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.
Friday, November 27, 2009
By creative organization, I mean pulling the story parts together in a way that rises and builds. I mean looking at the pieces I have and being able to see ways to link them into one big, connected picture. I can't see squat at the moment, as far as that's concerned. Dunno why, but it's probably to do with the multiple other things going on in writing and real life. Sometimes a creative part of your brain just gets drained, and all you can do is wait for it to fill back up.
I wrote a new beginning for the swordfighting ms, pulled together from old beginnings and one made-up new part. I backed up and started in the middle of action again, and at the moment I have three POV characters, third person past limited for each. I did this because I know I want to play around with structure and timeframe to see if I can get something about this story to work. However, with the creative organizational part of my brain on vacation, I can't move any farther than that on the ms. So today I'll probably write a "thingee," backstory or whatever I feel like writing from the pov of one of the three characters. He could end up being a POV character. Or not. But today will probably be freewriting along those lines.
It did occur to me yesterday that if I had a lot more skill than I do now, I could probably pull this ms into something really cool, like some of Louis Sachar's work that I admire for his plotting and POV changes. I love the way Holes' plot fits together, but my favorites of his books are Sixth Grade Secrets and Boy In the Girl's Bathroom. Oh, and the Face one--Boy Who Lost His Face? Is that the title? Anyway, I wish I had Sixth Grade Secrets, but I lent my copy to one of the neighbor kids who never brought it back. But I remember while I was reading it that I thought it was cool the way Sachar kept changing POVs yet never lost me. I'm a very easy reader to lose, so the fact that he didn't says something.
The fact is that I've got this swordfighting story down. I just don't know how to tell it. If I start with the exciting part, the emotional arc is dead. If I go chronologically, it's boring and overstuffed (to me it is, anyway). So: how do I make it work on all fronts at the same time? I do not know.
Side note: I don't think I mentioned I heard that a fellow writer who has been reworking the same ms for maybe a decade finally figured it out. Thus raising (if rumor is true) what was a perfectly good publishable ms to a great one that achieves the potential the author has been holding out for all along. This is awe-inspiring, but it also makes me wonder if I have this kind of intestinal fortitude. I'm thinking I may not. I'd like to hope I do, but I'm not sure I have the strong sense of writing self it would require to look at a good, publishable ms, and say, "No, not yet--I can do better." I mean, I know I kind of do this a little bit already, but not anywhere near the degree we seem to be talking about here. Maybe. Will have to read the book when it comes out.
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