Thursday, July 24, 2008

Skipping Stuff, Keeping Stuff, Running from Stuff

Funny, in reading my novella from about seven years ago, I'm noticing quite a few issues that I've seen in other beginning works.

When you look over your old stuff, your really old stuff as a beginner, did you tend to skip the action?

I did. And I remember a few years ago critiquing a whole handful of contest entries that did, too. Isn't that a strange learning process? For example, in a suspense novel, we'd see a dangerous thug coming, and then... we'd jump to the hospital where we're nursing our injuries and explaining what happened.

I mean, what strikes me as funny is that the action is the good part!

It's also the most challenging part to write, I think. I'm also seeing parts where I just skipped half a scene. I didn't know what to do, I think, so I just sorta abruptly jumped to the next scene, not in a okay-we're-in-an-ADD-age-and-that's-okay-in-thrillers-now way, but in a hmmm-I-don't-know-what-to-write way.

I've moved to the living room in clearing out stuff. The one thing I am having HUGE problems even CONSIDERING throwing out is my board game collection.

Now, if any of you are only children, you might understand why I LOVE board games. And why the memories of going to my best friend's house and the whole family playing board games rank as some of The Most Fun Experiences Of My Whole Life.

See, as an only child, you can't play board games. Well, you can. Except you play against yourself. And this is sort of a ridiculous thing because who do you root for? Because then, once you've decided which half of you you want to win, you start doing little things to make sure that half of you wins.

I mean, I have cheated against myself to make sure my favorite half won! How silly is that? And Erica wrote about a character who cheated for Cheerios. Hah! I've cheated for nothing, against myself! You can't really lose when you play yourself. On the other hand, I'm not certain you can win, can you?

So while I'm perfectly happy getting rid of half the contents of my kitchen, and am surprisingly comfortable getting rid of a ton of books, I am running into considerable trouble getting rid of my games.

Even though I'm pretty much in the same boat as I was when I was young: I have no one to play them with. (DH does not like board games.) I might have to keep them. Hey, maybe my niece will someday play with me??

And finally, have you ever had a story chase you? Even when you keep telling it that you don't have the time for such a story, that you need to pay the bills? And yet, it keeps bothering you. And you keep tripping across links, overhearing phone conversations, seeing books and movies that all sort of keep nagging at that one story?

Writing a story just for fun: I don't know if I can do it. Might be fun, though. In my spare time, HAH!

20 bonus scribbles:

Robin 7/24/2008 11:22:00 PM  

I love board games, too, Spy! And they're like ketchup - I keep forgetting I already bought them, and I buy them again. We have 3 Craniums, and 2 Cadoos. (Not to mention all the Junior Monopolys.)I finally convinced the boys to let me bring Pokemon Sorry to my office.

LaDonna 7/24/2008 11:50:00 PM  

Spy, I swear if I lived closer to you I'd be over playing those board games with ya. I love them! On vacation, I played UNO every night with my grandkids. Really fun! We had two other card games too. We play Spongebob monopoly, and I really love Blockus. Not sure if the spelling is right, but it's plastic pieces you have to connect, and they're all different shapes. Really fun. And I need to do what you're doing. I'm swimming in clutter down here!!! I need to go through books, and toss some catalogues and magazines.

Eric Mayer,  7/25/2008 12:20:00 AM  

No! Not the board games!! Mine all went with my first marriage. I'd found that the thrift stores for some reason were getting these games and selling them for 50 cents. I found games going back to the 1940s, like a Monopoly variation called Boom or Bust with a board that would swivel, to turn properties from boom values to bust values. Plus all my old childhood favorites like Park and Shop, Broadside, the Game of Life. I miss those games.

Dube 7/25/2008 01:38:00 AM  

Oh gosh, you don't want to even know what I think when I read things I wrote 7 years ago or longer, lol. :-P

StarvingWriteNow 7/25/2008 06:21:00 AM  

Do not throw away your board games. They're important. They're culturally significant. They're all we'll have when the apocalypse comes down and there's no internet!

PS: Bart is slowly recovering. I'm bringing him home tomorrow.

Zoe Winters 7/25/2008 08:16:00 AM  

my biggest challenge is slowing down so it's not just a bunch of running around and action. Or at least that's my perception of it.

conley730 7/25/2008 09:54:00 AM  

Don't get rid of the board games! I'm an only child too, so I had to beg my parents to play with me all the time. I have lots of board games now, and I'm kind of in the same boat - my kids aren't really old enought, but there's nobody else to play with!

spyscribbler 7/25/2008 11:35:00 AM  

Robin, that's fabulous! I don't have Cranium or Cadoo, but I keep wanting those two! Sheesh, I'm always running out of ketchup. That's the one thing I always forget I don't have!

spyscribbler 7/25/2008 11:35:00 AM  

LaDonna, a board game party would ROCK! Blockus sounds like fun, like one I definitely need to add to my collection. Yes, out goes the books and magazines, but I think the board games stay. :-)

spyscribbler 7/25/2008 11:37:00 AM  

Eric, I don't have the Game of Life, which is funny because it's the one game ALL my friends had, and it was my favorite game, and the game I wanted most of all. Heartbreaking about the games. And thrift stores are a great place to buy them!

spyscribbler 7/25/2008 11:37:00 AM  

LOL, Dube. :-) Sometimes it's a major cringe-fest!

spyscribbler 7/25/2008 11:41:00 AM  

Awww, the poor baby! Writenow, I hope he's chipper and well soon! Yes, I'm definitely keeping the board games. You guys have decided me. :-)

spyscribbler 7/25/2008 11:41:00 AM  

LOL, Zoe! That's a great problem to have. :-)

spyscribbler 7/25/2008 11:42:00 AM  

Oh, Erin, I wish we lived close by. In fact, I wish we ALL lived close by, and we could have a big old board game party!

Angie 7/25/2008 11:46:00 AM  

Writing stories just for fun rocks, and I highly recommend it. Not having to worry about genre or marketing categories or length restrictions or "Who'd read this?" or "Who'd publish this?" or "Could I sell this to anyone at all??" means you can play, experiment, do whatever you want.

Stretching your writing muscles farther than you'd usually want them to go can loosen them up for when you're back to writing to spec, and bring in some new ideas or techniques which are useful for the commercial stories. And besides, it's a lot of fun. :)


Melanie Avila 7/25/2008 01:05:00 PM  

I love board games too and no one will ever play with me! I'm coming to the party. :D My favorite is Scattegories, go figure, and we do play that when I visit my sister. Don't throw them away because the minute you do you'll get a new neighbor who loves to play!

Edie 7/25/2008 04:30:00 PM  

Spy, I love the image of a story chasing you. I can see it. lol

I have a cupboard full of games so old the boxes are falling apart. My husband is the one who makes me keep them. What I've kept too long are my old jeans, hoping some day I'll fit into them. I fit into a couple now, but guess what? Styles haven't changed much, but jeans nowadays are longer than they used to be.

spyscribbler 7/26/2008 05:40:00 AM  

Angie, good advice. I really should try it some time, LOL! And you're right: any writing we do stretches our writing muscles!

spyscribbler 7/26/2008 05:41:00 AM  

Melanie, you're so right. The board games stay. And I wish we could all have a big board game party. That would be a blast!

spyscribbler 7/26/2008 05:42:00 AM  

Edie, in her old house, my best friend had a whole closet of games falling apart like that. I fantasized about that closet! It was a magical place!