Monday, September 19, 2011


After my summer of arting it up, I return to writing! Okay, so I didn’t really stop writing this summer. More like I scaled backed my time commitment to it for a bit. But like Die Hard, I return with a vengeance. Four weeks ago, I started a SUPER AWESOME BIG TIME REWRITE (always all caps).

I'm talking a revamp as drastic as that DC Comics’ New 52 re-launch what got fan boys and girls all riled up this summer. (I’m mostly neutral in regards to all that, but I do think the new Harley Quinn costume sets a new bar for truly and gut-wrenchingly dreadful. Hopefully, in my rewrite, I’m making better changes than this.)

She used to be so adorably psychotic.

But I digress. Allow me to return to the point.

Contrary to the seemingly popular sentiment, I like rewriting. But this is my biggest rewrite yet (hence the all caps and use of the words “super” and “awesome” and “big time” to describe it). I thought I’d pulled off some major rewrites in the past. A couple of years ago I decided to switch a WIP from third person to first. Last year—or was it this year? It blurs!—I cut 26,000 words from another manuscript. And I thought, “Hey, that’s what I call some super awesome big time rewriting! Go, Cacy!”

Oh, how young and naive I was then.

Now I realize that I had no right to call snipping a few “just”s and “that”s from a manuscript a rewrite because this thing I’ve been working on is a stripped down, start from scratch, forget-everything-you’ve-already-written-and-re-written-(and-re-written-again), forget-that-full-length-manuscript-you-slaved-over-for-like-two-years-or-something-because-it’s-all-going-out-the-window type of rewrite.

Everything must go and anything that remains must change! The setting, the starting point, the relationships, shifting personal histories, adding a new major character, changing the sex of another. It’s chaos, chaos, chaos I’m telling you.

Chaos that has been mulled over and reasoned out before being implemented, that is.

It took me a long time to come to the point where I’m able to do this. I had to not look at and barely think about this particular story for five months. The changes I’m making come from ideas I’d had for good a long while, but I had been too close to the previous version. After all the work I had put into it, how could I entertain the idea of starting the whole process all over again. For the SAME story!

Do I look like a glutton for punishment?

What it really came down to was the fact that I love this story.

And no else one did. None of my readers. Not even my mom and she’s maternally obligated to love everything I write. The people I asked to read it liked it… Basically… In that, “Yeeeah…it was good” sort of way. But “Yeeeah…it was good” is not what I’m aiming for here. In fact, I’m pretty sure one reader didn’t even finish it.

I can take a hint.

Yes, I know. Opinions are subjective and they’re like armpits and all that, but when I really examined what I had completed (after not looking at it for months), I had to admit that it fell short for me too.


I remember one of my writing teachers saying, “Don’t be that guy who drags the same manuscript around to every conference for seven years trying to make it work. When it doesn’t work, let it go.”

That’s sound advice, but I just can’t let it go. Something about this manuscript compels me to keep at it. I return to it time after time. I really believe in these characters, I believe this story can be exciting and engaging, and I can’t give up on it.

And hey, if this rewrite turns out terribly, I still have all my old drafts on a flash drive.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

SUPER AWESOME BIG TIME REWRITE: Do You Ever Get Freaked Out By What You're Writing?

I don't write horror. I barely read horror and probably only watch a horror movie every five years. I'm not a wimp. It's just that certain images, usually the unwanted ones, seem to stay in my head for. ev .er.

After watching The Ring (Yes, I know it's not as scary as the original Japanese version. That's why I haven't watched the original Japanese version) I didn't want to sleep in my own dorm room because my TV always glowed in the dark. (Seriously! It glowed!) So I spent the night at a friend's.

I don't think the scenes that I was working on at the end of last week are particularly scary. Mostly likely its a combination of the fact that A) when I write I often stay up into the wee small hours when the house and neighborhood are at its darkest and quietest and B) I recently read this creepy-ass Korean webcomic. (Crap! I just refreshed my memory of it when I looked up the link. I hope to appreciate the things I do for you! Also, read it at your own risk. Seriously.)

The first two nights after reading it, I stayed up until sunrise writing. I was really hungry but didn't go into the dark kitchen for food. I claim its because I was so very into those pages, but I know the truth. I didn't want the scary lady from the creepy-ass Korean webcomic sneaking up on me in the dark.

Kamsamnida, creepy-ass Korean webcomic creators. Kam-freaking-samnida.

But on the plus side, I wrote a combined 6,000 words those nights so maybe I really should thank whoever made that webcomic happen, and read/watch scary things more often whilst I'm at it.

Anyway, back to the scene was working on the other night. In it, my character deals with something really scary happening to her. As I writing, it's approaching 2 in the AM and I'm trying to get across how much the incident affected her (i.e. I'm writing about being scared) and I start remembering all the (few) creepy stuff I've read/seen in the last few years including the manga series featuring this subtle yet creepy tale. (Click on pic to read whole tale. P.S. Read it right to left, top to bottom.)

And pretty soon I'm too freaked to even read the words I'm writing. And let me tell you something, it's hard to type a scene with your eyes closed.

I was even freaked out by the cover of the Robert Johnson CD cover laying on my desk.

(Robert Johnson was an iconic blues man who, according to legend,
sold his soul to the devil in order to become an excellent musician.
This manga is a pretty excellent fictionalized account of his life.)

I decided to quit for the night and watch a slapstick 90s sitcom before I going to bed. Better to continue writing when the sun and people were up.

Maybe it's a sign of the writer doing something right when she's freaked out by her own words...or maybe I'm just a big wimp.

Probably the latter.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Power Is Don Cheadle's and Why I Love Meg Cabot

If you were ever a fan of Captain Planet or even if you've watched an episode in passing or if you've just seen a clip out the corner of your eye, you really have to watch Funny or Die's live action adaptation featuring Oscar-nominated, Don Cheadle. ( on pic.)

Head's up: You might not want to watch this around the kiddies.

I'm going to go watch the first episode of the cartoon now. In the meanwhile, take Meg Cabot's "Which 80s Film Heroine Are You?" quiz.

Turns out I'm the blond one in this poster:

"Congratulations! You are a TOMBOY TEMPTRESS. The 80s teen film heroine you are most like is MARY STUART MASTERSON from SOME KIND OF WONDERFUL. True to yourself and loyal to those you love, you don’t have time for makeup and high heels. "

I can't deny that this is my archetype, and the MC from my current WIP - as a reflection of me - totally proves the point.