Saturday, November 29, 2008

editing coma

sick of it. Even spent 4 hours of Thanksgiving doing it.
Still have 108,856 words, and 211 pages.
Guess I'm not much for editing down the material.
I'm going to print it out now (second time, with edit corrections), and give it to my mom tomorrow, I call her reader number uno.
And I have no; no no no no no intention of thinking about this story again till after Christmas.
I wonder how long it will take before the pages come back to me all marked-up with highlighters and red pen? I don't know but until they do, I plan on working on other stuff. Like getting my house ready for Christmas, and working on my NaNoWriMo story, which I haven't worked on at all, and as you can see, November is pretty much over, so, so is my chance to do that challnge. Oh well, I feel challenged enough. You can indeed get so frustrated you fall into a stupor. Yes, you might think it would make you hyper, but prolonged hyper day after day after day, for me, become stupor. I thought I would try and read through it one more time (as quickly as possible) before printing it out, but I can't bear to do it one more time.
Schmaltz, death, and bad writing. Yes, time to open the windows and air myself out.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Reading The Elements of Style (found it on my shelf). Reads to me like a foreign language, or rather like some dialect that uses familiar letters and sounds, and strings them together with words I know, but then fills each sentence with words I don't know the meanings of, so I'm foever going "Huh?" "What?". I feel like an idiot. The examples are helpful, I can understand them. I just can't comprehend the sentences containing the rules. The book assumes, sadly wrongly so, that I have some sort of clue as to the definitions (and thus the words contained within them), of the terms it uses.
Goodness, I'm going to have to make flash cards and stick them around my house; see if I can't get some of this stuff into me.
No I am not smarter than a 5th grader.
pronominal possessives
indefinite pronouns
parenthetic expressions
a conjunction introducing an independent clause
a participial phrase
My brain just doesn't hold such things.
( I do however recall what adjectives, nouns, and verbs are)
Many of the rules once I see the examples, I realize I know and do; others I know I can't consistently apply, because I can't understand what is contained within the rules.
Salt, I need mental salt, to help me retain information like water.
my camera and I couldn't capture it well

sunlight on grapefruit
colors, sections, forms, textures, juice contained within, sugar clinging, seeds inside; the possibility of seeds.
And I thought how wonderful to be alive, eating grapefruit on a Saturday morning. With time to watch the shadows and sunlight; with time to taste the sour, and try to adjust and balance it with sweet; over and over, tasting sour, tasting sweet, seeking harmony. Time to pull away the light pulp and wonder if paper could be made from it. Time to gather the seeds, and think of the meaning contained in each.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


My dream last night, had a professor in it, (good looking). He asked us to give a sentence about pain. I said something like..
"Pain crystallized, broken into shards, inset flatly across the skin, decorating, shielding; shinning." And it took him several minutes to reply with a comment, he said because it was such poor writing. The use so common. It was the ; followed by one word that he didn't like, that he felt so contrived. ( I had worried about the rest, but liked that part.) I have started to use ; to connect sentences, ok well not really, I 've started to use it to break up my run on sentences. But, I do know I've used it several times with just one word after it; I like doing this. I like the significance it gives that word, it both modifies what comes before, and stands alone. Anyway I was really upset in the dream. And today I am going through my books trying to figure out if what he said is true.
Also I was me, but the character wasn't. My being was tethered to her, watching and occasionally able to direct her. (She much younger than me, bit like Kitty from Pride and Prejudice, the year perhaps in the 70's) that very night she was eating sunflower seeds on the roof with a boy, heard her father wake up, and slide down to hide in the bushes (Why didn't she just go back into her room through the window she came out of?). Her dog, a wire hair jack russel, gave her up. She pretended to be sleeping, she pretended to be dead, but of course her father didn't fall for it. While I was watching her I was thinking, 'I've seen this one before. Yes, she ends up having an affair with that teacher.' I found this progression workable, as I had every intention of asking him my writing questions each time I/we saw him. But alas I woke up, before she could get into anymore trouble and before I could get any useful information.

I went through my books this morning with the hope of finding the answer. Nope. I still hope to glean some useful info from reading novels, but as far as my writing books go, I realize I have entered a new area, one I don't yet have a book for. My writing books are more about the emotional side, the having courage to write, and about the process of writing that first novel. But I don't have any on how to edit. I do have some about sentences structure, and spelling, et. cetera, helpful certainly, but not one on how to approach editing, how to apply it. Being me, I need a reference, a manual, a way to enter and navigate through this new territory. So it is off to the library (not open til Monday) or Barnes and Noble for me, as I doubt I shall see the professor again, and anyway I would like a more reliable source. (I mean knowing what he will be doing with that silly girl, how can I trust him?)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

indecisive people shouldn't attempt to be writers.

I keep going over sentences changing this, then that, reading them back again and again, not knowing which way is better. Or are they the same? Move it to the beginning, no to the end; the middle? Omit it! Put it back.

Direct and clear, flowing and musical. Static and sharp, chaotic and rambling.

I can't even decide if he is trying to see farther in, or further in.

mentally tone deaf

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

zhe turkeys zhey are escaping

Or so you would see if the glare hadn't blinded the camera.
As I drove by, I saw what looked like clusters of white trash bags about the turkey farm. Odd..I thought, then they moved a bit....and I realized..Turkeys! I don't know if the company has decided to go free range all of a sudden or if this decision was made by the turkeys themselves...but I'm thinking perhaps someone tipped them off about Thanksgiving being next week.
A company truck came by and I told the driver, he said, "Okay, I'll have someone take care of it." but without any interest, then drove away. I thought about calling the farm when I got home, just to make sure they knew...but then I thought, 'What's the rush? it is cold out there, the turkeys aren't running around or anything, just having a bit of a stretch, no harm in that.'


I didn't work directly on improving my writing yesterday, but I did some reading.
And firstly I was annoyed that the story I was reading had some of the same imagery that mine does. No, this didn't make me feel common, it just got me riled up. I want the chance for my version to be known. And the longer I wait, the less chance my version has, for other people's will keep coming. So that was a bit of a pinch to wake me out of my stupor.

Secondly, I noticed that within the book I was reading there were some incidences of common sayings, and ways of saying things. And I realized it is not about reinventing the wheel (cliche), I don't need to stress over it to the extreme, to be harsh with myself, and unrealistic. No. I need to be calm, and go through and fix what I can see that is wrong, focus on the obvious ones, the big ones, and for now not worry about if there are others. That is what reader feedback is for. I need to keep my focus small at the moment, to work on and improve one part at a time.
I'll have faith
and I'll work hard.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

having a wannabe writer meltdown

I've long feared that my sensibilities and skills are too immature....
and while I do feel that I can improve my skills, I'm concerned about my sensibilities. Or rather my ability to convey them. I think perhaps my perspective is simple, or at least my image/concept to words process is. It goes in meaningful, I feel it fully, but it comes out simple, standard, ordinary, in lowest common denominator form. (My crayons straight out of the box. Metaphors, ideas, words, well known, worn.)
I am not concerned so much about changing the in-waves stuff, it will take time, but I believe I will do it/can do it. The trouble is, that example is just the one that I can see. The whole thing is probably like that, in ways that I don't see or know, because it is just the way that I am (made).
I'm not striving for high art, not for something complex; I decided a long time ago, I mean to by writing to my own level, not attempting anything lofty. But still it shocked me to find my writing so immature.
I'm not giving up, just going to tumble all the way down, and taste the dirt a bit, before I get myself back up.
Because the parts that I don't write, the parts that just come to me...well I love those parts. I owe them more than just connecting them together with garbage (plastic bags and the like, not composting). And I guess I owe it to myself to ask more of myself. (To try. And try..and try...and try.)
But I know I will get, I can go, only so far, I wont be changing my core perspective, my way of seeing; I'll just be tweaking my ability to share it. I'm only going for the change of one note lower in pitch. (the sound of one note deeper).

There are so many different things one has to face when writing; (ironic for me here) complex issues arriving from the simple stringing of words on a page.
(combinations of letters vexing, hexing; a curse of self-doubt, I cast on myself again and again.)
Deconstructing a paragraph; deconstructing me.
Sitting alone in a room, asking myself questions all the time (all the time, cliche, no doubt, oops, another). And it looks like I don't move at all, I look fixed and unchanged over time, yet how I answer each and every question, changes me.
Forms me.
There is a world contained in each question. Can I do this? Is this worthwhile? Why am I spending my time this way? Do I have a worthwhile perspective? Is it meaningful; am I meaningful? How do I see the world? Is anyone interested in seeing the world through my eyes (through my character's)? Am I the same or different than? What do I believe?
It might seem sacrilegous to say so, but it reminds me of believing in God, the continual questions of faith one goes through when trying to write a novel. And in what one asks of herself, in always trying to be good, always trying to be better than she is, or believes herself to naturally be. In asking oneself what is truly possible, what is reasonable, logical to believe, and then believing in what seems extraordinary instead because somehow it is more natural.

because somehow there is a greater truth tucked into the impossible.

Monday, November 17, 2008

In waves

what to do? What to do?
In waves...that is the trouble.
The book, The First 5 Pages called in waves a cliche.
I can't find it listed elsewhere (on the web) as such.
The trouble is, I have in waves in my story, eek, about 4 times. It is about energy or sound moving in waves, from point A to point B, while the objects of origin seem outwardly unaffected. One is nausea, several times it is sound, and the sound waves even come crashing in on main character.
The repeat of it is intentional.
I am wondering how to fix this?
I'm trying to think of other words to use in place of waves.....and also wondering if then I should use the same (new) words each time to draw attention to them being a part of the same process, or if that is totally lacking in subtlety?
And of course also wondering if it need be fixed? Must I not use, in waves?
Is that definitely bad writing, or does cliche depend on context? The guests came in waves, I can see that as a cliche, and I could also easily change that; but I'm not so sure about sound; and waves of nausea does seem a cliche, but it does come and go, and I want for the wave, the surge, of energy up/out (nausea), to be echoed later by waves of energy down/in (sound).
sound waves
energy waves
Well I don't know, I'm off to go highlight it wherever I see it, and then see how it reads with whatever other words I can come up with.

Here are some others I found, which I will get rid of-
soaked through to bone
his days blow in and out
working from sun up till sun down
under a canopy of stars (ah but I love that one)
quick on his heels
the rain comes down in rivers (well I can't do sheets either. How shall my water pour down?)

One of my- in waves, is awful.
The ocean tide comes in and out in waves.
Silly, not necessary.

Dreadful, horrid, horrible, Horridible
22 times! 18 in the first half, and 4 in the last.
building in great waves, waves of frustration, wave of panic, waves of sadness, waves of sadness and fear, around me in waves washing over me, being forced upon him over in over in waves, waves of sound, in uneven waves, coming in waves, death in waves, nothing but waves of his pain, shock waves through the trembling earth, waves of sadness strike him, moving in giant waves, another wave of birds, moving in waves, drifts on waves, currents waves of thought, snow falling in waves, a wave of anger and sadness, a wave of something rides through me.
Okay well, yeah, most of those need to be reworded.
God I had no idea all that waving about was going on. Yes, I knew it was in there, and I knew I repeated it, but I had no idea it was that bad, 22 times.
Perhaps, while some of these will need to be rewritten, for most I can just delete the waves part, and the rest will be workable as is. (?) I hope so.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Echo edit

read it all the way through, on actual paper pages.
Made lots of notations in blue ink.
Feel there are areas that are, and many areas that aren't working.
If there are plot problems someone else will have to point them out to me, because the sorts of problems that I am noticing are wordy wording, and sentence structure awkwardness, and perhaps too much info.
So I am sitting here wondering how I am going to fix those problems.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

My son talked about abiogenesis and spontaneous generation as I drove him to school this morning.
The idea of spontaneous generation, excited me. I quickly asked him what time period people believed this in. He thought the 1400-1500's, which just happens to be the time period I intend to set my story in ( I still have to do more research to be sure. I am attempting to avoid time periods with much stife and upheaval). Before my son brought up topics of science, I hadn't thought of the possibilities that different time periods offer in the realm of beliefs. I had thought about music and art, and decided to try and weave a bit of that in, but this offers a whole other direction, a whole other way, of not just using a time as a backdrop, but in inhabiting a space, a place in time. There is much work to be done, there is much research to be done. Both daunting and exciting. But....
not today,
today I need to finish the read through of Echo, so I can make some mild corrections, and send it off for others to read, so weeks from now I can do a proper (intense) edit.

My point here is this, I love this part too, about writing, how everything one hears or sees, becomes a possibility, has a potential to lend itself to the story. Whatever I am exposed to during the period of writing it, from TV (the media), the books I read, family, things I overhear strangers saying at the grocery store, world events, the weather, whatever, all this will have some part in shaping little pieces of what I write. Two tawny mice materializing from wheat (or perhaps hay). That imagery wasn't within me yesterday. While such an idea might not end up anywhere in this story, those little mice feet will no doubt lead me on to other ideas, that will become part of this tale.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

It doesn't show up well in these photos, but in actual life, I love seeing the warm light hitting the hill, surrounded by grey.

Read the rest of The First 5 Pages today, not at all a good time. But hopefully it will serve its intended purpose.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I love this part

No I haven't started writing for NaNoWriMo yet,
and my edit of Echo keeps plunging me into the cold of self doubt,
I am being courted
by sound: the galloping of horses, the wind in the trees, the flutter of wings on water
by scents: lilacs, meadows, woods, a saddle, baking bread, the people she loves,
by sights: red cherries, leaves falling from trees, lilacs blooming, velvet slippers, white swan wings
I am being courted by a story
I walked for a short time in the park this morning and I did not walk alone.
For she walked with me.
This is a beginning.
I know enough to know plot, but have yet to try to see, and feel it all. I am not yet working, not struggling, not yet trying to figure it all out, to have her reveal her whole self to me, and make us be..anything. I am still standing outside, peering in. And as I do, she sends images, scents and sounds out all around her, all round me, trying to entice me in. I know there are sorrows, sadness within, but she doesn't show these to me now.

Part of me is trying to focus on other things, but she knows how to seduce me, her scenes, her touching points, are starting to become part of my day, she reaches my senses no matter what else I think I am doing. And we both know it is only a matter of time..till I stop trying to walk on separately, and turn to her.

I love this part

Where I look, now she begins to lend me her eyes.
Where I feel, now she begins to lend me her heart.

It is almost time to begin our journey together.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I'm upset about Michael Crichton.
What a mind. I greatly admired...
grey skies
and orange leaves

grey skies
and orange leaves

Sunday, November 2, 2008

gathering materials for NaNoWriMo, will do reading research while sitting at shop getting car fixed tomorrow.

Reading now, first 5 pages, not jolly reading. I will try to think of it in a positive light though, as in hopefully this info/insight will make my work better/stronger, but, as you can see from my writing here, I don't like choosing my words, or limiting them, and this I will have to do, at least sometimes, and at least to a greater degree than I am currently or else, my "work" as I so call it, will be forever displayed in a cardboard box in my closet. (Oh, alright it will be in a pretty colored binder in my studio. But that image just doesn't have the same tone to it.)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

I saw a beautiful man today

He had dark hair and dark eyes.
He was standing in line at Barnes and Nobel, I caught sight of him, and he of me, as I finished my purchase and turned to leave the store.

I am now embarrassed for my haggard and scruffy appearance. I only had an hour to get to the store, buy the books, and make it back home. So I hadn't bothered with the pleasantry of trying not to look awful.

I saw a beautiful man today.

The words float again and again into my mind.
I hardly ever see men that I think are beautiful.
Men that I am attracted to, sure. Men that I think are sexy, sure. Though both most often on TV. But this man I saw live, in actual 3 dimensional life (4 D), without make-up, great lighting, and that wonderful distance of celluloid and media that I seem to need to garner any sort of romantic, daydreaming, attachment to someone.
I am amazed that I saw a man that I found beautiful, who indeed is beautiful (at least in outward form), standing in line at our local Barnes and Nobel. I feel rather like, as I turned to walk out of the store, I suddenly noticed a white peacock, train fanned out, had been standing in line behind me. I feel a sort of awe. I try to restrain, contain the feeling, yet I feel it.

As I think of him a white peacock, a unicorn, something unusual and shinning. I fear that if he has had any thoughts of me at all from that second that our eyes met, they would be, 'I saw an ugly woman today. Suddenly I looked up and saw a warthog. Can you believe it! A warthog had been standing in line in front of me at Barnes and Nobel.'
(actually I would rather have called myself an Aye aye, but you might not have a visual of one stored away in your mental encyclopedia.)

It matters not what he saw. It is enough for me that I saw. I fear not what the trees, sunsetting sky, swans gliding across the water, or ocean tide, think of me. I appreciate the moment of glinting, of watching light reflecting off of something. Of a form or of a moment wholy beautiful.

I saw a beautiful man today.

There is no lust in the words, not thoughts of sexiness, or hotness. Not longing. The words form a thought, that just holds itself together in a perfect sphere, meaning nothing more, and nothing less.

I saw a beautiful man today.

I saw a beautiful man today.