Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Laughter and Learning

I had a very high brow post planned for today but my day began with hysterics after DH read this headline from the Gulf News - "Lovers fight after man breaks wind. " You can find the full article here. It's well worth a read. I am still trying to recover.

Things for A Cornish House are starting to fall in place, I think. Having the lightbulb moment, while reading Pillow Talk by Freya North, that I haven't given Madde a voice I realized yesterday working with Donald Maass's Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook that I hadn't really given Madde much of a story. Now, I know that sounds funny but it's very true. Here's my protagonist and although her story is interesting and touching it just isn't enough to balance out the story of Serena. So this is why she takes over even though she controls fewer pages in the story - her story is more compelling. So when I had been pounding the pavement around Safa Park here in Dubai in the mornings I worked through some aspect of Madde's story that I could change but it seemed pat as I said a few days ago. But then Julie's words...The key is to write them in such a way that only you could have done it.

So the brain went into overdrive with the questions posed in Donald Maass's book. I could make this work and tell it my way which would make it unique. So while I circumnavigated Safa Park this morning more of the new plot line fell into place and it will make this Madde's story and Serena will take second place. However I know this won't be an easy rewrite. I just hope I am up to the task because I will have raised the stakes and I don't want to let Madde down now that she has become more vulnerable and more flawed.

I finished Pillow Talk earlier this week - Delicious. The book is a pleasure to read and I enjoyed every moment of it. A truly romantic story for the Romantic Novel of the Year award.

20 comments:

Michelle Styles said...

Now you see why I swear by Maass.

As long as Madde has a core of integrity and is loyal in some way to her own unique code, I suspect you will be fine. Think about what makes a hero to you and try to show some of that in Madde's character quite early on.
It is the understanding why behind difficult choices that makes a character sympathetic.
A woman stealing to buy an expensive shoes = not very sympathetic. A woman stealing to put bread in the mouth of her starving children is more understandable. It is what a charcter does when she gets into hot water and her true/inner character is revealed that readers respond to.

liz fenwick said...

Yes, Michelle I do! He is certainly a genius when it comes to the rewrite! i am just hoping that I will be able to work it all in :-)

Ray-Anne said...

Completely agree about Donald Maass - brilliant way to kick fire the old grey cells.
Well done on the chutzpa.
:-)

liz fenwick said...

Thanks Ray-Anne :-)

NoviceNovelist said...

Keep us up to date with how it's going Liz. It's great when you get the fire in your belly when you solve a writing dilemma - have fun putting it into practice!

liz fenwick said...

Thanks Isabella :-)

Lane said...

I have to check out Maass now!

The wind story is priceless:-)

liz fenwick said...

Glad you enjoyed the wind story!

Get both the Maass books - the Writing the Breakout Novel and the Workbook! My brain is fried right now.........

Flowerpot said...

sounds a great book Liz. Go for it - of course you can do it!

liz fenwick said...

The D Maass book is great. Thanks for the vote of confidence :-)

Debs said...

I do wish I hadn't read this whilst sitting in an open plan office with 80 or so other people! That was so funny! I think a few of them are concerne that I've gone a little mad!

So glad that you're feeling much better. I shall have to go and order Donald Maass's book - it sounds perfect.

liz fenwick said...

So sorry Debs - will try and post a warning if I post another one!

The Maass book rates right up there with Sol Steins solutions for writers. Both are great hands on manuals for working with a book that is already written!

Rebecca Burgess said...

I haven't read him, but many of the writers in my writer group swear by, and are ardent worshipers of, Donald Maass.

Now that you've mentioned him as well, I will definitely have to investigate.

liz fenwick said...

Rebecca, I think he's great. if you had a work that is ready for a work over then he takes you through step by step almost of where to tighten and strengthen your work. I find with his questions lightbulbs going off every where!

I don't think he would be my man at the prewrite stages although having worked through this book with him I know what I will have learned with sit with the next time I write from scratch :-)

Julie Cohen said...

Are you sure that was the Gulf News and not the Guff News?

Jude said...

Hi Liz

Must check out this Donald Maass character. Sounds interesting. On the subject of lightbulb moments, I often have them while reading other people's books - then scare myself with thoughts of plagiarism. But glad to hear you've had one recently - great news for the Cornish House and Madde. Keep up the good work xxx

ChrisH said...

Sorry you have been in the doldrums and I'm glad you're picking up. I haven't been able to get near FTT for two weeks because of family commitments and I'm scared so might look the Maass book for some help. Keep going Liz? Btw are you running? I do find for me that it's a brilliant way of working out wrinkles in the WIP (alas it doesn't smooth out any other wrinkles - although possible derriere is a bit tighter... I know, I know... too much information!)

liz fenwick said...

Maybe they should rename the paper Julie!

Yes, plagerism is a concern which is why I don't then to read much while I write the first draft and also I become so depressed with the their skill Jude!

Chris do check out Maass....he's helped me twice and this time I am really putting the workbook through its paces.

I don't run as I am not built for it but I walk and there is something about the process of it that sets my mind working :-)

Fiona said...

Must read Maass next.

These lightbulb moments are brilliant aren't they? They only come when you are ready for them though. At least that's my little theory. You have to write and read and read and write and then ping! You realise you're a better writer than you were six months ago.

liz fenwick said...

Fiona I guess are right they only come when you are ready for them! Do try Maass.......he pulls no punches :-)