Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Curious Incident of the Common Application

... Notes from the Battlefront ...

Surviving a college interview takes a good pair of flats (men have already won half the battle) and asking yourself, "What's the worst that could happen?" I was wearing my favorite pair of shoes (Antonio Melani heels, beautiful but deadly) but I did ask myself The Big Question and the answer was... "Spill Chocolate Jello All Over Yourself." Seeing as there is no Chocolate Jello in the interviewer's office, and seeing as I would make a joke out of it if it did materialize and spill, I figured I was fine. I was, and it was great.

Make a big deal out of your writing. Plant orange cones and scruffy construction workers around it. Most interviewers don't have a background in writing, so when you say "published" they say "awesome!!!" Mention that you plan on being involved in literary magazines on campus. Bring your writing resume if it is appropriate.

Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time is beyond belief. I read it in 1-2 hours. Fabulous. Moving. Heartbreaking. Wow. The last passage especially. Gee. My goodness.

The Common Application (http://www.commonapp.org/) makes me feel like I'm filing for Medicare instead of applying to college, but it will save me countless hours of time needed for The Writing. Have you noticed that cool people capitalize Important Things? Nathan Bransford's capitalizing Imprint of the Future; Francesca over at http://www.manolobig.com/ has perfected The Art of The Capitalization.

Talk about pizazz.

Regular programming scheduled for tomorrow. Probably a deep, meaningful post on either spelling errors or developing writing style. The Common Applicant is tired and needs to recover from genius works and great college interviews.


Anonymous said...

Good luck with the college interview! Hope you get in!

P.S. I've been reading lately that writers should try to find something in a book that is useful to them (e.g. description is everything, the hero and heroine should be seen together in more scenes, one shouldn't include so many big words in their writing). Have you found anything useful in The Curious Incident...? Because your words make me want to read it!

Gabrielle said...

Hey, Pema!

I would say that one thing I bring away from "Curious Incident" is the importance of voice. Every phrase, every euphemism is examined in light of who Christopher is and how he reacts to the world. It's a moving story because of it.

Totally recommend it.

Anonymous said...

:) Thanks for answering my question.

Voice is important - the only problem I sometimes get with it is that my book switches through three narratives. I make it easy to tell which narrative we're looking at - each chapter says the name of the character - but sometimes I get confused between them. I want to show all aspects, but it can be hard to get it straight.

;) I think in my next novel attempt there'll only be one narrator.

Janette Rallison said...

So true about the shoes. And chocolate is just that way. It turns on you without warning.