Writing Journal: Day 55

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Well, I haven’t written squat in a week or more.

No blog posts (the batman thing was written last week) here or elsewhere, no fiction – the only thing I have managed has been for the webcomic and even that felt light to me.  (as in, I didn’t do anywhere near enough).  I belched out a couple of massively long, rambling, incoherent thought rants / potential blog posts last week but have not yet had the energy to go back through them and make them into something readable.

My brain has been flightly.  I keep finding myself distracted by little things rather than focusing on putting my butt in the chair to write.  Even as I write this I find myself wanting to play a video game or watch a movie or something instead.  What the F, brain?  Where’d the focus go this time?

Logic

Logic is something that always makes me wonder.  It seems, at least to me, that some logical (or illogical) point in prose that will cause one person to trip up and shake their head will have someone else blowing right past without even batting an eye.  In various drafts of Sam Kane that I’ve done, my own brain has warned me that this or that will trip people up and make them go Wha?!  Then I obsess over it.  I start going back through the manuscript looking for other things that might trip people up.

I think this can be good and bad.  It’s good to weed those moments out.  It’s bad to not find them but still keep looking because they have to be there – THEY HAVE TO!  AND YOU MUST FIND THEM!  You are AHAB and they your WHITE WHALE!

If you spend all your time editing or worrying over editing or worrying over worrying over the editing guess what?  You’ll never submit it and no one will ever get the chance to read it.

Rewriting

Rewriting a story is necessary.  If all you’re doing is editing and re-edting the same stuff over and over, that doesn’t cut it.  Not in the long run.  If you’re serious about writing, and I am, you have to start fresh and rewrite.

Having said that, rewriting seems to create all new and different issues.  The problem with having so many (perceived ‘good’) ideas is that you want to put them all into whatever it is you’re working on even if they don’t fit.

Admit it – you’ve thought up a scene or a moment random and independent of the piece you’ve been writing and thought, “Whoa! That’s so cool! I think I’ll put that in…”  But it doesn’t fit.  It changes the tone, it cuts the scene weird or paints you into a corner plot-wise that you now have to get out of.

The rookie tries to fix it. I try to fix it.  “Well, maybe if I did this… or this… tweak this just a little…”

Before you know it, you’ve been dicking around with this small chunk of text for hours or days and all because you thought it was cool.

It’s the veteran writer, I think, who learns not to do this.  They know better than to put that scene in to begin with, or if they do add it, they recognize that it doesn’t work immediately and and they slice it out like a surgeon with a scalpel so they can move on to the next bit.

Sometimes I think writers are like one of my younger cousins.  She really wanted to be a vet – not because she had any interest in medicine, but because she wanted to help the animals.  She wanted to hold them and hug them and make sure they were okay.  She wasn’t thinking about the hard part – about tending the wounds, giving them shots causing them pain to ease their suffering.  Vet’s are underrated in my opinion, btw.

But they, like doctor’s who tend to the two legged animals of this world, learn early on to distance themselves from their patients.  They become clinical (there’s a reason that word exists) about it.  It’s a job that has to be done, work that must be performed despite the protestations of the patient.  Doctor’s aren’t cold – they’re distant.  It’s not that they don’t care about you, because they do.  They have to approach it, approach you, without emotions clouding their judgment – they have to be logical, clinical, because there’s a problem that needs to be solved.

They have to be able to cut away the bad bits to save the good ones.

This is the skill I need to learn in my writing.

Sooner rather than later would be nice.

~P

1 comment for “Writing Journal: Day 55

  1. April 8, 2011 at 6:19 am

    It’s the veteran writer, I think, who learns not to do this. They know better than to put that scene in to begin with, or if they do add it, they recognize that it doesn’t work immediately and and they slice it out like a surgeon with a scalpel so they can move on to the next bit.

    I am not so sure, Patrick. I think even veteran writers can get awfully attached to parts of their writing, long past the “sell by” date. So I don’t think its a binary thing–its a matter of being better able to recognize these things. Having the will to remove it is the trick.

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