Sunday, June 28, 2009

Cut and paste vs. delete

I've been writing 15-20+ hours each week for the last couple of weeks, most of which is new material. It's more than I usually write, and even as I'm writing it, I know that some of it is crap. In the last week, I've killed off a character then decided he couldn't die, given another one polio then decided she couldn't have it, and decided that an invisible character needs to remain invisible, like Carlton the doorman from Rhoda. Sometimes I cut and paste the scene into a "deleted scenes" file on my computer. Sometimes I just highlight the whole thing and delete it. Gone forever.
I'm just plugging away, getting my ideas and revisions down on paper (or my more accurately, on my computer) while I have the time.
I just printed out 30 pages of new text and now I'll edit. I actually love this part, because this is where my story stops being crap and starts evolving into the story it wants to be. I'll need to revise it, change the sequence of events, improve the dialogue, describe the setting better, etc.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Trusting for the rest

Writing this book has been quite a creative stretch for me.
My background in PT is heavy in sciences and child development, so I am used to information organized and presented sequentially and logically. When I've written non-fiction materials for the PT or child development literature, I've created a plan in the form of an outline and written my manuscript according to the plan.
So, I tried to write fiction that way. The result was too formal and contrived. I got frustrated with it and gave up.
In reading a 'how to' book on writing fiction, I found some help. One author compared writing fiction to driving at night. You can only see as far as your headlights will allow, usually only until the next turn. But that's okay. It's far enough, and you just have to learn to trust for the rest. I decided to give that a try.
So, I created characters and put them in a time and place. Then I gave one a problem and let the characters go. Sometimes I feel like a spectator recording the action, and I haven't got a fully developed plan as to what will happen next or whether it will end how I originally hoped.
I still struggle with a feeling of being out of control of my story. Hopefully, I can continue to trust what I see, one little stretch of road at a time.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Learning from history

One of the members of my writer's critique group, Mary Slaby, has published a terrific historical fiction novel and is currently working on the sequel. She was lucky enough to be interviewed by a historical fiction blogger, who also reviewed her book, positively, as I knew it would be. Check it out:
Someday, that'll be me.
I went to bed last night with my story swirling through my head. I woke this morning with a focus on what I need to write today. Time to get off the blog and onto the book.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Time off, time to write!

One of the perks of my job is time off, like snow days and holidays, plus some longer breaks scattered throughout the year. The Early Intervention program I work with is on a break for the month of June, so I am officially off for four weeks! (applause!) I am free to spend hours puttering in my gardens, having tea on the porch, floating in the pool, all that great summertime stuff. But I also know I want to work on my book. I plan to discipline myself and write at least a couple of hours each day, plus catch up on all the research material I've accumulated in the last year.
It's hard to remember what I've written and create a cohesive story when I usually only write a couple of times a week. In anticipation of this long stretch of writing days, I re-read the 140 pages I've already written, and guess what? I like it!
Time for me to dig in and create. I can't wait.