Monday, October 3, 2011

The day of Mon

Happy Monday, everyone!

I was working on Cyberlama revisions this weekend. When I started this second draft, I had planned to write in new sections with pen and paper, but I'm finding that as I get into more problematic areas all I can really do for now is jot down general notes like "more here," and "expand on this, what is she really feeling?" I feel like the first draft was not as far along as I had hoped it would be, and I need to approach it more conceptually for a bit first. That's not necessarily a problem, but I'm proud of myself for recognizing this now. I can easily see how I could have wasted several weeks fixing the surface of the story only to find out later that the foundation was not yet in place.

I'm also gearing up to apply for a local "manuscript finishing" fellowship, and I'm a little conflicted. The application requires two letters of recommendation, and I thought I would ask two of my writer friends to jump in. But after talking to the organizer I was told that I needed to ask two "experts." My problem is that my view of experts does not jive with the organizer's view of experts. My friends are the people I respect intellectually and writerualectually. I'm friends with them because I respect them. Do I stick to my guns or follow directions?

How are your weeks starting out, y'all?


  1. Wow, Davin, that's a tough call! What are their requirements for an expert? What will you want to see that you did five years from now when it comes to that decision. I always try to put myself in those shoes and then decide from there. Hard to do, as well, but brings a little more perspective to the situation. For me, at least.

    Also, that's really great about where you are in your writing/revising/editing. I love it when you can see things more clearly, even if it means more work in the long run.

  2. Good morning, Michelle! Happy Monday. I called the organizer and she mentioned a couple of people who she thought of as experts. They're not bad choices, but I also don't agree with them. I don't know what I'm going to do yet.

    As for the edits, I'm just trying to keep moving forward. You've been so productive, and I want to be too!

  3. But she was just giving examples, right? You seem pretty well-connected in the writing community. I have to believe there is an overlap between your views of an expert.

    If not, I guess it depends on how much you want the fellowship. You might get it anyway, but which could you live with more: Standing on principle and not getting it, or doing it her way and getting it.

    My week started with driving over ten cans of (white) paint left conveniently in front of my (black) suv. But all is cleaned up and now I'm back to editing. :)

  4. j a zobair, ten cans of white paint! I mean, if it had been eight, or even nine cans, I could understand, but ten? Really? I'm glad you got it cleaned up. What a mess that must have been.

    The person I talked to did give me one specific example, so I feel like I'm going to have to contact her if I want the fellowship. I do want it, mostly because I really admire one of the teachers involved and also one of the other writers that are applying. I want to work with them.

  5. Why did she list the people she did as experts though. Did she specifically want them? Or was she using them as examples of how connected to the publishing world she believes experts should be? If the first one, that's tough and a decision you'll have to make yourself because only you know how it will effect you. If two, use them as a ruler and find people that measure up but that are you're ideal.

    Good luck.

  6. Eep, please ignore the grammar mistakes.

    Note to self- never blog on only four hours of sleep.

  7. Well, you know, what's the priority here? Getting the fellowship or getting to define "expert?"

    Pointless aside: I'm reading a college-level writing textbook now and the author (who I won't name), who teaches in an MFA creative writing program, is quite often completely full of bullshit and wrongheaded and way off base in her suggestions to novelists. Of course, she's just as often magically insightful and thought-provoking. I don't know which half of that combination gives her the expertise.

  8. Half of anything any "expert" says is bullshit.

    The trick is knowing which half.

  9. Since Michelle, Davin and I don't claim to be experts, we are free to be completely full of bullshit and wrongheaded and way off base any time we want!

  10. Regarding feeling the first draft is not as far along as you had hoped, my approach is to tell the story, retell the story, and repeat, until I know the entire story is told, and then call it a first draft. For my current project, the first version contained many places where I said, "Something happens here." In the second version, I filled in most of those blanks; however, I anticipate needing several more passes before I am satisfied that I have a first draft and can start on a second draft.

    Regarding "experts," an expert is someone from somewhere else. Before my day job was sent offshore, my skills included being a user interface design expert, but what did my account do when they needed a user interface design expert? They flew in someone from the other side of the country. An expert is someone from somewhere else. I still had to go through that "experts" work and correct the errors.

    Often, when people with authority and delusions define what reality is, one must accept their definition of reality regardless of how farcical it is if one wishes to remain in the good graces of those powerful people.

    Risk management involves three possible responses: 1) avoiding the risk, 2) mediating the risk, or 3) accepting the risk. When considering your response to the dictates of a dictator, do a cost/benefit analysis for each of the three possible responses, then go with your gut, but understand the potential consequences of your choice.

  11. Friends are biased, that's why they want credentials. They want objectivity.

    Just have your friends play to the writing aspect of your relationship and their personal writing credentials.


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