Friday, May 08, 2009

Regularly irregular musings

So...how are the typecasting journal entries coming along? I'm just about done with the final draft of the story I *may* be submitting. It's a short short, I think. The terminology for short stories is all new to me. This is uncharted territory: well out of my comfort zone.

I'm one of those people who's never had a serious problem finishing NaNoWriMo. No, it isn't easy, but if I force myself to sit down and put one word in front of another for a few hours every day, I can do it. I'm not one of those crazy people who can sit and pound out 4000 words in a sitting (had a roommate during one NaNo who was, and it annoyed the snot out of me, I admit) but I can write a decent number of words steadily day after day. And my stories usually start out much too wordy and then gets whittled down. If brevity is the soul of wit, my wit (such as it is) is some sort of soulless wraith.

As a result, this story has been an incredible challenge for me. It's the anti-NaNo: saying as much as possible in the fewest possible words; implying details and descriptions some of the time rather than sketching them out, leaving most of the color and scenery and background to the imagination of the reader. In a thousand words, you can't do much more than capture a single snapshot in your characters' lives, or the borders and boldest lines. I'm not good at it. It makes me cranky. Therefore, this is probably good for me.

And speaking of difficult-but-potentially-good-for-me activities, is anyone else semi-terrified by the concept of revealing a fictional work to even a small subset of the big wide world? I sure am. For one thing, I always worry that my stories are, as a high school English teacher once put it to me, too "bleeding heart." But it's more than that. Fiction is an entirely different animal than non-fiction. Why is that? (Rhetorical question.)

In one of my notebooks, I came across something I had written to the effect that nonfiction reveals one's thoughts and opinions; fiction one's heart and soul. I'm not sure I really believe that--I think I just liked the way it sounded when I wrote it down. But why *are* we more self-conscious about make-believe? Or am I the only one who feels this way?

On another subject, I read with interest the pocket briefcase vs pocket Moleskine throw-down Strikethru linked to here. My International Pocket Briefcase arrived a few days ago, courtesy of the Levenger outlet on eBay. It was cheaper than the Franklin Covey version I posted about here, once I factored in local tax (right about $16). Pretty cool.

Since it's larger than the shirt pocket briefcase listed in the review, it's not quite as direct a comparison--I'm using it as a wallet as well as a notepad. But the Moleskine has been my carry-everywhere writing surface up to now, so the comparison is there. Since I'm a gal and rarely have a pocket that would hold either one, the size differences aren't as crucial. It comes down to the format differences. On the one hand, the notebook means you carry everything you've written around with you, so you always have it. On the other hand, the cards let you carry just the important stuff, toss the grocery lists and memos, and organize into categories at home. It's more flexible, but less contained. It's my Circa vs composition book dilemma in miniature, and time will tell how I feel about it. I foresee still using the Moleskine for longer entries.

As for the wallet itself, it is marvelously soft but sturdy feeling leather--smells wonderful. There's a little more wiggle-room for the cards than there was in the cheaper one, which I'm very grateful for--makes it much easier to get them in and out, and the writing surface will hold about three or four cards in a stack without complaining. The wallet side where there's space for cash and receipts has a shallower little area for paper money, instead of just being a deep gaping pocket where narrower items get lost. All in all, a step up, and I think I can live with the fake initials....

3 comments:

Mike Speegle said...

I have the exact opposite problem that you have during NaNo. I can produce a ridiculous amount of material, but it's very sporadic in nature and of questionable quality.

And wait...you're in your final draft for the journal? You're planning and using time management? Does that mean that I have to as well? That does not bode well.

Little Flower Petals said...

OK, so "final" draft is probably too ambitious a word. But the second draft is about down. I still have to get an accurate word count and do the final typing.

My problem is that typically at the eleventh hour, I suddenly decide whatever I've been working on all along is completely unsuitable, and have to throw something new together on the spur of the moment. So I guess I'm planning for such contingencies.

Oh, and my NaNo material is of questionable quality, too. Aren't all first drafts? And there's no getting around the fact that fifty thousand words in a month is a lot of words. I've always finished when I've stuck with it (six out of seven times); I just can't be one of those people who goofs off for the first few weeks and then writes feverishly for two or three days straight and gets all nicely caught up. I'm a steady 2000-words-a-day kind of gal.

Monda said...

You're SO ahead of me. And yes, first drafts should be awful. Anything more is sacrilege.