Watching a documentary about art (The Story of Film) may not be the smartest thing to do while writing.
It makes me doubt the "art" of what I'm doing. I'm telling a story. I'm telling it the best I can.
I've been thinking a lot about why this newest book is so much easier and more satisfying than my first book (after coming back to writing.) In fact, each book has gotten easier and more satisfying as I blend work habits with my creativity.
I've been explaining it as "heart" versus "head." Which is not a bad explanation.
It's also a matter of "inside" versus "outside." (Which may be saying the same thing.)
I wrote the original story of NEARLY HUMAN with a concept in mind. I thought about what elements I wanted to include. When I was done with the basic story, I kept thinking of things I needed to add.
All of this was an attempt to impose layers of meaning on the story.
From the outside, with certain pre-set conditions.
Since THE RELUCTANT WIZARD, I've been approaching writing differently -- more like I did 30 years ago.
I write from the standpoint of "story." But more to the point, from the inside out.
Imagine if you will, that the words on the page represent the book, like a painting. What an outside-in approach would be is to add words, or take out words, or mix the order of words from a outside perspective, like adding layers of paint. The story is constructed of elements.
Imagine instead that there is some kind chisel that I'm chipping away layers of meaning from underneath the story, that the story comes from under the words. That it comes naturally, as if the story already exists.
You can tell which approach I prefer.
10 hours ago