guys read, gatsby gaming, and other nonsense.

| Monday, August 9, 2010
Today's Tune: Smooth Criminal (cover)

I hope you enjoyed the rundown of Jon Scieszka's Keynote speech from Friday! He was really something to see in person. His "Boys and Reading" session with Mac Barnett had me rolling. Also, you should absolutely, AB-SO-LUTE-LY, check out the Guys Read website that they co-run. If you have or know a reluctant boy reader, introduce him to this site. STAT.

Okay. I'm trying to decide how I'm going to go about posting aaaaall of those SCBWI talks. What do you think? Should I post daily until they're all posted? SCBWI posts on Tuesdays and Thursdays, regular posts on MWF? Any sessions you're especially interested in hearing about LIKE YESTERDAY, STEPH, GET ON IT? Let me know.

I took a fairly long blogging break, so I thought I'd do a regular old maybe genius update that might interest the world you dudes and ladies. I gave the blog a slight facelift, as well. Hey, look, a picture of me that ISN'T five years old.


Did you know they made The Great Gatsby into a video game? It's true. And wonderful. I love this. Literature spread across multiple mediums makes me happy. People (silly people) like to get down on video games as a destroyer of youth and intelligence and the universe, and as a certified gamer girl WHO IS ALSO YOUNG AND INTELLIGENT AND NOT OUT TO DESTROY THE UNIVERSE, THANK YOU VERY MUCH, I find this attitude misguided. Don't get me wrong, I think Grand Theft Auto games are totally "pffffffffft gross" worthy, but gaming is an industry thirsty for quality storytelling in an interactive medium.

I am going to have to do another post on gaming and storytelling, now that I think about it.


Don't forget about WriteOnCon! It begins tomorrow (August 10) and goes strong till Thursday (August 12). If there's any way you can take advantage of this VERY FREE kidlit writing conference, you should. I've been busy polishing up my first five pages to post in the WIP forum.

Speaking of my first five pages, I recently discovered (via a very helpful crit group) that my beginning isn't really the beginning. My beginning was in chapter two. It was a very

moment, since I was so so so pleased with the wordsmithery and tension of my opening chapter. Such great language and imagery. And I have to scrap it.

That sort of thing cuts you. You really are always learning in this process. I know all the stuff about how to hook readers, how to open a novel, how to keep tension high and propel readers forward - all of it. And I did that, and well. But it's still not right. I've been editing a lot, but this is the first cut I've had to make that really made me go NOOOOOOOOOO. My opening line! My wonderful, poetic, fantastic opening line! I had to kill it!

:( :( :( :( :( :(

On a happier note, Clara's personality is really shining. She was one of those characters that grew a personality as she went, and now that I have a better grasp on who she is, fleshing her out from the beginning is proving not only easy, but FUN. She's so spunky.

The biggest help was going through Donald Maass' Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook, which I highly recommend. Like they all say - if you want your novel to really shine, you have to push beyond the surface of the obvious. And then push more. And more. Past the breaking point. Past where you ever possibly thought your characters or your story could go. AND THEN YOU PUSH EVEN MORE.

Whew. Sometimes it hurts, this writing life. And sometimes it's amazing.

How about you, dear readers? How's your journey going?


{ aspiring_x } at: August 9, 2010 at 8:57 AM said...

oh man! that's hard to do! i wonder if some of it could be saved?? i had to cut about thirty pages from the beginning of my WIP, because i started the story too early also. it hurts (there are part in there i really miss) but it's better for it, i know... still :(

{ Matthew Rush } at: August 9, 2010 at 12:02 PM said...

First of all I love your new photo.

Second the Great Gatsby game? WTF how have I not heard of this?

There is also: Alan Wake, and The Call of Cthulu, the Dark Corners of the Earth; for other writing related video games. I thought both were pretty good.

Thanks Steph!

{ Emily White } at: August 9, 2010 at 12:10 PM said...

Ooh, cutting stuff is painful. I had to completely cut the whole ending of Elemental. It was sad, but kind of refreshing too. And I started my novel at the wrong place as well. I think a lot of people do. At least you're discovering this now rather than, you know, AFTER you sent a requested partial/full to your dream agent and he/she said no because the story didn't start in the right place. Yeah, that would hurt.

{ Elena Solodow } at: August 9, 2010 at 12:19 PM said...

In 2008, after working on it for 4 years, I had a writing instructor ask me: "What's your book about?" When I told him, he asked me: "But why? Why does all of that stuff happen?"

And I really couldn't answer him. That's when I realized that maybe it was time to move on...

It was frightening to think that the book was just not going to work after 4 years, but later that night I got a brand new idea and never looked back. Best thing I ever did!

{ Steph Sinkhorn } at: August 9, 2010 at 1:04 PM said...

@ aspiring_x - I hope some of it can be saved! It's a scene that really needed to go later, and be told by a different character. It'll be better, but yeah... AAARGH.

@ Matthew - Ooooh Call of Cthulu! That sounds awesome.

@ Emily - Haha, definitely true. I know my novel will be stronger for this, but man, it sucks!

@ Elena - Oh man, ouch :( It's always terrible to think about that happening to our babies... but I'm glad you had a new idea to run with!

{ RosieC } at: August 15, 2010 at 11:20 AM said...

A Gatsby video game, huh? I think I know what I'm getting my hubby for his birthday! *snicker*

I feel like that all the time, having to cut things I love. But just because we love it doesn't mean it's great (although, wouldn't the world be lovely if it did?).

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