Wednesday, June 10, 2009

In Which Brodi's Book is Drawn and Quartered

*knock knock* Housekeeping
Remember to follow me on Twitter, or link to me, by the end of the week to get entered into a drawing for free books. Thanks to all y'all who've already entered.

We are closing in on the procreating bunnies. My spies say they are nervous, which doesn't necessarily help their cause. 2,000,000 followers, here we come!

My attempt to introduce non-black clothes into my wardrobe status:
After one week, the experiment is a success! As the below picture of the weekly laundry clearly shows.
Do you see it?

So, you remember I'm at the BYU Writing for Young People Conference all week. Well, yesterday, it was my turn for my fellow conference goers to critique my work. (First twenty pages of a new project).

Even though critique sessions are necessary for a better novel, and even though I know my work is far from perfect, I still hate public scrutiny. Remember this post?

The comments started out nice (that's the rule- the first half must be all positive). And then they delved into the harsher stuff, and I was pretty intrigued by the consensus (and by "consensus" I mean 100% of the students agree):

My fellow writers expected my book to have... a plot. A direction. A purpose.

Not only that, as readers, they wanted to be informed of the plot, direction, purpose.

What is this post-modern world coming to, when readers cannot simply absorb
the mind of the author? Aren't we underestimating them? If I had my way for my next book, I wouldn't put any words on paper. I'd just tell the kids, "The main character's name is Sydney, and she's sixteen. Her parents are dead, of course, because this is YA. Now...close your eyes... and... visualize." Pause. "So, you tell me what happened."

The "plot" debate was quite passionate, and eventually it reached the point every critique session reaches: the instructor asked me (more or less), "Would you like to continue with the verbal part of the critique, or would you prefer the thumbscrews?"
For those who need visuals:

When I couldn't make a decision fast enough (seriously, I know it seems cut and dry, but thumbscrews are painful!) they got together and said, "Let's just take her out back and hit her over the head with a shovel." I was relieved we found a middle ground.

This is my first writer's conference, and now I understand why we had to sign the "Death or Dismemberment" waiver.

But I got to have lunch with James Dashner, so that made me feel a little bit better... At least about his writing ability.
James Dashner always has a plot, because that's how James Dashner rolls.

I have to admit, my fellow writers were correct. Books must have plots. It should probably be a general rule. Somebody write that down.

And my workshop leader - the extraordinary author Martine Leavitt - left me pages of thoughtful handwritten notes about my book. And on one little corner of those notes, one little positive sentence of hers was enough to keep me plugging along. I slept with it under my pillow. When I woke up, it had turned to pixie dust. But I could fly. (I'm in a fantasy workshop, btw. It shows, right?)

Favorite quote of the day: "Write a little bit every day and don't give up for 10 years. If at the end, you are not published, put that book away and start a new one."

Um... anyone have a pair of thumb screws lying around? Anyone?

btw- everyone in my critique group was truly very nice. I don't know if you've noticed, but I tend to exaggerate, especially when it comes to criticism of my person.

ADDED: The book was not the one currently on submission. It's a brand new one.


  1. i see white (in the clothes) ...i don't think white counts, does it??
    we need some lime green or hot pink or turq. blue!! be brave brodi!!!! :O)

  2. Dorien--I have tried for years to have her wear some pink. I am still trying. Pink looks great on does any pastel color. In fact, everything looks good on her but she loves her black.

    And Brodi is being modest, she actually received many awesome comments on her new novel. She is frakkin' great writer. With that said, hopefully these comments will lead her to remove the thumb screws she put on my thumbs before she left this morning.

  3. Did "Seinfeld" have a plot? Did "er" have a plot (I mean really, it was just the same thing every week.) Did "MacGyver" have a plot? Okay, MacGyver had a plot, you got me there. Does plotting to injure your critics fill the requirement?

  4. I disagree, I think white counts. When I met my hubby, after months of dating, he noticed my black wardrobe and commented that I would look good in color. It takes TIME to work color in.... Brodi - the easiest! Then work your way to green, medium blue, purple, etc. (Please note, I am currently wearing a black top and khaki pants...khaki, I worked nonblack in!).

    Hmmm, so that's how thumb screws work...I thought that's how one got a tongue lashing! My mother didn't believe in washing a mouth out...she grabbed the tongue lashing device! (tee hee hee)

  5. Experiment: Buy 2 or 3 *fun* colored shirts. On those really brave days (or maybe days you dont think you'll see anyone but wonder if a random neighbor might see you or that guy at the post office counter, or maybe you're just planning on seeing your mom) wear one. See how many comments you get. Homework: Report back to blogland.

    Plots....the bain of my writing for fun turning into writing for an audience. It's just a little hurdle right? :)

  6. Dorien- Of course white counts. It's like a pale, pale, pale, pale pale red.

    Sam- Did I leave the thumbscrews on again? I hate it when that happens.

    Kent- Ooooh. Plotting revenge on the naysayers. I like it. Now that's a plot.

    Una- between thumb screws and a tongue lashing, Hmmm. And thank you for your support of White.

    Debbie- I'm still not convinced about the whole "plot" conspiracy. And I will take your challenge on the colorful shirt! Bring it on!

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  8. Thanks, Erin. I'm always happy to get such an unbiased comment.

  9. Plot, schmot. I love that you are out there, making this happen. You rock.

  10. Keersten- I echo you. Purpose, schmurpose.

  11. I am scared to post, because my posts seem to breed. How do I enter the contest? How do I increase your book sells?

  12. oh bro bro! I'm so proud of you for introducing some non black :) But you look great in black so don't feel to much pressure.

    I loved that the positive comment turned into pixie dust. You are like my favorite writer in the world. If I could be you I would. minus the thumbscrews :)

  13. Lis- I think just being friends with you will boost sales automatically. I'm counting on it!

    Shell- Thanks my friend. From one writer to another.

  14. I love that manuscript. It does have a plot, and all of us in your writer's group love it...and our opinions are the only ones that matter, right?