Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Journal #9

I did a lot of writing this week. Mostly school-related things - this is the time when I have to prepare grad school admission materials, so I spent a lot of time writing letters of intent and working on creative/critical writing for the applications. It ate up a lot of my time, but on the bright side I finally rewrote the draft of my adult short story. It physically exhausted me to write, but my roommate claims it's still good. I wouldn't call it "done" yet, as in I wouldn't submit this for publishing, but anyway, here's the first few lines:

The general was dead. The knowledge of it surprised Martha like a cold wind in July, freezing the skin on her back. General Drakesson was dead. So it ends. So it begins. She hoped those fools in the Council would stop to think before proceeding to tear each other apart like rabid dogs.

I also worked on a YA short story for class this weekend. I went through 3 drafts, 3 different stories, and on the first 2 I stopped halfway through because I wasn't interested anymore. My character didn't feel real in the first one, my plot had no conflict in the second - I had lots of reasons for dumping the first drafts but these were the biggest. My third draft held my attention, so that's the one we're going with. It might have been cheating for me to write this, because it's the backstory of one of my characters in my thesis novel. But, on the other hand, it is YA, and this character was a very different 16-year-old than 26-year-old. I had to rediscover the character to make the story work.

I haven't been reading much this week, except pieces here and there in honor of Halloween. The October Country by Ray Bradbury is a truly creepy collection of short stories. I have read Stephen King, but for some reason he doesn't do it for me when I want to be scared. And honestly, I don't get scared by books; I can just put them down and I'm fine. But the closest I come is when I read Bradbury's horror writing. I have also been working on The Isle of Blood by Rick Yancey, also in honor of Halloween. Yancey's books, I have found, are very dark, especially for YA. They contain philosophies on death and life, good and evil, scientific objectivity and humane behavior. The protagonist is a teenager but in some ways, this book is more adult than YA, but I found the book on the YA shelf. I guess this just illustrates how hazy the definition of YA can be.

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