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.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Did family and house stuff all weekend. Today I wrote in-scene backstory about one of the characters in the swordfighting ms. I'm wondering what will happen if I keep going in this direction--will I get loads of backstory written about everybody, then have a bazillion pages I still don't know what to do with? How is doing this going to help me figure out how to structure the story?

It feels like I'm at a plateau--like when you're trying to lose weight, or trying to exercise at a certain level, and you hit a place where your results don't change anymore, and it feels like that's where you're going to stay. It feels like I'm at a place where my reach is permanently doomed to exceed my grasp. Now, you could say it's Murphy's Law--people rise to the level of their own incompetence--or you could say it's a plateau and you can break through it if you keep trying, keep switching things up, keep trying to think outside the box you've put yourself in. I'm going to go easy on myself and say it's a plateau that can be broken out of, and not my own particular level of incompetence.

And I'm going to keep on just doing what I'm doing, writing out pieces I like while waiting for lightning to strike. I'm going to the Vermont College residency in January, so I'm hoping to see and hear things that I can use to shake my brain up and maybe kick my abilities up a notch.*

I wonder how Megan Whalen Turner thinks. I'll bet she thinks like one of my writer friends, who writes in a straight line, and whose brain has a natural ability to combine character and plot at the same time. I can't do that. I don't know if it can be learned--but if it can't, there surely is some way for a confirmed non-plotter to achieve the same results while coming at it from a different--and perhaps more labor-intensive--direction.

*Not that the book that might come out of all this angst would be great literature or anything. It's not about writing a master work, it's about being able to do something I'm unable to do right now:

"I would rather have the two hundred fifty-six imperfect books that mark the vectors of my journey through my art form than to have one perfect book that marks nothing but its own perfect self."--Barry Moser

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