Revision and Recap of the Last 4 Weeks

No one warned me that revisions would lead to madness.  But it does, my friend.  It does.

I am in the process of revising the stories I wrote at Odyssey and have been doing a poor job of it.  Mostly I’ve been stumbling about adding things and then taking it out again.  Luckily, my good friend Greg has thrown me a rope by asking a few good questions.

“What are your goals for this revision?”  He suggested that I focus on one goal each time I go through the story.  (Sounds familiar, like something I remember hearing at Odyssey.)

“Why does it need to be eliminated/changed/revised/added?”  This question prompted me to ask myself why I wrote the story in the first place.  Looking back on the original vision of my story and whether I’ve achieved my goal is a good way to keep myself from going into a thousand directions while revising.

Finally…the best advice:

“Keep a narrowed focus.  The beginning doesn’t work?  What exactly about the beginning doesn’t work?”

Anyhow, back to work.  But first, here are some pictures to summarize the past four weeks in which I fell into a blackhole and did not update my blog.

Hanging out in the Texas heat…

There’s just something about the big Texas sky that makes my heart sing.

My sister was crying at her Quarter-of-a-Century Party.  ‘Course it didn’t help that I switched the number.

Met up with Odfellow Chris and his wife Dacia for a delicious dinner.

Is it a cheese tray or it it art?

Dacia’s To-Die-For cheesecake.  There needs to be a Food Network show starring Chris and Dacia: Texas Cooking with a French Twist.  The name of the show?  Steaks, s’il vous plaît.

Camped with the family in Missouri in 100 degree weather.  Here we are heading to the shuttles to ride into town and gorge ourselves at the local Chinese buffet.

There were about 100K Vietnamese camping out in Carthage and sharing 4 bath/shower houses.  Gahhh… The germaphobe in me had heart seizures and nearly died.

Back at home in Fort Worth.  Made some delicious Banh Xeo with the family.  Banh Xeo = crepes with pork, shrimp, bean sprouts and green onions.  Mmmm….

SIsters’ Night Out with the Noodle.  We consumed beers and fried pickles at Movie Tavern while ogling Ryan Gosling.  Delightful!

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Random Bits and Pictures

Natalie and I stayed up til the wee hours last night so I was planning to sleep in this morning.

Not a chance.

At 7:30am, Natalie was up.  I saw Natalie up and working, assumed it was later in the morning, so I got up too…only to realize that it was only 7:30.  BOO.

Then, I spent most of today researching for a new story.  North Korea stuff.  It made me sick mentally and emotionally. UGH.

Dinner at a fantastic Indian place.  Alex’s birthday is on Monday so we had a little get together this evening.  Her mom sent a buttercream chocolate truffle cake.  YUM.

Went to the Reading Room with Natalie to work in the airconditioned room.  She decided we needed swords to protect ourselves from Peeko, the psychotic 17th Odyssey student who just showed up last week.

Here we are, walking down the street with our swords.

 

Just to show how serious we are about our weapons…Here are the loaded water pistols at the dorms awaiting innocent victims.

BBQ yesterday was fun.  We played the 3X plot structure game in which I sold out my roommate, took a prize and retired early.  It was a cowardly thing to do, but I still don’t quite get 3X yet.  It was a desperate dodge.

 

Finally, some pictures from our walk last night.  We’ve made a ritual of going out near the graveyards to watch the fireflies.  They flicker in the bushes and treetops near the graveyard.  It is so incredibly beautiful.

 

 

Writing Plan, Chinese, and Self Love

I’ve decided today that my writing process needs to change…dramatically.  After another all-nighter and turning in a story that is missing the third act, I’ve decided to register myself on Fail.com.  Only after a lot of sniveling have I decided to change my writing process.  I’ve started to outline most recently, thanks to Jeanne who has provided many different techniques for outlining.

The unfortunate thing is I have been outlining novels and then cramming them into a short story.  The other unfortunate thing is I don’t have a consistent goal for word count every day.  I plan on taking a leaf from my Odyssey mate Christopher Owen and write a consistent 1000 words a day.  I think a more consistent daily word count will help me link the brain waves to the finger muscles in a more efficient manner.

Chinese food today with DeskFairy and Nat.  North Garden again.  It was Dee-licious.  I think raucous laughter and multiple quotes is the norm for any gathering at Odyssey, even for small informal dinners.

After dinner, Natalie pulled out a fortune cookie with the following message:  The first and foremost love is self love. Considering the addition of “in bed” that we have been adding to every fortune and some of the conversations we’ve had so far, it was an utterly hilarious fortune.

While we were walking home…

Desk Fairy:  I’m trying to divert hate away from me.

Me:  Don’t worry. We women can multitask so we can hate more than one person at a time.

And here is Natalie–proving that women do indeed multitask.

 

Theodora Goss and Voice

Theodora Goss was the guest lecturer today.  She was kind, insightful and generous with her time.  We learned about creating dense sentences and finding our own voice(s) as a writer.  One of the exercises totally stumped me this morning.  Dora had us describe our writing voice in a few words.  For the life of me, I could not think of anything besides “long-ish”.  Yes.  I was extremely articulate.

Dinner tonight with everyone.  Always a fun occasion.  Most of us can’t believe that it’s already the end of the third week.  Nooooooooooo!!!  We don’t want to leave!!!!!!!!

But seriously, life is going to be just a tad dull after Odyssey.  Everyday here, I have been experiencing tremendous growth as a writer.  There were a few days where I had my “hallelujah” moment.  The heavens opened and knowledge poured forth.  One of those days was definitely this past Tuesday when Jeanne lectured on Plot.  OMG.  Mind. Blown.

Barnes and Noble Slam is tomorrow.  It’s going to be wicked fun.

And finally, some things just make you wonder–like why did they ever feel the need for the particular warning below?

 

Garlic Butter: No Excuses Required

In class this morning, we learned some finer points about POV.  Among other things, we learned about how 99% of the time first person is not the right choice for POV.  Too much telling and little showing.

After class Natalie and I sequestered ourselves in the library until six.  We both have a story due Wednesday morning.  And Wednesday evening–Neil Gaiman in Portsmouth! Eeee!!

For dinner, Natalie boiled artichokes and Tanith made a Mexican casserole.  We each had our own bowls of fatty delicious garlic butter to soak our artichokes in before devouring the tiny fleshy bits at the end.  Mmmm…Garlic Butter.

Dinner and Critiques

On the writing front–Fortunately, my story has finally taken shape.  Unfortunately, I had to scrap nearly 5000 words to do it.  I’m thinking this story is going to be about 6000 words, so I have about 4000 more words, give or take, until this story is complete.  Type fingers type!

This Saturday is going to be the Odyssey Barnes and Noble Slam in Nashua.  I still have to create a piece of flash fiction to read aloud.  No pressure.  None at all.

And finally, my dad, showing off his Father’s Day gift.

I think he likes his tie.