Monday, July 19, 2004
Muggy and rainy
I can’t read the monologue I want to read on the radio this afternoon because of the FCC regulations. In other words, “Transition Man” is censored. I’m not happy about that. So much for free speech, thank you very much. I considered changing the word “fuck” (used once) – but that particular word is exactly what I mean in the context of the piece – not “make love”, “have sex”, “sleep with” or any of the other phrases that contain similar meanings. This is what I mean, which is why I used the word in the first place. I rarely use “that” language in my work, but when I do, there’s a very specific meaning to it. I also mention sex and use “vibrator” in the monologue – don’t think those words are censored, but not sure. So that’s annoying. I either have to change the word or I have to read a different monologue.
I don’t often have a diva fit, but this is a case where I want one.
Perhaps I’ll mention it in the interview.
I’ve been working on the YA novel and the series in general. The other day, in a flash, a section of their lives as adults in their mid-twenties revealed itself. I wonder, is it possible, if the series works, to grow up with those characters and present them, many books down the line, as fully perceptive adults? Can you take characters that started their lives with younger readers and less explicit situations and use them in fully adult novels? How graphic, how explicit depictions of growing up will audiences allow? Or do the publishers censor in the same way? Would a novel dealing with these characters as complete adults, aimed at an adult audience have to be disassociated with the books for younger readers?
I’m sure the Conservative Religious Right would have a fit.
And do I care?
I have to remain true to the characters. The best YA novels I’ve read deal honestly with actual teenage lives; they don’t merely sanitize them. Even early books for young readers, in the 20s, 30s and 40s offered a more honest depiction of a fully-rounded life than the novels in the 50s and 60s. Judy Blume was the one to re-break that ground.
I need to trust my characters and let them be my guide. And I also have to decide how much I’ve learned about their future will affect the present books.
Terry Brooks brings up an important point in his book about each character integral in moving the story forward. Charlie Yates and Fiona Mullin will help demonstrate how Lizzie will cut slack to a boy but not a girl and how she has to get past her own gender bias.
I think this story bends some of the rules, but at least I’m aware of the rules I bend, so it’s a choice instead of a mistake.
I already see where I need to rewrite. I want to get the first draft on paper (words on paper, important mantra). When I go back in the first rewrite, I want to add the textured, sensory details of what it’s like to be in Scotland.
Libby Coleman has already become Lizzie Calhoun (much to the relief of the Libby character in Dixie Dust Rumours who wishes to remain the only Libby in my landscape for awhile). Josiah has become Jonas. Peter Deane remains Peter Deane. I need to do more research on clan histories of the area. I found a little book I picked up about odd and interesting historical facts in Ayrshire and I’ll sprinkle some of that in, if it’s relevant. Plus, I have to create the history of the fictional island.
I’m tempted to type up each day’s pages, but worried I’ll already start the rewrite, and that will short-circuit moving forward on the first draft. I’m going ahead with writing too many adjectives and adverbs in this draft, and cutting them later. The unnecessary words will remind me, in the rewrite, of the feel of each scene, and then I can focus on the absolute perfect and concise word as I do it. If I pause each time to find the perfect word, I’ll never be done. My Interior Editor gets in the way.
First draft is for story, character and momentum. It’s the skeleton.
Second draft is for overwriting – overload of sensory details and tangents.
Third draft is for cutting and making it as precise as possible. That’s the draft that goes to my Trusted Readers.
Fourth draft is revision per comments.
Fifth draft is again about precision.
Sixth draft requires more cutting and then polish.
That’s the first draft to be submitted to the market.
In other words, it’ll be awhile before this book sees the light of day, even as a YA.
I need to find a pithy name for the series. (Yes, “pithy” – I like the word, I rarely get to use it, and it’s exactly what I mean in this situation).
Time to hunt down a Scots Gaelic dictionary.
I need to get dictionaries in different languages. Dictionaries provide inspiration when I’m searching for the right word or making up a relevant name. I have many in storage – which does me no good here.
I read Nancy Lamb’s book on writing for children and young adults. It has some good information in it that can be applied to any sort of writing. But it’s still not exactly what I’m looking for.
Working on the switchover to AOL. It seems to run better with my system, but the transition will be a pain. It amazes me how much my stress lessens and my overall health improves when my computer runs properly.
I’m also sticking to my yoga and doing more than usual. It’s amazing how much better I feel when I actually do it every day. I’m not in as much constant pain from the raked stage, my posture is better, my breathing is better. So I need to be as disciplined in the yoga as I am in the writing.
Picked out patterns for clothes for fall. I’m putting together some ideas, and, hopefully, I’ll have the time to make them.
The weekend at the show was interesting and difficult, with three leads leaving. On the Saturday, one of them began to cry at the top of the second act and could barely get through her song. It hit her that she was leaving a project that occupied more than a year of her life. The creation process, the birthing process of such a project bonds people together in a unique way. The friendships will be maintained, but it’s never the same as being in the trenches with your colleagues every night. The final matinee was astounding – long time repeat audience members gave it at least four standing ovations – the first in the first number. They cheered every detail that was tweaked for the last performance (the actors were playing pranks on each other onstage). Often, when actors do that, the audience has no idea what’s going on, and it remains an inside joke. But this show has so many people who love it and know every beat and every detail, that they shared the jokes with us, which was good.
That’s what makes theatre so unique and so irreplaceable, in spite of Corporate America taking over Broadway and trying to automate everyone out of their jobs. It’s the live connection between the creative people on the stage, behind the scenes and in the audience. It’s different in every performance, and can never be exactly recreated. It is why theatre is such a potent and magnificent art form.
Had a chance to socialize a bit, which is always a nice change. Dinner with two friends on Saturday between shows, and a group of us went out for drinks on Sunday after the matinee. I was concerned about the latter because I didn’t want to spend all my time bitching about the show; fortunately, there were plenty of other topics to discuss and we had a lovely time. We were in the Pinnacle Bar in the Hilton on 42nd St. – great view of the city. It’s sometimes difficult to be in my old neighborhood. It’s turned into such a theme park and is no longer livable. I’m glad I’m not there any more, but I sometimes miss some of what it was.
Back to work on Angel Hunt and the YA novel, prepare for the radio broadcast, and maybe spend some time on The Widow’s Chamber.
And the hundreds of other little details to which I should be attending.