September 05, 2003

Assigned Reading

Okay. I've got my list of books that I need for my classes. I'm taking a total of 13 credit hours for my first semester (a lighter load so I don't burn myself out and because ALL my classes are writing intensive--so I'm gonna be writing like a madman). Two of those credit hours are devoted to a special program in the Fiction Writing department that gives me two hours one on one with a tutor to discuss, critique, and improve my writing. Then there's Fiction Writing I. The first of the core workshop classes in the program. I'm also taking one of the four general ed classes that my transfer credits didn't cover--English Composition II. So, more writing, just not fiction. Then there's my specialty writing class--Writing Popular Fiction, taught by author Patricia Pinianski, who writes as Patricia Rosemoor. I'm very excited about this one.

Here's a list of some of the books I'll be reading for class:

Fiction Writing I: Best Short Stories of the Modern Age (there's some good one's in this anthology); The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison; Writing From Start to Finish by John Schultz (the founder of Columbia's Fiction Writing Department); and Hair Trigger 25 (the annual anthology of student work put out by the department).

Writing Popular Fiction: A Darkness More Than Night by Michael Connelly; The Horse Whisperer by Nicholas Evans; Killing Frost by Michael A. Black; Lunatic Café by Laurell K. Hamilton; Skyward by Mary Alice Monroe; Storm Front by Jim Butcher; Two For the Dough by Janet Evanovich; and Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer Crusie.

The books listed for the Popular Fiction class are all labeled "optional," so I imagine we'll get to take our pick out of those to read over the course of the class. I don't think we'll have to read them all. So if anyone has read any of these and would like to make a recommendation, feel free. I'm sure I'll read the Connelly and the Michael Black novels since they're both crime novels and I've read and liked Connelly before. I've also read books by Hamilton and Evanovich. What gets me is I'm actually going to receive college credit toward a degree for reading books I probably would have read anyway. And writing, too.

So this is the first glimpse into what the classes will really be like. I've got less than three weeks before I sit in the classroom, so expect an excited and long blog on September 24th.

September 04, 2003

Revision Revisited

Started doing a read through of the second draft of "Light and Shadow" last night. Didn't get very far 'cause I was dog tired. I think I'm still recovering from the eventful last weekend (a weekend which started on Wednesday and ended on Monday). Some of the writing is has more clunk than I like, but that's nothing a final polish won't fix. That's not my concern right now. My concern is to fix the broken storyline, which has my character doing things a little too over the top. I can reign this puppy in, though, and really have a good story on my hands. There's some technical/research stuff about paints and stuff that Beth caught for me too. So I'll have to go through and fix all that, too. No big deal. If I get to it tonight, I should have the read-through and note-taking done. Tomorrow I can start making the major fixes. If it works, then I'll move onto the polish and get this story out the door.

September 03, 2003

Mawidge is what bwings us togedder

I start school exactly three weeks from today. I'm chomping at the bit here.

So my brother's married now. He's currently spending the week in Maui for his honeymoon. Lucky dog. Marriage is the question of the hour (or month, or year). To marry, or not to marry--there's the rub. Actually, this isn't my question. This is the question of those million or so ladies at the reception that kept asking if I was next, or assuring me that it was now my turn. Of course, Beth stood up in the wedding opposite me and she was a beautiful sight, so I suppose the question made some sense. I'm getting a tiny bit sick of hearing it, though. I think it's the assumption that bothers me. They have no idea what state my relationship is in. No clue as to my personal beliefs, priorities, or intentions. Yet they assume I'm getting married. I'm not even engaged.

Now before I make it sound like I don't love Beth a great deal and the thought of marriage never crosses my mind, I'm going to stop ranting here. This is not the place to go on about my relationship and its future. This is Rob's Writing Pains, not Rob's Relationship Pains. Such a blog would involve so serious an investment of time that breathing would have to go into my schedule in pencil.

Anyway, yea! for Dave and Lisa. And yea for homemade canolli and éclairs--and some damn good wedding cake too. (Did I blow the diet? With glee.)

One of these days, maybe I'll have some writing news for ya. Until then...

'Nuf said.

August 23, 2003

Three Points for Hanging in There

Dang, am I glad I didn't give up on that short story. Did around 1200 words of it today after going over and editing what I did yesterday and I really like this little story now. It's taking off. Note to self: Never decide a story's fate after a bad day.

And the stuff I did yesterday isn't nearly as horrible as I thought. Why does the mind play tricks like that? How can something I wrote thinking the whole time I wrote it that it was terrible turn out to be pretty good stuff? I am mystified. Not only that, the material I thought was a major digression and would end up making this story go on forever ended up tying in perfectly with the following scene and now it looks like this piece will remain a short story.

Reading News: Started reading Holly Lisle's Memory of Fire last night. Wow. That sucker moves. Likable characters, lots of action. I have a feeling I'll be raving about this one. Oh, um, does this already qualify?

I love good books.

August 21, 2003


Since my revision attempts at the novel crashed, I picked up an old first draft of a short story (a 54 page "short" story) to try to practice my revising muscles on. I ended up with a pretty nice second draft that I let Beth read. She pegged the things that were wrong with it (things about character motivation that I'd suspected all along). But after some initial frustration, we also discussed what was right with the story. And now I'm seeing ways of making a third draft that could work really well--not to mention bringing the thing down to a reasonable size; the second draft was still 39 pages long. So all is not lost. There are things I like very much about this story. It's worth trying to save.