Monday, August 31, 2009

Two Jobs No Waiting

Has it really been a week since I blogged? Where has the time gone???

I've been writing a lot in preparation for starting my new job next week... while keeping my old job. So my days will start about 3:30 am and end at 6:00 pm, with a few hours off mid-day for good behavior. Don't know when I'll find time to write which is why I am on a writing marathon. After feedback from a couple of editors, I am doing some major revisions on my WIP and also getting another proposal ready to go. I've pinpointed some weaknesses in my writing, namely emotion and scene anchoring. I've learned a few things:

1. Emotion is key, but emotion without reason is a cheap writer's device that cheats the reader. It's action, then emotional reaction to that action. Trying to squeeze anything else in cheapens the story and the character arc. I've learned that one the hard way... by doing it and then realizing that it was stupid and pointless.

2. I have a hard time with descriptions and find that I mostly skip them... which leads to a story that has no depth. It's the transitions that get me. How do you go from storyline and dialogue to describing what someone is wearing and what they look like without slowing the pacing? Someone who is fabulous at that is Rachel Vincent. I devoured her new YA, My Soul to Take, in about a day. Now I'm reading it as a writer and found that she anchors the scene and gives descriptions without missing a beat. Been studying her technique in hopes some of it will rub off on me.

3. Scene purpose... wow. This lesson came about when my agent told me that an argument scene needed to be rewritten. I tried, but it still didn't work. Then I realized it was because I hadn't figured out the purpose of that scene. It was not meant to up the tension between the protagonist and another character, it was meant to create internal conflict while also developing the relationship. Once I had the purpose clear in my mind, the scene came more easily.

It's one of the things I love about writing that I lost in my quest to get another contract... there's always something to learn and I love doing it. Funny how I figured that out just as I'm about to lose my writing time! HA!

I told my husband I was going to continue to write even if I did have two jobs and someone else was going to have to do the cooking and the cleaning. That went down like a lead balloon. (Sorry for the cliche, but it's so apt!)

We'll see how that goes down for everyone!


Rachel Vincent said...

Wow, thanks, Teri! Not that you've asked for advise, and mine is far from perfect, but what I try to do is avoid stopping the story for descriptions. I mention clothes in passing, as part of a character's minor action. Like, smoothing the front of a red shirt, or tugging up jeans, or tossing back long hair.

For what it's worth... :-)

PJ Hoover said...

Teri, this is a fabulous list! Thank you for sharing it. Great post!

Jennifer Roland said...

Good ideas, Teri.

I wish you luck in your crazy busy writing and working life. Perhaps a post on time management or how to write while severely sleep-deprived will be forthcoming. :)

Lexi said...

Good luck with both jobs, the writing marathon and continuing to search out writing time. Those are all hard lessons to learn but so important, aren't they?