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 22, 2010

Started looking at the dystopian tonight; I know I shouldn't but I did anyway. And ka-wham!--I'm pretty I sure see the exact place I started going off track. Of course, I see other little things, too. One gaffe in particular is galling, because I buried a huge moment in the middle of a sentence in the middle of a paragraph; but that's okay because I'm not yet sure what I need to be getting at with it anyway. Now that I know where it is I can find it later when I start to pull the emotional story together more.

But now I also see the exact line in the ms where I start moving away from the storyline--and immediately after that is when things stall out.

Basically, my MC needs to decide to go in the other room and kill a guy. Everything's set up to where he'd do this, but right now at the exact spot where he gets up and goes in the other room, he's all iffy about it, and hangs in the doorway thinking and mulling over and trying to decide what to do, and eventually he's interrupted in his thoughts by people coming in, and I'm wandering around for pages not sure what goes where. Duh. He goes in there to kill the guy, who suddenly realizes his danger, and there's a moment of hesitation and connection between them--and then everybody comes in. They interrupt the killing, not the interminable thinking I've had him doing.

Through recent conversations with fellow writers, I have come to realize that I have never really cared what happens in a story. I only care what the fallout is and how it drives everybody forward--or better yet, how it drives them into the pits of despair. But two of the mss I'm working on right now--the dystopian and the swordfighting mss--are equal parts plot and character, and part (if not most) of the problems I've been having with them is that they require me to also pay attention to this flip side of things. The Writing 101 stuff like wanting an exterior goal and not getting it, plot stumbling blocks, etc. If I want to up my writing game and write a good, well-balanced mix of plot and character--which I do, that's been a goal for a few years now--then it seems I've got to add a couple of layers of depth to my writing-type thinking. Without letting those layers mess up the stuff I already know how to do. And that's going to be tricky.

If I can start thinking in plotting terms as well as character and thematic terms--if I can pull the two together in a way that works for me--I will be a happy camper. I hope what I'm seeing today is an epiphany rather than a delusion. It's easy to mistake the two sometimes; they can be nearly interchangeable.

So, whenever I look at this in the cold light of day--which I hope will be tomorrow, because I have a terrible craving to work on my own stuff again--I will have my fingers crossed that this was all epiphany and zero delusion.