Wednesday, October 28, 2009

WPW: Keeping Time

Lucinda is a brilliant time keeper. And then she draws up the tops, and makes a little lid, and there is a little moment of time preserved. The time keeps for at least a decade, longer if you store it somewhere cool and dark. Others, the best they can do is two years, tops. Lucinda, though, she's got them all beat. One of these days, I'm going to learn her secret.

Monday, October 26, 2009


It's officially that time in the semester. It's the time when my roster says the class has 20 students and eight are actually present. The time when writing projects become longer and more complex, therefore meaning more time to grade each. The time when we go through writing projects more quickly since students have had some practice earlier in the semester.

It's also the time I have various alternate projects that are in the works, with some very near to deadlines.

I feel not quite like I've got a lot of balls in the air, but rather like I've got a ball, a bowling pin, a crystal wine glass, an egg, a bean bag, an apple, a butterknife, and a scarf. Up and down, around and around, watch how they fly through the air.

CWC tonight. It feels good to know I did my critique last week. There's one thing I don't have in the air right now. And, since I'm getting critiqued I didn't have to make copies this go 'round. This was a light CWC month for me, thank goodness.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Thesis Defense

It's official, folks. My thesis is pretty much done. I'll be defending Thursday, November 12. Then it's off to Fort Collins for approval.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Suspension of Disbelief

On Deb's recommendation, I checked out the first few episodes of Glee Club. It's fun, and musical, and often snarky. Hard to lose. Out of curiosity, I hit IMDB and looked up a couple of the actors. Unsurprisingly, all the actors portraying high schoolers are older than the majority of my college students. A bigger surprise - a large number of them are older than me. The captain of the football team is about ten years too old for the part. Hilarious.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

WPW: Voicemail

**Hi all, welcome to another Writing Prompt Wednesday. Won't you play along? The guidelines are simple, and I'd love to read what you come up with.**

9:18 p.m.
"Danny? Danny, are you there? Pick up the phone. Please, Danny, answer. I need your help."

9:21 p.m.
"Where are you? You're the only one who can come get me."

9:26 p.m.
"Oh God, I just heard a noise. Is that just the wind? Please tell me it was just the wind."

9:32 p.m.
"Danny, when you get this, come straight over. I heard that noise again. I'm pretty sure I'm not alone."

9:39 p.m.
"Where are you?! I saw it, I saw it. It's real. I'm hiding in the guest room. I can't call 911, they'll think I'm crazy. I think it's a werewolf."

9:44 p.m.
"Danny! It's breaking down the door! I can't hold it much longer. Danny you have to-"

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Reconstructing Oracle

Ugh, what a mess. Between moving a couple years ago and getting a new computer, my original Oracle stuff is in shambles. I have no electronic file for the first 50 or something pages (hard to say exactly what I'm missing, 'cause it's gone) and one of the later chapters is likewise missing. What I do have are the following:
  • A list on a post-it that shows which chapters were in which character's POV
  • My original notebook where I wrote the first big chunk out long hand
  • Some assorted hardcopies with comments from my original go-around submitting it to the gang (though these assorted hardcopies don't account for all of the chapters I submitted, nor all the missing chapters)
  • The synopsis I submitted as I was running chapters through the group (so they could remember stuff that had happened in previous months' submissions)
  • My original note cards (now transferred to the Bible)
  • A series of individual chapter-files
  • My rewritten first chunk from the contest
As you can see, it's a little bit here, a little bit there, and it's all a bit incoherent. I'm trying to decide on the best way to tackle this, and so far the biggest thing I've decided is that it would be best to do a whole rewrite rather than trying to cut and paste the pieces. So, for some, that means a from-scratch rewrite like I did with the first part. For some, that means a transcription. Even for things I plan on doing a little bit of cut/paste, I think it would still be best to at least transcribe it from an old copy to a new file. It'll help make the style consistent and let me update what I originally had to what I decided to have later.

It's a bit overwhelming to think of, all together, so I'm focusing on the bits and pieces.
  • Print out the old stuff
  • Dig out my commented-on hardcopies from a couple years ago
  • Read through those parts
  • Print out the new stuff
  • Read through it, and make any corrections/additions I need in order to fit the earlier stuff that I'm going to keep
  • Start writing on from the new rewrite, transcribing from what I originally had and filling in what went missing
One step at a time, right? I think I'm going to need some chocolate. And, possibly, binder clips.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

10/8/09 WPW Roundup

Deb's made a mystery for us this week, with a woman and a fuchsia feather.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

WPW: Invisible People

**Hi all, welcome to another Writing Prompt Wednesday. Won't you play along? The guidelines are simple, and I'd love to read what you come up with.**

The invisible people walk in soft soled shoes
with scarves around their necks that reach down to their waists
wearing big fuzzy sweaters
and pants made of anything but courdoroy.

The invisible people lean against walls,
blending in by not moving
until you pause, just close enough
for one of them to whisper in your ear.

Listen close.
They will only say it once.

In Case You Need It

Today I got my Thesis preface back from Katherine and Juan, written over with notes for at least one more revision. To combat my bummed-ness, I hopped over to youtube for a GBS fix, starting with "Ordinary Day." I thought I'd pass on the resulting good vibes:

Sunday, October 4, 2009

October Challenge: Quite the Character

Convergence is a good word. It's like relevance, or coincidence, or anything else we talk about when we talk about things lining up. For October, I'm taking my cue from convergence and focusing on character.

A common critique theme during the last CWC meeting was discussing characters. Edittorrent is doing a series of posts about strong character development and POV. And, to top it all off, I'm back into the swing of Oracle, where I'm juggling a pretty big cast of characters, six of whom are POV characters. See the convergence?

Switching around between characters means it's that much more important that each character's voice/perspective be unique and true to that particular character. I've got to really make my 42 year-old ruffian different from my 19 year-old inn keeper's daughter. To start, I've got to hammer down what makes each tick and what their goals are, etc. They're all getting swept up in the big adventure, but they're each invested for different reasons, which colors how they see the world, which colors everything else. So, I've got to make sure that Sedge doesn't bleed into Arnell, or else it's just not going to work.

I've got my character sheets in my world building bible, but I'm thinking I might need to redo them in a format where I can add more detail, like notes about each character's goals and motives. They're generally clear in my head, but not always articulated, so I think jotting things down would help.

How about you? What can you do this month to really flesh out the characters in your current project?

Saturday, October 3, 2009

September Squeeze

Last month was a very full month. My goal was to squeeze more out of it and I'm calling it officially squoze.

Highlights: another revision of my thesis and 40,000+ words drafted, including the end of the Cass book and a new start on Oracle. Thanks to the bet, I know that Boudreau, Deb, and Jenny also got a heck of a lot done last month. Three cheers for all those who are willing to put it on the line.

How about you? How did your September go?

Friday, October 2, 2009

World Building & Bibles

This past Sunday, the UGWP group got talking about the issue of world building. There was debate about the best way to do it: if you over-plan, there's the danger of getting stuck in the planning phase without moving on to the writing phase; if you don't plan enough, there's the danger of having to wing it as you write, which leads to the danger of inconsistencies & confusion.
Me, I'm finding that it helps to do a Bible. The Bible starts off with me plugging in everything I already know about the story/characters/world, things like main characters, places, etc. This part came together with Cass after I had written a couple of Cass stories but before I started the novel. So, I had a good idea of certain things, but fuzzy idea on others.

Then, as I wrote and figured out details, I added them to the Bible. This worked pretty well.

Today I finally got a chance to put together my Oracle Bible. This came together a little differently than the Cass Bible, because I've worked on Oracle before, and because different things are important to remember in the world. Overall, though, both have a character section, a section for places, and a section, or two, devoted to relevant mythology. For Oracle, specifically, here's what's in the binder: a map; character sheets; location sheets; info sheets on the four major gods; notes on the world itself, like what their technology looks like; and I also added a sheet for all the names of all the characters to make sure I'm not naming everybody the same things - for instance I seem to really like male characters with names that end in "in" or "an."

As a side note, during my first go at Oracle I put together a sort-of Bible which was a small stack of index cards that I kept in an envelope I glued on the inside cover of the notebook I was writing Oracle in. It worked decent, but is kind of inefficient once I got a certain amount of notes to remember. The binder's more streamlined and keeps things from getting shuffled.

So, now we come to the audience participation part of the show. When you're working on a project/world building, what's your system?