Musing

Bringing Life

I’ve been working on writing. It’s slow, because right now I’m re-reading and editing, which adds words to the overall total (The East Witch weighs in at 27K out of a planned 100K for perspective) but not a lot. What it does is breathes life into the story for me again. My problem right now is a matter of focus. I have to hold the ember of the tale in my head, breathing on it now and again to keep it glowing, while I am focused on other things like life and work, and baking a dozen dozen cookies (Ok, it was more like 14 dozen, but close enough) over the weekend. If the ember goes out, the story dies, and it’s a lot of work to revive it again.

I think this is probably why I like to write fast, as do many of my colleagues. The longer I need to keep the story in limbo, neither living nor dead, the more work it is to finish. And frankly, my dears, I’m lazy. So it’s easier to go faster. Unfortunately, life intervenes with ‘faster’ so I’m stuck where I’m at, letting it die and bringing it back to life again over and over.

I do enjoy this, though. There’s something special about writing, because the characters (at least for me) become very much alive and real and I enjoy watching them and recording their adventures. I rarely feel like I’m contriving those adventures – and usually when I do feel that way, it’s because I’m forcing the story and it goes badly. It’s more like (when the story is flowing) I’m watching a movie in my head. Sort of. I do often know what paths are open to the characters, but they will sometimes surprise me by suddenly taking an abrupt left turn from what I expected. And then I fuss because I worry what that will do to the plot.

I’m not unaware of outlines and how they help, it’s just that they don’t work for me. I’ve tried, multiple times, to outline, and it never fails to kill the story dead, dead, dead. No reviving that one. My mind says ‘oh, you told that story. Let’s do another.’ And it doesn’t matter how much my logical side explains that a few hundred (or thousand) words of outline is hardly ‘telling the story’ it’s all out there and my mind doesn’t want to do it again. Which I suspect is why I have so much trouble rewriting. The mystery is gone, my brain gets bored, and it wants to play with a new toy. Right now I’m oscillating back and forth between two different stories, different genres, very different characters. The other one, Ten Pigeons, wants me to do a bunchaton of research before I can go much further, including testing out a digital forensic program I heard about the other day on the podcast and knew immediately was perfect for this tale. Nice when you realize that real life bits can fit into a story to make it even more realistic. But that takes time, which I don’t have a lot of.

And it’s Inktober, so I’m drawing daily and making more efforts on the art than I would for a normal daily sketch – I spent ten minutes on a screech owl today and got a bit of the top of his head, plus eyes, done, so I know this is going to take me at least an hour tonight at home to finish. I’m not going for photorealism, but, like my fiction, I want it to at least be somewhat recognizable as ‘something that lives’ somewhere.

 

 

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