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Sunday, June 26, 2005
He wrote: “And I'm not sure I ever want to become too comfortable either. I know I'm comfortable enough once I find the heat of the words. But outside of that...the comfort of knowing my process…”
“The comfort of knowing my process” really stayed with me. And I thought about what my process was, if I had one. I think I’m trying everything once. Since I didn’t know the beginning of the story, I started in the middle, with a fairly linear approach. But once I started coming up against some pretty big gaps – There were places I had to skip because I didn’t know what was going to happen – I switched to writing the parts I was sure of. One day I got to this great line and I knew it was my last line.
So then I had to go back and start hooking things up, writing segues and deciding, like with a movie, when to cut to the next scene, and what that should be; the order of events. And like with the rhythm of the words, I had to find a rhythm for switching scenes. The work I sent to my teacher had the third edit and that was adding the description and changing from present to past tense. I really prefer using both tenses, even though I know that’s the kiss of death. I don’t mean in the same sentence but, for the sake of immediacy, I like to switch into first.
I started writing 1500 words a day. This was for Nanowrimo. Every morning I’d edit what I wrote the day before. And I like to do it that way. But when I went back, after about four months – I wasn’t doing anywhere near 1500 words during the holidays – I found all kinds of things that needed fixing, things that had looked okay the next morning. I fuss with stuff a lot and I think it keeps getting better. But I know there comes a point when I can look at something one too many times and can’t tell shit about it. So I stay way away from that.
Because my story covers so many years, I am looking at a way to have the early years be backstory instead of the beginning. And I’m getting into this thing where the characters have secrets from each other, as a way to create tension. So much to learn.
So how do YOU do it? What works for you?