Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Almost but not really true story of Princess Manu Scripta and the Magic Key

Once upon a time there was a Queen who had a lovely daughter named Princess Manu Srcipta. Manu Scripta longed for a life of adventure but the princess had a unique problem. She was flat. Flat as a standard piece of plain white paper. Shapeless as the air.

One day Queen Authora decided to cross the dark roads, looming trees and hungry waters of her beloved home, to an enchanted place known as Writersretreat. Oh Yes! Writersretreat is a magical land where Word-smything elves tinker away on keyboards and the sweet scent of coffee fills the air while bowls of fun-sized chocolate bars magically replenish themselves.

There, in the land of Writersretreat, Queen Authora made an appointment to see the Great Fairy Editoria. For she had heard that Editoria was wise and exceedingly kind.

"Please Great Fairy Editoria." Begged the Queen, "Can you give my dear Manu Scripta shape or form? Can you give her arms as strong as a maid-servant and feet as swift as a deer?" Then the Queen began to weep in anticipation of Editoria's reply.

"I will not change the form of your Princess," Editoria said.

The Queen gasped and clutched her chest as if she had just witnessed a tragedy.

"I will, however," Continued Editoria "Give you a key. You must be alert. Keep your eye open for opportunities to use this key. When you do, you and you alone shall restore shape to your precious child."

Editoria pulled a key from her robe and placed it in Authoria's waiting palm. . . . . . .

And that's almost the truth and nothing but the whole embellished truth.

You can find the real story here.

Krista Marino at Delacorte gave me advice that I've been able to apply it through out my entire manuscript, it truly seems as if she had given me a key that can make my MS more vibrant and meaty. It's like my MC has discovered Pilates and she's getting a ripped physique! ;0)

The bottom line of Krista's advice was "add more feeling, emotion and the reactions" of your main character."

That's it.
It seems so simple.

As I have gone through the hard copy of my MS and wrote "feeling/thinking/ reaction" in the margins where I needed more of those things and then followed through to the keyboard--Voila! My story is taking on a whole new shape! Here's a small example of how things are changing.

In one part of the story there was a sentence that went like this: "I took the bracelet off and laid it in his palm."

Then, when I used the magic key of "feeling, thinking, reaction" this is how it shaped up:

I removed my bracelet and paused for a moment with my mouth open. I had too many questions clogging my brain. I wanted to ask them all at once. Instead they mixed all together and stuck in my throat like muck in a storm drain. Yanix stared at me. His open palm lingered mid-air as he leaned forward in anticipation of my words and nodded his head slightly as if to say Go ahead, I’m listening. No one has ever shown undivided interest in what I had to say before. It flustered me and I was too overwhelmed to speak so I simply shrugged and laid the bracelet in his waiting hand.

So, maybe the paragraph still needs some tweaking, but I've got to admit, I think it really adds more to the character and the story. (if I may say so myself:0) It's fun to see my writing improve. Heck, it's not really me anyway. I'm just using the advice I'm getting and running with it. So I guess I'm really bragging on editors and critique buddies. Without them, my character would still be flat and flimsy as a lystserine strip! Thank you, my magical friends!

So, dear-wonderful-folks who have ventured to my blog and brave enough to read this far . . . I now pass on to you the Magic Key: The Key of "Thinking/Feeling/Reaction"


TinaFerraro said...

Wonderful transformation of that paragraph, Christy!

And yes, it IS really you doing the work. You clearly have the eagerness to listen to editor's advice, and the talent to effectively apply it.

Great job and thanks for sharing. I've got a tough writing day ahead of me and I enjoyed the inspiration.

C.R. Evers said...

Thanks Tina! I really appreciate that. I haven't received any feedback from my revisions yet, so it's good to hear that I'm on the right track from someone who knows!

Good luck with your day of revisions! May the Good Fairy Editoria be with you! ;0)

Mary Witzl said...

This is so true. I was reading a YA novel last night which contained a lot of what I now think of as dead language. For instance, there is mention of a musical group that meets, but not one single reference to the scrape of bow on fiddle, twang of guitar string plucked, mournful whine of harmonica -- nothing! The musical group simply met and the protagonist 'had a good time.' Phooey to that! I wouldn't have been enthralled with this book before, but I wouldn't have known why. Now I know why.

C.R. Evers said...

Hey! Thanks for stopping by Mary!

I know what you mean. There were so many places in my MS that just didn't seem right, and now that I've been looking at the story with the "feelings/thinking/reation" mindset, It's like having one of those Ah-ha! moments! a lot of those areas are better, simply by adding those details.