Monday, March 23, 2009

The Madness!!!

In all honesty, March is not the best time for my writing. There's this little thing called March Madness that eats up a lot of my writing hours. You may have heard of it. I think even our President filled out a bracket. And, in case you somehow missed that story, I should also tell you that he appeared on Jay Leno and made fun of handicapped people. And then he went on 60 minutes. I think he also got his kids a dog and a fancy playset. These are important things.

But enough about him, let's get back to talking about me. After all, that's why we're here.

1. The VP has not responded to my email. The Wife is not surprised. She thought I was rather rude and therefore deserve no response. I argued that most of the emails he receives are probably from people who take things just a tad too seriously. I would think his staffers would appreciate reading something a little more lighthearted. I'm still holding out hope for a resolution.

2. Like I said, the writing is going...um...slowly. I've trimmed the fat from the manny by getting rid of characters, scenes, and lots and lots of words (went from 44,600 to 31,500). I know how things are going to go and some changes I need to make. Now, I've just got to write some new scenes and edit some of the old ones. The good news? I'll have all of spring break to work on it.

3. I'm experiencing an altogether new emotion that as far as I can tell (by using Google) is called "self-doubt." Here's the deal: I have a second manuscript. It's written for young adults and is meant to be humorous (meaning I think it's flipping hilarious, but I'm not quite so egotistical to believe that everyone in the world shares my sense of humor. For instance, there's this reader of Anita's that I'm pretty sure would hate the entire work.). The self-doubt comes into play because I'm pretty sure it lacks a plot and I've read that publishers tend to like those things.

Now, here's my defense, and if you've also written a funny book without a plot, feel free to use it as your defense too. I have read funny books with plots, funny books with poor or barely held together plots, and funny books without plots and as far as I can tell, I didn't really care one way or the other. If the book was funny, I kept reading. For instance, I would argue that the Wimpy Kid books are largely plotless. They are episodic. It appears the author just took a bunch of stuff from middle school, made all that stuff funny, and threw it into his books. Then he went back and tied some of it together, but still, no real plot.

I also recently finished When You Are Engulfed in Flames, which is a collection of essays. There are some common themes running through the book, but, it being a book of essays, no plot. Apparently, no one cared because it sold a whole lot of copies. I liked it because it was funny, even if there was no "problem to be solved."

I guess my argument is this: If the book is truly funny, most people could care less about the plot. Agree or not? (And please say you agree.) As always, you must support your opinion with supporting details and examples from the text.

11 comments:

Jacqui said...

I agree. Funny trumps plot for me every time. You need to mock your self doubt until it cries and send it packing.

As for March Madness, having spent since Thursday at 12:20 in front of the television, I understand. But there's a break now. Shower. Eat. Write. Recalculate your chances of winning the pool even if Arizona keeps winning. Write some more.

chris said...

I want to agree, but I think it depends so much on the exact book itself, that it's hard to make that general statement. I think, it CAN be true, but it's much harder to keep a reader hooked with humor alone, as opposed to humor and plot. But I do feel your pain, as one of my favorite books I've written is almost totally plotless... well, it has a plot, but it's completely absurd and takes about 100 pages to show up.

Anita said...

I don't want to hear you're thinking about that second manuscript at all, until your revisions are done.

When I was a kid working on my free throw, I used to imagine all these other kids in Russia working on their free throws. I had to get mine down but good. The fate of the world as I knew it depended on my shot.

There are other authors (possibly Russian) working on revisions for the agent who's interested in you. You need to get your manuscript polished and in, before the agent forgets about you.

P.S. And limit your TV time. And don't snack, either.

Paul Michael Murphy said...

Am I allowed to read?

DebraLSchubert said...

Hey, Paul - Thanks for the plug! THIS READER might not like your YA (I'm assuming "potty humor") book, but YA readers probably will. As far as your argument goes, DAMN I have to agree with you! I love anything funny (except potty humor - that's not funny *wink*grin*). Did you see my post from last Thursday? I'm all about the humor, baby - it definitely trumps plot in my book. (Well not actually IN my book, well I hope not anyway.. OK now you're got me second guessing myself. But you get the point.)

Word ver: phort - that sounds like one of those words I wouldn't like...

Anita said...

You may read my blog, of course, and occasionally check yours.

C.R. Evers said...

I'm drawing a blank. I can't think of any funny books that don't have a plot.

One thing I do remember, though, is going to a writing retreat about a year ago and all three editors that attended the retreat said that they were more willing to work w/ an author who has a strong voice, even if it's weak on plot, because the plot can be worked on.

So . . . I guess if you have a strong humorous voice, then sure. An editor still may pick you up!

not sure if that helps.

Big Plain V said...

I live for Plot. I think Plot rules all. I have almost unwholesome visions of Plot in very little clothing.

Frankly, I encourage you to have no Plot, because I am a very jealous man. The thought of you and Plot together behind my back...

Big Plain V said...

(Schube IS a hater -- that we can agree on)

Paul Michael Murphy said...

V--I don't think you need to worry. Plot and I have a very rocky relationship. It may be because Voice won't leave me alone. She's always hanging around and saying things like, "Forget about Plot, who needs her? You got me, baby."

That Voice, she's darn persuasive.

DebraLSchubert said...

Hey, now, I'm NOT a hater! I only hate potty-humor and certain words like the "d" word. OK, so maybe I hate a little.

And, Ray, if you keep it up, Plot and I will run away together to a deserted island and live happily ever after and you'll never see her again. So I'd watch what I say if I were you... Paul won't care cause he's got Voice, but you, my friend, will be left all alone. Too bad, so sad.;-(