Chapters. Bleah

Chapters are useless.  They’re arbitrary divisions in a story that serve no purpose except to give readers a chance to put down the book and never come back.  Unlike acts, scene sequences, scenes, beats, and all the other narrative units, chapters actually work against structure and meaning: you have to bend the book to make them work.  

But they’re standard, so they stay.   And I’m about to print out the first act which means I have to figure out where the chapter headings go so I put in transitions between the @#$%^&* chapters I don’t want in there anyway. Continue reading

Cutting the Breakfast Scene

I’m working on the assumption here that somebody out there is interested in this wonky stuff.  If you’re not, feel free to skip.  There’s math in this post.

So the Breakfast Scene at the end of the second mini-act was 3,524 words, and it needed to be a lot less. I don’t like scenes that are over 2500, even transition scenes like this one, so that was my upper limit.  I ended up at 2560, so pretty good but still more cuts to come on the paper edit.  Here’s how I did it.

Continue reading

How to Cut a Story

Discovery drafts almost always run long.  That’s because they’re writer-based drafts, not intended for readers or publication, they’re just the writer getting it all down on paper or screen.  You’re supposed to write long on a discovery draft; it’s the writing equivalent of taking the back roads so that you see a lot of stuff.  Yes, you’ll get there faster if you take the freeway, but all you’ll see is freeway.

But once you’ve explored, the next time you take the trip, you go for fast-paced and focused: You take the truck draft out on the highway.  You cut like crazy. Continue reading

Nita Dodd: Mammon and Max (and Button)

Mammon and Max are fun characters for me because they’re amoral (not because they’re demons, but because they’re just made that way) and not particularly venal.  Mammon hangs out with those who should be stepped on like bugs, but he really only needs slapped down every now and then, or at least have somebody pull him to one side and say, “If you do that, that would be stupid,” to be a fun if occasionally treacherous person to know.

 Enter Max. Continue reading

Good Book Thursday 4-6-17

Due to popular demand (and because it’s a really good idea) we’re introducing  This Is a Really Good Book Thursday.  Come in here on Thursday and tell us the title and author of something delightful to read, fiction or non-fiction.  The weekend is coming and we need good books!

RANT: I Just Unlisted Angie

As most of you know, I have a penchant for buying houses that need significant work.  Because of that, I hit Angie’s List a lot.  But today I learned that they’re not pulling their advertising from Bill O’Reilly’s show because “Just as we trust members to make their own hiring decisions, we trust them to make their own media consumption decisions.”

Because hiring a plumber is exactly like giving money to a powerful abuser  so he’ll have more power to continue his decades-long harassment of women.

So I’ve decided not to add to their revenue stream because they just hand it over to a serial sexual predator.  I’ve been trying to get somebody on the site chat box to talk to me, but strangely enough, no one is available.  It’s noon, maybe they’re all out to lunch.  Or maybe, I hope, they’re reaping the whirlwind.

At any rate, thanks for trusting me, Angie!  I know I’ve made the right decision.