Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Just Curious

Why is it that as soon as you hand a MS to a reader, you get your best ideas for the story and you want to snatch it out of their hands and make them wait for the results of the next round of revisions? Don't get me wrong; I'm grateful for the ideas, but still. There is always a version of the story that I like more than whatever version of it people are actually reading. Maddening.

Also: Tristram Shandy, day 22 (I think): Our narrator has finally been born, though he has yet to appear in a scene. He's been talked about quite a bit, though. His mother remains cloistered in her chamber, just as she's been the entire book. His father and uncle Toby have spent the majority of their time in the parlor, though Mister Shandy did take a walk down to the fish ponds when he heard the sad news that his son was named Tristram by mistake; he was intending to call him Trismagistus after the famous alchemist. Damn that Susanna and her poor short-term memory. Uncle Toby has sent for preacher Yorick, who baptised Tristram, to see what can be done about it. Mister Shandy expresses little in the way of hope.


  1. I think one of the perils of being a good writer and a creative person is that the good ideas never stop, and you never stop wanting to use them. Eventually, there needs to be a cut off point, but it's definitely artificial and arbitrary. As far as I can tell, there are no finished stories, only authors who have forced themselves to work on other things instead.

  2. I think it would be possible for me to convince myself that a work was perfect and finished, but only as long as I was never allowed to look at it ever again.

  3. I think I would need to be medicated to forget it, as well...

  4. I self-medicate every night. Hasn't seemed to work yet. But I will keep trying.

  5. I have the same philosophy about self medication as I do about writing...persistence is key.

    I have the other form of this problem...I know I have to change something about my story but I really really don't want to.

  6. Mayowa: Drink a little every day, without hope, without despair. Purely for medicinal purposes.

    I used to hate knowing I had to change things in the MS, but now I can't wait to make the changes. What I hate is knowing there's a problem, but not knowing how to fix it.

    Last night Mighty Reader pointed out that I had--by giving away the essential mystery of the first act of my book in the last sentence of the first chapter--cheated the reader out of the fun of figuring something out about the protagonist's story. I've gone back and made things more subtle. If she tells me that the middle of the book doesn't work, then I have no clue what to do about that. So the middle of the book better work, that's all I can say.

    I didn't know you were in America.

  7. I just wanted to say thanks for the support this afternoon. Also wanted to say, I got a request for the full ms. today off a query I sent out yesterday.

    I can't self-medicate anymore, but tonight when you do, could you raise your glass to the agenting Gods and ask for a little help. Please.

    Perhaps 5 acts are the key.

  8. No self-medicating for me when I'm on call, as I am tonight. Which is a bummer, because I've got a tension headache like no one's business. lol

    Of course, my self-medication is typically measured from the small side of the jigger since I'm paranoid about becoming a self-medicatoholic like every single person on my mom's side of the family.

    @Anne - Five acts cannot be the key. I was told on another blog today, in no uncertain terms, that agents and publishers judge all books by the three act structure, and if you don't have it or use it, you will not have a chance at being published. Period. End of story.

    Can I roll my eyes now?

    That I can still do while on call.

    Best of luck, Anne! That's very exciting news!

  9. Anne: That is excellent news! I am impressed and not a bit surprised. Fingers crossed!

  10. Nevets: 3-act is totally pwned. 5-act rules. It's got, like, two more acts.

  11. One of the best reasons for coming here Scott is the interesting discussions. I rarely comment because I'm here so late :)

    First - self medicating rules.

    Second - I think when a character is introduced by others, or as the narrator, but takes some time to actually appear in the novel, builds anticipation. A lot of character building happens through other's perceptions, and the reader gets the opportunity to gauge if the author is sticking to the characterization.

    Last - a MS is NEVER complete until it is in print and you CAN'T start the revision process all over again. I run into the same problem. Self medicating doesn't always curb the urge to revise.

    Anne and Nevets: I promise to imbibe your share tonight :)


  12. I do not know the cause but I know the phenomenon.

    Congratulations, Anne! I hope the fiendish itch to re-write doesn't strike as you wait.

  13. Donna: I did my part this evening. Thanks for posting. Who cares how late it is?

    Tara: I' making changes. But it's good stuff. Though it Must Go To Agent This Weekend. Period. When it's in his hands, I don't look at it at all. I'll start work on the next one, I think.

  14. It's called Murphey's Law. :) I keep checking the post office box...