January 15th, 2004

bear by san


49 words on Bridge this morning. Which was all it took to give me an out on that scene I've been pounding my head against since last week some time. Sheesh.

Bad brain. No biscuit.

I did figure out some important stuff in One-Eyed Jack today too. A character I was waiting for introduced herself to me.

Ahhh, the good life.

Nomail today in terms of rejects or acceptances, but I did get paid for a short story. Money is nice.
  • Current Music
    The Squirrel Nut Zippers - Lover's Lane
bear by san

"I have done better since."

I can sympathize with Cyrano today. It's hard to go back and rework a project that was the best you could do a year ago. This is exausting. Exausting.

Much harder than writing a new book, I think.

What I'm doing is taking a manuscript that's actually not all that bad, as such things are measured, but maybe a little slow and internal and claustrophobic, and trying to open it up and let some light in by adding two POV characters and a whole bunch of explanation as to what's going on in the plot threads that happen while the protag is largely not around.

Bridge of Blood And Iron

New Words: ~250
Words Cut: ~100
Page: 211 of 529
Pages edited: 22
Reason for stopping: Just got to the top of another scene I need to add, and I am tired and achy and about to go drink a beer and watch an episode of The Man from UNCLE or possibly I Spy to make my brain relax.
  • Current Music
    New Pornographers - From Blown Speakers
bear by san

Writing is too hard to do consciously.

Someone on a list I'm on asked: I was wondering how everyone thought about a story, when creating it.

And I answered:

That's a very nice question.

Any writer can only answer a question like that for perself (*g*), and for me--well, it becomes rather a travelogue.

Once upon a time I started a story with a character, and then I gave him or her a problem and saw what happened. As I developed as a writer, though, I came to see that there were different ways to develop a story (word repetition) and now I'm trying to learn how to exploit all of them simultaneously, because they all have
strengths and weaknesses.

To accomplish this, I started dividing a story up into parts. A character/protagonist, a situation ('idea,' 'setting'), a problem (conflict, plot), a theme, a symbol.

Any of these can provide a story seed, but I need all of them working together to get a story.

And a story can start with any of these things.

Generally, many people tend to talk about 'character' stories versus 'idea' stories in spec fic, and I think that's an oversimplification. Because (in mystery) you have 'character' stories vs 'plot' stories, and --

--you see what I mean. Ideally, you have them all. (where 'you' means 'me'.)

So say you start (as I usually do) with a character. Well, that character has to live someplace, right? So he needs a situation--a world, a backstory, issues that will be involved in the resolution of the story. To be a story, he has to have conflict and resolution, or lack of resolution. Okay, that's three things.

And a story, to me, needs layers, which is where theme and symbol come in: what is the story related to? What is it trying to say? What does it mean? This can all be very understated, but to me in important. What is the story

So, that's all the elements. And some of this development work takes place subconsciously--the more I learn, the more subconsciously it takes place. Although whenever I add something new, it all becomes painfully conscious

It's like juggling.

Add a ball, start all over.

Suddenly, I discover I just can't do things I used to do like magic. I trip over my own feet. My sentences suck. My characters are flat. My plots don't. It's because I'm concentrating everything on the new thing.

It's all good.

As buymeaclue would say, "Doesn't matter. Carry on." *g*

I keep saying that writing is too hard to do consciously.

And it's true, it's true, it's true. It has to become reflex. Because it's too much to keep track of at once. But each new thing has to be learned consciously and then become reflex. And you have to learn to juggle all over again.

cpolk and her take on the same question, here:

Light a fire, burn up all you know
You've had so much time just to let things go--

--Peter Mulvey, "Shirt"
  • Current Music
    Peter Mulvey - Shirt
bear by san

(no subject)


New Words: ~750
Page: 215 of 533
Reason for stopping: bedtime + end of scene

Night, folks.
  • Current Music
    Cowboy Junkies - Mining for Gold