12 Oct

Better than chapter 2

for Wordstock is a new project that wants to be written. I’m writing with pen and then will be typing and revising–this turns out to be a more focused and relaxing form, and more portable (there’s no startup time or technical issues for a paper notebook until it’s full). I filled quite a few pages at Wordstock, stopped when I ran out of steam instead of forcing it, then, following an observation given by author Karen Karbo on the topic of how working writers with families can get it done, came at it from a different angle and even a different set of emotions (amazingly freeing on the imagination). There have even been moments of pure giddiness.

I’ve filled quite a few pages in the notebook, with a lot of work to be done but no signs of stopping–and it feels right, the tone, the story, ironically, writing what I know (although there’s a lot left to be learned about what one knows to be able to write about it). And I think it’s unique without being weird, so there may be a market for it–leaving me free to not think about markets till I’m done. (I’ve noticed that the most recognized writers at Wordstock all said they did not think about markets or audiences when they set out to write, they just wrote the story they wanted to tell, and let their publishers fix a genre to it.)

Since I don’t have a writing group to work with, I’m lining up structure to compensate–I have an editor friend to whom I’ll mail my daily draft each day and, if she doesn’t receive it, she’ll call or email and ask for it. She won’t read it–it’s just to hold me accountable to daily deadlines unless we arrange something in advance. I’ll send out chapters for review to a select group of writer friends and to Debby, either in documents or as links to a new private blog on this site.

I won’t start chapters until I’ve written a few scenes that I think are really part of the story and possibly the ending (at least one or two variations of an ending sentence)–endings are important to me, I like writing them, and I like the idea of working toward a fixed point with this project. ┬áThat’ll be soon, now.

I think it’s safe to talk around it like this without taking energy from the project. I don’t want to curse the project by even releasing any keywords, although I will say it started with an e-mail thread with Vandana, Steve, and Pam, with Pam as the prime goader. (That probably wouldn’t look good on a t-shirt.)

Note: More on Wordstock later–just a few observations worth sharing.

4 thoughts on “Better than chapter 2

  1. Anything that helps you meet Heinlein’s first rule of writing (“You must write”) is a Good Thing.

    As for myself, years of printing have lost me my ability to cursively write anything but my name, and wrist problems induced by too much mousing around mean that it only hurts to write when it’s legible. As for the t-shirt, I’ll refrain from the goadse joke.

    Hang in there. Spin tales. Meet your deadlines.

    • I lost the ability to write legible cursive years ago–now I just curse legibly, and very quickly in a semi-random mix of upper and lower case print. The trick is to type it up within a day or two so I can rely on memory to help me decipher characters written in haste or on an unstable platform.

  2. I’m so happy! If it’s what I remember, I look forward very much to the completion of your new project. And I think this is an excellent way to crack the whip on yourself. Plus, having written my first 600-page novel entirely in longhand before putting it into digital form, I think there is much to be said for using the paper medium for your first draft; making the transition to the computer is like three rounds of editing rather than just one. So good writing to you!

    • Yep, it’s that, or spawned by that thread. I also find myself writing in the alpha energy space just before lights out, reaching over and grabbing the notebook to scratch an idea, then just running with it. It’s not always such a friendly process–for example, yesterday, I was so beat and busy with other work I didn’t think I would write a word, then something ticked during my late night reading cocktail (you, know the book that’s read only at bedtime, that takes forever to get through) and I ended up writing out a page and a half that helped set a possible stage for more.

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