Sunday, July 29, 2012

Saturday the Bookworm

He is already learning that when we turn on the computers, its time for a long nap.
 His favorite place to sleep (besides on or next to us) is on or near some books, of course! 

 Also, his favorite place to sleep at night. 

He was a little bit scared by this one. 

Perhaps he is still too little for Anna Dressed in Blood? 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Pure Deleted Gold

Today I have for you a revising tip. I've been revising for... ever... and I've actually learned a few things that I realize might help others one day.

One, surprisingly, was as I was watching the deleted scenes from some of my favorite movies. Watching the scenes that got cut- the ones that were filmed, developed,(back in the day) edited and mixed for sound and then, at the very end, they still didn't make it into the final product - illustrates just how much everything really needs to contribute to the story, even after you think you've edited and polished and spit shined the polish job.

It also helps to listen to the director's commentary. They almost always say something like, "I really loved this scene, but..." or "I really hated to lose this scene, but..." or "this was beautifully shot/acted, but..." and after the but is always a "we had already established this relationship/motivation/plot point in another scene," or "this slowed down the pacing" or it otherwise simply didn't fit, no matter how good, into the final, finished piece.

Remember this as you revise. No matter how perfect and elegant and polished a scene or page or paragraph or sentence may be, if it doesn't contribute, it can go. Really. Go ahead and save it somewhere, if you must. I do this. I have files as long as some of my novels full of things I hated to see go,  but in the end, they just didn't contribute enough to the narrative.

Directors only have so many minutes, and writers only have so many words. And while there is room in the world for epics and opuses and other vaguely gross sounding words that mean long and dense, not every book has to be 700 pages, and not every movie has to be 4 hours plus intermission. We already have a Thomas Pynchon and a Terrence Malik. There is always more room for the tight, clean, beautifully written work of a more manageable length.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Just a Moment of Life

It's been a very busy summer over here.  Two manuscripts are out with agents (and an editor!)  I'm revising one for the 12,000th time. I have two more first drafts that have been simmering, and are just about ready for editing now.
Mr. Cate is editing a feature film, preparing to shoot a short for his anthology project next week, and writing at least two new scripts, that I know of. There could be more.
 We're teaching the kid to play tennis, since he pretty much has no use for baseball. He wants to take swimming and horseback riding lessons, too, but I'm trying to keep the activities to a manageable dull roar for now. Baseball ends this week, and then we'll start something new. He's only 7. There's plenty of time to try it all.

In the meantime, there's just about nothing more perfect than taking a stroll in the woods with my dear love, listening to the Sonny Son sing this song.

In Saturday news -  he's been with us for almost a whole week now. And he is still the cutest thing ever, and will be the baby prince of the family, I can tell. This morning, on his way to work, I asked Mr. Cate if he wanted to take the kitten with. "I really do," he said. "He'll fit in my bag." It's just cuteness overload around here.

Here's to nice little moments each day. Not big stuff, but definitely more important.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Introducing Saturday

A new little buddy came home to live with us this weekend. 

Mr. Cate is teaching him to be a good writer's cat. 

He will get to study with Zorro, the zen master of writer's cats. 

 I think he's a prodigy, of course.