Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Write Stuff.

"The Write Stuff." What a great title for a 'How To' book!

Didn't get any book writing done yesterday. Was waylaid by bookkeeping sorts of things; taxes, life insurance, cash register stuff, retirement accounts.

Still, I went to bed feeling like a writer.

It's that "feeling" I need to maintain, and writing is the way to maintain it, but also by keeping to my commitment, and knowing that somehow, somewhere in the back of my brain, I'm still working on my story.

I'm pushing forward on the first draft, but in re-reading snippets of it, I'm realizing that I still have plenty of filling in to do.

I tend to write my story willy nilly, mostly plot and action. First this happens, then this, and then this.

Later, I'll need for the characters to step back and explain/show WHY they did such and such, or WHAT was the background, and more HOW it was done, and WHEN such a thing happened and try to add telling details, make it feel more real with more verisimilitude, and add a bit of business to make the character more alive, and colors, sights, sounds, and decide on a tone and mood and so on and so forth.

All of which is a can of worms. Any change can change everything else.

But that's more or less the gist of it: The Characters must step back and explain/show what they are doing. Without slowing down the story.

I'm going to do a little research on plotting. For instance, in watching police procedurals on T.V. I'm noticing that there is a lot of these sorts of nuts and bolts: "Let's go." "Stay here." "First we'll do (this) and then we'll do (that.)" Often used as the beginnings or punctuations to scenes.

I tend to rush the plot when writing a first draft.

I've heard tell of writers who put in TOO much in the first draft; in fact, that seems to be the usual problem. They need to cut, and pare down, and simplify and so on.

Not that I won't have to cut. I have to be ruthless and remove anything that doesn't add to the story, no matter how much I like it.

I have a scene late in the book that is set in a "destination resort" and I go on about Central Oregon's resorts and their history and zoning and all that. All of which my writer's group didn't like. "Sounds like preaching," they said.

Heh. Obviously, they don't read my blog.

LATER: Well, there it is. I knew my subconscious was working on it. As I was taking a shower, I suddenly thought of a satisfying ending, which neatly wraps up the story arc but isn't completely predictable. Cool.

Now all I have to do is write those last five chapters (estimated.)

Wow. A real book.


H. Bruce Miller said...

I have no experience writing fiction (well, except my columns, some of which might have been called very short-form fiction) but I think I'd be wary of submitting my work in progress to a writers' group for comment and criticism. Doesn't a writer have to be true to his/her own vision and voice? Did Twain, Dostoyevsky, James Joyce, Faulkner and the rest of those guys belong to writers' groups?

Duncan McGeary said...

Well, every single amateur who has ever gone through writer's group has held to that view.

Meanwhile, I've seen several writers -- in fact, all the published ones, including me-- take criticism and improve their writing.

That's what I've seen.

Genius's are probably different.

Duncan McGeary said...

What I do think separates real writers though is the dedication level.

Most professional writers are writing so much that reading 10 or 20 pages every couple of weeks just doesn't cut it.

Unless they belong to a group with other pro writers.

Writer's groups vary as much as there are writer's groups, depending on the mix of people at any one time.

I've always found it motivating to have something ready every two weeks.

I try to take the 'good' advice and ignore the 'bad' advice. I enjoy the company and talking about writing. When I critique someone else I can compare it to what I'm doing.

So it's a case of too much information being impossible.