APRIL thru AUGUST 2008
No entries were posted these months.
“CKR” Diary Post No. 32
Friday, September 12, 2008
Has it really been six months since my last Diary post? Damn! Y'all must think I've been sitting on my ass playing Spider Solitaire or something...
Truth be told, the "sitting on my ass" part was right. But, believe it or not, I've made progress since the last time we chatted about this novel, a.k.a. The Manuscript That Never Ends. Chapters 5 and 6 are giving me a good bit of grief (they're kicking my ass, if you wanna know the real story), but I'm plodding away despite their refusals to cooperate. Both chapters are necessary to the plot, or I wouldn't have saved them. However, they're extraordinarily long and/or rambling, so I'm combining the two, and I've conceded that a lot of the dialogue and narrative can go. That's one of the hardest parts of the crafting process: Deleting words that took so long to write and that you once believed were important.
I'm keeping the best words, though, and am adding a few new ones. I've also found it necessary to re-write a scene that I deleted two years ago. I'm kicking myself that I didn't save it, at least in hard copy. But, at the time, when the Pens (my writers' group) urged me to take it out because it was a personal experience that they felt had no relevance to the story, I trusted their judgment and dutifully did what I was told. The ironic part about putting it back is that the re-insertion idea came from one of the Pens. We've often joked about how, after several critiques of the same material, we sometimes come full circle and start putting things back to where they initially started. If nothing else, I've learned my lesson to stop erasing things completely. From now on, I'm saving every damn thing 'til the book is in print.
What's different about this part of the process, versus the previous year and a half or so, is that I gave up on taking chapter re-writes to the Pens. Their suggestions were repeating themselves (e.g., "Your characters are flat," "Your plot is unbelievable," "Real people don't say 'fuck' that much," etc.), and I realized it was difficult, if not impossible, for them to understand how much the story has changed since they chewed up and spit out the original Chapter 1. So, I'm going it alone from here on out and will, instead, pass the manuscript on when it's finished. At the rate I'm currently progressing, that'll likely be around the same time I qualify for AARP… give or take.
I'd put links here to significant posts relating to critiques and such, but MySpace – in Tom's infinite wisdom – has decided to deny me the ability to include links in my blog (even the OLD links that used to work don't). I also can't invite you to click on the "Writing and Poetry" category above to view the entire list of posts, because THAT doesn't work, either. At least, it doesn't work for me. So, if you're at all interested in catching up on this journey, you'll have to start at "View All Blog Entries" from my profile and start scrolling. But there are worse ways to pass the time. And, to tempt you into it, here are a couple snippets from the chapters I'm working on:
CHAPTER CLIP (5):
"What the hell kinda name is Joe Dogg?" Alex asked. / "It's a MySpace thing," Jimmy answered. / What the fuck? [I thought] "You're on MySpace, Jim?" I asked. "My brother's kids are on there all the time and they're like twelve and fourteen or something." / Alex, not uncharacteristically, was half a conversation behind. "Can you even trust the opinion of someone named Joe Dogg? Did he legally change it? Or is it for real?" / "It's MySpace, my fine, stoned friend," Jimmy said, turning up the Britspeak again. "It's not his real name, it's his profile name. And don't knock MySpace, Theo," he continued, turning in his seat to face me. "I'll bet you and our pudgy pal here twenty bucks each that you'll both develop a deeper respect for it before the weekend's up."
CHAPTER CLIP (6):
"You want anything?" Alex hollered from the sidewalk. / I shook my head and waved him off as he and Jimmy ambled toward the [turnpike service] plaza's entrance. Taking a hard draw off the cigarette, I breathed deep, relishing the taste and imagining how I'd occupy myself in times like these if I didn't smoke. Probably, I'd just walk around the truck and stretch my legs. Or, maybe, I'd stay in the cab and listen to the radio. Would Alex have left the gas-guzzling engine running with prices at four bucks a gallon? That was doubtful. But, since I expected to keep smoking until my health told me different, I let the whole, hypothetical idea drift off, unanswered, took another drag, and watched an obese woman, clad in bright pink, pry herself out of an old, maybe once blue Ford Fairlane to take her Pomeranian for a walk.
And with that, I'll return you all to your regularly scheduled program… while I go back to Chasing Kid Rock. ;)
[Note, 3/3/11: You can, of course, easily catch up with Diary posts here on Blogger.com -- everything is archived and speedily retrievable, unlike that OTHER site...]
(to be continued...)