Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Uber Random Thoughts on Writing, and Also POTTY TRAINING. Ugh.

Like the title promises, this post will be all over the place.

Random Writing Issue:

I've come to a realization. My wip has four pov's. This is horrific. Or somehow okay. I don't know how it happened, and I'm hoping-- severely hoping-- that at least the guy's pov turns out to be some side-thing I can just cut when the whole story's finished. I severely don't think a book with four pov's is wise. But no matter how hard I try to keep it to the MC and the two side characters who are also integral, the MC's love interest keeps dragging himself in every few chapters. Am I over-stressing? Has anyone read a YA that has four pov's (all in third person past tense, nothing tricky going on there at least)? The Wicked Lovely books come to mind... I remember Aislynn, Keenan, and that winter girl at least... but, is this a stupid way to write my book? Am I setting myself up for heinous revisions later and will I regret giving four characters a voice??

Maybe only my crit partners can tell me for sure, but if possible I'd rather know now, before finishing the whole story. Weigh in, pretty please... I need some guidance.

Some Further Randomness:

Frankie Writes has an incredible book giveaway celebrating her 200 followers!

Sara McClung has an awesome book giveaway celebrating her 100 followers!

Courtney at Critique This presents a Love at First Sight Blogfest! Sign up and let the swooning begin!

And don't forget to enter for a critique by two agented authors at the Shooting Stars contest!

Agent Randomosity:

Shelli at Market My Words has an interview with agent Nathan Bransford!

And speaking of Nathan, the Nathan Bransford's Teen Diary Contest ends today at 4pm Pacific!

The KidLit contest for an agent critique is still going strong!

The mysterious Agency Gatekeeper (AG) is hosting a contest, and not only can you win a copy of Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, everyone wins when she reviews a published book on her blog. She already did this with Shiver, fun and informative stuff!

And here is something from Rachelle Gardner that is worth reading. Over and over and over again until I get it through my thick skull. You might not be here yet.

Some Random Ramblings on Potty Training:

My two year old began his adventure on the potty train yesterday. Technically he "started" in October when we stuck his potty in the bathroom and began the process of brain washing and mind manipulation that would hopefully lead to his "training". Here's what we did while the potty gathered a thick layer of dust:
  • We set the DVR to record episodes of any kids' shows having to do with toilets. Blue Uses the Potty was a hit. MTV's Jackass was not. Unless you ask my husband. Result? Although Blue made him clap and cheer, he did not go near his potty.
  • We bought books... tons and tons of books! Elmo Uses the Potty, Once Upon a Potty, Everybody Poops... there are at least a dozen books on our bookshelf about using the toilet. Result? The little guy seems thoroughly confused about himself, his body, and our choice in literature. Still didn't want to have anything to do with the potty.
  • We showered the older siblings with ridiculous amounts of praise whenever they went to the bathroom.  Result? The eight-year-old daughter thinks we're gross. The five year old son slams the bathroom door behind him now and says, "The bathroom is for my privacy!" And our two-year-old, who was unimpressed with their efforts, still wouldn't sit on that potty.
  • We had Mickey Mouse (our son's hero) go on the potty. A lot. We have Mickey M&M's. We cheered! Result? It took me a while to figure out why my son kept saying, "Mickey splashy! Mickey splashy!" Can you guess? Oh yeah, Mickey was in the actual toilet, and when I fished him out, my two-year-old said, "Good job."
Yesterday, however, everything changed. I decided to take a new approach. The sink-or-swim, I guess. I took the diapers off of him-- for reals-- and let the accidents happen where they may. The results?

He had two accidents. Both times he'd stare at himself, calling, "I spill... Mommy I spill..." Both times I reminded him about the potty. The third time I saw him looking antsy and I told him to sit. Can you believe it? He actually did it! He sat and went!

Two accidents so far, both times he said, "I spill! Oh nooooo... ohhhhhh wellllll," almost like a valley girl. I think he's mocking me. But I totally do NOT sound like a valley girl.

I'm tired already, but determined. So fiercely determined. I did it with the first two, so theoretically, my son's resistance is futile. Yet he mocks me... look at him over there, with that sweet little grin as he hovers near but not ON the potty. Something tells me this is going to be harder than I think.

A Disturbing Lesson Learned:

I need to share this. So I saw this cute tiger cartoon on Youtube about going potty. It looked at least as harmless as all the other books and videos I'd shown him, so I called my son over to watch. Note to self... incredibly important note to self: always pre-screen before automatically showing cartoons to kids. It turned out to be a Japanese cartoon that went from cute to weird to traumatic (for me at least, my son thought it was funny) in much less than the two minutes and thirty-five second run time. And the end... oh the bizarre, horrifying end! I almost put it on the Coaster so you guys could see-- it's hysterical in a sick way (except the end. That's just vile)-- but I couldn't bring myself to do it. If enough of you use comment peer-pressure I may change my mind... yick, I don't know... look it up for yourselves if you dare.

I'm editing this because, maybe it all wasn't as random as I first thought. Is there an analogy for my writing in all of this? Maybe, like potty training, all the writing books and advice from author websites or even from agents can't substitute sitting down and physically writing my book. Maybe I need to pull off the diapers and just write.


  1. We had to bribe my son with m&m's. One for number 1 and two for number 2. My son loved chocolate, so it totally worked. Or maybe I'm just shameless.

  2. I HATE potty training. Seriously. My fourth son was going in to the bathroom, taking his own diaper off and using the toilet before I started potty training him. Hang in there. I love the analogy, though. Just pull of those diapers and get writing. Hahaha! I wouldn't too much about your POVs, but I don't write YA, so I don't know for sure.

  3. Tina- I trieeeeed!! He gets m&m's from his grandma way too often. I need to offer hims something stronger.

    Angie- Oh man, I do not want diapers until age four. Thanks for the POV advice... I think I'll stop worrying about it for now. And by that I probably mean, writing while I continue to obsess over the POVs. That would be typical.

  4. What is it about the third child that makes them so resistant to anything? My youngest is waaaaay more headstrong that my older girls ever thought about being. I shudder to even think about potty training her.

  5. My daughter loves Mickey Mouse! We even tried the newest movie to heighten her potty interest. No go. I really can't remember how it happened, but it did. Hang in there!

    On the POV issue, Debbie Macomber has written several books from different POV's. It can be done if that's the route you choose. Keep us posted!

  6. Melissa you are SO right. Everything seems harder this time around and shouldn't it be easier??? *Bangs head against wall*

    Tamika that is so adorable! How old is she? Does she watch the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse every chance she gets? Thanks for the info on Debbie Macomber, I want to make this work but it seems like I'm making it harder on myself-- why won't my brain just keep things simple?

  7. Sorry, can't help with the potty. But the POV... Do you mean you are splitting the book between four narrators or that you are following the thoughts and feelings of four characters? I did the latter, with five characters, and it turned out okay! Go with your gut first. There's always time to change it later.

  8. The Ruins had, I believe, four third person POVs, and I never felt lost on it, but each POV was very, very different and he stuck with it for a while. (I listened to it rather than read it, so I don't know if the POVs changed at chapters or what.) I'm not sure if it's rare or this was just the first time I was paying attention to multiple POV narration. (It's that puppet strings thing. I'm always looking at the strings instead of the puppets now.) Anyway, it can work as long as each of the POVs is of a distinct and main character. I like to head-hop, so I might not be the best person to give advice.

    Personally, I've never done more than three POVs in third person narration--purposefully--for long periods. (Wow. So many clarifications there. I'm really going for a strong stance on this.) I've never ever done four--as far as I can remember--unless I have--in which case I have. :)

    Potty-training. Blech. I told you my experience with potty-training is enough to leave us at only two kids. Your entry was hilarious, though. I liked the reaction from your other two kids to it. Poor things.

  9. I'm currently rereading Speaker for the Dead -- not YA, but it's got at least 4 POVs... Then again, OSC was already fairly acclaimed when he wrote it, so I imagine he could have gotten away with dozens.

  10. ROFL This post was wonderfully fun. Sorry, I'm laughing at your expense because I'm seven years past potty training--my children that is, not me. And I love how it came full circle at the end.

  11. Try The Underneath, by Kathi Appelt (I recommended it recently). Multiple story layers and POV's.

    As far as the potty goes, every child is different. My oldest son didn't potty train until he was 4 1/2 and then had trouble at night for several more years. My middle son literally woke up one day and said he was done with diapers. He never had an accident after that and has never wet his bed! My daughter was probably the most normal. We used pull-ups and praise, but I was ready to offer her choice of any toy at WalMart if necessary. It took her a few months, I think.

    Hang in there! :)

  12. By the way, when I first read this I thought you were advocating writing while on the toilet. On the one hand, gross. On the other, you'd get both privacy and writing time.

    I've heard rumors that Hemingway wrote while on the toilet.

    (No, I haven't. It's just fun to attach anything writer-related to a famous name and start a rumor. Though, honestly, Hemingway liked his key lime pie and you know what too many limes can do to your digestive system.)

    ...and now I want pie.

    Curse you, Hemingway, and your deplorable pie-eating ways.

  13. That was absolutely hysterical. I busted out laughing so many times I had my nine year old asking me, "What?" frustrated when I wouldn't share.

    Stop stressing and don't be cutting any boys POV until I've laid eyes on it. I love a romance and getting the guy's POV, it makes me shiver. Four POV's is pushing it but my only advice is two fold. One, be sure each person's voice is clear and two, with that many voices I would market one voice per chapter, even if the chapter is half a page. Jumping around in four people's head in one chapter can be dizzying.

    OMG with the contests! They are all over the blogosphere but I am knee deep in kissing over here that I can only participate in one or two. I made a dear diary entry in Nathan Bransford's, along with 200 other people. I'm sure I don't have a chance in hell getting noticed but hey, it was fun.

    Potty training...I heart feels for you. I especially laughed when you strongly suggested that your little guy fighting it was futile. Oh us moms who think we are in control, we never truly are, are we? We just think we are because the little darlings finally listened to us. I can see his cute little face looming at you from over in the corner, edging very close to the potty but ignoring it completely.

    Rounding it off with your own "how this relates to writing" was priceless. "Pull off the diapers and just write." that just might be Janet Reid's next posting.

  14. I defer all potty training to my bride-to-be since she disappointed me so severely by claiming that she could care less about books. Let her punishment begin. :)

    As for the POV's, I believe if you are writing in in third person omniscient narative, you should be able to cross over to follow different characters without it being a problem. I thought it only became an issue, if you were doing multiple POV's from 1st person, but maybe I'm wrong. I'd shoot an email over to some of the agents/editors in the blog world to see if they could clarify.

  15. Oh my, yeah. I think I already told you I HATE potty training. My kids have lousy bladders--it takes YEARS. So I do not envy you. I think I'm going to wait until my son turns 4 to even try.

    I've read a lot of books with two points of view and a couple with more than that (The English Passengers is the only one that comes to mind right now). So I think it can be done. But omniscient POV might work too.

  16. I don't read too much YA, but The Help (adult fiction) had three points of view and was done very effectively. I've read lots of other good ones as well.

    I had NO trouble with day time potty training, but for the life of me I can't get my kids out of pull ups at night!

  17. I enjoy books with more than 2 povs IF they are in separate chapters. Don't like the jerkiness of switching in different paragraphs though.

    Potty training: Big boy pants helped both my boys. They didn't want to mess up their super hero undies!

  18. Candy- Thanks for the POV advice. I mean alternating at chapter breaks between different POVs... I think you are right. I always advocate going with the gut :)

    Wendy- Yes, this is going to be impossible-- I MEAN-- a challenge. I think I'm scrapping the fourth POV. And your potty training story makes me want to cry!!!

    Bane- Exactly! Established authors don't count! I'm trimming to three POVs, which still seems like a lot.

    Catherine- I know I'll laugh someday! For now I let others laugh at me :)

    Shannon- Your so right, every child is different. Just like manuscripts, ha!

    Wendy (again!)- Hahaha, well I said thoughts on writing AND the toilet, not ON it! This is why I love you. I'm off to spread the Hemingway rumor!

    GwoE- You're so right and don't worry, I'd never dream of going in and out of four people's heads at once. I just wonder if even having it at chapter breaks is a mistake. Oh my aching manuscript! Okay, blog post idea...

    Void- A just punishment! My husband doesn't like books either, I think I've told you that. It's such a horror. Thanks for the advice on POV. I guess I know that authors do multiple POV's, but I'm worried that there might be a reason that it isn't the norm in YA.

    Natalie- YES you told me. I can't believe I was so delusional to think that experience made this process any easier. SO. WRONG. Thanks for the POV tip... I still don't know what will work best. I think I'll have no choice but to write the whole thing and see what the beta-readers think :(

    Corey- Hi! Yes, I've seen it in adult, romance is almost always two POV alternating chapters between the two... this is a three-friends novel, and one of the friends falls in love... I think limiting it to three POVs might work... maybe...

    Brenda Susan- Dangit, that's just how mine are!

  19. Thanks for all the contest heads-ups!

    I wouldn't worry too much about the multiple POVs right now, so long as your POVs are consistent within themselves. Wait and see how it all turns out in the end, and for now, just trust your gut and go with it.

    And good luck with the potty training-- I'm the youngest in my family and have no kids or nieces or nephews, so I can't offer any wisdom there-- but I'm sure you'll overcome! :)

  20. So funny Diana - I'm afraid to even start potty training. With my middle child I finally told him he wasn't getting his pants back if he didn't use the potty. He was two and a half and it was time. He was naked all day and had a few accidents, but by the end of the day he had his pants back on and was trained.