eljaydaly: (Default)
I've learned a lot about writing fantasy from this song, which isn't really a fantasy song at all.

I suggest playing the song without watching the video first. Just the song.

(The whole album Silver is pretty outstanding. The group is Boiled in Lead.*)




Edited to add: Oh, dear goddess. No wonder. I had no idea. I heard them on paganradio.net and ended up getting the 2008 album. I kind of love it when my worlds collide.


*That's their name, not a really really unfortunate accident.

.
eljaydaly: (Default)
I found myself using a classic stupid plot trick this morning.

Say I need my hero Jaz to discover that character Wallow is actually an enemy. Jaz will have to overhear something. Where? Somewhere private, where Wallow will be having a meeting. I need to get Jaz to the private place. How? I know: I'll have him sneak into Wallow's secret place "looking for information," and lo and behold, Wallow will be having the very conversation that Jaz needs to hear!

"Looking for information" should never result in the actual finding of the precise point of information required to advance the plot.

This is akin to requiring probable cause before a house can be legally searched.

Better: "Looking for something" inadvertently results in the finding of information regarding something else.
Better: Don't be "looking for something" at all, unless it's a very specific something and you intend to steal it.
Better: Find a different way to uncover the bad motives -- preferably something actually engineered by Jaz, or at least something that develops out of his very particular character quirks (which don't involve simply 'poking around for things').

Recent example: Lost: "The Lighthouse."

Cut for potential spoilery stuff )

Earlier examples: Pretty much any given scene in any Harry Potter book.

And why do I mention this today? Why, because the desire to use a fishing expedition to advance the plot is strong in this one!
eljaydaly: (Default)
Home! Home! I'm home!

That was one hairy ride. Getting out of Maine was difficult. Actually, getting up the hill out of the hotel was difficult. I was slip-sliding all over the place. It's not all the snow, per se; it's that my lightweight little car can't get any traction, so driving in snow is pretty close to just floating randomly all over the place until I run up against something heavier. Very scary! But south of Maine, the snow gradually became less of a problem. Then it was just the typical I-95 antics. For eight hours.

The semester and the residency were great. I finished my third-semester nonfiction thesis, I had two workshops with Jim Kelly (Kelly Link didn't make it up this time), and I read a lot of terrific fiction, including a good bit of fun speculative stuff. I learned a lot. I went to the usual bunch of amazing classes, and listened to the usual terrific readings. I ate a lot and slept not nearly enough, and made new friends and was sad to see old friends graduate. 

My fourth semester will be with Jim again. My creative thesis will be a collection (two novelettes and three short stories), and I'll be doing a presentation on exposition in July (entitled "As You Know, Bob..."). Hopefully, I'll also crank out another half dozen stories (I try to maintain a regular writing and submission schedule in addition to what I'm doing for the master's program. Which is why my posting has gone down the tubes lately.)

It's been a terrific experience, and I'm glad to have met the people I've met, but I'm so ready to be done!

For all my Stonecoast buddies, I hope your travel home was safe and smooth.



eljaydaly: (Default)
I'm floating in a disorganized limbo. (I hate this part.) I need to set some goals, even if they're soft goals.




Goal 1: Better
Week of 7/24: Revise.
By 7/24: Post onto OWW.
Week of 8/7: Revise (probably somewhat heavily)
Week of 8/14: Final tweaks.
8/18: Submit for the slush-bombing.

Goal 2: 07 (Stone)
Tuesday 7/25: Phone off the hook. No paying work. Read the entire ms cover to cover and start breaking down into scene cards. If possible, /finish/ breaking down into scene cards. Make revision notes. I suspect the rest of the process will suggest itself at that point, once I see how horrible everything is.
Wednesday 8/2: Email revised synopsis to VP (*insert mild terror here*)
Beginning Thursday 8/3: Try to revise about one scene every two days. (I'd like every day, but I don't think that will be possible.) I'm not really sure how many scenes there are. I'll guesstimate 60. And blah, VP is right in the middle there.
By 10/5: Have two-thirds of the scenes rewritten.
10/5-10/16ish: VP
Post VP: Depends on how thoroughly the thing gets trashed. Worst case: Entire three-month rewrite, ending end of January, then February and March for revisions, with a goal of sending it out April 1, 2007. Best case: The synopsis is structurally sound. Finish rewriting by 12/1, then December and January for revisions, with a goal of sending it out February 1, 2007. I think I'll stick to April, given that it's my writerly anniversary.
4/1: Start sending out 07.

Goal 3: 08
7/31: Five characters, three locations/cultures worked up
9/1: Book entirely outlined. Soft goal for d01: 150K words, 75 2000-word scenes. That's 200 days, roughly. Call it 7 months. I'll try for 5-6, though. And this is aiming for a cleaner d01. Less filler. It will probably be finished in 120K, or less.
4/1/07: d01 finished
5/1/07: Read through ms, make scene cards and revision list.
5/14-8/14: Rewrite.
8/14-11/14: Revise, workshop, revise.
12/07: Polish.
1/2/08: Start sending out 08.

OK. I feel better now. ^_^ Sort of like the end of the Timbuk 3 song: "My headache's gone."

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