The reasons for this blog: 1. To provide basic author information for students, teachers, librarians, etc. (Please see sidebar) 2. I think out loud a lot as I work through writing projects, and I'm trying to dump most of those thoughts here rather than on my friends.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Okay, I am trying to settle in and figure out what to work on. I really want to work, not fritter away my writing time skimming around the ms and changing a word here or there.

I don't know why sometimes I'm feeling it and sometimes I'm not. I was thinking that in this particular ms maybe when I'm feeling it that's because I'm letting the characters drive the story. Like, instead of saying to myself, "Such and such needs to happen now; how can I transition to it? What would the character be feeling at this last point that might lead me to the new point?" I say, "Now that this event has happened, the character is feeling a certain way; what does this naturally lead to?"

But it's not that simple or straightforward. Either approach can work. I wish I could figure out some kind of rule or pattern to apply.

The thing is, at the end of any given section (or event, or chapter, or scene, or whatever) you can twist it into any one of a hundred hooks. Whatever you want the reader to wonder about, that's what you can end on--and then you go back and smooth out the part before and recast it to match. Sometimes I've moved and changed things so many times it's not apparent to me that the reader might prefer to be left hanging about one issue rather than another. And sometimes I'm really straining to get that ending idea in, but I don't know it till I've reread it cold and in context. And sometimes I screwed up an ending idea way back in the ms and it's thrown off everything that comes after.

I think some of this is me. I have more ideas (by that I mean insights) than my brain can hold; I have them in little flashes, but I don't have the brain power to work an idea all the way through in one whack, or to deal with multiple ideas logically or in order. So I have to rewrite, rewrite, rewrite, and eventually (I hope) they will all come out and take their place on the page. It's like my head can only deal with tiny bits of info or it goes blank. So I run for a while on one flash, then I'm out of gas and sit there befuddled till I can spark a new flash, or the writing gods bless me with one.

But I also think some of that is just the nature of writing a novel. A novel almost has to feel like an overwhelming mass of spaghetti at some point, or there's just not enough to it; it's slight.

Anyway. I am going to work. Now. Dang it.

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