Theater Masks

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Things I'm struggling with writing and random thoughts about life

First -- SWW. That's "Struggles with Writing." (Was that not clear?)

1) "The waiting, the waiting the waiting, the waaaaaaaaaaiiiiittttttiiiiiiiiinnnnnggggg." (It's from Shrek, the Musical, and to not give credit where credit's due is wrong.)

2. Subplots. Novels need them most of the time to keep the story afloat. I have one in my new novel that I'm working on that helps give my main character an extra dimension, but so far it's completely separated from the main plot. I'm trying to figure out how to tie the subplot in to the main plot, but most things I'm coming up with feel artificial. So the question is, DOES a subplot necessarily need to tie into the main plot, or can there just be an additional issue the MC is dealing with?

I'm looking at it this way - the story is being told from the perspective of a kid two years after the main event. Other stuff would have happened to him, even if his focus was on the central event (in this case, his best friend being accused of murder). If this was real, and something else was happening during the time (ie, as in this case, his divorced parents starting to date again), that would factor into the story as well. Do the two plots need to come together, or is it OK for them to be separate, even as they both help my MC evolve?

3)Sex in YA. The MC's ex-girlfriend plays a significant role in the story. The kids are juniors now, they broke up over the summer. I decided that they had slept together when they were together -- so around 15, 16 years old. I don't have anything explicit, in fact, it happened in the past anyway. However, that fact affects (as it naturally would) the MC's relationship with the girl now, as well as influencing his relationship with his father (since his dad finds out about it). The thing I'm struggling with, though, is whether or not this is OK to have in a YA book. It's an older kids' book, obviously, and teenagers think about and have sex.

Given that I've settled on them having had sex, my problem as a writer goes deeper (sorry for the completely inappropriate pun). How do I talk about this, advocate safe sex (as a teacher, I can't NOT do this), and yet not be preachy? It's a fine line, and I THINK I may have walked it all right, but it's very difficult to do!


My friend Dan used to write lists of 100 thoughts about random things swirling in his brain. I think he's now done four of them. I often have thoughts running through my head, but I'm going to limit my list to ten. I decided to tackle some of them and drag them out onto the net for the world to see.
Caitie always says she'd never want to live inside my head. There's probably a good reason for that.

1)My eye has been bothering me lately - kind of doing this weird pulsing thing. Everything I've seen online about it says it's probably stress related and will go away on its own. Still, it's not fun. It doesn't hurt really, but it's very strange. Caitie says I should see a doctor. I refuse. I have this sick feeling that going to a doctor is going to make it worse. I don't know why, but I'm going to trust the net -- for now...

2) I continue to follow politics fairly closely. I get pretty outraged by a lot of what I see. Maybe this is why my eye keeps twitching.

3) Where in the WORLD do all of our spoons go? I know it's a weird question, but it seems every time Caitie and I open our silverware drawer another spoon is missing. It's only the two of us living here. Where ARE they? If some dishes were missing, at least I'd know that they ran away...

4) Why does Glee start every episode with "Here's what you missed" -- I didn't miss anything, damn it, I watched last week! This REALLY ticks me off for some reason.

5)We bought the Bruno Mars CD "Doo-Wop and Hooligans" recently and I love it. This is significant because I listen to Broadway cast albums or releases from Broadway singers probably 85% of the time I have music on. Probably about ten percent of the time I listen to classic rock (music more than two decades old, at any rate). That leaves about 5% of my music listening time to current music - most of which is taken up by artists I already like releasing new stuff - Bruce Springsteen, Ben Folds (Lonely Avenue is AWESOME, by the way) etc. For me to introduce a new artist to my ipod is a very rare occurrence, indeed. Seriously though, listen to the Lazy Song, and tell me you can't relate!

6) I love my laptop, but the 6 key is so sensitive I barely have to touch it for a 6 to appear on my screen. It's really annoying, and when I have to do grades, I specifically try to make things worth amounts that don't have 6s in them so I don't have to hit the key too often. None of my students know this.

7)We have a girl in my unit this year who is difficult (to put it mildly). For some reason, she behaves in my class. We don't know why. A co-worker today called me Jesus because of this. I thought this was ironic and funny.

8) The battery on my phone was dying a long, drawn out painful death, and so I replaced it. The touchscreen hasn't worked in about a year. I actually kind of thought replacing the battery would give the touchscreen new life. I was wrong.

9)This isn't that amusing, but Caitie planned a surprise SOMETHING for me for about a month from now. It drives me nuts that she made me check the calendar to find out if we were free (we were) and now I don't know what the surprise is but know there IS one. She always says she can't surprise me - well, I'm ready because I have no clue what she's got up her sleeve.

10)Finally, Caitie ALWAYS makes fun of me because whenever I use my credit card I'm PARANOID about leaving it someplace. I double and sometimes triple check that it's in my wallet before my leave. Lately, I've been making a conscious effort to NOT do this - to trust that I took it. I even tell myself that I did. So, guess what happened, you lovers of irony out there? Yep, Friday night, we went to eat. Left the restaurant. Headed over to Target. Went to the cashier. Took out my wallet. The credit card was still at the restaurant. The worst part is, I even told myself when we left the restaurant, "DON'T CHECK YOUR WALLET, IT'S IN THERE." I think I'm going back to my old ways again.


  1. I've been OCD about checking the location where things SHOULD be since I was six years old. I would check my bookbag two or three times on the way to school to make sure my homework was still in there. I'm not as anal about my credit card, but I'll check my purse/pockets for my phone at least twice before leaving a movie theater/restaurant/house.

    My husband accidentally left his credit card at a fast-food place once, since we had done the drive-thru. Problem was, we were on a roadtrip and by the time he realized what happened, we had no idea what city we were in when it happened, or if it happened at the gas station or restaurant (he doesn't keep receipts. I keep all of mine for a month, so I would've known, LoL). It took a dozen phone calls to locate it, but they were nice enough to put it in the safe until we could be back to retrieve it.

    sidenote: I loved the image of the spoons running away without the dishes, haha.