Saturday, February 26, 2011

Under the Influence: Degloved Edition

As planned, here's the first "Under the Influence" post, detailing all the tidbits of new-to-me knowledge that manipulated, molded, and influenced my thoughts and actions this week, including the fiction and nonfiction my highly susceptible subconscious processed.

The most prominent, seared-into-my-brain new piece of knowledge is this:
  • Veterinarians call the removal of the tip of a cat's tail skin down to the bone and tendons "degloved." As in, my cat degloved her tail this week and had to have the last few vertebrae of her spine amputated.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Easily Influenced (And Not Proud of It)

In college, I took a literature class—American Literature or Literature Criticism; I forget what it was called—in which we studied Whitman and Thoreau and similar authors. At the beginning the semester, the professor handed out the syllabus and this advice: Don't make any major life decisions while taking this course.

Bizarre advice, he admitted, but one he'd been told by many former students to give to future classes. The class changed the way people think, at least temporarily, and decisions made during the semester were often regretted a few months after the semester ended.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


After my last post, Marc asked if I outline my stories before I begin. He pointed out that it doesn't stifle creativity and it could help with my plot problems and save me a lot of time. I totally agree. I was going to respond in the comments, but realized I had a bit much to say on this.

First off, I love to outline. I love putting the pieces of the story together and spending all the creative daydreaming time with the novel before I start. It gets me really excited about the project, building the type of drive that's necessary to work on a novel for the next year or so.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Long Road: Back on Track

Despite my best efforts, my novel has ballooned beyond rational proportions. Five hundred pages, and only one-third of the way done. Worse, my plot is fundamentally flawed.

I don't know how I got this far without seeing these large, gaping holes in logic and character motivation. How I missed that I was forcing plot so I could have character development, rather than the other way around, or at least plot and character working in tandem. The story's trail had grown murky, and I was mired in a swampy plot that was sucking me under.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Fully Converted to YA

Have you ever been knocked upside the head by a book? Please tell me you have. If you haven't, you haven't lived. (Or, you haven't found your genre, at least.) Sometimes a book comes along that grabs reality and folds it into an origami swan, and the world printed in tiny black letters on paper becomes more substantial than the people around you, than your job, than the priorities you place so much importance on.