Thursday, May 10, 2012

An Open Letter to My Parents

Dear Parents,

Remember that time in first grade when I hid my nightgown in my backpack, wore it all day at school, told everyone that I was a fairy princess and could grant them wishes if they drank water from an old spice bottle, and signed all my homework Rose?

If it's any consolation, I am now trying to raise myself. I tell BookBoy to brush his teeth, and fifteen minutes later, he's still in his room with an old shirt wrapped around his face. Why? He's being a ninja. I tell him to go to bed. He can't because he's a mad scientist and has figured out how to make himself nocturnal. I tell him to get dressed. His shirt and shoes end up backwards because he was thinking about what he would do if he lived 125 million years ago and a dinosaur was chasing him.

So don't worry, folks. There is justice in the world. It's served every night at bedtime, courtesy of your oldest grandson.


(Your now remarkably pragmatic daughter)


Sunday, May 6, 2012

After the Flash

It's always weird to get a great idea or have a ton of new insights because on one hand, I get so excited thinking that this idea, this solution, is going to be the thing that fixes everything that is wrong with my story. (And I always think there's a great deal wrong with it. I can't imagine what it would feel like to think, even for a short time, that a manuscript was good enough.)

On the other hand, I know that as soon as I start trying to implement the idea or apply the structure, the entire idea (or at least some part of it) is going to fall apart like a card house and I'm going to have to re-invent swaths of plot, character, and dialog, and that even then, I'm not sure I will get it right.

Before I dive back into PHOTO FINISH (which has a partial request on it), I need to reorder my plot according to Elana Johnson's Storymakers presentation on beats and strengthen some of my characters and scenes based on Annette Lyon's presentation on the Hero's Journey

I rarely get discouraged when I have to grade a huge stack of papers or clean a phenomenally messy room or weed an hugelovergrown patch, no matter how big the task is. This is because it has a seeable beginning and a seeable end, and I know that one step after another will inevitably get me where I need to be. This is different. One step after another could just send me trudging in circles. However, I can't see any other way to approach this. I'm just going to have sit down, start doing the work, and hope that somehow it takes me in the right direction and gets me where I want to go.