"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." —J. R. R. Tolkien

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Grounding, Objectivity, and Dav Pilkey

So I was hoping to make a cake this weekend in honor of Mardi Gras, but it didn't happen. And for anyone familiar with the tradition, I was not going to bake in a small plastic baby a la King Cake as this whole thing always creeped me out. Honestly, if I know a cake has something in it I might bite into, I can't bring myself to eat it.
But the cake didn't happen. Instead we spent Sunday raking leaves and watching Tasha Yar die on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Yes, I totally teared up during her memorial scene. Only three more episodes until the season end!

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So I always count on my kids to ground me. Take, for example, my son's answer to this question:

(If you can't read the answer, it's Dav Pilkey, best known for Captain Underpants. My son tells me The Emerald Tablet isn't funny enough.)

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So you know how they always saw Kill your Darlings? I watched the deleted scenes with commentary from Scooby Doo (the awesome movie with the CG Scooby). The directors talk about how hard it was to cut certain scenes because they loved them so much, and the reasons why each scene was cut. Totally fascinating.
And really, it's just like writing books, right? We love different scenes or jokes or even single lines of dialogue for various reasons. Someone may have read our WIP and commented on how much they loved a certain line. And for this reason, we latch onto this line and keep it when truly it needs to go. We may have written a location from one of our favorite places, and for that reason hold onto that setting until we're forced to cut it.
It's where objectivity comes in—something so hard to get!
For me, I find TIME above all else helps me gain objectivity.

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Anyway, has anyone else noticed the trend with butterflies and book covers?



Have a great week!

26 comments:

Christine M said...

I agree that time is the best thing when gaining objectivity.

And your son may think Dav Pilkey is a funnier writer - but I know he thinks your the best mom (and that counts for more!) (maybe there just weren't enough underwear jokes in The Emerald Tablet)

PJ Hoover said...

Thanks, Chris! Yes, I need more underwear jokes for sure!

Christine M said...

At least for the 7- and 8-year-old boy crowd. Underwear and body emission jokes. Funniest. Things. Ever. (I guess - based on the laughter that follows that kind of stuff around here)

PJ Hoover said...

Which brings up a good question, Chris. How much is OK, and when does it become gratuitous? Sounds like a discussion for another day!

beth said...

Time helps, but critiques from others helps me as well. All I need is one (or ten) person to ask me why a scene is relevant, and I start to question it myself...then I start to cut it.

Personally, I love the trend of butterflies! I ADORE butterflies--all the symbolism behind it. My college thesis was on the Psyche myth, which led me to have blue butterflies as a theme to my wedding...so if it's got a blue butterfly on the cover, I'll probably by the book regardless of anything else! How shallow is that? ;)

PJ Hoover said...

Not shallow at all, Beth! Blue butterflies sound like a very cool theme! And totally yes on critiques!
Thanks!

Rena said...

Oh, my boys love Dav Pilkey too. Nathan loves the Underpants series, but both boys love his work on the Dumb Bunnies. Sigh!

Interesting about the butterflies. I think I've seen a few over on the Blueboard too.

Miriam S.Forster said...

Man, I still remember her death scene, but I have to admit, I'm drawing a blank on the memorial. Why did she leave the show anyway?

As for butterflies... Perhaps they're meant to symbolize life's fleeting and delicate beauty? It would be cooler if they were zombie butterflies though.

Kelly H-Y said...

So true about time being the best thing to gain objectivity ... I'll write something that I think can't possibly be edited further or cut. And, a couple weeks ... or even months later ... I can find a TON of stuff to change/cut/edit!
I got a kick out of your son's response ... so true about kids keeping us grounded! :-) I bet time could potentially change his response to that question ... I suspect there's hope for you still being named his favorite! :-)

D.A. Riser said...

Make it so, #1 -- The Next Generation is my all-time favorite TV show.

We watched Scorpion King 2 this weekend. I'd agree with your blog assessment from last week. It has good dialogue, but some odd moments. I think they should have ditched the demon woman or done something different with her as she just didn't quite come out right.

PJ Hoover said...

Underpants certainly have a draw, doesn't it, Rena! I'm not sure we've checked out the Dumb Bunnies. I'm not sure we should :)

Miriam, she left the show to move on to bigger and better things, though the only thing I really remember her in is Pet Cemetery (uber-creepy movie).
You need to re-watch it!

I'm hoping time will change his opinion, Kelly! And so yes on time for clarity! I cut so much after time away!

See the demon witch worked for me, Dan. She seemed old but young at the same time. Granted, this movie must totally be watched with certain expectations!
And yay on TNG! It was a great, great show!

Thanks for visiting, everyone!

adrienne said...

I hadn't noticed the butterfies, but I've seen some Twilight-ish covers...
The Dumb Bunnies crack me up, too. I wouldn't go as far as to say they're my favorite...

PJ Hoover said...

Covers are interesting, aren't they, Adrienne! Maybe I'll check the library for a Dumb Bunny!

JaxPop said...

Ah - chopping scenes, dialogue, funny banter - all to make a story work & flow. It's a painful thing, but has to be done. Reminds me of the days as a coach when you had to cut kids at tryouts. Ya love 'em all but....

Butterflies - My wife is obsessed. She's always taking pics of the lil' winged wonders & she has planted stuff that draws them to our yard.

I'm going to check out your book. Have a great day.

PJ Hoover said...

It is so hard to crush kid's dreams with horrible stuff like tryouts, isn't it, JaxPop! But yes, all part of learning and growing up. And if they don't work for the team...
Butterflies are beautiful! And a huge draw for collectors.
Thanks so much for visiting!

Lady Glamis said...

Uh-oh about the butterflies! My book is titled "Monarch" - it's, uh, gonna have a butterfly on the cover, you can bet. I love butterflies.

A red one.

Carrie Harris said...

Yeah, I was thinking about that too. And it's not just butterflies either; it's butterflies and giant hands.

I have no idea what it means, but it seems pretty Freudian to me.

lotusgirl said...

I think for the book covers the butterflies are eye-catchers. People love them.

Keri Mikulski said...

Love kids. :)

Wow.. Never noticed the covers. Amazing.

PJ Hoover said...

I think a red butterfly and "Monarch" will be awesome, Michelle. If it's not obvious by these titles, butterflies totally work!

I ignored the hands, Carrie, but you're right! How funny! Freudian you think?

People do love them, Lois (me included seeing as how I own two of these and will most likely get the third when it's available).

I love covers, Keri! They are so much fun!

Thanks for visiting!

Solvang Sherrie said...

My kids love Dav Pilkey, too. I have to admit he can be funny. Plus he's from Ohio so he has to be good. BTW, Dumb Bunnies are funny :^)

Time is the great objectifier (yeah, I know it's not a word, but it's late at night so I'm going to leave it...)

PJ Hoover said...

True, Sherrie. He is pretty darn hilarious! And Ohio is good!

Prince Balthazar said...

Butterflies. It's strange how certain motifs invade books and films and all collide at once. A few years ago it was Bees. I'm waiting for Ferrets.

PJ Hoover said...

You think ferrets are next, Prince B? Or maybe tortoises? I'd like a book with a tortoise on the cover. Hmmm...maybe I'll have to write one!

Thanks for visiting!

TJ Brown said...

I don't want to read anything else about cutting words or killing darlings. I need to ADD words. tell me how to do that! LOL
Teri

PJ Hoover said...

One word, Teri: Backstory

Or you could always add some underwear jokes.
Congrats on finishing your story!