Have another Max and Button outtake where they do nothing to move the plot or their subplot or develop character or do anything of worth or note. I don’t know what the hell I was thinking, but let’s look at the glass half full: It’s a blog post:Continue reading
I’m spending too much time having fun with Max and Button. and not moving the story. So this scene has to go because it does absolutely nothing to advance the plot. Here you go, Argh, have an outtake from Act Three, which I am pleased to say is now 29,000 words which is close enough to the length I need. This scene died in a good cause.:
Krissie has gone home and I’m talking to the dogs again, but for five days. we talked books, mostly our work-in-progress books. We’d read drafts of each other’s books so we knew enough about them to talk about them, and we discussed different problematical aspects of each WiP, arguing over some points (she was right on some, I was right on others, bless Google how did we ever work without it?) and taking apart some ideas. It was tremendously helpful and now we have to get to final rewrites.Continue reading
I’ve finally got Nita’s soundtrack down and realized that I soundtrack in acts and arcs, too. The first pass (discovery soundtrack?) is just songs that seem to fit, not sure where or why, so there are usually a couple of dozen. But the more I zero in on the characters and the plot, the more songs fall off the list, and I start looking at what’s left in terms of character and plot arc.Continue reading
Krissie just posted about her own revision turmoil. Her story parallels mine, except she is convinced of her own vision (as she should be) and I keep second-guessing mine. Well, she’s Anne Stuart, Drama Queen and Romance Legend; I’m the slut peasant in the kitchen, thinking about bok choy and Tamari with a side of strawberry ice cream. Still, it’s heartening to know she’s gung ho, and her book is really good, so now I’m feeling better about mine.
Conclusion: Friends are important in a writing career. Krissie is essential.
Before anybody asks, no I haven’t cut Act Two yet. I’m fairly happy with Act One, and Act Four is going to need very little rewriting and no cutting because it’s already short, thank god, so it’s Act Two and Act Three that I have to cut anywhere from seventy to eighty pages from. Each. As Button would say, Crap.
Act Two is going to be the real bitch, so I skipped ahead to Act Three, thinking it would be a piece of cake since it could be divided into the Three Faces of Nick: 1858, 1934, 1981. And if it were Nick’s book, it would be easy. But it’s Nita’s book, which means that even though I can keep those three divisions, they have to be about Nita, not Nick. I even broke the damn act on the wrong turning point. I had it the scene where Nick collapses from being poisoned, but Nita doesn’t find out about it until several scenes later. So the scene where Nita realizes Nick isn’t Nick any more and she’s alone again, is the turning point. Except I never really wrote that scene, at least not that way.
So now I must rethink this act.
The rest of this post is me thinking out loud, and you know how that goes: disjointed and boring. Feel free to stop reading now.Continue reading
It’s 3:50 on Tuesday afternoon, August 6, I have gone out and stocked up on Diet Coke (and bok choy and mushrooms, but that’s another story) and I still haven’t cut much from Act One because even though I know that complication sequence with the 8000 words must be cut back savagely, I like everything in it. Well, I’m a big fan of my writing, so I would. So accepting that I’m going to be cutting things I like, the next step is to winnow darlings, aka The Parts I Like That People Will Probably Skip.
August 5, 2019, 1:19
So I got all ready to cut the home invasion scene and chickened out. There’s stuff in there that I don’t know how to do elsewhere–the first horrified mention of Button, the entrance of Joyce the Cat, Nita taking the fall for Button and beginning their relationship, Frank as an important character–plus without this I have pages of Talk. I like Talk. I’ll spend my entire story just doing Talk if nobody stops me, but Talk Kills Story, so I need action, bodies in motion, Aristotle insists on it, so . . .
Damn. I know Faulkner said to kill your darlings, but have you read Faulkner? Darlings all over the place.
So today, I find something else to cut in that damn first act, so I can do the second act tomorrow. Think of this as a live blog of the Reduction of Act One. Not that that’s not what the whole blog has been about for weeks. Argh. But first I have to eat lunch and take the dogs for their Carl Moment. (Carl is the neighbor who lives two doors down who has a darling Yorkie named Jackson and who gives them cookies and pats and tells them they’re Good Dogs. It’s the high point of their day.). But then, we’re cutting Act One. BRB.Continue reading
I know you’ve said that every writer has their own process and they must discover what works for them. Nonetheless, in your discussions of the craft of writing, you often speak of guidelines for writing or, at least, for the finished product. For example you speak of things to avoid, such as prologues or flashbacks. Have you encountered any occasions where the writer completely breaks the rules or ignores the guidelines that you’ve established (at least for yourself), and what shouldn’t work, works brilliantly?
All the time. That’s why I slap the “many roads to Oz” disclaimer on everything I teach.Continue reading
So I’m going back to the original manuscript and starting my pruning from a different perspective. I had cut a lot from the book, but it wasn’t getting better, it was just getting shorter and thinner, not as much depth, not as rich, and it felt rushed. Maybe it needed to be 135,000 words? No. I knew the book was lardy, over written, Too Much Stuff. So I reconceptualized my approach. (That’s the way we MFAs talk. Actually, I just said, “Well, this sucks, Crusie, try again.)
I started with that classic, “What is this book about?”Continue reading