Thursday, September 11, 2008

Writing along in Rough Draft One

Lots of stuff to write today. They're amorphous scenes, some of them, because I haven't done the research. I have to sketch.

My H&H feel mushy. Everybody else who walks on stage steals the story.

And I'm not happy with anybody's 'voice'.

(minor) I'm still dithering about the action that kicks off the story.
(major) I don't have my teeth gripped into Maggie's motivations.

I didn't get much done yesterday. I stopped to chat with a friend.
Good prospects for work today though. They had Danish at the coffeeshop, (yeah!) and I think it may be going to rain.


  1. Dear Jo,
    I can't believe you're having these kinds of problems. Truly I can't. Because, of course, having read TSL and MLAS, I just know that somewhere down the line you're going to wave your magic wand and mutter a quick incantation and it'll all fall into place :-) Until then, I'll send you some virtual danishes and a latte in a bowl (my weakness), if you like :-)

  2. Hi Deniz --

    It's not so much problems I got ... it's process.

    Y'know how when you prep a canvas -- you lay on a couple layers of paint, and then sketch some figures, and draw in some perspective lines

    ... but while you're doing that, you just can't decide about the left arm ... even after you've got it holding a lyre or something ... and it drives you mad even though you know it's eventually going to work itself out somehow or other.

    That's where I am. I try the lyre and that doesn't work. And then I try a toaster. And then a turkey. And then a large bottle of gin.

    Eventually, something's going to work.

    A latte in a bowl. Like the French have for breakfast ...?

  3. Totally off topic but I was reading Carcopino's Daily Life in Rome (yes, for fun) and by golly I wish, wish, wish you would try writing a romance novel set in Ancient Rome.

    Pretty please with a cherry on top?

  4. Hi Moth --

    Heh heh ... I know Classical Rome from NOTHING. This needs an expert.

    But isn't Rome in the Golden Age interesting -- passion, promiscuity, political intrigue, drawing room wit, arranged marriages ...
    and the clothing is pretty cool.

    I wish somebody would open it up as a major Romance (so to speak) destination.

  5. Yea. All there are now are a handful of categories. And some of them are stinkers. *sigh*

  6. Ooh yes... I learned it from my French cousin and have loved it ever since.
    Are you sure the gin bottle hasn't worked yet? Maybe that's what I should be trying - up at 5 am for the past two days to get two solid hours of ervisions done before work. I might just fall asleep on the train home some day soon and miss my stop...

  7. "I wish somebody would open it up as a major Romance (so to speak) destination."
    Don't say that! After all the research I've done for my own YA, I might just be tempted... Never written a proper romance before, only two really cheesy high school romantic novels...

  8. Anonymous10:38 AM

    Going back several blogs...
    Why is Maggie now scheduled to be 80,000 words? Won't you lose a lot of depth?

  9. Hi Deniz --

    The world needs YA Romance from folks with a fresh perspective.
    New backgrounds.
    New approaches.

    ... Rome.

    I could never in this world write YA, but I'd love to egg somebody else on.

  10. Hi Deb --

    The finished manuscript of MAGGIE will probably be 120,000 words. You're quite right that 80,000 words wouldn't hold the story very well.

    It's the Rough Draft One that's 80K.
    RD1 comes in so short because there are all these brackets that read

    [big fight scene] or

    [Maggie and Doyle go upstairs and make love like rabid weasels] or

    [Doyle inspects the bodies in the courtyard -- are they dead?]

    RD1 went surprisingly fast, actually. I now have the shape of the story and lots of good language and almost all the plotting questions defined, if not answered.

    Tomorrow, I'm moving into Rough Draft Two. I've (probably) settled on my opening. I'm going to set the goal on RD2 at 125,000 words.

    After RD2 comes the First Polishing Draft, which should end up at about 120,000 words. That draft will be very close to the final submission manuscript.

  11. Hi Jo!

    The blog looks absolutely great!

    I'm fond of the bit that says "Maggie and Doyle go upstairs and make love like rabid weasels." 2nd place would be "Doyle inspects the bodies in the courtyard... are they dead?"

    The latter is Truly Important; have you seen enough movies or TV shows where people presume a body lying on the ground is dead and [sudden scream of scary music!] the guy is most definitely Not Dead. Oh nooooo!

    Cops call an extra bullet or two 'an insurance shot.'

    IOW, they want to ensure that the bad person is definitely, absolutely and categorically bleedin' demised.

    Doyle's smart. Go with it! [g]

  12. Hi Lynne --

    Every art form exists within a cage of expectation and the constraints of its medium of execution.

    The format natural to TV and cinema has become such a strong expectation in the public mind that written popular fiction begins to conform to constraints that more properly belong to a 45-minute visual medium.

    So yer studly hero of a TV shoot-em-up doesn't stop to check that the bodies are dead,
    in part so the doodlehums can rise up and shoot again,
    in part so our hero is not seen as a methodically efficient killer,
    and in part because 45 minutes of running film time doesn't leave leisure for such niceties.

    Of course my hero would check to see folks are dead.
    I have the leisure for him to do so and can resist the urge to write TV drama.

    Now ... in the scene I'm thinking of here, he's hoping to find the bodies behind the stone columns alive, and does.

    I'm looking at the way I summarize this scene in my own mind.
    Funny how we describe a scene by its action
    [make love] or
    [check a few bodies]
    but the scene is really about ...
    [she decides to let him go free]
    [Adrian proves himself worthy].