages, or six chapters, and I absolutely love my new keyboard. I'm not thrilled it, too, has a grayish tinge, but I plan to take care of that this afternoon.

I've been pleasantly surprised with the story so far. It's easy to forget the little scenes when they were written months ago, and overall I'm pleased with what I'm finding. I'm still reading Writing the Breakout Novel and, I tell you, it's helping me so much. Donald Maass points out so many little things that you can change to improve your writing, to elevate it to that breakout level. One example: don't overuse (or try to avoid) phrases such as "walking across the room, he answered the phone." He points out that these types of phrases show two simultaneous actions, which in itself is not all bad, but that novice writers tend to have the characters do things that cannot actually be done simultaneously. I was explaining this to Ibis earlier this morning and am unable to come up with a good example. I guess I'm a step up from novice, lol.

I knew going into these edits that there were several scenes that need more depth, more description, but so far I haven't done much of that. I did write one scene that shows my MC interacting with a secondary character that doesn't reappear until later in the book. When I finished the first draft I realized this other character had no motivation for his actions. Now he does.

I'm feeling very unenthused today but I'm going to do a little more reading and hope that gets me excited for more edits. Every chapter has given me ideas on how to improve the plot, so I imagine this next one will do the same.

Happy writing. :)

8 comments:

Zoe Winters said...

I used to write my rough drafts long hand too. I was convinced I couldn't "compose on the computer." But then I did nanowrimo where I HAD to if I was going to actually make the nano deadline. So now I do all my rough drafts on the computer.

Travis Erwin said...

We all have those unenthused days, but you'll get back in the groove soon.

Melanie Avila said...

My decision to write long hand was purely based on the suckiness of my keyboard. Now I LOVE typing!

Of course today I got an idea for a new story and promptly wrote in by hand. Ah well. :)

Travis, I was productive, it's all good.

Pink Ink said...

My problem with the computer is internet connection/distraction. I would love one of those Neo AlphaSmarts which is like a wordprocessor (is that word still alive?), and then you plug it into your computer when you are done. Great for rough drafts.

Melanie Avila said...

Pink Ink, I actually have an Alphasmart but I haven't been able to get it to talk to my computer. :( I love the idea of being able to write/type without the distractions of the internet.

Janna Qualman said...

Stick with it! You've got a great start.

Robin said...

Wait! I have a great example of the writing book's active description impossibility thingie. "He intently watched the landscape as he sneezed." I love trying to keep my eyes open when I sneeze. It's totally impossible, but one day...

Melanie Avila said...

Thanks Janna. I'm not stopping, I'm determined to get through this AND my memoir by November!

Robin, LOL! My friends and I used to try to sneeze with our eyes open. Never worked.