Friday, March 27, 2009

the comment that wasn't

Thank you all for your comments, compliments and constructive criticisms on yesterday's post. I have read them over several times and tried every one of them on for size. When it comes time to fiddle and tweak I will definitely keep them in mind. (Man, I can't wait to fiddle and tweak. That's the fun part.) I tried all day long to get on the computer and respond to them one by one, but it unexpectedly turned into one of "those" days, and a lot that I had really planned to do got left by the roadside. Oh, well. There's always tomorrow, right? I'm sure tomorrow will be calmer. Right? Right?

One of the things that occurred to me reading your comments was that I need to brush up on my fiction writing terms, among other things. Maybe go out and buy a bunch of books on how it's really done. See, I have no fiction writing experience - a fact which is probably obvious. I know journalism (in the way you do when you have a degree but have never worked in the field - which is not at all), but I am flying by the seat of my pants with this fiction business. I don't know the lingo, I'm not aware of rules I'm ignorantly breaking, and I'm sure there's a whole protocol that I'm bypassing completely because I don't even know it exists. Add in the fact that I'm totally aware that I can hit three different tenses in one sentence and you've got trouble.

So here's my plan, in completely non-writer terms, and I hope I can explain this the way I want to. The post from yesterday is the very beginning of the book. The book will cover a year (give or take) and move forward along the lines of how my last year has progressed as far as the divorce and all. As the plot (such as it is) advances, I'm also moving our relationship and marriage along from the very beginning - in a sort of abbreviated flashback way. (I hate to make this comparison - yet again- but the format at least is very much like Heartburn, which starts when she finds out her husband is having an affair and ends when she leaves him. In between you get her whole life story.) In that vein, just for kicks and giggles, I'm also throwing a lot of nursing stuff/Hollywood stuff/and my own kind of unique upbringing into the mix. I almost hesitate to call it "fiction", although I will just for the freedom of imagination that label will give me. I fully plan to invent a real live "chick flick" ending, but the details of it keep eluding me. It'll come, I promise. I do love me a chick flick.

Basically, it's my life, with the emphasis being on the last year or so. I'm awfully used to my life - it being the only one I know - so I'm always a little surprised when people think there's anything particularly compelling about it. But as even I admit, I've got some interesting stories to tell. This is one of them. Actually, this is all of them rolled into one.

Kind of like meat loaf. With a happy ending. And no heartburn.


ped crossing said...

The hardest part is getting it down on paper. Don't worry about what rules you are breaking. Figure that out when you are tweaking. Just get it out "warts and all" so to speak.

And you already have your chick flick ending with the tax/remodeling guy.

Maggie May said...

I love that analogy..... a meat loaf with everything thrown into it and no indigestion! Maybe that could go in the preface!
It is really exciting this book writing .
There are some good books on creative writing on the market, that cover every aspect of it & even give hints on publishing. Some give exercises to follow for practice!
Keep writing is the one piece of advice that crops up all the time!

The Finely Tuned Woman said...

I agree with ped crossing and would just get the story down and then do the editing in the second draft. You will be doing rewrites anyway. It's important to get the story down as you've got it ready to go in your head. Don't forget to save it on a rewritable every time you've made a change.

laurie said...

whoa! whoa! whoa!

are you writing FICTION?

i thought this was true.

i thought you were writing memoir.

please explain.

seashmore said...

Ped crossing's right: shove it all out and fix it later.

And I wouldn't worry about labelling it fiction or memoir until after the story's on paper. Then you can decide whether or not you really wanted it to happen.

When you're almost ready for the tweaking process, I've got a great book reccomendation for you. But we'll wait until you're ready.

the rotten correspondent said...

ped crossing - yeah, the chick flick ending will be what's already in my head with hot pinheaded tax guy. :)

maggie may - if my life is's meatloaf. I like the idea of odds and ends and bits and pieces. (Sort of like this blog!)

Irene - I do save it, but I do it a screwy way. I have to do the rewritable thing, for sure.

laurie - oh, it is a memoir. Totally. But here's the thing. I don't have absolute recall for things that happened a long time ago and would hate to portray something as true when it turned out later that my memory was faulty. I'm not talking emotions, but facts.

Then there's the thought that (for at least 3/4 if not more) of the book I'm totally trashing my children's father. By the end it will look different, but I'd like to give him an out. Portray it as fiction. Change a couple of key things around to save face. His. If no one ever sees the book but me and my friends, it won't make a difference. But if I get lucky and other people do see it I'd like for him to not feel like a ass. Even if he was.

seashmore - I'd like to hear that book recommendation. Hopefully the tweaking isn't too god awfully far off. (It's also not right around the corner, believe me.)

aims said...

After yesterdays post and today's - here's my thoughts.

Just write. That's all. Don't worry if it is 'correct' or not. And write from your heart - always.

Another thing.

Comments are great - but they can change the way you write. Suddenly you're writing with other people in mind instead of for yourself. And the 'for yourself' is what makes it real and more poignant.

Don't write for me. Remember that. Tune me out and center on you.

And watch out for jealousy. You're definitely going to get that. You might not recognize it at first but it will be there.

lv4921391 said...

tho it was only a movie Diane Keating didn't mind making Jack the butt of her jokes in the play she wrote in "Somethings got to Give"...I say go for it...let the chips lay where they fall...

laurie said...

i don't mean to be the killjoy literalist journalist here, but you have to decide ahead of time if it's fiction or nonfiction.

if you say it's memoir, that means it's true, or true the very best of your recollections. and if you make shit up--even a little bit of shit--you can get in considerable trouble.

can we all just take a moment to recall James Frey, twisting on the couch on the Oprah show, while she flailed him for saying that fiction was fact?

it's an important distinction.

it's either "totally memoir," or it's fiction. there's no in between.

i'm in the middle of writing a memoir, and it requires a lot of fact-checking, interviewing, document checking, etc. memoir isn't just written off the top of the head, but stuff has to be researched and checked.

sounds like you're headed more in the chick-lit vein, to save your kids, etc. my best advice to you is to then make sure you change enough details that it really is fiction. move it to Hawaii, or something....

good luck.

the rotten correspondent said...

aims - this whole thing is definitely from my heart. I think - and you would know this FAR better than I based on the things you've written - that that's part of my problem. There are days I really need to leave the scab alone, and ever word written pulls it off just a little. It's better after, but it's a bitch in the meantime.

lv4921391 - I would. If it wasn't for my kids. I'm going to change enough (and in such a way) that he'll know flat out it's the truth. But the rest of the world can think I "made it up."

laurie - I agree with everything you said, and I know how strongly you hold those convictions. I do too. How about if we say this - I'll present it to the rest of the world as fiction - and call it that, to boot. I myself (and all the other players involved) will be fully aware that it's a memoir. I can't remember (nor prove) some of the things that would make it "factual", nor do I want to take the time to try.

For my comfort level, I'm happier calling it fiction. Very, VERY thinly veiled, to be sure, but I'm going to have to deal with this man in one way or another for my whole life. For my own conscience I need to give him an out. A thinly veiled out.

Devon said...

could the ending be about 6'2'', wear a tool belt and work for Charles Schwab?

Just kidding! I like what I've read.

the rotten correspondent said...

Devon - I wish...

Cath said...

Well like you, I had one of "those" days where I have tried to read this post which I originally missed on a number of occasions - and failed. Now I have read it, I can't remember what I thought I was going to say. Ah well, such is life and blogging.

I like your style of writing and your decision to do fiction so that you can add or take away and have a complete licence to do what ever you want in your novel. I like it.

Just remember to let us know when you publish what the title is, or your penname, or both because otherwise I am likely to miss it and that would make me scream. You would hear that scream across the Pond. Really.
It has been one of those weekends. :)