Story Summary Sybil
Friday, June 29, 2007, 5:12 PM

Okay, so I spent more than an hour yesterday writing a one sentence description about my as-yet-to-be-written novel. You know—like they do on the New York Times Bestseller’s List:

THE GOOD GUY, by Dean Koontz. An ordinary man finds himself at the center of a murder plot.


ON CHESIL BEACH, by Ian McEwan. A wedding night goes terribly wrong.
(Am I the only one who trips over this guy's name?)

Being the rewriting pro/cripple/addict I am, I wrote another one liner about the novel. And then another one, because who wants to leave well enough alone when something else might be better? I don’t know how long this took because I’m on vacation and I refuse to live by the clock, but when I felt my eyes doing the whirly-gig, I knew I'd been the victim of an editorial body snatcher again.

This post is inspired by Step 1 of The Snowflake Method: take an hour and write a one-sentence summary of your novel; and by that creepy movie Sybil from 1976: the true story of a young woman named Sybil, whose childhood was so harrowing to her that she developed at least 13 different personalities.

One liner sentence attempts:

An unlikely relationship forms between a secret government agent and the target she’s been assigned to frame.

A ghost comes back to haunt a woman's double-crossing secret agent husband.

Someone is creating a death trap for a level one secret agent.

Gods and shapeshipfters and ghosty secret agents, oh my.

Double-crossing husband kills his wife, then learns she’s come back as Beetlejuice.

Twenty years of an asshole betrayer agent’s life is replayed through letters from his dead wife.

Sorry excuse of a man puts a bullet through his head at his dead wife’s urging.
None of these are my real idea, but I think one or two might not be bad. Ah, but if only I didn’t have to move on to Step 2: the introductory paragraph.

Send Advil.

5 Did the Unhingey Jiggy Engage in Unhingenosity
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The mascara look
Wednesday, June 27, 2007, 1:02 PM

I’ve been doing more critiquing than writing lately because I thought it would help get me into the writer’s mode again, but I can’t seem to get the editor to back the eff off once I start writing my stuff. I’m an editorial bitch. Example:

While I like the rice paddy near a village no one can pronounce (good stuff), you just reminded that I am reading with this kind of expository paragraph. I'd rather learn this information at the same time the main character does — WITH her.


No man is going to waste time knocking on a door and waiting for it to be answered if he barges in and proceeds to rape a woman. Go for broke (and get rid of PROCEEDS TO RAPE--this is passive writing no-no #101). If you aren't horrified, sickened or ashamed while writing this or reading it later, you have to go deeper. Watch a movie with a rape scene if you need to.


What can a mirror suggest? Mirrors only reflect what's in front of them. So if he’s only ninety pounds soaking wet, but sees that he's one-seventy in the mirror, write that.


How did he decide so quickly to target XY? Surely it can't be because XY is the main character. There must be a reason.


You're focusing too much on the time issue—there are so many references to what time it is in the first few paragraphs that I can't concentrate on the story. I'd suggest letting his body language show his agitation. If you show the clock readout at 10:29 and then reveal that it's still 10:29 several paragraphs from now, it will have more impact.


I like this paragraph. It's painful and poignant and reminds me how dumb I was at this age, hoping for the impossible.


I'd like to see how it's more than the act of fucking that moves her to action. If it's just feeling desirable by a man again, I want to see her realize that. But I'm greedy and I want more than that. I want her to realize she's over him for other reasons because I like this painful, rather dark story.


Describe why she's distracted. Is it the smell of his cologne? The shape of his hands? The sensual curve of his mouth? The tone of his voice? How thick his thighs are? If you're going to put me here, show me the goods.


There are too many ... ellipses. Use them judiciously, or your character's pauses lose impact. Plus, it makes me think that neither one of them feels strongly enough about what they're feeling or communicating.


This gorgeous 36-year-old guy who has the world in the palm of his hand thinks a girl he barely knows is too good for him? I didn't think 36-year-old entrepreneurs had TIME to have inferiority complexes. And I have no idea how he comes up with the idea to set X and Y up. It makes me think that this is a plot device to keep them apart, or it makes me think that X and Y aren't even going to get together, which begs the question why you spent a chapter and a half getting them together in the first place.


Don't worry about where to place the story for now. Worry about getting your two main character's major complications and motivations off page 15 and onto the first few pages.

I read over the story critiques I've sent later and often think I'm harsh, but then I (waste time) read other critiques on the same story and feel redeemed because most of the other critiquers come across piss-poorly, sans balls and backbone. It makes me feel like I'm in the minority. Which I probably am, but sheesh. The first six paragraphs of a chapter two romance focused on two girls putting on blush and doing the mascara look. Three of the critiquers LOLed at that, totally "getting it". And there I am, wondering how I managed the patience to crit the piece, let alone where the complications of the story are.

I'm boycotting all romance.

Meanwhile, I’ve written almost 500 words of crap and I have to get back to it because I’m aiming for at least another 500 by the end of the week.

3 Did the Unhingey Jiggy Engage in Unhingenosity
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Hey, that's weird
Monday, June 18, 2007, 2:00 PM

I don't know why yet, but I'm trying to eat more healthy nowadays. I sucked down two bottles of Odwalla this weekend, ate two bananas, three tomatoes and too much cauliflower. I ended up feeling gross. Every time I burped, I tasted cauliflower. Today, my dang stomach's still upset. I don't know how the vegans do it. Makes me bloat even more just thinking about it.

There's something wrong with my computer. And I had the worst urge to write this weekend! So I did. Like I used to in the olden days: I hand wrote. On paper. While hunched over my kitchen table. Ended up taking a bunch of aspirin, too, because writing for any length of time makes my head, neck, arm and back ache. Oh, the sacrifice.

My sister has been bugging me about moving to Michigan, the land of horrible winters. I can't believe I'm actually considering it. (But that's all, Oogie. Just considering.) My main hangup about moving again? I don't want to have to buy a car and pay for car insurance. I don't want to have to drive to work. I've been spoiled, spoiled, I tell you. I won't even think about the pain of hunting for a new job.



I'd rather eat a can of lima beans. And that's something else I did this weekend: I ate lima beans. They were as awful as I remembered, too, even smothered under butter and pepper. Yes, I have a rip-roaring life here in L.A.

This morning I got an e-mail from my ex. He's selling our house. My belly did flip-flops when I saw the place. Especially those gardens that were such godawful hard work. A bird pooped on my back there (oh, shit, LOL), I narrowly escaped a hive of killer bees there, and a racoon temporarily made his home in the attic. And ... and ... and I used to live there and I'm sad about leaving and feel displaced all over again. Like Kat said, I feel like I'm just one crying jag away from being Paris Hilton.

Monday, huh?

3 Did the Unhingey Jiggy Engage in Unhingenosity
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On maturing
Tuesday, June 12, 2007, 1:00 PM

So I realized the guy (Hayden Christensen) I was lusting over on TV the other day was only 26-years-old and now I’m feeling … well, grown up. I’m not that ecstatic about it, either.


Other signs I've been inconveniently unable to ignore lately:

I am so not gellin’

Pooping is almost orgasmic

Watching CNN instead of the Netflix movie that just came in the mail

Feeling compelled to say excuse me when I sneeze, like I’ve just farted or something

My eyebrows are growing in thinner, which is good, but why can’t the hair on my legs or under my arms grow in thinner instead?

Realizing I can’t have sex because I’m constipated

Naming my tummy; not because I’m fat or pregnant, but because Bu makes embarrassing noises, so Bu might as well have her own presence

Having to make that horrible hurkle-gurkle throat clearing sound before I say my first word in the morning

I’m no longer quirky, I’m a spectacle

That pressure point reflex thing happens more and more frequently (I guess I should name my butt hole, too)

Peanut butter and grape jelly sandwiches have lost their appeal

I waste time sleeping or reading when I could be Texting


Now, if only I could remember that thing in the thing with the thing ...

4 Did the Unhingey Jiggy Engage in Unhingenosity
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Thought for May
Friday, June 01, 2007, 4:56 PM

You haven't truly lived until you've sneezed and barfed at the same time.

7 Did the Unhingey Jiggy Engage in Unhingenosity
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