Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Progress Report

Hard things to do keep cropping up. The latest is, how to put this book thing together.

I have this image of Hemingway or Faulkner or Fitzgerald sitting down to their carbon-ribbon Royals and rapping out the story from beginning to end: Someone wants something, followed by all the reasons he can't have it, followed by how he gets it but it turns out to be less than expected, and he's either dead or sadder but wiser.

I mean, Wolff totally visualized the Lighthouse, right? And just took it on through? Ann Tyler is close to the best ever at structuring a novel, and maybe she just sat right down and rapped the thing out.

Mmm, not, I suspect.

Not. What happens with me--and I think with all of them, because that's how the mind works--is that story sort of flows in with the particular character you're working with, and the whole storyline changes just a bit. At the risk of sounding glib, once a character starts to do and say stuff, he (or, in my most recent instance, she) pretty much takes over, and I (or you), as author, kind of have to run with it and see what happens. And yes, this feels weird.

The good part is that discovery happens, here. The bad part is that you have all these passages which are probably pretty good, but they don't seem to relate to one another. The challenge, as writer, is that you have all these passages/narratives/whatever all over the place, and you have to to somehow connect them.

Wouldn't it be nice to just sit down and do Chapter One, then Two, then Three and so on?

It doesn't happen that way, at least for me.

But I do have more than 11,000 words.

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