Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Amuse moi

If you're going to get through a long draft, you have to learn how to entertain yourself.

When Laini Taylor wrote a post about "Surviving the Suck," I left a comment saying that sometimes I inserted things into my manuscript for my own amusement, even if later I had to take them out.  

What kind of things? 

Oh, for example, Random Moments of Beauty. Dang it, if I want to describe that ray of light bouncing in the window for three paragraphs, I will. Ditto for buying myself some tulips. 

Nicknames for characters. Mr. Large Knees.  Boy Runs-with-Scissors. Little Red-headed Herring. 

Theme songs for various sections.  "Staying Alive, Staying Alive!"  "You Can't Always Get What You Waa-aa-ant . . ."  

Outrageous metaphors.  I just twirl the dial and let the wild comparisons fly out, like a gumball machine. Yesterday I wrote one that involved dogs and a car sunroof. 

So that's my random writing advice for the day.  Consider it a gumball flying in your direction. Or a direct order to stop and smell the tulips.  I hereby grant you permission to amuse your own bad self, because really, if you don't, the suck's going get you. 

P.S. I loved Tanita's "One Shot Over the Fence" book recommendations today. She admits in full geek-out mode why "ancient, sexist science fiction" still has the power to make her happy.  And it was contagious. I found myself grinning through her entire post and itching to read about alien space station hospitals.  They should make an entire TV series out of these books, Tanita!  Yeah, we'll get the LOST writers to jump right on it when they wrap up the last season. (They could work out some of that sexism too.)

P.P.S.  w00t!  Just saw that Colleen's selection for the "One Shot Rec" is Connie Willis's Bellwether!  I share her "shameless adoration" for this title, as I mentioned here.  Colleen also has the full schedule of links to other "One Shot" bloggers. 


  1. Huh. I've never considered amusing MYSELF in these things! I do realize I get into this ...mindset during revision, that NOTHING is funny. I like this idea!

    And *do* check out the aliens. If our back fences were closer, I'd honestly pass them right over -- they're excellent. And as for the TV idea, YES! -- the LOST people and the Galatica people could get right on it since they have nothing better to do right now...

  2. Sara, I think you have a new blog feature there - the book bits you cut out. I'd totally read the dog and the sunroof one.

  3. I'll throw in "It was a dark stormy day" and "her eyes twinkled" every now and then :) Just gotta remember to take it out before sending it off. :)

  4. I always wondered how to combat the suck the same way I wonder about a single clown in a car...where are the other clowns?

    Peace - Rene :)

  5. Thanks for the reminder about the One Shot Tour. I hope to have time to read those this week!

  6. OK. Little Red-headed herring????
    THAT is hilarious.
    I'm totally chuckling aloud...

  7. I'm thinking your advice would work for teachers, especially as we attempt to survive our particular season of suck (testing). Just gotta be a little more careful when there's a live audience of 10 year olds.


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