Thursday, November 8, 2012

Sprinkles

I don't really have anything to share except that I feel excited to work on Cyberlama again after a loooo-o-ooo--oo-ong break. I want to start from the beginning and structure the beast into a form that is mouthwatering. I'm toying with the idea of doing it all in chronological order, starting with Diana in Paris and ending with Diana at...the end. Maybe. I'm at least going to try that first. If that doesn't get me anywhere, then the revision will be more about making it as dramatic as possible by putting things in better places. The book is shuffleable like that. I'm into the whole stories-within-stories concept (as opposed to the babies having babies concept).

The most important thing. I'm excited!

What's Peanut eating? A neon green ear plug on the elevator floor. I cleverly maneuvered him around it on the way down, but he cleverly remembered to eat it on the way back up.


12 comments:

  1. I'm excited that you're working on Cyberlama again! Is the title up in the air now? Chronological order would be interesting, and I think would force you to come up with a lot of new material. Maybe.

    I think you should add more about how the birds no longer fly. That's a neat subplot.

    I'm working on the last 25% of "Mona in the Desert" now. I've written this whole thing with no outline, Malasarn. I have vague ideas about the ending, but that's it; I've made the book up as I went along. I hope that means two things:

    1. Thanks to you, I'm much braver now as a writer, and

    2. Thanks to you, I'm more creative now with my story and structure.

    However, my next book is going to be the Antarctica one, and I have a pretty solid outline for that that I plan to follow closely. It's got a complex structure that will force me to write it sort of backwards and then cut up and reassemble later. What fun!

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  2. Scott, The title has never felt down from the air. Do you have any ideas for it? My first objective with the revision is to get a clearer idea of the purpose of each of the characters who are installed. I'm willing to cut some or change some. I want them all to be some part of myself, and, to do that, I need to reflect more about what I want to express. I also want to get a clearer idea of the significance of putting these different people together. I also need to better understand Diana's life question and how she will come to answer or not answer it.

    I wasn't sure that you were still working on Mona, but I'm glad you are!

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  3. I can read the version of the MS I have again and think about titles. Of course I still think of it as Cyberlama.

    Maybe it's not important to your vision of the work, but it seems that there's not a strong single idea binding it together. If there is, it's maybe too subtle for me to see. I get the various arguments about science and politics and the isolation of researchers from mainstream society and the misunderstandings between science and religion and politics, but those all seem to be satellites orbiting around something that was invisible to me. If that makes any sense as a critique. I loved the language and the movement and the Dalai Lama is a great character and the monkey subplot was a good framework, but I guess I don't know what the heart of the novel is, if you know what I mean. Not that it needs a central theme or whatever. I'm not really being clear, nor do I know if I can be.

    Still working on "Mona," yep. Done with the first draft by the end of the year, I hope. Then it's revisions to "Miss America." Then the Antarctica book and then maybe a sequel to Patience. We'll see how it goes. It sounds like a lot of work and I'm an old man who would like a vacation.

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  4. Scott, I am very grateful for any sort of critique you ever want to give me. I completely understand what you are saying here, and I agree with you. When I started to write this book I wasn't worried about that central binding idea. I was curious to see if bringing back threads and characters and these "satellites" could successfully give a reader an immersive feeling and a feeling a continuity/familiarity that would result in anticipation and comfort, so that a reader would want to keep reading the way one would want to keep sitting in a comfortable chair. That's sort of how I respond to some of the writers I love. I just enjoy reading scene to scene and forget the book as a whole. The heart of the novel--in my thinking----and this probably applies to a lot of my writing lately----is a randomness. But now that I'm on the other side of this work, I am spending a lot of time trying to understand if that is satisfying. I don't know. I feel the need now to seek out that central idea, but I can't tell if that's because I'm trapped by the belief that all books must have that or if that's because I believe it will make a better book. My mind is a prison.

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  5. I think that you can sort of do both, by which I mean have the events come in a randomlike order and have there be a central thread, however tenuous or implied. I'm trying that in "Mona," actually. I feel like each scene is a ball that I'm juggling, and that I've got about 20 different colored balls but I only have about 3 in the air at any one time, and each color represents a different idea I'm exploring, and I have to keep the mix of colors fresh and changing all along to keep the reader interested. If I forget to juggle with the blue one for too many pages, I make myself write a scene for blue. So there's no one single idea (aside from the vague overarching ideas of truth versus memory and love versus good sense), but there are a bunch of ideas that keep coming up in new guises, and I try to have the characters compelling and unpredictable. I have no idea if it'll hang together when I'm done. It seems like a mess and I spoil the plot all the way through and keep reminding the reader that this is all made up except for one or two "facts" that I'm not sure of. I guess what might hold it all together is that *I* know I'm writing about my family and about relationships, so that might come out in the writing. So there's this deliberate force on my part behind all the prose. But I don't know either if that sort of thing is necessary. Sometimes I feel like my novels are limited by those conventions but I don't know how to break out of them, or where I'd be if I did break out. I'm actually really worried about this a lot. I don't know what I'll do when I go to work on the next one, which has a lot of rules and expectations for me to abide by.

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  6. I'm really worried about this too. I keep wondering if the things I'm trying to create are even novels or stories or if they are more of these collages that happen to be bound in a bookish form. I'm waiting for a golden beam of light to come down and tell me the universal truth. And I wish after creating something I could read it with some distance to just be able to decide if I like it myself. I can't even do that. Sometimes it just feels like a wasted effort, Mr. Bailey. I wish they'd just hurry up and give me the Nobel so that I can move on to other things.

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    1. I feel the same way, except I'll settle for the Pulitzer. Is what I'm writing a story? I don't know. I knew what "story" meant for a couple of years when I was working with the 3-act linear narrative, but now I don't know what "story" means. Start anywhere, go anywhere, end anywhere. Fine, but like you say, is that still a novel? Where's the Platonic "novel" form? I don't know, Dr M.

      So we have no choice but to remain bold and keep writing to see what we've produced. I don't know about wasted effort. I liked reading "The Pagani Project."

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  7. Ewww about the ear plug!

    I'm so happy to hear you're working on Cyberlama again! I'm still jealous Scott got to read a draft of it. :)

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    1. Michelle, If Scott and Jennifer hadn't read Cyberlama, there might not be any revisions in my head, so in a way it's their fault that I'm revising it at all! :)

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    2. As long as I get to read it someday. :)

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  8. ooh- Cyberlama- it has been a while since I have heard you mention that. I restarted working on my abandoned WIP recently (while I finished that darned PhD and got a post doc position). Re: WIP, everything till now has only come to me in bits and pieces and in scenes. And while I enjoyed writing like that, I felt like I would never finish even a first draft this way..So now, I am writing everything chapter-wise and am making a little headway. Also followed Michelle and Scott's advice posts and even created a loose outline/map to sort of bind my 'moments of tension'..Don't know how this is going to work out-we'll see.

    Sorry- I'd been so busy I didn't get around to reading 'Bread' (will do so), but funnily enough, my mom saw it lying around and finished it. And she said she liked it !(I need to get more in depth feedback from her).

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    1. Lavanya,
      Wow, congratulations on finishing school! That's excellent! I'm also happy you're working on your WIP. Good luck with that!

      No pressure to read Bread at all. I don't want it to feel like work. Unless you have a dog that eats books, it will be around whenever you are in the mood for it. :)

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