Writing Is Making Choices

I’m once again revising my first novel, Another Place on the Planet. On the advice of my editor, I am deleting several scenes which will help in several ways. One of the scenes is a rape which I threw in as a plot device. It took on a life of it’s own. And now I know my handling of it didn’t do justice to the violence and terror women suffer when raped. I’ve never been raped so I could only imagine. I didn’t imagine enough. I’ve never done a lot of things my main character, Lily, does and experiences.

The internet is a labyrinth. We all click on a link and hours later found ourselves topics and cyber miles from where we began. I have to admit I have learned a lot that way, as well as squandered precious hours when I could have been more productive. Tonight I clicked on a link to a screenwriting blog I follow and watched the video there that took me to YouTube where I watched a short film called  Train. Just out of curiosity.

That led to a click on this short film. I found it very graphic and disturbing. But it did me the favor of confirming the writing choice I need to make. I hadn’t seen it before but there are several similarities to the scene I wrote. Three men violating one woman. Dark, lonely place. Urinating on the victim. My imagination scares me sometimes. The men in my scene are teens and less invested in the activity than the ones in the video, so it doesn’t go as badly for Lily. That kind of trauma and the ensuing legal complications need an entire book.

How men treat women is a minor theme in Another Place on the Planet. I pray for the day when men treat all women as they would their mother or daughter or sister, and men who can’t even do that are no more.


1 Timothy 5:1-2 (The Message)

 Don’t be harsh or impatient with an older man. Talk to him as you would your own father, and to the younger men as your brothers. Reverently honor an older woman as you would your mother, and the younger women as sisters. 


The end is near–if only I could write it

I have until Sunday night to finish my book, Another Place on the Planet. I just have to hack it out to get it done. I don’t have a flair for snappy endings. Heck, I’m not even sure I have a flair for decent writing, but I try.

Another Place is an alternate ending to my first novel, A Box of Rain, which I wrote for my first NaNoWriMo in 2008 when the the writing bug bit and I became infected. I think some parts of the story were good for my first attempt, and I had some nice compliments from my critique group, (Glendale Writer’s Critique Group) although none of them liked the main character’s love interest. It had an ending. But as I thought about it, I wasn’t satisfied. After all, it’s a romance and all the ending promised was stability with a nice guy. As escape material, I thought, “Boring!”

So, I had the MC meet another potential love who was a bit more interesting. And I liked that and hopefully had the reader wondering who was going to get the girl, the MC. But then I took it one step beyond and Another Place on the Planet was born and has grown and grown and…

I have enough material for at least three books. I started last May and spent almost a year writing scenes, rewriting a few, taking different twists but couldn’t get it all focused so this summer I said, “Trilogy!” We’ll see what a publisher, if any, says.

But first I have to write the end of the first book. Then I have to revise and see if it all makes sense and where I can improve conflict and sexual tension, etc. I have to focus on the unseen details that make it tight and readable, that make it flow. It’s quite the learning process. Not as much fun as devising new situations for two characters I’ve come to love. But any good writer knows that most of writing is rewriting.

I’ve been finding if I get bogged down and can’t move the story forward I need to take a short break from it. Maybe work for a day or two on my current screenplay or watch a few movies or read some fiction or a combination of all of the above. I do have a couple of Netflix I’ve been looking forward to viewing, Precious and Through a Glass Darkly. So, maybe I’ll do that tomorrow. Also must edit my critique group submission for this week and critique the submissions from last time.

My free time is rapidly drawing to a close. I went into my smelly new classroom today and filled up my desk and put a personal-type bulletin board up where I hang important papers I need often and things the kids give me. I’ll have 90 kids this year instead of 70. Besides Science and Social Studies, I hear they’ve tacked on Writing, so I’ll have 90 kids to read for. Hmmm…I’m not going to let it cut into much of my writing time. Keep it short, stupid. KISS.