Hmmm. Today I’m feeling sorta happy. (That’s a change!) I got up earlier than normal and the weather was cool with a promise of maybe a little rain. Not winter rain. Summer rain!
I’ve been writing.
And spending time with my girls.
My ex is getting remarried in a few days.
I was approached to do a fun writing job.
And I’m tutoring two terrific kids in writing.
I’m not teaching in the fall.
Plus I have serious writing goals planned for myself.
Which brings me to the novel I am working on. I think I’m about 40 pages from being done. This has been such a fun book to write.
We have a new month before us. What are YOUR plans?
Cheryl Van Eck
I gave up half a night’s sleep to read Laurie Halse Anderson’s new book, The Impossible Knife of Memory.
And it was totally worth it. The thing is, every time I pick up a new Laurie Halse Anderson book I think, “This is it. Nothing can ever top this book.” Then she goes and writes another one and proves me wrong.
She somehow manages to weave together voice, plot, and description effortlessly. Most writers have either great writing or great plots, but she manages both without even batting an eye.
Above all is her talent for voice. I don’t relate to her characters because they sound, think, or act like me. The opposite, actually. Too many characters fall into the trap of trying to be like horoscopes, vague enough to sound like they could belong to just about anyone. This works, to an extent. We all love to find a character that thinks like we do.
But her characters are different. They are true to themselves and no one else. They are alive. And while you read, you are them. You transform from your comfortable surroundings into someone broken, and you find the strength to save yourself.
Bottom line: Read it! Now!
Pantser or Plotter ? ? ?
I’ve always considered myself a Pantser. In fact, I’ve been fairly devoted to it. But right now, with a book of 211 pages that isn’t quite finished, I’m reconsidering. Having been lost in the Muddled Middles, as I am wont to be, I’m taking a look at the 211 pages and analyzing what on them. And, more importantly, what’s not. It’s actually pretty fascinating: I’ve found too much inaction, thinking, considering, dreaming, and not enough gripping moments. I’ve found too much in one or another character’s head, and not enough interaction with other characters. I’ve found some characters who came in too late, others who were too “present” at the wrong moments.
So, Pantsers, just because we don’t write an outline, draw a map, use 5,000 Post-Its to show all our carefully chosen stepping stones, doesn’t mean we can’t go back and analyze what we do have at (or toward) the end. We know some of the elements needed for a rip-snortin’ story. Take a careful, a thorough look at what we have. Mine for gold. Find the buried treasure, and be sure it’s there, even though it may need a little polishing up!