So you wanna write a book. You gotta get your butt in the chair and focus. Focus. Focus. Focus.
That’s what they say.
Tonight as I sat there staring at my blinking cursor, I decided the whole writing through the blank wasn’t working. I needed to focus. By eating chocolate ice cream and watching Confessions of a Shopaholic on TBS.
The movie was about half over by the time my channel surfing brought me to it. Yes, in our office/guest room the TV is so old school there’s no guide to peruse, I had to flip through the old-fashioned way. God. When did channel surfing become old-fashioned? (I will not lament my age, I will not lament my age…)
Anyway, I’m eating chocolate ice cream and watching Isla Fisher do things like Google “good angles for store credit card APR” and thinking how she was the worst possible person to be writing financial advice. Duh. Enter my focus.
Apparently the movie received terrible reviews. I’m not here to judge. I actually haven’t read the book the movie is based on, but it is highly praised on Amazon. All of that aside, what did strike me about the movie–it is a shining example of a point made by Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat, my most recent read on the craft of writing. It just clicked. Isla Fischer being the worst person for that job is the whole point. It’s the irony. I can imagine what the movie’s logline must have said, “A shopaholic with credit problems gets a job writing an advice column for a financial magazine.” Boom! Now you know exactly what the movie and book are about.
It made me wonder if my own logline has enough of that ironic punch. And as I watched Isla buy dress after ridiculous dress (while trying to outrun an overzealous debt collector) I chewed on the thought. I don’t think it does. My problem is while I thought I had my logline worked out, I don’t think it accurately covers the irony. It is more of a one sentence plot description “A teenage girl does this” sort of thing. Which is a big problem. The irony IS the story. It’s the journey. It’s how the coming of age happens. And not having the right one is probably also why I don’t have a title for this baby. Why I’m having trouble with my focus (even with an outline to guide me).
I do think my story has the basic elements there but I need to work on how to accurately convey that in one sentence. I will also have some tweaking to do to get the ironic twist just right. And then when I’m sitting there wondering what my main character will do next, I’ll look to the logline. For instance, when Isla is faced with the choice of keeping a dress she wants for work or keeping the bridesmaid dress she needs for her BFF’s wedding, we know she SHOULD keep the bridesmaid dress. It’s what any decent person with a conscience would do. So that means, of course, that Isla has to buy the expensive work dress. Because she is a shopaholic. That’s how fiction works.
This is also giving me the nagging sensation that maybe my outline isn’t right. Do I go back and fix it now (20K in…the point where every writer I know has an existential crisis about their WIP)? Or do I handle this in revision? I think in revisions, with a renewed focus from a proper logline going forward.
Phew. Who said chocolate ice cream and TV rot your brain? I’ve just had a big dose of delicious focus.
This seems like a good spot to tack-on my Sunday check-in for #ROW80.
- 750 words/day–Fail. I’m two days behind. I can try to catch up on those 1500 words today. Or spread them out over the course of this week. Probably a combination of both. Either way, I need to catch up.
- Blog three times per week–Success. Woot!
- Title–Did you read all that up there ^? No title yet.
So, a little success, a little failure. That’s life I suppose. Now that I’ve had my chocolate covered focus session, let’s see if I can get back on track.