Sunday, November 16, 2014

Chiseling

My writing is falling into a predictable pattern.

Sit down, open up the file containing the latest chapter of the book. Read what I'd written two days ago. Quail. Can I match that? Hell, I'm not even sure I can set down words today, let alone words that form sentences and paragraphs and mean things in pleasing ways.

I look at the outline, what I've got planned. Nope, this is gonna be way too hard for me.

Then I scroll back to what I wrote yesterday. And I fix it. I flesh it out, taking the skeleton and adding meat and muscle, sinew and organs. I note patterns in the text. Reinforce them. Fix flow problems, add description where it's needed. Rewrite things that don't work. Take jokes that do work, make them better. Add dialogue. Identify slow places and add jokes or interesting detail.

That sort of waffling sense of existential despair? That feeling when I see the whole and it's too large for me to do anything with? Where do I even begin? That disappears as I dive into the beginning of the text and start grinding through it all word by word. I get focused.

And then I get to today's writing and I begin to add on to the story. It's awful. Just completely fucking awful. I get to the end, read what I've got and think "this is workable, but it's not as good as what I wrote yesterday."

I hit the final period, update my totals, save, exit and then move on with the rest of the day.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

I think that's what I like most about writing, that sense of chiseling, chiseling, chiseling away at something rough and raw, finding patterns in the swirling chaos of your subconscious and stitching it all together to make tiny worlds. It feels like sculpting or putting together a jig saw puzzle. Maybe whittling something out of a block of sometimes-not-very-high-grade wood.

It's been an odd week, writing-wise, because of reasons. And, if said things pan out the way I hope, the next month or two will also be spotty vis-a-vis updates and book progress. How's that for vague? I got vague like whoa. But this is the good kind of vague. The next few months are going to be fun.

The vagueness is mostly because I try to keep something of a disconnect between this blog, my writing and my personal life. It's always somewhat surprising when someone's dirty (or clean) laundry is a top Google result for certain keywords, and I don't really want that. I wouldn't really want this blog to be a top Google search result for "felony conviction for sex with alpacas" or something like that (I was framed!).

In other news, I had an ah-hah moment while wrapping  up the first chapter. I was front-loading the story with random clues, some real, some not. I improvised a bit and it occurred to me do something with, uh, dimensional geometry and alien cellphones. Said clue required a bit of outline-tweaking. Totally worth it, though.

Totals:  592, two days off because of reasons, 1330, 731, 686 and 516.

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