Tuesday, April 29, 2008

three days and ten pages

I've been selfishly taking advantage of sarah's break between trimesters at med school (and she passed round one of her boards, so I bask in the totality of her awesomeness) to get some writing done on our novel. For the past three days we've been passing a chapter-draft back and forth, using comment boxes and font colors so we can see who's adding what. What we wound up salvaging after all this was ten pages (and I'd say the chapter is half finished). When I put everything back to black and read it out loud, I was quite impressed w/ how well it flowed in terms of the unity of style.

So far, this chapter is the most collaborative. And I think I'm safe to speak for her when I say how much we love the conversational part of this collaboration. The comment boxes not only respond to a word or sentence or paragraph ("love it!"; "not sure if I'm feelin' it here"; "can you come up w/ a better word here?" "what do you think of this?"; etc.) but also talk about the characters, or us in relation to the story. (For instance, how we reek of coffee for days after spending two hours in a coffee shop; how we might approach speed dating from a social scientist point of view, how I started to fall in love w/ one of the male characters after reading sarah's description of him, and so on.) It keeps us excited and plugged in to both the process and the product. We both get giddy when we find an email w/ an attachment from each other, and we get frustrated when we must attend to the rest of life instead -- studying, grading, husband, household, etc.

Let it be known that I'm still plotting to get her and her hubby to move down here, because I am selfish and evil.

And, while I'm blogging, I feel the need to address something Stacey responded to in connection to a recent post about the publishing intensive and the advice about holding off on the query process for a while. Stacey brought up "six months" and recommended against it. I re-read my post and never saw an actual number. (But, this might have come up in a conversation during our writers group meeting.) Of course, everyone has their own opinion, and I value both Zelda's and Stacey's insight and experience. And now that I've had a few days to think about it, it's a tough call. I haven't sent out queries since late January, mostly due to the demands of school and finishing up my second novel (the sequel), so that right there is a considerable passage of time. And yet, I haven't done anything since to bolster publishing credits, and that was Zelda's suggestion for the interim, to submit to magazines, journals, etc. Perhaps I can continue to do both. Interestingly enough, I couldn't go to sleep last night until I re-drafted the synopsis section of my query letter (of course, this was pretty late, and I haven't read it since, so it could be crap). I tell my students that writing well requires practice. So does querying well, I guess.

And finally, speaking of students, I cracked up when I read my student's reflection on his improvement this past semester: I'm much better at noticing error's on my paper. That, my friends, is the joy of teaching.


Sarah said...

funny, i'd almost forgotten we were writing a chapter. i was so busy having a conversation with you and letting the characters do their thing that, well, it sort of slipped my mind.

and, totality of awesomeness aside, that's probably a very good thing.

(ten pages, huh? not too shabby. but we're going to have to get together on one of our breaks or something...ya know, if you can stand the thought of it.) ;)

The Purple Panda said...

I say we meet on Long Island -- it's the mid-point if we each drive it, and my mom can show you Richard Gere's house...

And yeah, ten pages, and that doesn't even include all Min's observation notes following The Event to be Observed. And it's only half done!

Sarah said...

p.s. it's weird to see you refer to me as sarah. accurate, but weird. ;)

The Purple Panda said...

wasn't sure if you minded that I used it in the post (sorry, should have asked you first. But since you used it in comment posts, I took a risk -- besides, Stacey outed me, so I'm paying it forward!) You'll always be my PIC... :)