Aw, crap, it’s due tomorrow.
I’m still trying to think my way around these weird specialist restrictions. Also, I’m not sure how much editing is necessary to count as a significant revision. Last time, lol, I took three pages of summarized back-story, cut out the other nine pages, and wrote something like sixteen pages out of it. But now, I think I want to be a little less drastic. And it’s not that I lack for ideas about how to change it, I’m just not sure which ones will count towards my grade.
Anyway, I am pretty sure his idea of “improvement” is paring stuff down. He told me that the information in two of my scenes could be revealed through dialogue or summary. Except…I like scenes. And scenery. And character interactions. And complex backstory. I also inherently distrust dialogue as a reader, and the convention that characters don’t lie or even make mistakes when they are revealing plot has always struck me as an odd one at best.
We’ve also, as a class, rejected the common advice of “show, don’t tell” as overly simplistic. Well, sure, but how much of what’s annoying about less skillful stories is the amount of stuff that you don’t have to just take for granted? But maybe that’s just one of my idiosyncrasies as a skeptic. I want evidence. I don’t want to hear that your character is “snarky.” I want to hear snarky lines.
And don’t get me wrong, good summary is a critical skill, no matter where you are. Everyone could use some practice summarizing and paraphrasing and tightening things up. But here’s the thing. If you hand me a summary, even if it’s a glorious, wonderful, beautiful summary, I’m still going to ask you when does the story come out.
I have been thinking that a thousand words is a little too ambitious for someone of my skill level. But then, I’ve got a few other stories that are right around there. But they’ve still got a significant amount of build-up. It’s comparable to how much other stuff is in the story, but they all follow the structure of the short stories and novels I’ve read, and not at all like the structure of the flashes we’ve read for class.
But after tomorrow at least it will all be over but the screaming. Originally I was expected to rewrite all three stories I had workshopped this year, but we “voted” (lol, like the dissenters would have carried the day) to cut it down to just one. So I’m back to fretting over the same one I was on back in September. I’ve got two fresh drafts, and I think the shorter one is my ticket to better grades. But man. I gotta figure out what I can work into there. And…I don’t have to make my characters rounder. He actually told me that. Only, I want to. I like these characters, even though I’m making bad things happen to them. It bugs me that I haven’t found good ways to show who they are. And they don’t change internally. Okay. So I can jam a major transformation in there regardless of how believable it would be–we read a story called “Marzipan” which did that–but don’t you feel like you need time to get to know a character first before you can see them change?
It’s also “plot-based.” I’ve hardly been thinking about the plot, honestly.
I just don’t know what to do. I want to go with the longer one.
I’ve got a scene I am thinking of, and I am just going to write it and see how it works. Guh.
This is a completely silly thing to pin my hopes on and Latin and ancient Rome are both exciting and accessible to me. I would only have to change into the sort of person that straight-laced conservative parents want to have around their kids. Also, I would have to change into the sort of person who would want to be around kids. But eh. I’m going to be crazy the rest of my life.
Good grief, look how I’ve rumbled on about this.
Well. I can post music too, you know. It strikes me that this song could easily have worked for October. And I’ve been looking through my library for such things (besides, you know, Rob Zombie).