Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Keeping Your Eyes On the Summit


For WIP Wednesday this week I'm going to quickly report on how I'm doing and then move right on to the philosophical moment of the last week.

I'm ecstatic to have finally reached the halfway point of my rough draft!! WAHOO!! (And as your random trivia for today, Wahoo is actually a fish. But you probably all knew that and have been laughing that I exclaim a fish name when I'm excited. Wahoo has a much better ring than, say, "TUNA!")

On the perhaps not-so-happy side, I may have to write out one of my main characters. When you constantly write a character getting hauled off in scene after scene because he gets in the way, then maybe it's a hint. Or maybe his purpose in the story needs to change. *pondering*

And now for the philosophical moment:

Last Friday night some friends invited me on a hike early Saturday morning. We're not talking just a hike, though, we're talking Hike, with a capital "H." As in leaving at 5:00 a.m. and hiking for 12.4 miles and 10 hours up to the summit of a mountain, 11,749 feet in elevation. I see this mountain every day when I set foot outside, and I've always wanted to go to the top. But I had a list of things I planned on getting to on Saturday, and it was last minute. Plus it would be cold, and dark, and I was pretty tired from a long week. So I wasn't sure if I would go or not.

I spent an hour debating in pure Libra fashion. My husband finally turned to me and told me to list the pros and cons. There were several cons, and two pros: it would be fun and I've always wanted to do it. He said, "You can do all those other things any time, but this opportunity doesn't come along very often. I think you should go."

Which meant that he would watch the kids and clean the house all by himself while I was off playing. (I love that man.)

So I told my friends I was in and quickly packed. When the alarm went off at 4:30 and I was making myself eat a bowl of oatmeal, I was still questioning my decision. It was an adventure hiking in the dark, especially when one of my water bottles leaked all over my backpack, sweatshirt, and pants.

Then the sun started to come up.

And the aspen leaves whispered in the the breeze.

And it illuminated further than just two feet in front of me. I was no longer just avoiding rocks and mud and blindly following a trail someone else had made.

I could finally see--really see. And every single reservation disappeared.


It was still all uphill, but now I could see my amazing journey!


The goal was the very top. Yep, that very top.


There were many other people on the same path. Traveling the same journey. And we waved and smiled at each other. I felt safe that if something happened to me or my friends, there were dozens of others around who could--and would--help. We were all in the journey together.

At times the going was hard and maybe a little scary.

But we kept our eyes on our ultimate goal: the summit.

And when we got there, hours after we started and with really tired legs, it was unbelievable. And worth every single step, stumble, water spill, and bathroom trip in the trees.



Whatever summit you're aiming for in life, keep your eyes trained on it. When the sun rises, look around and enjoy the incredible journey. Notice the others traveling the path with you. Smile at them, wave to them, and stop to help.

And when you finally reach the top, it will all be worth it. Because anything really worth it is worth the hike to get there.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Word of the Week #70

temerity [tuh-MER-uh-tee] - noun

Definition:
Unreasonable or foolhardy contempt of danger; rashness.

Usage:
From the time my son began walking--and running--as a bald nine-month-old toddler with an endearing dimple, he has brought me close to multiple heart attacks with his daring and temerity.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Love Calvin and Hobbes

Calvin on Writing:

I wonder if I could just do something like that...

(If you want to see it clearer on AuthorCulture, click here.)

And for another bit of fun, Slush Reading, Seuss Style by Jim C. Hines. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

WIP Wednesday x 2?

Lookie! Lookie! Over on the side -------->
We have movement on the word count meter progressy thingey!

*applause*

Maybe I'm the only one applauding, but sometimes you have to be the one to pat yourself on the back, right?

The rough drafting isn't going at the speed of light like I'd hoped (unrealistically, perhaps), but it is going. I've got some holes that will need some serious author-shoveling to fill, but that's okay, too. I follow several authors on Twitter and while many times their Tweets fall under the interesting-but-forget-in-ten-minutes category, there was one that struck me a couple months ago. It was an author that was working hard on a rough draft to meet a deadline. And one day she Tweeted something like: "Finally finished! 54K words with some holes I still need to fill. Will be 70K when I turn in to editor." (not verbatim)

What I got out of that was that even though she had some big holes in her story (16,000 words worth of holes), she skipped them and kept going. Just so she could get the rough draft out.

So that's what I'm doing. I've already jumped over a couple holes and am still writing along. My internal editor *hates* this, but she is bound, gagged, and shoved in the furnace room of my head.

On another note, I had another book idea yesterday, and it won't leave me alone. So just to keep it from interfering I'm going to give it some brain-time, too. It's a humorous, light-hearted story that my boys would love. Now I have TWO word count meter progressy thingies to taunt me motivate me. We'll see if I can work on two WIP's at a time. *chewing fingernails*

And just because I didn't have any profound writerly things to share today, here's a link to Nathan Bransford's blog about Show Don't Tell. Good stuff.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Pet Peeves as a Reader

Pop on over to the Writing Fortress blog to check out my post today about 10 of my pet peeves as a reading addict. Some of it may look familiar from a post over a year ago, but I've added a few.

Then (pretty please) share some of your own pet peeves in the comments either here or over there.

Word of the Week #69

decrepitude - [di-krep-i-tood] - noun

Definition:
decrepit condition; dilapidated state; feebleness, esp. from old age.

Usage:
Most days I feel like my encroaching decrepitude is due to the number of children I have, not the number of years I've lived.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Chuck-a-rama Post

My dad has a condo in a nice city a few hours from here. We try to get there every year or so for a little family vacation. One of the things my kids love the most about going to grandpa's condo is the expected trip to Chuckarama, an all-you-can-eat buffet.



Many people affectionately (or not so affectionately) call it Up-Chuck-a-rama. But especially a few years ago, it was a perfect fit for my family with children on the extreme end of the picky scale. My husband and I could have real food, and my daughter could load up on bacon bits, croutons, and jello. My boys could have their suicide mix of every non-coffeinated beverage offered and all three children could have an ice cream sundae towering with gummy bears, cookie crumbs, and chocolate syrup that they could stir to oblivion into a shake that they wouldn't eat. The perfect dinner.

This amusing anecdote is a not-exactly smooth transition into today's post, which is going to be just like Chuck-a-rama. I hope you find your bacon bits, jello cubes, or french fries to amuse, entertain, or just pass 2 minutes until the weekend when you get to do really fun stuff.

  • Quote #1 (slightly altered to keep this blog perfectly PG): “[Butt] in the chair! Vomit out the first draft!”--Nora Roberts
  • Quote #2: "And as those of you who are insanely busy know, there's always time to write. You might just need to force yourself to write during the times when every atom in your body would rather be doing something else." --Nathan Bransford (agent who also just sold his first Middle Grade book via another agent)
  • With these two quotes and some introspection, I've decided to cut back a little on the blogging so that I can vomit out the rest of my first draft as close to my original deadline of the last week of September as possible, which also happens to be close to my birthday and that's what I want to give myself as a b-day present. So, Bookmom Musings will now be offering insight, humor, and tales of woe and sleep deprivation about running only 3 times a week.
  • I really love 80% of music by the group Linkin Park. They seriously rock.

  • Bookends Blog has a good post on Choosing A Title - something which I really, really stink at. My Middle Grade novel had the title "My Otherworld Book" until it was almost complete, even though I changed the name of my world from Otherworld to Edgeworld, like, a year before.
  • A good post from agent Rachelle Gardner about Tightening Up Your Manuscript. Brandon Sanderson once shared that his final revision of any manuscript is eliminating 10% of it.
  • Although it's been hard, I've taken 2 weeks off from running to try and clear up a nagging case of Runner's Knee. That 2 weeks is up tomorrow! I am so hitting the road! And yes, I am so addicted.
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Boxes of doom

There they are. Sitting on my desk. Taunting me.

They aren't big, or even heavy or ugly. But just looking at them makes me shudder. Why should I be so afraid of boxes? I'm a grown woman, for heaven's sake. I've run up and down mountains and given birth to --count them--three children!

These boxes should mean nothing to me.

I chant to myself, It's okay, it's okay. I close my eyes, take a deep breath, and randomly grab one.

It's okay.

I hold it with one hand and shake it. It doesn't rattle or make a noise. The insides are packed tightly. I open my eyes. I've got the red one, which is actually more hot-pink.

I grasp the pull-tab. With a ripping sound that echoes the ripping in my heart, I open the box. It's all over--I can't return it now.

It's okay. It's okay.

With a small shake the contents slide onto the desk with a bubble-wrapped thunk.

It's okay. It's... No. It's not okay. Are you serious? I paid a small fortune for that?!

It's freaking not okay at all! How can they even look at themselves in the mirror while they rip people off like this?!

I'm not talking about lawyers, or even those people who rip you off with all those obscure mortgage fees. I'm talking about the criminal nature of the printer ink business!

And what's up with the whole your-printer-can't-print-in-just-black-if-the-color-cartridges-are-empty-even-though-the-black-one-is-almost-completely-full piece of crap? I'm curious how somehow all 3 of my colors ran out at the same time. It's a conspiracy, I tell you!!

And we switched to a laser printer after I almost went postal on the ink jets. Have you priced laser printer cartridges lately? They sell to the tune of $72. PER CARTRIDGE!!!

But at least they provide you with a nice mailing label so you can send the old cartridge back in the box to recycle it. Gee, thanks.

Thanks for a whole lot of nothing!



*You'll have to excuse the rant, but I and my household budget are still reeling from the trip to Office Depot.*

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

WIP Woes. . . I mean . . . Wednesday


It would probably be more accurate to title this post: WIP Why Don't Characters Do What I Want Them To Do and Where Did All This Attitude Come From Anyway? But as you can see, that really is a smidgen long for a blog title.

As far as the progress part of Work In Progress, there is some. If I were to go by the word count meter on the sidebar then it doesn't seem like much progress, but that's because I had to switch around my scene order and so some parts didn't make sense and had to be deleted while I wrote more. So really I've been writing but the meter thingey doesn't adequately reflect that.

I had a grumpy weekend with my characters. First I realized a secondary character was way more interesting than one of my major characters.

Secondary character pipes up, "Of course I'm more intriguing. That other guy's totally lame."

"No, he's not! He's supposed to be the love interest. You know, the one with the history and all that chemistry with her."

"Capital L lame. And no chemistry. You know it."

I sigh from the depths of my sock-clad feet (not too thrilled with the signs of coming fall, just fyi). "You're right."

"And since you're finally admitting that I'm right, I'm going to let you in on some details and a whole new subplot to this story."

"What? Another subplot? But I'm already juggling . . . wait a minute. That's a really cool idea..."

"Don't forget all my friends here."

"Friends?" I look around at a whole new cast that steps out of the shadows. *gulp*

But this character wasn't the only one giving me fits. I was talking with an author friend about my WIP and she started asking me questions about my main character. You know, the one I should know inside and out since I did all that character development and even a personality test for? Yeah, that one. Well, I couldn't satisfactorily answer my friend's questions because the answers I thought I had just didn't seem to fit anymore. My main character and I were butting heads.

So yesterday I decided to sit down and let her talk. Just let her ramble and maybe we could figure out together where I'd gone wrong and why the scenes I was putting her through felt like trying to put doll clothes on a reluctant dog. Not that I've actually done that. . . much.

After I coaxed my main character from the corner where she was having a major pout attack, she let me have it. She cussed me out for totally ignoring her. And then she talked and talked and talked. Finally, after a while she wound down. I discovered that part of my problem is that her underlying motivation--what she wants deep down more than anything--is not what I thought. And not what I plotted for. No wonder she was dragging her heels so hard.

Enter pause, back up, erase, and re-plot.

Maybe I should listen more to the voices in my head.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

"Who's on First?" - updated


If Bud Abbott and Lou Costello were alive today, their infamous sketch, 'Who's on First?' might have turned out something like this: (click here if you don't know it)

COSTELLO CALLS TO BUY A COMPUTER FROM ABBOTT

ABBOTT: Super Duper computer store. Can I help you?

COSTELLO: Thanks. I'm setting up an office in my den and I'm thinking about buying a computer.

ABBOTT: Mac?

COSTELLO: No, the name's Lou.

ABBOTT : Your computer?

COSTELLO: I don't own a computer. I want to buy one.

ABBOTT: Mac?

COSTELLO: I told you, my name's Lou.

ABBOTT: What about Windows?

COSTELLO: Why? Will it get stuffy in here?

ABBOTT: Do you want a computer with Windows?

COSTELLO: I don't know. What will I see when I look at the windows?

ABBOTT: Wallpaper.

COSTELLO: Never mind the windows. I need a computer and software.

ABBOTT: Software for Windows?

COSTELLO: No. On the computer! I need something I can use to write proposals, track expenses and run my business. What do you have?

ABBOTT: Office.

COSTELLO: Yeah, for my office. Can you recommend anything?

ABBOTT: I just did.

COSTELLO: You just did what?

ABBOTT: Recommend something.

COSTELLO: You recommended something?

ABBOTT: Yes.

COSTELLO: For my office?

ABBOTT: Yes

COSTELLO: OK, what did you recommend for my office?

ABBOTT: Office!

COSTELLO: Yes, for my office!

ABBOTT: I recommend Office with Window's.

COSTELLO: I already have an office with windows! OK, let's just say I'm sitting at my computer and I want to type a proposal. What do I need?

ABBOTT: Word

COSTELLO: What word?

ABBOTT: Word in Office.

COSTELLO: The only word in office is office.

ABBOTT: The Word in Office for Windows.

COSTELLO: Which word in office for windows?

ABBOTT: The Word you get when you click the blue 'W'.

COSTELLO: I'm going to click your blue 'w' if you don't start with some straight answers. What about financial bookkeeping? You have anything I can track my money with?

ABBOTT: Money.

COSTELLO: That's right. What do you have?

ABBOTT: Money.

COSTELLO: I need money to track my money?

ABBOTT: It comes bundled with your computer.

COSTELLO: What's bundled with my computer?

ABBOTT: Money.

COSTELLO: Money comes with my computer?

ABBOTT: Yes. No extra charge.

COSTELLO: I get a bundle of money with my computer? How much?

ABBOTT: One copy..

COSTELLO: Isn't it illegal to copy money?

ABBOTT: Microsoft gave us a license to copy Money.

COSTELLO: They can give you a license to copy money?

ABBOTT: Why not? THEY OWN IT!

(A few days later)

ABBOTT: Super Duper computer store. Can I help you?

COSTELLO: How do I turn my computer off?

ABBOTT: Click on 'START'

Monday, September 14, 2009

Word of the Week #68

prestidigitation - [pres-tuh-dij-uh-TAY-shuhn] - noun

Definition:
Skill in or performance of tricks; sleight of hand.

Usage:
After carefully studying and then trying out several magic tricks, my admiration for those skilled in prestidigitation rose with each hopeless attempt of my own.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Encourage, Don't Discourage

Last weekend I participated in another of those 180 mile relay races. This time I ran with a team of all women from my neighborhood, and some of them had only run a mile or two at a time before this May (as in 4 months ago). It was an adventure and an accomplishment.

I came away from the experience with more than just some sore muscles.
  • I have some great memories: texting hilarious things to the husband of a sleeping team member on her phone. (Yes, sleep deprivation was alive and kicking).

  • Some great pictures:


  • A new love for KT tape:


  • And a renewed epiphany.

I often run alone--just me, my iPod, and the rising sun. But for this race I had my own cheering section, and I ran faster and better than during any of my training. I know some of that can be attributed to adrenalin, but a lot of it has to do with my van full of cheerleaders and support staff. They followed me and cheered me on, offered me water or whatever I needed, shouted encouragement, and told me when I was done that I did a good job. And our team did that with every single runner. For the entire 31 hours and 4 minutes of the race.

Never once did I hear stuff like: "You're running too slow." "You can do better than that." or "What are you doing trying to race with the real runners?"

What I did hear were things like:" "You can do it!" "Keep going." "Only a little more to go." "You're looking good." "Great job!" and "Shake your booty!" (But that's only because we're good friends.)

It was always encouragement and support, and never discouragement. There were even a couple times teammates got out and ran next to the runner to help them on.

Are you ready for the running/writing parallel? Cause here it comes.

Writing is often a solo pursuit, where it's just you, your muse, and your words. But just like being on a team helped me run better, being part of a writing team can help us write better, especially if it's one that encourages, rather than discourages. There's no shortage of discouragement in this business, but I've also found a lot of encouraging voices, too. There are authors and agents and editors out there shouting encouragement, advice, and support.

So if you don't feel like you have a team to help spur you on, let me volunteer. *jumping up and down* *yelling* *doing a one-legged toe-touch (because my cheering days are waaaay past me)*



You can do it!

Keep going!

Only a little more to go!

Don't worry about the hill ahead. It looks bigger than it is!

Keep writing! Believe in yourself! You can do it!

And you can shake your booty, too, if you want. ;)

*I also have to admit that my mother uses this motto for her piano teaching. Now if we can be our own cheerleaders, right?)

Has anyone said anything to encourage you and help you keep you going?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Juggling Cats


It is once again the most exciting day of the week. Work In Progress Wednesday!

And my WIP is coming along. I've been plodding along--I mean, plotting along. The prologue is gone. The rough draft is getting written (not as fast as I'd hoped, but it is getting written). And it will definitely need more work, but that's okay.



Writing fiction can feel a lot like juggling cats. And if any of you have ever tried to get a cat to do something it didn't want to do, then you will really get this analogy.

*Note: No cats were harmed in the making of this blog. And as I was looking for this picture I found a site where people are up in arms about cat juggling. I in no way condone the actual practice of juggling live animals, and figure that whoever is stupid enough to try it deserves all the pain he/she will undoubtedly experience. (I've had to give a cat a bath, so I *know* there will be pain.)

When you write you have many things up in the air at the same time--the main plot, characterization, voice, subplots, dialogue, setting, description, conflict, and keeping in mind your background. Not to mention just making sure your writing is good. And all those elements can be stubborn and feel like they're fighting you the whole time.

It can seem overwhelming to try and remember and do it all, so I wanted to share something I found recently from author James Patterson. He's written a ton of books (I think 59, if I counted correctly from the list on his website) and he just signed a 17-Book Deal with Hatchett. Whether or not you like Patterson's books, you have to admit he is a successful author. And he said one thing that I'd like to talk about today.

In an interview posted on his site, Patterson was asked if he had a set of routines or rituals that he followed when working on a book.

*Before you read: I want you to just move past the first line. Don't hyperventilate, because I want you to not be shell-shocked and miss what I really want to talk about. Remember, just skim that first sentence.*

James Patterson: "One [routine] is to do a very exacting 30-40 page outline. It helps me get organized. I will tend to do nine or ten drafts. I do about a draft a month. On each draft, I work on something in particular. For example, I might work on a couple of characters who I don't think are rich enough or I might work on plot twists, and then on a couple of drafts I might just work on the writing itself. Early on, I just work on the story."

Remember what I said! Take a deep breath and just forget the 30-40 page outline comment.

I want to talk about Patterson's drafting process. First of all, notice that he does 9 or 10 drafts! And he will spend a draft just working on one thing at a time. James Patterson doesn't even try to juggle all the cats at the same time, and neither do we. I can focus on a certain aspect for a draft, and then focus on another one the next time through.

I especially like what Patterson said about his early drafts focusing just on story, since that's where I am. I'll just have to trust that the character arcs are kind of choppy and the descriptions are cliche at this point, because right now I just need to pound out the story. I can work on all that other stuff in future drafts.

I don't have to try and juggle cats.

Now there's a happy kitty!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Think Twice Before Honking

Or an alternate post title could be: "Patience is a Virtue."



I can't decide which is funniest: the cameraman laughing and trying not to, the driver's glasses breaking, or the fact that the old woman doesn't even crack a smile.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Word of the Week #67

pule - [PYOOL] - intransitive verb

Definition:
To whimper; to whine.

Usage:
After another long relay race, I'm impressed by those who don't obsess and pule over their aching bodies.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Bits of Randomness

I am actually away right now running another one of those crazy 180 mile relay races. So here are a few random things to keep you entertained until I get back (or hobble back real slowly, most likely).

1. After making a huge pot of salsa, your hands smell like onions and garlic for *days* no matter how much or with what smell-good soap you wash them. (I don't even know if that's a grammatically correct sentence.)

2. Watch out for the Writer Flu that's going around. I don't know how much hand sanitizer will help you on this one. :)

3. The Axel F theme from Beverly Hills Cop is officially a classic song. My kids love it. Their friends love it. And the fact that my hubby & I know the song makes us rise a couple points on the "cool" meter (even if the original version we know isn't as good as the Crazy Frog version).

4. Just because you're over 70 doesn't mean you're helpless. Check out this article, "Dawn Fraser, 71 year-old Olympic champion, fights off attacker." You go, girl!

5. Here's a good post on 5 Tips for Making a Good Book Trailer by Abel Keough.

*I had full intentions to make a list of 10 random things, but I ran out of time. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Forget the Tooth Fairy, I want a Dishes Fairy

Why should children get all the supernatural fun?


I hereby petition the universe for help for grown ups. How about:

  • A Dishes Fairy - she (or he, I don't care what gender) visits kitchens of good little moms and dads while their sleeping and cleans all the dishes with a wave of his/her wand
  • A Taxes Fairy
  • A Whining Elf - if the kids whine then their mouth gets magically glued shut for at least 10 minutes
  • A Bathroom-Cleaning Fairy
  • A Jolly old elf with reindeer who will do my grocery shopping--and ad match!
  • A Homework Fairy - must be impervious to whining
  • A Car Washing Bunny
  • A Lego-Scooping Pixie - who will find all those nearly invisible ones that I don't see until I step on them in bare feet in the dark
  • A Weeding Elf
  • A Laundry Folding Fairy
  • A Diaper Changing Fairy
  • A Hunt Down My Kids Wherever They Are in the Neighborhood Bunny
This reminds me of a book I recently read about, How to Ditch Your Fairy by Justine Larbalestier. (Because I have to somehow tie this in to books, since this is my author blog, right?) It sounds right up my alley, but I'll have to wait until the end of September to get my hands on it.

Product Description:
Everyone in New Avalon has a fairy. Though invisible, a personal fairy is vital to success. It might determine whether you pass a math class or find the perfect outfit. But all fourteen-year-old Charlie can do is find parking spaces—and she doesn’t even drive. At first, teaming up with Fiorenza (who has an all-the-boys-like-you fairy) seems like a great idea. But when Charlie unexpectedly gets her heart’s desire, she’ll have to resort to extraordinary measures to ditch her fairy.

Just reading about it on Justine's site made me want to read it. And Justine's thought of some great fairies, like The Bladder Fairy (You never need to go in the middle of a movie and when you do need to go there’s always a bathroom around) and The Clean-clothes Fairy (No one will ever spill spaghetti on your white sweater again. Boring but useful), The Knowing-what-your-children-are-up-to Fairy (which I need), and The Good Story Fairy (Even when bad things happen to you this fairy turns them into an excellent story).

I've shared a few of the Fairies I'd like to have. What Fairies would you want?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Work in Progress Wednesday and a Funeral


You read it right. It's WIP Wednesday and a funeral. I would like to invite you, my dear blog readers, to join me at the funeral of my beloved prologue.

*Sniff*

My prologue and I first met one fateful day while I drove to the grocery store. Some people believe in love at first sight. I'm not sure about that, but I do believe in ideas in an instant. And this prologue was one of those rare, beautiful ideas that popped into my head almost complete. It didn't care that I was in my sweats with no makeup. It was just that kind of idea. I am so grateful that I pulled over and hastily scribbled it out on the back of my child's homework assignment (and really, my 11 year-old was such a trooper).

We had a good relationship, my prologue and I. It waited patiently for almost two years while I shoved it aside to work on another story. It sat there, not minding that I didn't have actual character names and so used the most boring names possible: "Bob" and "George." Then one day I was ready to make it shine. I revised it, trimmed a little here and fleshed out a little there. My lovely little prologue took it's rightful place of honor as scene #1 of my WIP.

But, as I was moving along and writing my rough draft the nagging thought kept nagging me (annoying how they do that) that maybe I shouldn't use the prologue. That maybe it gave away too much at once, thereby depriving the reader of the joy of discovery. That maybe it wasn't really needed at all. This last week I gave it some deep thought, and reached the conclusion that it's time to bury my prologue.

A moment of silence, please...

Adieu, lovely little prologue.

(Although I might resurrect it for a future blog if you're curious.)

Here's a good post about prologues from author J. Scott Savage. I read this after I had already decided to bury my prologue, but he explains a lot of things clearly and succinctly. And after reading his post I've concluded that I probably still will never eat Creamed Onions. *shudder*

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Playing With Time


I saw a great little movie the other day that got me thinking about time. More specifically, about playing with time in your stories.

The movie I saw was "500 Days of Summer."

I recommend this movie if you like romantic comedies at all, because it's a really good one. It was fresh because it was told from the guy's point of view, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt is just oh-I-want-to-rumple-your-hair cute in it. He does the heartbroken, hit-by-a-truck look very nicely. :) Besides great dialogue and humor, this movie also played with the relationship timeline. It jumps back and forth, rather than going in chronological order. And it did a fantastic job of it!

Another movie that messes with time is "The Time Traveler's Wife," which I haven't seen. But I want to. If nothing else than because Eric Bana is what my nephew will look like when he grows up. It's pretty freaky really. I watched Eric Bana in the "Incredible Hulk" with my husband and we had our mouths open, not because of the movie but because Bana's facial expressions, the way he moved, and his looks were eerily similar to our nephew. We're talking could have been identical twins except one's 30 years older than the other eerily similar.

I haven't read the book, either, though it's hovered for a long time in the back of my brain in my mental list of "I think I'd like to read that book someday." So I can't say a whole lot about it, but I do know the story premise and know that it also treats time loosely.







I began wondering if I could pull something off like that in my writing. The Timeline Structure is an actual plot structure. Author Holly Lisle, in her Create a Plot clinic writes:

You the writer can do some amazing things with time. Unlike mere mortals, you can stop it, slow it down, run it in reverse, and leap forward or backward days, years, centuries, and eons, all with the merest flick of your finger.

Of course, while I'm writing this I can't think of any good book examples. (I'll probably wake up at 2:00 a.m. tonight with a whole list.) If you think of some will you leave them in the comments so I can check them out? Pretty please?? *batting eyelashes* One of these stories of mine, I'm going to give it a shot.

And who knows, if your story seems a little blah going from the beginning to end, maybe playing with time is just what you need to spice it up. "500 Days of Summer" wouldn't have been half as good if it started at Day 1 rather than Day 300 something-or-other.