Monday, November 15, 2010

Starting From Scratch

When I started the first novel I wrote, I had no idea what I was doing. After a professional manuscript evaluation and some college courses on creative writing, it was just over two years to get my completed manuscript.

Now I'm ready to start novel project #2, and I'm looking at the two years worth of work that it took to get #1. There is a full shelf of binders in my reading room containing edited-out pieces of my first manuscript. How do I prevent the unneeded work for the second one? Now that I've finished one, the second should be a peice of cake, right?

Then I read something in Robert McKee's book entitled "Story" that set me back on track:

"If your finished screenplay contains every scene you've ever written, if you never thrown an idea away, if your rewriting is little more than tinkering with dialogue, your work will almost certianly fail. No matter our talent, we all know in the midnight of our souls that 90 percent of what we do is less than our best.... if you then make brilliant choices to find that 10 percent of excellence and burn the rest, every scene will fascinate and the world will sit in awe of your genius." -Robert McKee in "Story".

So plunk away I will. Gotta get that 100% out so I can skim the 90% off the top to get the 10% genius out of it. If at the end I don't have another shelf full of editing binders, I know I will have failed.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Writing cubby in the basement. aka "Drama Central"

This is my writing room, or rather the storage room in the basement that my husband so wonderfully divided by putting a wall up. In the top left is a very fantasy-looking poster of the demon "Melech" from the YA novel that I'm currently working on (though in my MS he doesn't have wings). Top right is Hellfire vs. physical fire, and bottom right is just a city scene (inspiration for setting.) The flamingo lamp is there because it's a flamingo. 'Nuff said.

And so it begins

So much has happened with my new found love of writing over the last two years, that I figured I should have a place to put all the wandering thoughts in my head. (And, hey, it's writing.)
In the summer of 2008, I was sick of reality. Not much I could do about the points of reality that were really getting to me, so I needed an escape. After quickly ruling out chemically induced states of alleviating my mental anguish, I took my healthy liver to the book store and got into some novels that carried my mind off to other places.
Funny how reading about the catastrophies of protagonists makes you feel better about your own life, and yet you wish you were them. Hmmm.
After going through a novel a day, I realized that, as much as I loved reading and wouldn't stop, I wanted more. The type A side of my personality screamed to reach out it's claws on the world of fiction and dig in deep; to take control over the creative worlds in my own imagination and make them come alive. The first scene I ever wrote was full of grammatical errors, sentence structure faux pas, ugly pacing... and was the biggest high I'd gotten since successfullly getting away with blaming something on my little brother when I was ten.
So here I am, two years later. After countless hours on a keyboard, creative writing courses at the college, books on grammar, several spiral notebooks of chicken scratch notes, a full manuscript evaluation by a fabulous editor, total re-write, and then finally a copy edit by same fabulous editor, I have the manuscript I dreamed of having when I started the project, only better.