Sunday, October 29, 2006

Procrastination Part One

Smoking Status:
Since Ken left for England I have been smoking about 8 cigarettes per day. I have finally succumbed to the fact that I am a smoker. I've been in denial for years. No one has to comment about it being bad for me and that my father died of cancer. There's nothing logical about being a smoker. But now that I recognize myself as a smoker, I can work on quitting, if that makes sense. I have committed to never smoking while I'm traveling/walking. Never liked that much anyway. Cigarettes count today: 4 (but it's only 6:30pm)

Novel Status:
41,464 words (my guess has always been that it would come in around 42,000 words, which is just about right for a first middle-grade novel (4th - 7th graders)). Working on the final draft before I send my first query! Just finished hand-editing a hard copy. After that, I will do my final rewrite of the screenplay because it's been requested by someone at Imagine Entertainment. Yay!

Okay... procrastination... I'm all for it. But if you're going to procrastinate, you might as well make it something related to what you do (like writing a blog about it, heh-heh). One of my favourites is reading books. And not just books on writing, but those get bonus points.

Currently on the procrastination reading rotation are:

On Writing - by Steven King
It's a dark memoir and it's a lesson. Makes no difference whether or not you've even read a novel by King. I have only read one or two of his and that was many years ago. It's got reading lists, writing assignments, a corrected story, advice on plot and character, and literary models. But truly my favourite parts are the autobiographical stories in it.

The Tools of Screenwriting:
A writer's guide to the craft and elements of a screenplay

David Howard and Edward Mably
This book was a gift from my friend Mickey (who also sent me a box of brownies from the Fat Witch Bakery - yum!). I love this book. And I've read a lot of books on screenwriting. It's hard to find one that gives me something new. It's a required text for USC's screenwriting program and David Howard was the founding director of their graduate program in screenwriting. Really comprehensive and talks about how the 3-act structure can be dangerous in the hands of executives.

Secrets of the Millionaire Mind - T. Harv Ecker
On rotation again because I'm taking the Millionaire Mind Intensive in 2 weeks and I can't wait! I read this book once and got a whole lot out of it. I've even put some of his theories into practice and they absolutely work. Now I'm reading it again and doing every single exercise in it (which is taking a while), even the ones that my mind says I don't need to do. I trust this guy.

On the consideration pile:

In Cold Blood - Truman Capote
My new house-mate has a copy and I've wanted to read it ever since I saw the film Capote a few months ago.

Reading for a Living - T.L. Katahn
Picked this up at the FTX Film and Television Expo. It's about being paid to be a professional reader in either the screenwriting or publishing world. Not that I want to work as a reader doing coverage for a production company, but I am interested in improving my skills in the consulting arena and becoming a story analyst and/or story editor (which is a slightly different occupation in
Canada than in the U.S).

The Writer's Journey - Christopher Vogler
Just because I haven't read it yet and it comes highly recommended.

Three Uses of the Knife: On the Nature and Purpose of Drama
- David Mamet
Read a selection from this and liked it so I ordered it from Amazon. I love snobby writers and snobby literary critics. I love that kind of confidence. In the end... what do any of us really know?

Busting Loose from the Money Game - Robert Sheinfeld
My housemate Bruce is reading this right now. It was recommended by T. Harv Ecker. Bruce says it's excellent and he's the one who got me into the whole Millionaire Mind thing to begin with.


Reading Like a Writer (Francine Prose) - recommended by a friend

The Weekend Novelist Writes a Mystery (
Robert Ray and Jack Remick) - goes without saying. love The Weekend Novelist and I refer to it constantly when I'm teaching

Tythe: a modern faerie tale
(Holly Black) - because I want to see what other modern day faerie talers are writing

And whatever the next Harry Potter book is.... I have no idea if it's going to be out in time for xmas.

Next year at this time Brigitta of the White Forest by Danika Dinsmore will be on a lot of people's xmas wish list. You can count on it.


Tod McCoy said...

Smoking is bad. Bad, bad, bad! Bad poet! Think about all those kids who will start smoking because they loved your book so much! Terrible!

OpenChannel said...

We'll make a deal. I'll quit smoking the day I sign my contract with the publisher.

JackieB said...

...that's probably not a great strategy because your subconscious mind might interpret your success as punishment. You win by publishing but lose by giving up something you love. Plus, deals with other people on these things never work. The deal has to be for yourself and with yourself and you have to perceive a benefit. Until you start feeling pain from smoking, you probably can't imagine it, therefore there is no immediate gratification reward for giving it up. It is sort of like preventive medicine I guess. Nobody can see the value because they are preventing the thing that would prove the value. I know, I'm rambling.

Good luck with the book. I just bought a MacPro computer and am on the verge (within the next three months) of getting a Sony ZIU camera so I can make broadcast quality documentaries. It is fun to think of the field of possibilities.

By the way, I love Steven King On Writing. I listened to it on tape. He's got a great voice. Makes you want to write and read, read read and marvel on the characters of life. Speaking of reading...Julie and Julia is very fun. OK, better stop pro-crastinating but if you decide to write a book on procrastination, I have already come up with 101 procrastination techniques for writers and I'd be happy to share a few highlights. :)

OpenChannel said...

You're right, I was half-kidding... although I do consider quitting smoking a reward. And I do want to quit when the time is right. I just happen to like having a few cigarettes in the morning with my coffee. But I can't seem to JUST do that. Guess it's all or nothing.

I've been working out again, that will help.

Congrats on the computer and the camera! That will be loads of fun.

And yes, there will be an entire chapter in my book dedicated to procrastination! So bring it on!