Monday, September 29, 2008

It’s Weird to See a Backbone Walking Around without Any Other Bones or Flesh

I’m having even more trouble than usual this packet period. I just want to procrastinate so much. I have a story idea in my head, but I can’t flesh it out. I have a couple of characters with very unique qualities that give me the bare bones of a plotline. Not even, really. More like the backbone of a plotline. I can’t figure out where to go from here.

In addition to my inability to get something on the page, I’m having trouble with my reading. I’ve mostly read one craft book this period, The Power of Point of View by Alicia Rasley. Actually, I haven’t even finished it yet. I’ve read a few chapter books and excerpts from other books for POV examples. Maybe its okay if I mostly read craft books this packet since I didn’t read any craft books for my last packet. I got a few books on writing for young people at the library. I need to read those.

I feel kind of lost right now. I think I need to go do something mindless with my hands while listening to rock music. Then maybe I can get this plot to work! Maybe I should draw a picture of my main character. Or do laundry. I need to do that anyway.

Anne M.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

From My Point of View . . .

Several people have told me that I need to work on point of view (POV). Most of the people in my workshop told me that I kept switching POV’s. I asked them if they thought maybe I should use a different POV, and they suggested omniscient as opposed to third-person. I tried that only to have my mentor tell me that I have no clue how to write omniscient (not surprising considering I’d never tired it before) and that I wasn’t telling the story from my characters’ points of view.

So, I picked up a book called The Power of Point of View by Alicia Rasley. I like it so far. Actually, I like it better than all of the confusing and conflicting advice that I’ve been getting from other people. I think that I’ve finally figured out what’s going on.

Omniscient POV isn’t trendy right now. First person is the trend. At least half of the readings that I heard at the residency were written in first person. Since this is the case, writers have been telling me that I can’t write in anything but first person or deep third (deep third is basically first person without the “I”). However, I don’t like to read first person very much, so I’m not too fond of writing it. More importantly than that is the fact that only particular stories can be told in first person. Some stories just don’t lend well to a first-person POV.

Just because I like to write stories in non-deep third-person or multiple third-person doesn’t mean that writing that way is wrong. According to Rasley, I can even start a scene in omniscient and then move in to third—something I had been told was taboo. It’s like someone said at the residency (Marion Dane Bauer?). She said that an editor told her she wasn’t a picture book writer when what he really meant was, “This isn’t a picture book.” People have been telling me, “You can’t write light-penetration third,” when maybe they should have said, “Light-penetration third is an okay POV, but you need to work on it. You don’t have a handle on it yet.”

Now, I’m not saying that I don’t have problems with POV; I definitely have some things to work on. Although, I do feel that a lot of my issues have to do with voice and character rather than directly with POV. I have trouble developing character voice, and I have a tendency to remain distant from the story. This affects my POV, but it’s an issue in and of itself.

Anne M.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Creative Juices are Beginning to Flow, but Slowly

Well, I did it! I wrote a short story focusing on character. I really like it, but we’ll see whether or not my mentor does. It’s a little over 4,900 words. Is that about right for a short story? Since I’ve never really written one before, I have no idea what the range is. I just know that the range is pretty big. I should listen to classical music more. That’s how I got inspiration for this short story.

My problem now is that I have to write about twenty pages of something else. And I’m not sure what. I have a few ideas, but I don’t really know if any of them are good for right now. I’ve never really written in omniscient point of view before. I realized that it would be a good POV for my huge project, so I tried writing my project in omniscient POV for my first packet. My mentor told me it was terrible (which I knew; I’ve never written in omniscient before) and that she didn’t think it was a good idea for my story. Well, I’ve decided to put that project away and force myself to write other things, no matter how painful, but I’d still like to learn how to write omnipresent POV. I’m not sure if I should try that now or save it for another semester.

I also can’t decide what genre in which I’d like to write. Do I want to write something serious or fun? Fantasy or sci-fi? Or do I want to try something different all-together? I had planned on writing an historical fiction piece this fall, but I thought maybe that was too ambitious for a first-semester project (since I’ve never written one before). However, I’m not quite sure what else to write. And the point of this whole program is to learn.

Okay, I’ve breaked long enough. Time to get back to work.