Archive for June, 2008

Getting along with My Shrink

June 30, 2008

I thought my shrink liked me, he really liked me. A few weeks ago he proposed something I found incredibly tacky using poor words, and then repeated the idea using the same crude expression. I told him to stop planting the idea in my head.

Still reeling from the exchange, I cancelled the following session. When I returned two weeks later, I explained my grievance. He told me where he was coming from and I told him where I was then we proceeded with our session.

I requested a new time slot for the following week via voicemail and never heard back which is rare. I have to cancel my next four sessions because I will be out of town, and then I believe that he takes August off. I do want to continue meeting but I wonder if he is mad at me, which would obviously taint everything.

I know he is not the best dr. and I accept his limitations. I chose him because he is close and accepts insurance. He has a few stockpile answers he gives to stories about how it represents something from my childhood or is a pattern that I have endured.

Prior to him, I visited an expensive more *elitist* shrink that insisted I see him twice a week and make up any missed sessions. My cousin who referred me to him said that he had thanked her for the referral and commented how much he liked me. At $175 a pop, it was no surprise. When I decided to stop he made a rather snide comment that confirmed my decision. My husband noted that I would constantly return from the session angry at him.

These doctors are just people with their own limitations trying to make a living.

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Skin and Bones of the Novel

June 29, 2008

As planned, I collaborated all of my fragmented chapters of the book and assembled them into one file with over 33,000 words. Whoo hoo!

I feel fairly confident that I have the skeleton of the book written and now I just have to fill in the meat and the flesh of the story. Some chapters are written as pure dialogue and they naturally need to be placed in a scene with more details and background activity. Most of the other chapters need to be rewritten with more depth and details.

I think i have the *Puke* draft which is mostly the nuts and bolts done. And as I promised myself, it is much easier to edit something then nothing. So I have my something done.

I’m planning to stay away from the city for a few weeks which means that I will drift from my habit of going to the writer’s room on a regular basis. I have to learn to carve out time at the beach to do work.

These days, i am just so exhausted that I treasure every opportunity to sleep. Of course the book will never be written that way. So we’ll see.

Anatomy of a Good Book

June 22, 2008

One of my fears about my current novel is that it will become a string of anecdotes that would hopefully reach a crescendo and then a conclusion. The whole concept of plotting out the story is intimidating, and always was when I was writing screenplays.

In many of the chick lit books whose category I am trying to avoid, the story does revolve around a series of anecdotes. However, in some of the more literary novels I’ve enjoyed, the number of anecdotes is relatively small and do not always appear in chronological order.

In Tom Perrotta’s The Abstinence Teacher, the story literally shifts every few paragraphs to the evening before. I don’t necessarily think that is a great idea, but it works. And I am still reading the novel.

I can see that a lot of writing goes into details (specific is terrific) and the thoughts of the characters, and hwo something may trigger a memory. The not necessarily relevant detail helps paint a vivid picture of the scene and the characters.

Once I finish scribbling down the bones of my story, which is not terribly far off, although I confess it has been a few days too many without writing, then i just need to color in the lines, fill in the details. Somehow this information gives me a great deal more confidence. Knowing my story does not need this massive plot but can focus on more subtle developments is liberating.

Cheating at Jeopardy

June 18, 2008

I love watching Jeopardy and knowing the answers, it makes me feel smart.

On a few occasions when I was younger, I would watch the early showing of Jeopardy on the local cable channel and then again with my mom when it aired for the national broadcast. She was so impressed that I *knew* so many answers. Unfortunately, it was a bit like Peter crying wolf because other times when I could actually relate to the categories and knew the answers, she suspected that I had watched the earlier show, and did not believe me.

Spam Me

June 17, 2008

I don’t want this blog to turn into a bitch-fest about why nobody reads this. Truth be told, I don’t think it is that interesting. I’m just kind of maintaining it to force myself to write everyday and I guess talk about my process of writing this book, hold myself accountable and all.

It seems most of the interest this blog is generating is from spammers wanting to direct me and others to their sites. I heard there are people in Singapore that you can hire for less than a dollar an hour to plug your site on other blogs.

I don’t have much to report today, but here goes something:
1) have my writer’s group this afternoon and they are reviewing my new chapter 1 (a pre-cursor to the old chapter one.

2) that writing coach sent me an email asking me if I reached my deadline of doing an outline by today. Sort of. Did not do a hard sell on her services which made me think she cares. sort of.

3) haven’t opened the book I’m reading, The Ten Year Nap by Meg Wolitzer (who is leading my summer program) since Saturday when my daughter ripped a page of it.

4) I’m sure there is something else, but I don’t think the professional spammers in Singapore are even reading this.

Micro vs Macro

June 16, 2008

One of the helpful nuggets offered by the writing coach was to look at my story from more of a macro perspective instead of a micro one. I was getting myself too caught up in the details of which character should I include, how much time should I devote to this character’s back story, etc instead of looking at the overall transformation of the characters from the beginning of the story to the end.

I think taking a step back I can then decide what definitely needs to happen to the character, then it is just a matter of isolating the scenes that show this development.

My background in screenwriting has made me conscious of the overall story development and plot; that coupled with the experience of writing the previous book which I feel is really a string of anecdotes.

So hopefully I will learn from my past experiences. (Can they really be called mistakes if I have gained something from them?)

Writing Coach Comments

June 14, 2008

I forced myself to keep an open mind when I met with the writing coach. I felt she was not efficient.

1) She asked me my astrological sign.

2) had me light a candle and take a moment of silence.

3) She spent a great deal of time telling me stuff about herself that was not relevant. I can tell you more details about her than I care to repeat.

4) She kept talking about what she wanted to do in the future if I kept working with her as opposed to what we could do now.

5) She gave me one assignment to work on at home that if she gave it to me over the Internet i would of had it done before we met and then we could have potentially done something more productive with our time.

6) She asked me about my writing history and about the book – both of which I explained to her in a previous email. (The second one I would overlook as she may have wanted to hear me speak about it extemporaneously)

7) I stayed in the city later to meet with her and then hit a ridiculous amount of traffic driving to my parents house with my daughter wailing for about two hours nonstop.

I suppose I cannot really fault her for #7, but just compounded with everything else.

Perhaps the exercises she would assign to me will help lead me to make the right decisions about the book. It may be more efficient for me to simply buy a book with writing exercises.

Self Fulfilling Prophecy

June 12, 2008

I am meeting with the writing coach today and I vacillated in my mind if I should keep the appointment as she was making things complicated. First she offers to meet me at my apartment then says that she normally does not do that. She asks me to send her stuff then basically admits that she won’t read it until we meet.

I kind of decided over email that I am not crazy about her. But, as my mother would say, if I get one good thing out of it, then it is worth it. The $80 I am spending on a session I can blow on so many other less productive things. And since my friend raves about her, I suppose it is worth a shot.

I did get her to come over to my apartment because I could not find a babysitter and we’ll see what happens.

Yesterday, I am proud to say that I wrote over 3,000 words or a new scene/chapter for the book. Not sure if it will make it to the final cut, but it was a good exercise. So we shall see.

My writing program begins in six weeks and I want to hustle to get a lot accomplished before it.

New Desk

June 10, 2008

My friend gave me her old desk which is now my new desk, and I am passing along my old desk which will then become my babysitter’s new desk. Whoo hoo!

This is a great desk because I can actually close the little doors and not have to look at my mess of a space, which is so new it has yet to be messy.

It’s a great workstation and this morning I was successfully able to do a little writing. Not as much as I would like, but it’s a start. And the day is not over. I wonder if I change things up a bit – perhaps that will inspire more creativity or productivity.

I did not do any work last weekend when I went to the beach and my parent’s house, but this week is a new opportunity.

I took a class at Writer’s Bootcamp and their slogan was , the secret to writing is writing. Just like Nike – just do it.

The Coach

June 9, 2008

I’m a little ambivalent about this writing coach, but i am happy to give her at least one try. I’ve done my fair share of tutoring and there were times when I felt I definitely did not deserve my hourly rate, but I still got paid. I’m hoping that this is a productive session.

I’m trying to do a decent amount of prep work beforehand to maximize the results, but I do not think it will be the Dumbo’s feather that I am looking for.

Part of me tells me to trust my gut and try someone else and another part says, it ain’t broke yet, don’t fix it. I don’t know. If I cancel, then I can leave town earlier and escape this oppressive heat.