Friday, November 03, 2006

I'm writing again!

As far as novel writing goes, I'm pumped! As far as blogging goes, I'm bummed. In the last week, I've only made one post to each of three (actually, I have 5) blogs and I sure miss it.

I recently read two verse novels — Locomotion and Hugging the Rock. I was so inspired, I dug out a verse novel I'd been writing, untouched in months. Over the past few weeks, I've written at least two verses (kinda long verses) per day. All went well until just a few days ago. I sensed the story wasn't going anywhere. And if it was, it was going there very slowly. In addition, I was telling too much and not showing enough. Then I started revising, something I shouldn't do this early in the writing process. Then I started questioning why I was writing this novel in verse anyway? Then I got discouraged and stopped writing.

Now, shush on up!— I know the rule: keep writing anyway. Right? But I couldn't keep writing. I felt like I was on a highway, driving in the slow lane, headed in the wrong direction. Did I really want to keep driving in the wrong direction for the sake of getting someplace, sometime? No, I'm not the guy who keeps driving, lost, refusing to ask for directions.

I found my direction in Immediate Fiction (am I sounding like a commercial for this book?). No news to ya'll seasoned writers, but I'm an unseasoned writer trying to get my flavor on. The fundamental ingredient to any successful story is conflict. We get to know a character, like him or dislike him, cheer or jeer him by how he reacts to problems. What are his actions? How does he cope with and eventually resolve conflict?

My story had much potential for conflict, somewhere in there. But in my head, I hadn't clearly defined what that conflict would be. The story is based upon a chunk of my life as a teenager, so there's plenty of conflict to choose from. Thing is, I don't want this story to be about me, per se. So far, it's feeling too memoir-ish (if there's such a word), something that's probably not so appealing to the teen market. I need to let my imagination go wild.

First thing this morning, I wrote a paragraph summarizing exactly what my story will be about and what the conflict is. I'm sure this will evolve, but having this map, of sorts, will help me to get back on track. I hope. And, I'm reconsidering the verse thing.


rindawriter said...

Words are so totally flexible! You can chop out, rewrite, throw away, but as long as you keep the drafts around, nothing is ever lost. Just get it all out on that paper first, messy, full of faults.

Then you can start chopping!

When writing songs, we songmakers often use "dummy" tunes or "dummy" words in our tunes and verses as sort of place-holders as a new song evolves. Then we go back and refine, and recreate those parts later to make soemthing truly original.

Melinda said...

I also like the book Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass. Good stuff.

Good luck on that novel. It's hair-rending work, ain't it!

*starts wondering how exactly one rends their hair, anyway*