Drained from a busy night at work and another two more of the same coming right up. The writing has hit a wall. There are things that I need to think about or research before I can move on. Now would be a good time to print everything out and start the first re-write, filling in the details, expanding on conversations and re-working the flow a bit. Most of what I wrote in the beginning was short hand, just a way of recording ideas.
Posted 9:52:24 AM:: home
___________ Thursday, January 30, 2003
We went to the CJ last night where I had a short but interesting conversation with J, and an even shorter but less interesting conversation with G, both struggling writers. My bad memory gets in the way of fleshing out details, the kind that make word images vibrant and rich, the kind that unlockk people's imaginations. Talking with J made me realize its not really that I can't, but more about how I manage to translate what I see either in front of me or in my imagination. This then prompted me to start a sketchbook of word descriptions. I keep journals but they tend towards the too personal or the practical. Something I've never done is fully and vividly record my impressions of the world, instead leaving it to what I now know as memory impressions.
Posted 4:10:44 PM:: home
___________ Wednesday, January 29, 2003
Had to work the last two nights, but at least my paytherentjob is as demanding as a pair of cozy pajamas. Half my mind is on the work at hand while the rest is thinking about this story, mostly developing and rounding out the characters, building up to the climax and wondering how to just round out the story itself, give it the same feeling I get when I read Richard Russo's Empire Falls.
The writing is definitely slowing down. I need to do more research to capture the feel of cultural life in the 60s/early 70s so to flesh out the "main event"; most specifically, I need a crash course on the artistic milieu in which he'd have mixed and that would have influenced him. For his character, I have to be even more inventive than for the others for too many reasons to list. He's my key male protagonist/antagonist; the verdict is still out. Luckily enough, I went to the library and picked up an original edition of Janet Flanner's Paris Journals 1944-1965 (the previous person to borrow the book did so in 1975!). It opens with Paris' four-month new liberation from the Nazi's and a winter without heat, pitifully small rations of food, no salt or sugar, and only 2 hours of electricity a day. And the American government is pressing for war yet again.
Interesting fact: Flanner's book happens to be part of the The Top 100 Works of Journalism In the United States in the 20th Century.
Posted 11:23:05 AM:: home
___________ Sunday, January 26, 2003
Just discovered the perfectly concrete writing of Stephen Ratcliffe.
What I mean is that I tend towards the abstract and the hesitant. Last night at work, I was reading The Bedford Handbook for Writers and groaned when I came across section 18b: Prefer Specific, Concrete Nouns:
Unlike general nouns, which refer to broad classes of things, specific nouns point to definite and particular items. Film, for example names a general class, horror film names a narrower class, and Carrie is more specific still. ...
Unlike abstract noun, which refer to qualities and ideas (justice, beauty, dignity), concrete nouns point to immediate, often sensory experience and to physical objects (steeple, asphalt, lilac, stone, garlic).
Specific, concrete nouns express meaning more vividly than general or abstract ones.
I'm finally relaxing into my writing, thinking about pace and character, language and setting. Up until now, I've rushed, trying to capture the plot on paper before they as usual fade into the netherworld of my brain. My anxiety stemmed from the idea of writing a novel, wondering if I had that much to say, or even if I could stay focused for that long I have a very short-hand style, both in writing and speech, omitting important details more than assuming. My brain functions like a racecar, too fast for my own good, so this practice of writing--and I mean slowly writing--is important to my own sense of sanity as it is to the actual completion of this project.
Yes, still documenting the word count. Averaging 2000 words a day is a good goal. If they happen to be within the context of my story, then *I'm-doing-my-happy-dance*. But just writing 2000 words a day after not having any sort of writing plan gives me the impression of progress. What I'm wondering is if now would be the right time to go back to the beginning and flesh out my notes with actual writing of the scenes. I'm at the one-third point in the story. The next part of the plot is more about a sub-plot development where a secondary character (Sohpie) will be used to move the story forward far enough so to shift the story into a second primary character's point of view (Juliana)
Posted 1:56:05 PM:: home