Friday, March 5, 2010

Paying Attention

I know, I know--this has been moving away from dealing strictly with what I'm reading. Part of that is that I'm on a scifi kick and it's sometimes a struggle to understand what I'm reading, much less come up with intelligent comments on it. I did finish an interesting book on whale song that turned out to be more timely than anticipated, with its emphasis on interacting with whales. Perhaps there will be a post about this in the future (I can say that the dogs are very interested in the CD that came with the book--I'm curious how the whale sounds translate into their experience).

Meanwhile, I found myself at B&N this afternoon, trying to jot down notes for my current revisions. Having conveniently decided that walking through the mall could double as needed research for a particular character, I found myself in front of Hot Topic (dark, chatty clothes for teens). I realized that part of what I'd been doing is looking at merchandise rather than looking at people. I'd been seduced by the shiny lights and attitudinal models.

This is the distraction of being at the mall by oneself--there is little to distract you except for the displays and I am easily distracted. Which brings me back to the revisions. The stories are suffering from the same sort of surface distraction. There is detail and there is language, but the characters are shiny soulless bits of description that haven't yet shown me how they are stylishly fooling themselves by dressing their kids or spending an afternoon bickering with a good friend about whether they're going on the right vacation or dating the right guy. While I'm trying to cheat them into life with Plot, they're snoozing in a Times New Roman casket.

Maybe they'll start to twitch when they realize I'm paying attention. :)

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