Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Progress Report a.k.a. The Editing Blues

And so, as of last night at about 11:37, my WIP dropped about 15K words. Only another 13K or so to go before I’m just inside the estimated proper word length for a YA fantasy novel. *fanfare and processions*

I skimmed through the combined draft, and immediately I saw paragraphs that could be cut/revised, so it’s definitely possible. After going through what she’s been through, don’t tell my protagonist that anything is impossible. :P It’s kind of exciting. I had been having such a craving to write this week, despite my homework suffering, so maybe this will be the calm that lets me let my WIP take a backseat again for a little bit so I can not flunk out of college, thanks very much. Haha!

I’m looking forward to some revision, but I understand very well now that revisions are HARD! Some places make the workload a bit lighter; others scream with stubborness. In those places I really like what’s there and somehow it needs to be told. I’m afraid that if I cut it, I won’t find a better place to put it, and I’ll possibly lose the idea if I don’t at least store the entire section in another MSWord document. So it’s hard to make the word count go down. The most I’ll do is edit or cut a sentence or words here and there. It makes me think I’m making progress, but I know it’s a cop out. Although, it did help me drop about 3K words from one chapter. I guess it helps in a “slowly but surely” kind of way until I’m brave enough to let someone see and tell me to nix the whole shebang. *cringes at the thought* ;)

In other parts that were skyrocketing near the 15K zone for chapter length, I entirely rewrote scenes. That was painful! But no pain, no gain, right? It’s a learning process. I mentioned on my Facebook at one point about dropping the 3K words. My dad commented saying it was good that authors not get too attached to first drafts. Oh my was he off. I’m far too attached to the plot and characters as I’m sure many other authors are. The difficulty in the major editing, entirely reworking a scene, is finding something brief enough, but exciting enough. I have to still be happy with it, and it still has to be the story of these same characters. I don’t think  these guys mind quite how they end up locked up in a hostile world, just so long as I don’t actually put them to death…or do I ? o.O Then again, characters can be divas, even the shy ones, so what can ever really satisfy them?

Part of the problem may be that I’m trying to describe in words the images flying through my head. Now if I could just show my readers the images, it would knock off thousands of words. A picture tells a thousand words and all that jazz. Then again, I’d also end up a movie director rather than an author.

And in other writing news: my playwriting class is going really well! We’re reading scenes from our plays this week, and I’m about to flip out hardcore! I’m really happy with what I have so far, but it has its own dangers. A typical hour and a half play will probably have maybe upwards of 70 pages. Mine is in its completed rough draft and at 54 pages, which means to make it a full length play, it needs at least sixteen or so more pages of significant writing. Thing is, we’re at the point of learning to cut things out, so I’m anticipating a lot of red pen…which will only serve to make the play that much shorter! Yikes!

But I’ve got confidence in Charlie and her little world of players. God, I can’t wait for January and the equity readings! I’ve never had anything I’ve written read by many others and received feedback. Very nervous and very excited. Maybe I’ll feel less like puking by the end of the semester when I’ve had practice taking and giving critique. My professor sounds happy enough about where I am in terms of writing. After meeting with him, he mentioned specifically not to think about play length. Now that is out of my head. Back to the core information. Who knows? Maybe it’ll end up as a one act again. Or just a very short two act play. Whatever it is, I’m excited to finish it. My professor gave me a lot to think about for editing.

…Oh God. I’m gonna get torn apart on Friday. If not out loud, I’ll hear their minds churning. :-P

It’s all a matter for the future. Now is a matter for now. :)

To the MSWord futon!! (Schoolwork is for suckers! ;P )

P.S – I was cast in next spring’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream as Hippolyta, and I’m going to be assistant costume designer! Booyah for my reprieve in an otherwise hellishly fun and informative semester! *pompoms*

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Martian Victory Dance

So while my mind is going ten light years a minute, let's spit out some words.

Despite having a dance class this morning, I stayed up until three in the morning to finish a very important task: I finished reading A Wizard of Mars! Squeeeeeeeeee!! And it was so beautiful!

There was a lot less info dumping than in some earlier novels, and I love the relationship between the characters, and I love the complexity of the situation. Maybe it's just me, and I'm sure my brother and father would laugh their butts off at it since they like adult fiction and I'm prone to YA lit, but I thought the plot had wonderful side arcs to tie around the many layers of the main plot involving the Martian mystery. I didn't find it predictable at all until the point where you need to know what's happening and you can connect the pieces yourself. Yeah, I suspected a "Kit's in over his head" situation, but then again, that's sort of spelled out for you from the start. Any time a character is obsessed with something, it's typically not for the best. Or it is as long as you don't lose control, and the character will probably lose control. That's where the fun comes in (for the reader anyway.)

And thank you for FINALLY making happen what we all knew was coming and not doing it in an annoying fanfiction kind of way like J. K. Rowling. Once again, Diane Duane has proven herself to be my literary hero. I refuse to put such a long break on reading her books ever again, especially none of this starting and stopping for months at a time nonsense. Not cool, Brenna. Not cool.

Good lord, can you imagine the mess of screaming fangirl I would be if I ever met Diane Duane?

So now I'm overwhelmed with ideas and inspiration for my WIP and I want nothing more than to sit at my computer and type the day away. I just want to turn U:RS into a masterpiece, and I know it has a ways to go and I may just be dreaming, but I'm so inspired (and hyped up on endorphins after a great workout) that I want to go one track mind again and just type. Type type type type. Takka takka takka. Thank god for long weekends, huh?

But before I can do that, I just had a super intense and amazingly fun dance class, and now I feel I've earned sushi in the city with my parents so I need to shower, dress and catch a bus.

To the MSWord fu--wait. To the shower! Ho!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Aaaaaand scene!

Alright! Breathing time! Phew!

So The Good Doctor is done. I'm sad to see it go as I am for every production I do, but having time to keep up my reputation as a goody-two-shoes student is relieving. The way I was shirking homework until the last minute was starting to bug me. And there are more production prospects in the not too distant future so hopefully I won't have to wait long to have this fun all over again. I should have better time management skills by then...*giggles* Couldn't say that with a straight face.

I learned some interesting things over the course of this production with much thanks to the network of people I'm creating. Oh my God, networking is truly an awesome thing! Yeah, I'll spend a while looking like a doofus, grinning like an idiot as this realization takes its sweet time to finish dawning on me, but the proof is there.

What Brenna learned the past six weeks:

1) ALWAYS check props.

2) ALWAYS call actors for places even after a 1 minute call for places.

3) Read more plays and books.

4) I met someone who has some great insight into the world of literature and up and coming authors. We were talking one night at Applebees, discussing authors and books and such, and I was utterly inspired to pick up U:RS again as soon as I got home. Unfortunately it was really late when I got home, but still. I have the document up constantly again for those moments I can spare between shows and work and work and work. There is much editing to be done.

I have to get those author names and books titles from her again because I'm always up for trying out some new stuff. She also knew some of these authors before they became extraordinarily famous, which I think is fantastic whether I like the author or not. She has a very successful blog I plan to visit, and I'm so glad I got a chance to meet her and work with her because she's a phenomenal actress as well and a very nice woman.

So in more ways than expected, I had an amazing experience working on this show. I got to network for more than just theatre opportunities, and I met an amazing bunch of people. So Dad, don't tell me to switch majors anymore. :-)

To the MSWord futon. (Homework? What is this homework you speak of?)