The Sunday Circle

Details about The Sunday Circle can be found here. A bit late to the game this week, so I’ll keep it brief! (Haha! Ah… *wipes tear* No way you bought that…)

This week I’m working on: So, last week had some ups and downs–ups, in the form of a bump to the editor’s desk for Shimmer, and downs, getting back a “no.” But they did give me some helpful feedback, so I’m going to do my best to incorporate those changes, and see if I can make headway elsewhere. On the plus side, the feedback confirmed that I have possibly corrected a structural problem that has been plaguing my work for a while, so it’s nice to see progress. I’m realizing, too, how much development in writing is just like development in any art: when you correct the big, glaring issue (perspective, composition, etc.), the weaknesses that were obscured by that one failure become the new glaring issues (flat shading, color choice, brushwork, etc.). And there will probably always be something, though I hope those glaring issues will gradually become less glaring (at least to the reader, if not to me!).

So with that in mind, my goal this week is to finish the read through of “Any Day But Today…” And getting it submitted. After that, I’ll review the possible edit for “Circles,” and then–if there’s time–tuck into the complete rewrite of “Mirror, Mirror” and hopefully make some headway on that.

What’s inspiring me? Toy Story and Gilmore Girls, the first for its surprisingly masterful weaving of two man-vs-self conflicts without ever feeling cluttered, and the second for the shift in writing and how important context and echoing are for making an event feel important. The DVD we rented of Toy Story also included a special feature that showed the first version of the “Buzz out the window” scene, which was so bad, Disney considered sacking the whole project. The problem they were running into was how to make Woody flawed enough to try to get rid of Buzz, without making you hate him so much you can’t root for him. It was kind of eye-opening. I think sometimes it’s easy to forget that any finished product wasn’t conceived as a perfect whole, but underwent a considerable development process.

Gilmore Girls, likewise, I feel like is starting to struggle as I dig into the 5th season. I’m still invested in Lorelei’s current relationship, but mostly because it’s had such a long buildup (almost too long, thus creating a ridiculous amount of expectations which I think the writers are struggling t fulfill), but otherwise, the character’s major goals (Lorelei = opening an inn; Rory = Getting into Harvard are accomplished by the end of the fourth season. This leaves this weird void in central motivation, which is kind of/sort of morphing into Lorelei = finding a happily-ever-after, and Rory = ? In some ways, Rory’s still pursuing her goal of becoming an overseas correspondent, but it’s not really central, since her relationships have gotten a lot more screen time (so there’s kind of a “who will Rory end up with” storyline, but there’s so little build-up on anything, and no reason to care about most of the options, and half the time she’s acting out of character (though that could have been remedied by focusing more on the “overseas journalist” angle and the fact that Rory is an extremely prudent and careful person, and not the type to run into dangerous conflict or even take a new angle on politics<–CONFLICT!). But instead, the writers seem to be jumping on the most obvious relationship clashes without much development as to why Rory’s acting the way she is, or what the extended repercussions are for those choices–ANYWAY, it’s been very interesting trying to decipher why the first few seasons sang along so well and really hit the “I just need to watch the next episode RIGHT NOW” button, and the later seasons just…aren’t. Dramatic things are still happening, but they’re just events strung together, somewhat unrelated to character (or relying on the most basic character elements which have already been explored nearly to death).

What I’m avoiding: Not avoiding much, beyond reviewing “Circles” and seeing if I really can get away with cutting out the first two whole scenes. UGH. It’s not even so much that I think it’s impossible, so much as I think it might actually be a “thing” I have to start doing, where I deliberately cut out the first 1-3 scenes of every story I write and see if I can live without them, because slow beginnings is definitely becoming my new glaring issue. But at least the endings are working better, so that’s something! And just trying to keep the revelation that slow beginnings are an issue for me out of my head while drafting new stories–that’s actually a useful avoidance, but I may need to avoid it more… :)

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