Thursday, September 11, 2008

writing about writing

I can't promise that the following ruminations (I originally typed "rumniations," which I find rather amusing) will in any way segue (can I use that as a verb? Rule #152. Verbify anything.) into each other in a coherent fashion, but I'm not writing for publication here, so frankly, my dear, I don't give an unmentionable.

I've been wanting to write about my writing for quite some time, but, as other literati have said before me, when one is engaged in active storywriting, one finds oneself reluctant to channel much of that creative energy into blogging. I dunno know why, I just know that's how it works.

Whatever. I do know why. It's because the act of storywriting is such an intense process, there's simply no energy left for other writables (or, sometimes, anything else at all). Weekly, if not daily, I am stocking my creative pond (the pool where we all go down to drink, a la Stephen King, an image I wholly embrace) with creativity for my story, and I am intensely jealous of that creative energy. I want to channel it into the story, not into blopgosts that are, frankly again, not as valuable to me as the story itself.

Which is not to say that I don't care about my blog. Because I do. I'm only setting priorities here. Work with me, people! Gah.


That said, I give you the following: an excerpt from my journal, in which I expound upon my current noveling status. Please forgive the abbreviations and ellipses--I want to give you the journal excerpt without giving away parts of the story. So, without much ado about anything, an excerpt for your reading pleasure (or not, whichever the case might be):

September 4, 2008

While I ran this morning, I let my mind go over some possibilities for "Triad." Part of me is tempted to scrap the first half and re-write it, simply because the style of writing and the pace of the story are so different from what and how I wrote the second half. [Note: I know this sentence is grammatically horrid, but in my journal, I free-associate without editing, so there ya go.] This is what happens when one spend four years on the first half and four months on the second. ;o)

However, I'm putting the scrap-temptation on hold for now. First, I want to see what I can do with that first half in my second-draft edit, which I'm working on now. I've gone through eleven chapters--all in the second half. I'm reserving final judgment on the first half until I've worked through it again.

But back to the possibilities I was permutating on my run. Liz "Engstrom" Cratty, my Writer's Digest Novel Writing Workshop mentor [three? years ago], suggested I start the story with R.'s and Ch.'s capture... I don't believe that's the best starting point, as so much of the backstory would get lost, and explaining everything later would bog down the rest of it.

However, I wonder if the *argument* between R. and Ch. *would* be a good starting point...

I think I'm coming to the conclusion that my current Chapter One, in which D. and the guys break into the belltower and R. thwarts them, does not a good Chapter One make. *Prologue*, maybe. But for a first chapter, it doesn't get things moving quickly enough. I need a start with more tension...

...and the argument between R. and Ch. might just be it.

Of course, then I'll have to decide whether to make the break-in scene a prologue (in which case, it'll have to be *way* shorter) or toss it. I like the shorter prologue idea. If I toss it [current Chapter One], then Ill have the backstory bogdown again.

So, let's say the break-in is a prologue, and Chapter One begins with the argument. '"_______________!" ___________________________' might be a good opening line. [Hee hee.] Then what? I'd send R. directly to the T.s' (after the argument, of course), which would bypass N.H. entirely; if I didn't bypass her, I'd get into a bog again, interrupting R.'s storming out of the tower. (And what if R. failed to secure the lift before leaving? This could add some tension, because she'd worry about Ch. all the way to the T.s'...)

I've wondered for a long time whether or not I. needs a greater role, and if so, how to give it to her? Well, what if I combined I. and N.H. into one character? Perhaps I.'s mother was from the H. family....Hmmm.....

I'm getting ahead of myself, because these are all things to consider *after* I go through the text and finish my second draft. But it's good to get these ideas on paper. They've been in my subconscious for awhile, so this has helped me gain some clarity. My concentration on the second half will be better now...

< /journal entry >

Since I wrote that, I have gone through several more chapters and have finished a total of seventeen! That means eighteen more to go. When I say "finished," I mean that I have gone through the hard copy pages, marking with colored ink anything that needs changing/improving. When I'm through with this manuscript, every single page will be bleeding pink, purple, blue, or green, depending on which gel pen I used.

Have I mentioned I'm having a blast with this? Please to be noting my quote from a few days ago: "One of the best things about being a writer is that I get to go to work in nothing but my underwear, if I want to." I wrote that. You can quote me on it.

After I've gone through the hard copy pages, I will enter all the changes into the computer document and print it all out--that will be my second draft. Then, I'll begin re-structuring the parts of the story that don't work. *That* will be the hard part....because, as Mr. King teaches (in "On Writing"--a writer's bible, I swear), in order to create a working story, you must "kill your darlings." Meaning: I gotta cut out parts of the story I love but that don't fit.

That's where the other quote from a few days ago comes into play: "Psychologically speaking, writing a book is like getting into a knife fight with yourself in a phone booth" (The Waiter). When I "kill my darlings," I'm going to be fighting myself, and it's not going to be pretty.

You've been warned.

That's all for now. I hope you've enjoyed this look into One Writer's Mind. Metaphors be with you.


Tamara said...

This is your form of torture?!?! Geez, hurry up & publish already, I have to know what happens. I should be her own woman, don't force her into being N.H. (Whatever the crap that means.) ;)

Patricia said...

*Groans at both the pun and the extended wait to read this story!*