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Thursday, May 04, 2006

Uber-Motivated!

I'm trying to get back into thinking mode (shush, I really do think sometimes!) about Hell Book II. Rereading the manuscript of Book I, I'd subconsciously made it all about conflict because I have so many things to introduce--the project/experiment; the secret monitor; the different commandos; the set-up; the bad guy. There's a feeling of competitiveness and secrecy through the story and that's pretty normal, it being a cloak and dagger tale.

However, I need to establish motive/motivation in Book II. I need to show what kind of person the monitor is, now that we know who he is, and why he does what he does. I need to dig deeper with Hell and find out why she agreed to be part of this experiment, with all its dangers, not just because she's a contract agent and the money is good. Although I hinted about it in Book I and also had the monitor wanting to dig for the truth himself, I never did get into this (or the book will be too long!). Lastly, the bad guys' motives are easy--they are the enemy and competitors, so of course they want their side(s) to win.

Easier said than done, since I see what I did in Book I in retrospect. Now I have to do Book II the other way round (planning ahead) and boy, it's an uber-headache for this author. I tell myself that it's GOOD for me because it will make me see my story clearer as well as clarify its direction. The romance can't just be sustained by heat (which was sort of the foundation in Book I because of the secrecy/virtual reality element). The two characters actually meet here and of course there will be conflict--but what is the main conflict?

That's tough because it isn't simple competition, or revenge, or hatred. There will be power play between the two protagonists but that can't just be it. I need something between them, be it the monitor's reluctance to admit there is more to his attraction to Hell or vice-versa. But it has to be big. And I, uh, can't think that far ahead. Sigh. I know the story will come if I can just let loose and write to that point but I'm a contracted author now, and have to write this synopsis for approval and pay, and it's making me lose precious time ;-P.

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BTW, on Vishwanathan and her troubles...lines from another author's book are being compared to How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life. I think it's Sophie Kinsella's. Because Vishwanathan had claimed "unconscious copying" as her excuse, now her book is being scrutinized even more by readers. And did you know that since her book is no longer for sale, the price for a copy has gone WAY UP? Check Amazon. It's going for $50, or maybe higher now. Yoikes. Curiosity seekers.

The subject headings on blogs and articles about Vishwanathan and her book have twisted her titles into "How Vishwanathan Got Published, Got Caught, and Got In Trouble," etc. Clever twists, but so sad also for the young girl. I kind of feel sorry for her for being the only one paying the price for this mess, don't you? Her publisher has announced that there won't a second book coming out either. Fortunately, the girl is young and could still write again later...using a pseudonym.

Not hard to figure out the motivation about the Vishwanathan saga, huh?

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3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Actually, the full list of people she's plagiarized from [up to this point] is McCafferty, Kinsella, Meg Cabot, and Salman Rushdie (though why anyone wants to plagiarize Rushdie is beyond me.)

Actually, I think her career as a writer is effectively finished. No one would touch her with a ten foot pole after this, because they can't take the risk that the truth will come out. She wanted to be an investment banker, but which firm would hire a thief, and a well known one at that? In fact, the newspaper at which she interned while in high school is now going back check up on all her stories to make sure they are clean. The fact is that she compromised her integrity and every m ove she makes from now on (and every move she ever made) will be monitored with suspicion and expectations of the worse.

On the bright side for McCafferty, her sales went up. It sucks to get your work ripped off, but at least she gets a tiny measure of compensation.

PS. love the naughty vegetables, great blog :)

SQ said...

You can always pull an Amy Tan--rewrite same story but rename characters and put it in another city. And you won't have to worry about plagarism because, well, you wrote the original story.

I have no sympathy for Kaavya Viswanathan's plagarism situation. That's what happens when you cheat! Harvard Crimson is doing a great job tracking Viswanathan's plagarism at their Web site, http://www.thecrimson.com/article.aspx?ref=512948.

Note how the Harvard English lit professor Werner Sollors hints that Viswanathan obviously knew she was copying other authors' works in his email to the reporter: "...miniscule variations that change ‘Human Evolution’ to ‘Psych’ in the hope of making the result less easily googleable.”

But a lot of the blame has to fall back on the acquisition editors at Little, Brown & Co. Acquisition editors are suppose to be experts in their market. If Harvard undergrad student just reading for fun noticed the similarities between the books, shouldn't the experts in the market have noticed too?

Plus, Princess Diaries was made into 2 movies!!! No excuse how editors missed those similarities. Kinsella's works are legendary thanks to her Shopaholics series, and McCafferty is Viswanathan's major competitor. Her editors had to notice the similarities!

If McCafferty's fans hadn't alerted the media to the whole situation and Viswanathan's book sold well, her acquisitions editors would have gotten a HUGE bonus for signing her, and Viswanathan would've made good money COPYING the works of others. So basically, everyone benefits from CHEATING. While hard working, honest editors and writers get diddly squat. The injustice just pisses me off!

Gennita Low said...

Hi Anonymous,

What a web, huh? So many different popular books and how can one not know one will be caught? It boggles my mind. This is where I think the seventeen year old mentality comes in, where she might have thought, "It couldn't happen to me." If I had been the one doing this at my age, I'd be a nervous wreck!

I'll just stick to naughty veges! ;-)

SQ,
This is getting even more fascinating than the Dan Brown case, isn't it? Is this girl still studying in Harvard? Because man, it would be so hard to be going to classes at the moment, I'd imagine. I know, I know, hard to feel bad for her for what she did, but still, a part of me is saying, "She's seventeen..."

And so true about those who were involved in the packaging and reading of her manuscript. Those works cited are so popular that one would think there were red flags everywhere.

You know this better than I do, since you were an editor yourself, but maybe these people spent so much time at their job reading new manuscripts that they don't even read stuff that's pubbed? Not all, anyway. I know my reading time has been cut down so much from my writing that I'm really behind in reading some very-discussed romances.

I'm not offering this as an excuse, btw. It's the editor's job to study the market by reading the bestselling books in each genre, slushpile or no slushpile waiting.

Like I said, a fascinating look into the world of publishing for those of us who are new in it!

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