Poetry Time: Scent of Burnt Bridges

September 16, 2010

don’t play basketball
in my house
with the ball
that’s in your court.

bounce it back to me
feint, retreat, lay it up,
take it to the hoop,
take it out of bounds.

i’ll listen to the whistle
of the coach
shriek into my ear

i’ll breathe in the scent
of sweat,
of burnt bridges

i’ll tell you not
to play with me
i don’t play nice anymore.

RAFAEL Editing Issues

This past Saturday, I looked at RAFAEL again after putting it aside for a month. My intent was not to line-edit and catch every single typo and misused word (although I couldn’t resist fixing what I happened to see), but what I really wanted to do was go through the story and find big picture issues to fix in a second draft. I’ve gotten through 71 out of 188 pages so far and have already noticed a bunch of things:

  • I have a bunch of conflicts, but a lot of them are minor, and they aren’t woven cohesively into the story. I need to determine which conflicts affect the entire series, which affect other books in the series (but not the entire thing), and which affect only RAFAEL.
  • One character is inscrutable, and it’s difficult to get into his POV. As I read through scenes where he was the POV character, I didn’t feel as if I was “inside” the story but that I was seeing everything from a distance. It’s like this particular character doesn’t want me to know his thoughts! I’m not sure why this is, but I don’t think I will use his POV in the next draft anyway. And the reason for that is…
  • I have way too many POV characters. Most of the time, I try to stick with two (or three at the very most), but for some reason, I was compelled to get into six different characters’ POVs. All the bouncing back and forth got confusing, even for me… and I couldn’t see a reason to be in all those characters’ heads.
  • Too much telling, not enough showing. This issue probably affects most first drafts, and I find that it’s remedied by line editing, which I’m not doing yet. So I’ll fix this one later.
  • Another, more minor, item that probably every writer deals with: Using certain words way too much. I am addicted to the word “just” (as in I just didn’t tell you rather than He was fair and just), and I also like to append “or something” to the end of characters’ dialogue (e.g., “It looked like he was holding a balloon or something,” she said.).

I’m sure I will find more issues as I continue. It’s so easy to note them, but the real trouble is figuring out what to do to fix them.

Sharing… Not Always Caring

The only social media sites I’m on and use regularly are this blog and Tumblr. But oddly enough, every time something vaguely interesting happens to me or I come up with a witty statement, I have the intense temptation to publish it online or share it with someone, even if it’s something that nobody other than me would really care about. However, I am successful in avoiding this temptation about 90% of the time. The other 10% results in the blog posts you see here and pictures of cats (and other fluffy animals) on Tumblr.

Somehow, I have found more satisfaction in keeping things to myself than in sharing them, although I’m not completely sure why this is. Perhaps once something is published online, I start to see my words through others’ eyes, and that can result in embarrassment and horror at the thought that even if I delete it, it’s still technically “there.” It could also be because I have avoided flooding everyone’s feed and dashboard with yet another pointless rant. Or maybe it’s because by not saying as much online, I’m being more true to my offline self, who rarely says more than three words in public.

No matter what the reason is, I’m glad that I manage to resist temptation most of the time.

Breaking Dawn

PLEASE NOTE: This post contains spoilers (although I’m not sure how much there is left to be spoiled since everyone’s probably already seen/read it).

This isn’t something to be particularly proud of, but I have now seen the entire Twilight saga. All five movies. If by some odd chance, you are not familiar with Twilight, it’s basically a YA paranormal romance (with a little action and horror here and there) about a girl who is caught in a love triangle with a vampire and a werewolf.

My friend became obsessed with Twilight, so we naturally had to watch all the movies, which were just as sappy and disbelief-suspending as the books. (I only read the first two books and got disgusted about halfway through the third.) The special effects were lackluster, but what really irritated me (and I have no idea whether this happened in the book) was that at the very end of the last movie (Breaking Dawn – Part II), there was an awesome battle scene between two rival factions of vampires. A few key characters died during this scene, and when the battle ended, it turned out that the whole skirmish hadn’t happened at all. It was only a prophecy of what would have happened had the main villain (Aro) decided to fight instead of come to a peaceful agreement.

Other than the horribly disappointing ending, the story itself wasn’t all that bad. I don’t think it was handled well as a movie series because books are always better than movies, but in the case of Twilight, the books weren’t that great to begin with. I suppose that the story would have been better off in the hands of a more talented writer, or maybe even an epic fantasy writer who could have expanded on the world of vampires and werewolves that Meyer created.

The Friday Four: Change of Plan

1. This was an interesting Freshly Pressed post about an ad for a T-shirt company that had a bunch of little girls saying the f-word as some kind of pro-feminism message. I do agree that it’s immoral to get little girls to use the f-word, which they shouldn’t know at all. It’s also sad because I don’t even see how the f-word is shocking anymore… so they had to put it in the mouths of little girls to make it so. I don’t consider myself a feminist, but I do wish the feminists would use better tactics. They’re really not helping their argument, at least in this case.

2. I changed my NaNoWriMo idea, and in doing so, I realized that I obviously can’t write about something I have no interest in. It would be nice to re-do my journal, but nothing goes on in my life. At least not enough to get me 50,000 words. So I’m going to continue working on the background stuff for my main series of stories. It may end up to be a bunch of short stories, but it’ll hold my attention and fill up the word count. It’s not technically a novel, but I’ve rebelled before, and I don’t mind rebelling again.

3. Lynda is a site that offers a bunch of courses on business-related stuff, like MS Office, Adobe, SEO, and time management. I’m taking some of the time management courses because my job requires me to, and I’m surprised to find that they’re actually really good. (This is not a shameless plug for Lynda; it’s a shameless plug for time management skills and how, if you’re participating in NaNo, they are incredibly valuable. So if you don’t do any Lynda courses, at least skim through this book.)

4. This is completely random, but for a long time, I believed the only Limp Bizkit song I liked was “Behind Blue Eyes.” Today, I was listening to a classic rock station on the radio and “Behind Blue Eyes” came on, but it was a much older version by the Who, which was in fact the original artist. I had no idea that Limp Bizkit didn’t technically write that song, and I suppose I should have known better. :)

Hope everyone has a good weekend!