Mark Read the Book

So, Mark read the book, and I can tell you there is just about no better feeling than hearing the love of your life laugh out loud while he's reading your stuff.

... Laugh at the funny parts, I mean.

You Know What's Interesting?

There's a scene during the (wildly disappointing) final season of the Sopranos that sticks with me. Christopher, a recovering drug addict, is dating another addict who he met in rehab. They have fallen off the wagon together, and are sitting around her living room, doped out of their minds. Christopher turns to her and says, "You know what's interesting? Us being able to use again, and yet integrating it into our lives."

That's how I often feel about online gaming.

I kick the habit again and again, but it never seems to stay kicked. And every time I get into another online jag, it seems, for a brief shining moment as if I have finally managed that crucial integration. As though I won't decide to spend a beautiful day hunched over my computer, as though I won't get sunk into a tournament when I have a perfectly good book lying around.

Time to kick the habit again.


On a side note, how sucky was that last season of Sopranos? I knew it was going to be bad when four characters spent an entire scene sitting around talking about how one of the neighbor's kids drowned in a pool. The scene is shot in front of a lake, and one of the character's kids is off camera somewhere, playing on another part of the estate. Dread seizes the viewer with cold, icy fingers, and we all sat up a little straighter on the couch.

What happens at the end of the episode? Big ol' nothing. Much like the series finale.

Naming Scenes

So, to lead myself through the endless quagmire that is Making-A-Sensible-Plot-Out-Of-All-My-Ideas, I've created a Master Excel file. In it, each scene has a name, along with a word count, plot summary, and notes on possible revisions.

One of the fun parts is trying to think of names for the scenes: names that are evocative enough that I can just read quickly through the list and recall the plot. Some I've come up with so far:

  • Father, I Have Sinned
  • Desperately Seeking Koko
  • Save My Child!
  • Can I Trust You?
  • Whir, Whir, Whir, Whir, Splat!

Writing the Breakout Novel

I recently read Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass, along with its companion workbook. I actually liked the workbook better. It had a lot of good exercises, although be warned: they're not easy.

Basically what really appeals to me about this book is its incredibly high standards. Your character must be not just good, but heroic. And not just any old time either, but in the first scene. I like that. This book is not about writing half-assed fiction. It's about holding yourself to the gold standard, and really pushing for everything you can give.

Research Week

So, I'm a little over halfway done with the book... 43,000 words. I feel like it's missing something, though, so I'm taking a week off from writing to (1) let some ideas marinate and (2) let Mark finish reading the thing, so I have someone to talk to about the plot.

I really needed to catch up on my reading anyway. I have a massive backlog of things I need to read, including a deadly dull historical tome about regular life during the early part of the century (it's informative, but dry as dust).

Basically, I don't think I'm going to read anything NOT related to my book until it's done. Which is a shame, because I also have rather a backlog of things I'm itching to get at. But for now, if it's not relevant, it doesn't go on my nightstand.