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.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Today is one of those days I am reluctant to blog and feel I shouldn't even have a blog. The purpose of an author blog is to network or promote books. I look like an idiot, blogging honestly about daily process. I look like the only writer out here who doesn't know what I'm doing. The comparison with other blogging writers is probably actively harmful to my career. Not to mention most people interested in thinking about the nitty-gritty of writing probably just want answers. They want to know that there's a right way to do things, and they want somebody to tell them what it is.

Well, anyway. Sigh. For the past two days I have been working on a transitional scene/chapter in my WIP. It's like pulling teeth because it's a transition. It may also be like pulling teeth because it sucks, but I don't know that yet. The fact is, this ms requires me to write descriptions, explanations, and transitions that are needed for story rather than for characterization. I have a transition here, where two characters have to go from place A to place B. But to get there they have to pass through places C, D, E, and F, which will all show up again and which will all be somewhat important, so I don't feel I can skip them with a break for white space, or cover the whole movement with a line or paragraph. I think I need to cover each place with enough punch to be remembered, but I need to do it quickly and succinctly--just enough so that the reader will recognize the place next time we're there, and have a feel for it.

Also, by the time the characters get to place B, the reader has to know circumstances G, H, and I. This is all a matter of pacing; I can't stop dead at an exciting point and insert information about why it's exciting. It has to be planted earlier, so naturally that the reader has absorbed it without breaking reading stride. The problem is that as I'm writing I can't tell whether I'm putting all this stuff in the right place, or whether I'm mucking up the pacing and bringing everything to a halt. I have to just do my best and then come back later and look at it. But this forces me into a patchy craftsman kind of mindset that is nothing like the flowing mindset I apparently need for a ms to come to life.

What I think is that I need to be able to do both (patch and flow; explain and feel), without having one swallow the other up. Right now I must get this transition in; the characters have to move through physical space, and it can't be skipped with a break. I'm trying to pull in other things (dialog, character, feelings) along the way so that it's something I can get into rather than just doling out information. But I'm terribly worried that I'm not working towards being able to do both (p&f; e&f); that I'm really getting off track again while loftily assuring myself that I'm using my strengths to push through my weaknesses.

The amusing/sad thing is that I'm not under any illusion that this is the great American novel. At best, it'll be just a fun book. Nothing earthshattering or remarkable about it. You'd think all this work and thought would produce a masterpiece, but alas, such is not this ms' fate. Knowing this doesn't make me love it any less, though.

Oh well. Back to work.

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