Thursday, November 14, 2013

Foresight

Status Update: the coffee today's a lighter variety, at least by my standards, which is like saying your bulldozer is light and graceful on its feet, capable of better pirouettes than your typical bulldozer. Not much in the writing department getting done because I'm between apartments at the moment.* In fact, I'm doing the equivalent of a shuttle relay just to get this post posted--I haven't gotten around to switching over my internet yet. It's weirdly refreshing but still a pain in the keister.

* Technically, I have two apartments, since I'm a big fan of forking over the cash to have your leases overlap for a week. It makes moving astonishingly simpler and easier to organize. Plus if you split it over a few days, your friends won't hate you as much for making them carry your endless boxes of books.

I predict flash fiction this week. It's hard to write long when you can't find your writer hat because it's buried beneath a pile of flotsam. It may even be buried beneath some jetsam as well, although I don't recall owning any jetsam to speak of. You never know.

WARNING: TOPICAL COMPARISON BETWEEN WRITING AND MOVING AHEAD

One thing that always amuses me about moving is just how many of your apartment layout decisions seems to be dictated by "I'll just put this here for now" and then forgetting to come back to it. Sometimes for years. You look at the top of your fridge and, in a fit of nonlinear thinking, wonder just why the hell you always keep your cleaning supplies up there, don't have any immediate answers, so you give it a good think and holy shit, you realize you've had it that way for six years because that's where you put it when you moved in. Then you face-palm and put that bottle of Windex on the shelf where you keep all your other cleaning supplies, resulting in about six months of not knowing where the hell the Windex is.

I tend to put something down in a convenient location, perhaps absent-mindedly, and now that it becomes part of my mental landscape, that's where it stays. It just never occurs to me that I can, and probably should, regularly revisit my belongings to see if there's a better place for them.*

* Actually, I do sweep through my apartment every few months with an eye for this sort of thing--now. I just lied like a big damn lying liar to make a point.

Anyway.

Happens all the time to me in writing (see, told you there was a comparison coming up). I'll make a decision because it's easy or the first thing to come to mind when I'm blowing through a first draft and, because the words are there, it's real to me. I don't stop to consider that I can change everything as much as I want. A character might have drifted over the course of fifty pages to become something completely different. Perhaps I need a location to be slightly different. Maybe I really do need to have that gun in the drawer where Andrew's trained war-aardvark (waarvark?) can find it.

I need to be better at realizing that I can change things at any point. It would speed my writing quite a bit, paradoxically, because I wouldn't be so hung up on continuity. I keep outlines, but what I don't realize is that they're more than a road map that I'm writing towards, but also something I can physically manipulate as I write. The furniture can change, so to speak.

Just as importantly, I need to work on getting better at marking off these placeholder bits, the parts where I just said "I'm putting this character here for now" and getting back to them later to make them actually work.

Something to think about, assuming I can figure out which pile of boxes contains my thinking cap.

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