Writing and Other Afflictions

"If it was easy, everyone would do it." –Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own"

Monthly Archives: July 2007

Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (NO SPOILERS)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, by J.K. Rowling
9/10, book 7 in the famed series

It’s good.

Writing Serial

I’ve been writing more of my anthropologist journal and giving it in monthly installments to the writing workshop. My writing partner-pal Rikoshi has been doing the same with his novel, and last night we were discussing some aspects of writing serially that are good, and some that are bad.

To the good: the big one is that it forces you to get something done. So far we have both been pretty good about meeting our deadlines, six chapters into our respective books. Considering that’s five chapters more than I’d produced in the previous year, that’s terrific. Another good thing is that it breaks down the story into smaller parts, and you feel like at the end of each part, you have to make it interesting enough for the reader to pick up the next part. That’s a great way to avoid getting lost in meandering long descriptions and loose plot threads. When people aren’t engaged in the most recent chapter, they’ll let you know. There’s also the ability to take feedback from earlier chapters and incorporate it into later ones without having to wait to go back and edit it. That’s tremendously helpful and will save time when you go back to edit the whole thing, because you’ll already have a pretty good idea of what needs to be fixed.

The bad: pretty much what you would expect. You’re showing people first drafts, fairly raw ones. It’s hard for the readers to develop a flow because they’re just reading one chapter a month (still, Dickens used to do all right with that). You can’t go back and fix things in earlier chapters to make what you just wrote in this recent one make more sense.

Overall, though, we both agreed that the good outweighs the bad, and that we’re learning a lot from this experience. It’s definitely something that works for us, and if you have a workshop group and a novel you’re stuck with, it’s worth giving it a try.

Writing Resource and Update

While looking for the correct way to say “safe-deposit box” (it’s not “safety deposit box”), I found this amazingly useful page. Sadly, it does not yet address one error I keep seeing these days: “eek out” (the correct phrase is “eke out,” meaning to barely succeed). But it’s a good resource nonetheless.

What am I working on? A screenplay for my screenwriting group (at the “scene list” stage right now, which is kind of like a novel’s outline; unlike when I write a novel, I’m more inclined to do this outline before diving into the screenplay, simply because screenplays are so much more minimalist… this is probably another whole post). A YA novel that I really like the idea of. My science fiction book in which an anthropologist finds herself embroiled in a culture war on an alien planet (I am writing new installments monthly for our writing group). And the release of a magazine I edited and contributed to, New Fables, which will be on sale online at the end of July. I’d like to get it into some bookstores. Any thoughts from anyone on how to do that? I think it does have a lit-journal feel, but I also know that little corner of bookstores is crowded and dusty, and I’m not sure how to shove my little book into it.

That’s all. Just another lazy summer…

Don’t Just Be A Good Writer, Be A Good Person

From the lately departed Miss Snark, via Wyrdsmiths: Ten Traits of Good Authors (as opposed to good Writers). It’s something I want to remember, should I ever be fortunate enough to be in the position of having an agent to please.