Monday, August 6, 2007

MMWUC for August 6, 2007

EXERCISE: Holden Caulfield bursts through the classroom door. "I hate school. All book learning is crap. You want to know about life? Go to New York City penniless." A wheelchair squeaks. "The world breathes on every street corner as the parade of human calamity passes." A nurse wheels an oxygen tank. "Eight million lives in the naked city speak 186 languages covering all ages, colors, creeds, and religions. Live. Write so your words don't die in your pen." Holden rises from the wheelchair and grabs a breath from the oxygen tank. He scans the faces of the shocked students. "What do you want?" he yells. "I'm 73 years old and smoked like a California wildfire." He sucks another breath. "Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and relax. For the next ten minutes, write from the antagonist's POV, 'The cold stream froze, but I...'."

MUSINGS: I have a turkey fetish. I cook at least four a year, and have done so for twenty years or more. After posting my short story nine days ago that included turkeys, I noticed that every single novel I wrote had a turkey scene in it (even the unfinished one set in outer space). My current WIP had a turkey scene in it! And every turkey scene I ever wrote got deleted. What's up with that? Great scenes all, but sometimes YOU HAVE TO KILL YOUR FAVORITES and get rid of shitty first drafts to make the story work. And each time I yanked the turkey scene, the story got better. It's something I have to take to heart when editing. If the scene doesn't push the story forward, it holds the writer back. I'm thinking in a few years I'll be able to concatenate all those turkey stories and publish a holiday book of turkey stories: "Turkeys I Have Known" or perhaps "The Great Turkey Massacre". Whatever, I'm just glad that Benjamin Franklin didn't get his way when he wanted the turkey as our national bird. Eagles just don't have enough meat on them.

3 comments:

ron v. said...

Bottom line: if the scene's a turkey kill it!

Ruth D~ said...

Hey, you. Turkey Boy.

Why not join IWW's Practice list. A sub and a crit a month is the minimum requirement.

We've got a great crew and would love to have you. You'd see lots of familiar faces. Consider it, okay? Carter J, Bob S. and "moi" are the co-admins.

Not that you need the practice, but we have weekly exercises and muses galore. I'll even write an exercise about a turkey just for you. Is this an offer you can't refuse or a turkey's attempt

Gobble, gobble. :>)

Rick Bylina said...

Methinks I need more play than practice, but will think about it.

For others needing practise, thems some good people to practise with.