Thursday, December 10, 2009

Projects and Pictures

Yesterday during my writing time, my mind wandered. It didn't want to work on the jinni book. It wasn't being lazy (I did ask myself if that's what was wrong). The problem was that I had a new idea. A wonderful, exciting story that popped up during a nap last week and hasn't left me alone. I decided I would outline it for a short story and then get back to my novel, but that didn't happen. Before I knew it, I had a two-and-a-half page synopsis and a character description---for a short story. Clearly, this was developing into something more. A novella? I did a quick google search for YA short stories and novellas. Nada. I mean, there have been some published, but the chanced of me getting something of that length published is even less than me getting a novel published (and we know how hard that is).

Just as I opened up another document to start writing prose, though, Henry woke up from his nap an hour early. So it had to wait until after the kids were in bed and the house was picked up. My husband comes home late most night nowadays because he has finals next week (last night, he crawled into bed after 3 a.m.!), so I was all alone and ready to write. But first, I called my dad.

Why? I have no idea. Well, besides the fact that he had called earlier when the kids were in the bath and I can barely manage keeping them from drowning each other with two hands, so I ignored the ring. Also, I had just watched Glee for the first time ever (OMG I loved it) and my mind was still buzzing and not ready to sit down and focus.

So. My dad. I nonchalantly told him my new story idea and for the first time ever he offered up ideas and asked me questions and was interested. While we were brainstorming plot, story arc, theme, and the final resonance the book should have (it suddenly became a novel), I remembered, all of a sudden, that my dad was a fabulous story teller. He used to put us to bed while mom cleaned up and he would tell us the most wonderful, imaginative stories ever. The stories would continue on for months, some even years, until he moved on to another theme/idea. He's not a writer, but he is a story teller. I've always been jealous of his ability to tell a story verbally. He used the right phrasing, tone, and withholds certain elements until just the right time. When I tell a story, my mind hops around too much and I confuse everyone.

He is also that annoying guy in the movie theater who calls out what's going to happen next, before it happens. He's rarely pleased with the plot of a story...he likes the ones he cannot predict.

And I think there's a relationship here. If you are the kind of person who can come up with plots that are intriguing, fresh, and well, work, then you are probably the person who can see through other plots that aren't as well-done or are predictable and stale.

Plotting is my biggest problem. Which is probably why I'm nearly always fine with a book when I read it, and I rarely critique the plot. Although...I'm starting to "get it." Maybe it's all the practice I've been doing. Maybe it's the plotting books I've been studying. Maybe it's the sheer volume of books I've read, accumulating knowledge.

Now the conundrum: do I continue on with this mess of a novel (the jinni one) or start planning and writing this new idea, the one that is Super Interesting Right Now??

Tell me what you think.

And, finally, a picture:

Monday, December 7, 2009

Ah, Self-Publication

Some writers want their books to be self-published because they can control the publishing process. Or maybe they only want a few books out that they can hand out to friends and family.

But there are others out there that are publishing books with, apparently, the sole reason being to give me a good, hard laugh.

Anyone want to read this 96-page picture book?

I want to be nice. I am sure that if I met Aunt Grace in person, I would find her lovely. And I would certainly read the book if she handed it to me. But I must say that I cannot spend $30 on a picture book about a groundhog searching for enlightenment. Even if Aunt Grace has the best author description EVER. Um, not in this economy, at any rate.

What are your thoughts? Am I being mean? Snarky? I mean, heck, a published book is a published book, right? At least Aunt Grace is published. I, on the other hand, am not. (Yet.) So which of us is the greater fool?