Saturday, August 11, 2007

Progress update (of a sort), and some musing.

I've almost finished reading one of the books that was recommended to me (Fear of Writing by Milli Thornton) and the other book that was recommended (How to Write a Damn Good Novel, II: Advanced Techniques For Dramatic Storytelling by James N. Frey) should be here by the middle of the week. Tracking scans show it making progress on the journey.

I also ordered two other books that looked helpful or, at the very least, entertaining. Plot & Structure: (Techniques And Exercises For Crafting A Plot That Grips Readers From Start To Finish) by James Scott Bell and Write Great Fiction: Characters, Emotion & Viewpoint : (Techniques and exercises for crafting dynamic characters and effective viewpoints) by Nancy Kress. Needless to say, I'll be very busy reading during the later part of next week and the week after that.

The last day or two has had my mind tumbling titles for the book I've been working on. I'm only searching for a working title because some editor/publisher somewhere will probably insist on changing it someday. Also, I'm only searching for a working title because I can't keep calling it "O's Big Adventure". I just can't. It sounds too much like porn and if when I call it "Ophelia's Big Adventure" I get images of Pee Wee Herman in my head. I cannot write with that in my head. (Besides, it looks really dorky on the progress meter.)

The suggestions that were made to me on certain parts of O's book have also been rolling around in my head these past few days. I'm going to give my brain somewhere between two and seven more days to tumble everything around and get everything straightened out (it's like tumbling raw gems and rocks; it takes a while to get to the pretty shiny stage) then I'm going to start making daily progress. (Not to mention that next week is the week before school starts and the calendar is starting to look pretty frenzied; I'm not sure I'll even be able to check my email on a few of the days... at least, and not make it to bed on time, too.)

I've also had the issue of "how much do I post on the internet?" rolling around in my head lately. Do I dish the details of the book (soon to be books) in progress? Do I post unedited excerpts? Roughly edited excerpts? Polished excerpts?

I worry about someone stealing what I've written and claiming it as their own. It's happened to me before and is, in fact, part of why I quit writing when I did. Someone was taking Ophelia short stories and scenes from larger stories that I had posted in the Ophelia journal, posting them in their own journal, submitting them to groups, and claiming them as their own. Then the thief pointed to me with the accusation of "THIEF!!". All while simultaneously telling me via comments and emails how badly I wrote.

Yes, I've seen the little copyright statements authors put up when they post raw scenes and excerpts to their blogs and websites, but has that ever really stopped anyone from stealing them? It didn't stop the person stealing O's stories from me.

I know that authors should have web pages where editors and/or publishers (not to mention readers) can get to know them, become familiar with their writing, or whatever else it is that they do (which is why I have this blog and eventually a multi page website). I've also read many authors' blogs and websites and seen a lot of raw scenes and quite a few polished excerpts from unpublished books and/or works in progress posted. I've also seen some pretty detailed explanations about the current book in progress, and even one daily and very detailed recap of what was written or rewritten. I don't need to buy that book should it ever be published; I watched it be written, step by beautiful step.

So, how much is too much? Is there such a thing as too little in this situation? I'm happy to share what I've written if it entertains someone, but I'm finding myself being extremely cautious in the matter.

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