A Thousand Words A Day

A writing journal _____________________________ PROFESSORBLOG@HOTMAIL.COM

writing: _ Christian Writers _ _ NaNo _

reading: _LibraryThing_ _ BookCrossing _ _ My local library _ _ Another nearby library _

blogs: _ Lorie Rees_ _Itinerant Iconoclast_ _ Rita's Ravings _
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Location: Columbus, Ohio, United States

Reader, writer, podcast listener, and TV watcher. And real nice guy.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Crit on "Wanted"

As I said earlier, one of my crit buddies finished her work on my manuscript "Wanted" and gave me some good food for thought. The revision process will begin soon (fingers crossed as I type), and I think it's one good re-write away from being submittable (publishable is not up to me). Anyway, things she pointed out to me included:

* My villain is very villainous (even likable in a villainous sort of way), but needs more specific motivation. I agree with this, and am going to emphasize the power rush he gets from his schemes. A prologue I am planning will also show this power hunger.

* My hero / heroine are role-reversed. The guy is the "damsel in distress" and the girl is Princess Charming come to save him. This is I did on purpose, probably influenced by my fandom of the X-Files, BTW. Anyway, she pointed out that there are a couple of times where I put them in traditional gender roles, and give them traditional sappy gender emotions (my interpretation, not her words) -- I need to tighten these spots so they are consistent characters.

* This guy, whom I portray as an average fella, has not one but two hotties falling for him in the course of this novel -- can you say "wish fulfillment?" So I need to explain why this is happening. I agree with this to a point, but this is coming from a female POV, so I need to take it seriously. I need to show him as the Ugly Duckling maybe, coming into his own . . . in the novel, he becomes more confident, maybe that helps, I don't know.

* My reader found the ending ambiguous -- she did not know the final fate of the male lead -- did he die or not? Now I had one specific ending in mind, and obviously I failed to clearly convey that, but maybe the ambiguity works, I don't know. I have to think about this one.

Those were the main concerns, and it gives me some things to think about. One more crit to come in, I hope in October.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

My Crit Buddies

This is the title of the manuscript I finished in '99, have revised once myself, and am getting ready to do so again. It has been with a pair of writing friends of mine, and one has finished her reading and given me her comments.

This is exactly what I hoped to get when I first wandered into the room 18 months ago to attend a writers group meeting at my church. I had been in another writers' group, and it went well, but many of the folks were on a different wavelength from me, so I never got all of what I was hoping for. But here, with church folk, I hoped to find that common ground from which good crits come.

I got in to the church group pretty early, about the third of fourth meeting, and found that the group of 20 or so had at least a couple of other novelists. Meeting only once a month, it's to get to know people well enough share your work with, but after the third or fourth meeting, we decided to exchange novel portions with each other. But we did, and I have read one of their finished manuscripts, and one of them has read mine.

It's great. I'm psyched to review the comments, get more from the second reviewer, then revise revise revise!

Monday, September 05, 2005

A Scene

This is the second scene in Nowhere Man -- more about this novel as a whole sometime later. In the first scene, male lead Kenny has had a therapy appointment. In this scene, we see him again and we meet female lead Melissa.

Melissa followed most of her colleagues out of the front door. Only Dr. Gonzalez and the office manager Lian remained behind. They always worked a few minutes later than the rest of the staff, and locked up when the paperwork and computers were put down for the night. She remained on the stoop, scanning the parking lot.

“You’re getting picked up?” Gina asked with a perky smile. Everything about Gina was perky, annoyingly perky.

Melissa nodded. “Sure am.”

“Date?” Gina asked, a wicked grin on her face.

“No,” Melissa said quietly. “My car’s in the shop.” She tried to not begrudge her attitude. If Melissa looked like her colleague, maybe she’d have a date more often than she had a birthday. But the odds were good that Gina was not a computer geek, comic book fan and avid gamer, all of which described Melissa.

“So who is coming to get you?”

“My friend Kenny.”

“The guy you live with?”

Melissa nodded, and looked past Gina to the entrance to the parking area. “Right. Kenny.”

“But he’s not your boyfriend?”

They had been over this more than once, but either Gina didn’t get it, or she just couldn’t believe it. “No, he’s not my boyfriend.”

“And you don’t sleep with him?” Gina asked, seeming to wonder how this could possibly be true.

Melissa shook her head. Kenny, please get here, and make it fast.

“And you’ve never slept with him.” Something just did not compute in her own brain about this concept.


“Why not?”

This was getting old. “Because we’re friends.” Why was this such a hard concept for people to grab hold of? She wondered if Kenny had to face the same grilling from his friends. Probably, but they were all typical loser guys, what could you expect?

“Friends, without benefits?”

“Right.” They’re were plenty of benefits of living with your best friend, someone you’ve known for more than a decade, someone you’ve grown up with and dearly love. But these were way too hard to explain to people you barely knew, people you were speaking with on the curb, waiting to be picked up after work.

Gina shook her head, and mercifully took off towards her car. Melissa craned her neck again and scanned the entire lot. Nothing. Where was Kenny?

Kenny slumped into the elevator and forgot for a few seconds to push a button. Coming back to himself, he pushed “1” and watched the doors slide seamlessly together. Cameron had given him some things to think about? What exactly was he running from? Nothing that he knew of; as a matter of fact, he fancied himself as confronting his past just by continuing to see Cameron and talk things out. These things she was saying, this challenge she was issuing, Kenny had to take seriously. He had learned to trust his counselor about things like this. The woman had been very perceptive about needing to please his mother at all costs, a thought that was alien to him before beginning these sessions.

The elevator door opened, and Kenny shuffled his way out the door and onto the street. He looked at his watch. There was no reason to; the sessions never let out early and never ran late. It was half past five, which gave him a couple of hours before he really needed to get back home. He turned away from the parking lot and walked up the street. He needed no distraction, no radio, no honking horns, nothing to get in the way of him and his thoughts.

A light breeze blew, but Kenny hardly noticed. Introspection was second nature to him, but dig all he could, wander aimlessly around the campus all he could, he could not come up with anything he was running from. He was beginning to deal with his mother on his own terms, for example, visiting on his own schedule and not allowing himself to wallow in guilt when unable to visit on hers.

Similarly, he had recently gotten serious about the need to select a major and complete the degree requirements. At this point in his college career, Kenny Risinger was “almost graduated,” having accumulated more than enough hours to finish a degree, but not having enough in any one area to qualify for graduation with any particular major. It was funny for the first five years of his studies, being a “lifetime student” but he didn’t want to stay there forever. At some point he would have to leave school with a piece of paper proclaiming him ready to face the real world.

What about his friends? His friends were great – he had known most of them for most of his life. He was fine with them, and they were great with him. And Melissa? No, that was crazy. Melissa was—

Then he remembered her car. He checked his watch. No! He had promised to pick her up as soon as his session with Cameron was over. Kenny set off in a full sprint towards his car, and half a block later was jogging, and by the time he reached it, he was walking and gasping. Taking a few final deep breaths, he jammed the gears into place and sped off after his best friend.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Must See For Writers

I have been fixated on Bravo's Situation:Comedy, a show that takes two writing teams through the process of getting a pilot filmed for possible TV broadcast. The process of going from script to show was eye-opening, as was the expected role of creators as their creation was developed by the network; that role? Little, if anything. It was interesting that the two scripts chosen (supposedly the best out of 10,000 received) had to be so re-written before taping that other than the concept and the broad outline of the first episode, they barely resembled their original "winning" script. Very, very interesting.