Strategizing

Saturday, June 23, 2007

I'm working on a prologue.... which I think will address a couple of the revision concerns. I *might* also insert a flashback or two into the story. My heroine is dyslexic, so is my son--so I have a unique 19 years of observational understanding. Depending on the severity(?) it's actually a condition that's hard to diagnose and very easily hid/compensated for.

You know how you can be just fluent enough in a language to get by? That's how a dyslexic lives every day more or less. Some are more 'fluent' than others. They "guess" at words/phrases based on context. Sure everyone does that. (Some)Dyslexics do it more. Way more. Partly as a result of this, they also develop amazing memories, so there's less guess work. The catch-22 is there's always that underlying uncertainty of relying on memory.

Anywho, I don't want my heroine crippled by the condition (yeah, I'm avoiding saying 'disability'), just at a disadvantage, but I can't note every single time that she tries to decipher something, or has difficulty writing something out, or reading a hand clock, or disoriented with direction, etc., without either coming across heavy handed or too subtle. On the other hand, except for her tutoring sessions, a number of critters/beta readers had said that her dyslexia seems a non-issue. One way I can address all this is with a couple of flashbacks, I’ll just to be careful that I don’t screw up the pacing of the ‘current’ story’s unfolding.

The second part of my strategy has to do with this blog post. By posting this, I've pushed the post below further down so if this whole thing turns out to be a 'thanks but no thanks' that post will be buried.... like my newly crushed soul. heheh.
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20 comments:

raine said...

Important to guard the heart. Oh yeah. ;-)

Your strategy sounds like a plan.
Also, occasional reluctance to read a menu, deal with legal papers, finances, work with computers, etc., as noticed by secondary characters would bring the problems to the reader's attention too, without beating them over the head with it.

Ok, yes, I'm going now, lol!

Jaye said...

Thanks, Raine, I just came in here to say the prologue idea wasn't working. I've has several false starts today, but any pivotal scene I could use in the prologue has to be heart-rending, yet the book is fairly humourous, so right away the prologue would set the wrong tone. :-P

I still might be able to use a flashback or two later on. But it seems like I'll have to keep a keen eye out for opportunities to highlight her difficulties, and make the ones I have used a bit more obvious. One thing I didn't do, which you've just suggested, is have a secondary character notice her having difficulty reading, etc.

*sigh*

Gennita said...

Vanessa,

Write the prologue in first person. Make her see the words wrong in first person. Highlight her emotion as she struggles and pretends/guesses.

Hope that helps.

Best,
Gennita

Jaye said...

Gennita, that's the perfect touch! I did end up writig a very short prologue (1 page) where she's in class (grade school) and she gets called down to the 'Learning Center' for extra help, etc,. I had her feeling embarrassed while the other kids started whispering/giggling, etc. When the teacher calls her name, she's doodling in the margins of a math work sheet, while most of the other kids were finished, but I think I'll change it to an english quizz. Since dyslexics tend to confuse common letters 'g' 'p' 'd' 'd' so I'll show her struggling with that, make the mistake, then have the teacher call her name.

Thanks again, ladies! Doing revisions for myself is one thing, doing them for someone else is kinda scary. :-P You don't know if they'll give you another chance to get it right or not.

Good news is, even with the 1 page prologue I've cut chapter one down to 10 pages from 15. The editor said while the opening was fun(ny) she wasn't fully engaged until the scene that occurs on page 28. *gulp* I can't push that scene forward on the time line because of the chain of events, but I can cut/trim the scenes that come before (and hopefully add some depth) that will engage the reader more emotionally.

The new prologue works because it's not too much of a downer and contrasts beautifully with the upbeat first chapter which shows a more confident heroine.

I'm babbling. I know. Stream of conciousness, yaddah yaddah. Sorry.

omg. I've actually spent most of the day writing. I can't tell the last time I've done that. seriously. ::grin::

raine said...

omg. I've actually spent most of the day writing. I can't tell the last time I've done that. seriously. ::grin::

Bouncebouncebouncebounce...
(damn good idea, Gennita!).
Okay, I'm really gone.
Really, lol!

Gennita said...

You're welcome! Best of luck with editing and cutting...not my cuppa either. But it sounds like you have an interested editor, yay.

Jaye said...

Apparently, I'm going to need that luck. I had to run around today for house stuff (seriously, my house insurance requires some stuff be done re the building code before they cancel on my ass and they've already given me one extension. The new deadline is tomorrow!) Anywho, whilst standing in line I realized that I was holding on to my little darlin of a chapter one, because it was fun, etc, but... *sigh* it really has to go. I guess if this ms gets bought I can post it as an extra feature or summin. All is not lost, though, the prologue is still good to go. Particularly if I make chapter one start with the scene the editor like (which happens to be where the heroine is getting tutored in the present day, I'll just have to rework the time line for the other stuff. Back to the drawning board.

Later,
Jaye

Dee said...

Well, Holy Crap, I never would have thought of starting with at tutoring session! That's brilliant!

I would so rather be reading your revisions than doing my own writing. I like yours better. LOL!

Dee
who could also recommend that the way the secondaries notice her difficulties--without figuring what they are--is that she takes longer and tends to squint. It's what I do when I can't read the f'n hand clocks stores insist on using. Can they NOT find a damn digital and make my life easier?...er, sorry, small rant. :) Anyhow, when someone mentions this to her, maybe have her squint on purpose to try to cover it up in other directions? Just a thought.

Jaye said...

I would so rather be reading your revisions than doing my own writing.

Same here, Dee. lol

btw, I started with the shower scene, but I've edited/cut so much stuff that the tutoring scene is now on page 14 (instead of 28)which addresses the editors suggestion that I move than scene up (I hope). Also decided to go another route with the prologue. The point of *change* for Felicity is when she decides to get tutored, so rather than have a *heartwrenching* scene from her childhood, I'll have a scene where she first signs up for the tutoring at the library. This way I'll:

*show her problem
*intro Lise
*also show her interest in design (she'll be flipping through magazines)
*keep the humour consistent. One problem I was having with the childhood scene was that tone was much more dramtic/sad and really wasn't the right intro to the story.
*And lastly, I'll get that full circle touch by having the "boot-faced" librarian make an appearance here as well as the last chapter. lol.

Just seems stronger with more narrative drive. :-)

Yeah, blahblahblahblahblah. lol.

I do have some stuff in the ms now about LCD clocks vs hand-clocks, but you guys make a good point that having a secondary character notice her difficulty-- rather than Felicity just thinking it to herself --will make more of an impression on the reader (I hope).

Jaye said...

Apologies for anyone poping in this comment thread expecting to see interesting stuff. This is where I'll be rambling about my revisions rather than new blog posts. :-P

Jaye said...

One of my writing buddies shared some revision advice her hubby gave her: Never do more than they ask for.

d'oh! Anywho, I'm progressing and so far I'm happy with the results. It's tricky because I *think* my voice has changed a bit. Certainly it's hard editing someting that's 'funny' when you're not feeling particularly humourous, I'm afraid I'm editing out alot of the humour, on the other hand, the story needs tightening up.

Check in laters

Dee said...

Jaye--here's a tip for editing comedy. See, most of the jokes are in the dialogue. You can tighten the writing, even the sentence structure of the joke's final beat, without removing the humor. All you need to do is maintain the final beat comes quickly, as a sentence, and isn't buried in a paragraph that you've pushed together. Give the reader a beat to laugh.

I've always thought the trouble with some sitcoms is that they try to put too many jokes too close together and the viewer doesn't get their beat to laugh and they wait for their chance to do it.

Oh, and don't tell them it's funny. Nothing kills a joke like a heavy hand. :)

Hope that helps!
Dee

Jaye said...

Thanks for the editing tips, Dee. Unfortunately, most of the funny stuff isn't in the dialogue. I'd say if was evenly spread between dialogue, description, internal thoughts. :-P Plus the stuff I'm adding (about her dyslexia) is more serious, so it's tricky marrying the tone of the existing jokey stuff and newer serious stuff. But... I think I'm doing okay. :-)

Jaye said...

The revisions are moving along. :-) I think I could be finished by next weekend. :-)

Jaye said...

::whinewhinewhinerevisionswhinewhinewhine::

Jaye said...

omg, I'm cringing over that purpliest of purple love scene. I've scapled the worst of the adverbial offenders. lol. It's still HAWT though. But I'm tired now. I'll take another look at it in tomorrow then move on.

Jaye said...

Looks like I picked up a flu bug from the office. It's been going around and looks like it's my turn. I've been feeling like crap all day never mind the heat/humidity. :-P Somehow I managed to go through about 50 pages of the ms. I just got up from a 2 hr nap, so I'm gonna try and do a few more pages.

Jaye said...

::bouncebouncebounce:: Some how my sniffling, headachey, sneezing snot-filled self managed to comb through another 50 pages--added stuff, cut stuff. I do believe I'm doing all right with these revisions. And... I still love this book! It has definite weaknesses but over all I'm totally enjoying revisiting them! When I take my laptop to work with me I tend to work off the battery on my lunch period. But the battery only lasts for 1/2. I'm going bring my plug for the next couple of days and used an empty cubicle to get my full hour in. I really want this baby out by Friday so I can start on the challenge book. I guess it would make sense to make some long-hand notes on the challenge book during my commutes. Thinks are looking up with the writing lately!!

Jaye said...

Oops. Forgot to say I'm on page 305 and the total page count currently reads at 369. I hope I finish by this weekend. ::fingers crossed::

Jaye said...

I'm on the last chapter!WoOt!!

But it currently stands at 40 pages long. lol. That's because I cut the last scene(s) for an earlier version of this ms and drop it into the revisions. Some of the feedback (from cps, not the editor) I recieved liked the new funny ending/closing line but noted that it lack emotional kick. The other/older scene is laden with emotion (and includes another love scene) I tweak stuff and depending on out it works out, split the last chapter into two.

Tomorrow? Could I be finished tomorrow?!?! I have to buy paint for the bathroom, the contractor is coming on Monday to finish up. Then i have to call the other glass guy for the frameless glass shower door and the bathroom is done! I'll most likely take a break from renovations for awhile after that.

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