Saturday, February 13, 2010

Thinking about a new workshop...

All thanks to Hailey, who asked me why she couldn't find my posts on prologues, lol. I know I have strong opinions on them, but it's one of the few things I haven't talked about, because it's one of the few things I think I'm good at.

Most of my craft posts are either me trying to figure things out AKA why there are so many posts in clusters. The arc posts as I tried to figure out the transformational arc and why some arcs simply didn't transform. The organic structure posts that went from exploring character, to organic plotting, to organic structure. And random posts where people ask me a question and the answer is so long I figure I might as well put it here for safe-keeping.

This blog was started as a place to vent and talk about life as a writer, the ninety-nine rejections I got on HC, and my search for "why" I got ninety-nine rejections. What worked, why, and how to keep duplicating it. And in many ways, it's a nod to why I do the mentor program. Until I found RD I was foundering, and until I found Gina no one had the guts to tell me exactly what was wrong with my writing and why.

She was the right person in the right place at the right time, because she was brutally honest in a non-hurtful way. She taught me to delete ego from my responses to people, and I miss her. When she left RD a lot of the non-erotic contingent left too.

People talk and teach, and say "this" is the way things should be, and this is how things are and I accepted that. A lot of my early stuff was based on everyone else. You "had" to have sexual tension here, and they had to stare at each others bodies there, and it was important to explain what was going on. Gina asked me, "why" and I...couldn't answer her.

I'd never thought there was another way. Everything I read, everything people told me, all the "rules" and "thou shalts" are written from the pov that the writer knew more than me and wanted to show me the way. But the "way" is different, because we're different. There is no one way.

Because I went from HC to a complete stop I had a long time to think, and I guess the biggest thing I've got out of my studies--aside from an out-of-the-box opinion of craft--is that it's not about money and covers. It used to be about money and covers--and I was desperate to sell to NY. HC was just step one in getting enough momentum under me to charge the hill. Kill Velocity is simply for me. I write because I want to, because it's something "other", something that makes me happy. If I never publish, it's okay. If I do, that's okay, too. But it's personal striving to be the very best I can be, to reach down and pull out, not archetypes and a fast read people will throw away and never read again, but something rare and fine. Something that will linger, like Mark in Mirror Dance, and Istina in Paladin of Souls, or Vimes in Night Watch throwing everything away to do the right thing, I want to satisfy my soul, because in the end--when it's all said and done, I'm the person I write for.

And wow--I guess that's more truth than I meant to write. But it's also the reason I don't throw together workshops. I have to believe, and I truly believe in organic structure. I also believe in prologues if they're done well.

As I was working out this post (which was supposed to be my take on prologues) it hit me that a lot of people write about why they don't like them and the rare ones that work, but no one ever explains--other than saying well, this person wrote one that works and it works because, in a very generic sense--how and why to create a prologue that works for your story, what makes it work, the choices you have and how to winnow them down. Which leads me to, ta-dah!

Exploring the Structure of Character-driven, Cinematically-visual Prologues by yours truly. Details later.

I'd say tomorrow, but I know it'll probably be a few days before I have enough time to type anything outside of homework. But next post? Jodi and prologues, the two major variants, how and why they work, and tweaks.


deanna said...

Your journey to deciding writing is your thing, pay or no pay, sounds familiar to me. :o) I'm looking forward to reading what you say about prologues.

Hailey Edwards said...

I look forward to reading your post on prologues whenever you get the chance to type out your thoughts. *g*

I've decided I like my prologue. I'm keeping it. I'll tweak it as needed, but I believe it needs to be there for readers to hit the ground running in chapter one, on page one.

(Feel free to scroll past the next few paragraphs.)

[rant] I have seen in numerous places where authors have said, "If you're not writing for money/writing to trend then step down and get out of my way."

That sentiment actually pisses me off. A lot.

I don't write for money and I will never cater to trends. My mind isn't organized enough for it. What I write is whatever comes out when I sit down to type.

It doesn't mean I'm not serious about writing--I am.

It doesn't mean I don't consider this as my career--I do, as of a few soul-searching months ago.

I need writing to define me as a person other than wife, mother, etc.

I do not want my definition to be "quick," "easy," or "she sold to the highest bidder."


jodi said...

lol, Deanna--guess a large part of my writing is faith that I'll get where I'm going. Or "having" the faith to accept I'll never be rich and famous.

I agree with you, Hailey. But it's pretty hard for a lot of people to go against trend. Until I finally let go a few months ago (too) I used to obsess about page count and beat myself up for being a slacker.

Romance is such a focused field. I don't think I've ever seen anything like the drive to live on your writing in any of the other genres.

I think you're right. Money doesn't equal serious.