Book reviews & writing tips from a wannabe YA writer
Last week, I started reading the cobbled-together monster that is my NaNoWriMo 2008 novel. Let me just say this: WOW. It reminds me of what my dog might create if I gave her some blank paper and her own excrement to spread around. Anne Lamott was not wrong, no sirree:
Now, practically even better news than that of short assignments is the idea of shitty first drafts. All good writers write them. This is how they end up with good second drafts and terrific third drafts…I know some very great writers, writers you love who write beautifully and have made a great deal of money, and not one of them sits down routinely feeling wildly enthusiastic and confident. Not one of them writes elegant first drafts. All right, one of them does, but we do not like her very much. We do not think that she has a rich inner life or that God likes her or can even stand her.
Yeah, yeah, I know. Still, it’s hard not to be completely demoralized by the stark contrast between my novel and the fabulous creation I’m currently reading, Broken Soup.
But the awesomeness that is Jenny Valentine gave me an idea. You know how in middle school, to learn proper grammar your English teacher made you diagram sentences until your eyes crossed? It sucked, and I am totally not condoning such heartless torture of defenseless kids. But I have to admit—and please don’t tell any teachers this—that it kind of, sort of, maybe helped me learn grammar.
Could I “diagram” a great novel to learn how to de-suckify my own novel? Kind of like taking apart a car engine to learn how it all works together?
Leave a comment to chime in with your thoughts on whether this is viable:
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