craft


This sure applies to writing:

Is this thing on? Anyone still here?

Well —

I got to preview Holly Lisle’s How to Revise Your Novel, and the first lesson is pretty good! I dug out the original copy of Freedom that I got bound in that offer Lulu.com gave back during NaNo 2005 to use for my revision. That book has given me more fits than any other one I’ve written, so I figured it’s a good test run as to whether this class is any good. 😉

If you want to be in the first class in January 2010, just go to the link above and sign up to be on the announcement list for when enrollment starts.

Holly Lisle hasn’t announced it yet (I got a note from her affiliate manager), but she’s closing the How to Think Sideways novel-writing class to new members on October 9th, so she can work on some other projects. She plans to open the class to new members twice a year; the next time will be sometime in 2010.

So if you’ve been thinking about taking the class this is the time to join.

Right now, I’m on lesson 14 (yeah, I’m behind, but it’s okay, since you just pay for the lessons and they’re available for as long as you like), and wow. That’s all I can say about it.

It sort of goes like this: you ever write, going along great, and something weird pops up? That’s your subconscious putting a hint of something about your story that – if you want – might make your story REALLY good. Holly shows you how to use that.

(which of course means I’m now going back through all my stories to put this into practice!)

So go at least take a look.

While I don’t want to jinx this, I have been stuck, now I am less so.

The problem? Not letting the character be who she is.

She’s a rough woman, a gangsta’s moll, a drifter who cheerfully “cut a few people” to get out of a rioting city. Yet I had her acting nice to a girl who pissed her way off.

I couldn’t figure out why my story stuck in mud until I backed up and really looked at the scene.

(got that tip from lesson 13 of the Think Sideways class, btw)

I read that last post again, and I still don’t like my story sentence, as it doesn’t quite capture what I’m going after. My MC is penniless because her life savings was stolen, for one thing.

But the story’s going pretty well. I tend to worldbuild on the fly, and since this location is an actual place (Los Angeles) I’m spending a lot of time poring over maps of the LA Basin, making sure as to where a road crosses the river, things like that.

Anyone out there writing? How’s that going? Seems awfully quiet here.

Got the girl married off, things have settled a bit, and I’ve finally figured this story from the Think Sideways class well enough to go to lesson 9, and begin writing.

Heh.

I thought I knew how to write scenes, but I’m writing a lot better just from this one lesson than I ever did.  The lesson is forcing me to really LOOK at the scene, figure it out in its entirety, put in the detail, and make it MATTER, before I go to the next one.  For someone like me who normally breezes through 2k a day without breaking a sweat it’s a bit slow, but I find that the scenes are much better ones. I can definitely see progress here.

This story is sort of untitled, in the sense that the working title wouldn’t make much sense if you weren’t reading the story, and is a bit silly to boot, so I’ll just leave it Untitled for now. It’s a post-apocalyptic story in the sense that a lot of stuff happened and things are more or less stable, but it’s a whole different world than we’re used to.

Here’s the Sentence:

A penniless drifter in a drowned Los Angeles, intrigued first by a charming yachtsman and later by the secrets he holds, is enticed into a web of lies that extends beyond Earth.

We’ll see how it goes.

What are you working on these days?

How’s everyone doing?

Since April, my sons have started high school band (they integrate the 8th graders in at the end of the year), my daughter has graduated high school, and the house is all in a flurry because she’s getting married next month.

It’s bittersweet to be losing a daughter (yet gaining a son, so to speak), but they seem to love each other, and she’s continuing with her education. So I’m pleased about it.

I’ve been working on the garden (which has really perked up this year), taking care of home and rabbits, driving kids places, and working on the Think Sideways class. I’m a bit behind, but learning A LOT.

Each class builds on the one before it, so it’s a bit difficult to explain, but the homework for this lesson is to split your planned story into scenes then write a one-sentence blurb for each scene. For example, the Council of Elrond in Lord of the Rings could be summed up this way:

The Council of Elrond meets, and after much controversy, appoints Frodo and eight others to go to Mount Doom and destroy the Ring.

As you can imagine, this homework is taking me a while to do. But it’s a great way to get a handle on the book before you write it. I had an idea of where I wanted the story to start then realized that I really needed to start the story a few scenes earlier. Also, doing this has shown me where I need to do research (anyone know how to sail?) and where the logic holes in my plot are. All this before I spend weeks writing this thing.

So I’m very happy about the class.

What have you been up to? Anything good going on the rest of us need to know about?

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