Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Randomness

That last story was pretty fun. Why do I always seem to get Southern Gothic on these random rolls? I don't know shit about Southern Gothic literature beyond the obligatory Poe and a few movies. I suppose that's the point of true randomness. It's fun to test your writing boundaries. I'm just glad I didn't get erotica.

I think my favorite part was the voice I used. There's always a bit of a balancing act with writing dialect, particularly one you're not extremely familiar with. The company I work for has a lot of customers from down south and it's always fun to listen to them talk. One thing you pick up on very quickly is that there's different flavors of "southern".  Georgia is not the same as Alabama is DEFINITELY not the same as Texas which is very different from North Carolina. There are a few I can't identify simply because I can't understand the speaker well enough to ask.

The balancing act comes in with how much of it to use. Use too much, your character becomes the accent and everything turns into a Song of the South-style minstrel show. Not good. Too little and it doesn't feel authentic. You have to be careful of being respectful--I never use accents to mock or stereotype. Or at least I try not to. They're just too cool to listen to.

The book's progressing nicely. That next tarpit of a chapter is over. The chapter coming up next is only 50% old material, so should be more fun to write.

After a while, I just resorted to copy and pasting with only a brief skim through to make sure everything fit. When I added a new paragraph I just did a quick "do I need to foreshadow this earlier?"/"what's the bare minimum I have to do to incorporate the new stuff with the old?" and then slapped a bandaid on it all and hurried on. My mantra for this stuff is "IT'S JUST A ROUGH DRAFT." I'll look at it later. It's way too easy to get paralyzed with editing, especially at this early stage. You wind up just going in circles and agonizing over things that may not even matter in the long run.

Stephen King once wrote that you should never spend more than 3 months on your first draft. I can see where he's coming from. Any longer than that and you're lost in the woods without a compass, making decisions that seem smart from a twenty foot perspective which wind up obviously foolish from a cloud level view. It's better to just push through, let it all out in a steaming nasty mess and then get on with your life.

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