Monday, February 27, 2012

Show Me the Story

I'm on the eve of returning to my YA sci-fi, and I have to confess... I'm wigging.

I started this MS in the spring of 2010 after finishing the MS that's about to go out on subs now. It's appropriate because I started it to distract myself from querying that MS. My path has been so odd.

Anyway, I'm not freaked because I've forgotten it or anything. I remember the story I had in my head very clearly, and it's only changed a little. Also I still have all the notes I wrote about the other world and the aliens, etc.

(Did I just type the word aliens?)

See? That's the part that's got me nervous.

Mississippi, I-49 to I-20
JRM is my alpha reader. He's also my beta reader, he's also my best critter, he's also my post- post-revisions reader. And my constant encourager. Bless his heart.

So I'd completed three manuscripts in the spring of 2010 and was getting serious feedback from agents on the third when he said, "I wish you'd write a sci-fi for me to read."

Then we took a road trip from Spanish Fort (Ala.) to Ruston (La.), and the entire drive from the bottom to the (almost) top of Mississippi, at every road sign, he'd toss out something like, "They could live in Dabb Creek."

A few miles later, I'd add, "And Prentiss could have a brother named Braxton."

It actually got pretty good. Good enough that when I got home, I sat down and pounded out about 15K words of Prentiss's story, including her boyfriend Jackson, Jackson's best friend D'Lo, anemic Flora, and Cato. See the road-map of Mississippi, I-49 to I-20; they're all there.

Now it's time to finish it.

But I've never really done sci-fi. I mean, I loved Star Wars like every other kid my age, and when we all get together to watch it again, I can sit there and quote every character's lines for you.

And sure, I grew up thinking Flash Gordon was cool, and Xanadu was another favorite of mine. But that was more for the ELO than the story. (Or the acting--yikes!)

Then I sat down and flipped through Entertainment Weekly, and I came across this interview with Jim Rash (link). He won the Oscar for his screenplay The Descendants, and he plays the dean on NBC's Community (a show I love--in particular his character).

Dean Dean
IRL, he's a professor with The Groundlings, a comedy theater in LA that's produced actors like Kristin Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Maya Rudolph, Will Ferrell...

Anyway, Rash said this: "We're not here to teach you how to be funny. I don't care if any of this stuff is funny. I just want to see the story."

I know, the path my brain takes is sometimes hard to follow, but that encouraged me. I'm just a storyteller, right? All I can do is write the best story possible and see what happens. (And stop psyching myself out.)

This could be my biggest fail yet, but who knows. I'll run it through my alpha, beta, eta beta pi reader, and see what he thinks. I'll let you know. Wish me luck!

More soon, reader- and writer-friends~ <3

39 comments:

Huntress said...

Love Sci-fi delivered any which way, adult or YA.
Best of luck and get typing :)

Creepy Query Girl said...

I haven't read sci fi in a really long time so I know I'd feel completely ill equiped to write one. Like you said, just do your best and write what comes naturally. There will be tons of time to make changes. Good luck!

SA Larsenッ said...

Wishing you a ton of cyber luck!! BTW, aliens are cool. :D

Pat Hatt said...

Good luck, kind of a sci-fi nut so it's easy enough for me, although if you haven't written it, can be daunting at first.

Chris Fries said...

You're absolutely right: Just tell the story. At its best, SciFi settings, gizmos, and aliens are nothing more than background embellishment to a powerful story.

The story is the key.

I wish you oodles and caboodles of luck, Leigh!!!

Old Kitty said...

Yes! Just tell the story!! Get the research right to back up your story but research is no good if the story ain't there! Yay!!!

GOOD LUCK LTM!!!! And thanks for introducing me to the word "wigging"! LOL! Take care
x

Adrienne said...

Flash Gordon!?! I loved that movie--the music, the Hawkmen...pure awesome!
It all comes down to just telling the story. All the sci-fi elements come second. Good luck with your new manuscript!

Meredith said...

Good luck! I love the way you developed this idea, and it sounds like so much fun!

Stephen Tremp said...

Good luck to you! Just tell it. Then you can go back and add stuff. That''s what I do. Sometimes I think sections of my book are a dark comedy because I add that element in a few places. Its fun.

Carolyn Abiad said...

Happy writing, Leigh! Sounds like you just need to commit and follow Prentiss where she leads you.
<3

Mark Murata said...

I have a vivid childhood memory of Olivia Newton-John singing and skating at the same time in Xanadu. The TV Guide blurb for it also described it the same way. So I was shocked some years later when I saw it again, and she never does both at the same time. It was a false memory.
I still like a few of her songs from the movie, though.

Hart Johnson said...

I would be so out of my element with Sci-fi, but you totally can do it. You ARE the story-teller. i think my mental block is I'd only been exposed to a certain type of Sci-fi until recently, but stories like RaShelle's really do prove the common ground with more typical YA, and show how the Sci-fi element really can add.

Jennifer Shirk said...

Hey, you never know what your niche may be. I think it's cool, so good luck!

Alpha reader? Is that reading with all the typos and plot problems? LOL

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi LTM .. sounds good to me - delighted Mr JRM supports you so much .. Good Luck ..

Cheers Hilary

Monica B.W. said...

Good luck!!! I'll bet you're going to have fun with it! :)

Clarissa Draper said...

I'm working on a sci-fi myself--not currently, but... Anyway, it's great fun. There's a lot more making-stuff-up allowed compared to mysteries. Hope you do well with it.

lbdiamond said...

Good luck! You can do it!!!

DEZMOND said...

I adore FLASH GORDON too (the film and the cartoon, not the horrid shows from a few years ago)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Science fiction isn't that difficult - you can do it!

Susanne Drazic said...

Aliens? Sounds like it has some possibilities. Just write it all out and see where the story takes you. The characters may have their own idea of where the story should go. It's all good. Have fun with it.
: )

LTM said...

Ahh, first just let me say, you all are seriously making me feel encouraged about this. I feel like I'm swinging my arms back and forth--I can do this... I can do this... :D

THANKS!!! <3

@Chris--Thanks so much! I'm hoping to do more Star Wars, and I'm freaking out b/c I'm scared I'll do Logan's Run... wah wah waaahhh. LOL!

@Monica--I hope so! I've got to stop hand-wringing and get writing! :o)

@LBD--Thanks, girl! I'm ready! :D

DL Hammons said...

For me...the best Sci-Fi books don't read like Sci-Fi books. They sneak up on you and by the end you go..."huh...that was Sci-Fi!" Advantage Leigh! :)

Lydia Kang said...

LOL, I'd never done sci-fi either until I just did it! Go for it, you'll be great!

Alina said...

Yay! Go for it! I'll be a beta alpha beta pi squared to infinity reader if you need another. ;)

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I wouldn't know how to write a SF novel, but I know you'll sparkle at it. :D

Good luck!

Talli Roland said...

Go go go, girl! Sometimes I think the things we're not sure about are the most fun to write, because we're not worrying about market stuff and just having fun; enjoying the story.

I'll bet it comes out brilliantly.

vic caswell (aspiring-x) said...

best trip EVA! :)

Tracy Jo said...

Good luck! You will rock. Sometimes the things we are most afraid of...or think are going to be the biggest failures...turn into our hugest successes! :-)

Joshua said...

I'm attempting to get back into my current WIP tonight. Been 5 weeks without a single word written. I've been prepping all day. Hopefully tonight's the night.

Good luck to you!!

Lynda R Young said...

I love how the story evolved.
Wishing you huge amounts of good luck.

Matthew MacNish said...

I wouldn't worry about the hard science, as long as the story is good, the science shouldn't matter.

Also, if it's got a character named D'Lo, I don't see how it could possibly be anything less than awesome.

Chris Fries said...

@LTM: LOL! You know, I kinda liked "Logan's Run." It's entertaining in a cheesy, campy, dated kind of way.

It's right in there with "Soylent Green," "Battle for the Planet of the Apes," and "Silent Running" for mid-seventies schlock sci-fi fun.

;^)

But I'm sure your work will be much more classic and timeless, like "Star Wars," "Close Encounters," or "Alien" in terms of 70's sci-fi.

>thumbs-up!<

Carol Riggs said...

Best of luck!! Yep, you can just do the best you can do--I bet it'll be great. :) I'm working on something similar (doubt it's just like yours though). I'm calling mine post-apocalyptic/dystopian, not sci-fi, though.

Ella said...

Sending you good luck and I know you will rock this! I hate the psyching out stuff...happens to me, every time I begin. "I should be doing this or that"... Arrange your day around your writing...your aliens will be pleased~
I loved all those movies/shows, too

Matthew MacNish said...

It's Thursday.

Janet Johnson said...

Best of luck NTM! You know I'm rooting for you. :)

And I love how you came up with the names. Classic!

M Pax said...

Best of luck! I'm sure you'll write a killer story. :)

Pk Hrezo said...

Check you out going all sci-fi. Love it! And I think if we don't challenge ourselves by writing outside our comfort zones then we don't grow.
BTW if you find yourself needing another beta, I'd love to check it out. :)

LTM said...

@Chris--Ahh, all the good cheezers there! Actually, hubs said it's reading more like L O S T than a classic SF. I'm taking that as a good thing! :D

@PK--You're right, and I would love to have you read it. Advance warning: I'm not sure how it's going to turn out, so no promises. I'll keep you posted! <3