Tempest is continuing on. I’m trying hard to set aside my first work hour of the day to focus on this moving this story forward. Some days are quiet and my mind is clear(ish) and I get a thousand words. Other days I’m getting in the neighborhood of 600-700. I’m reasonably pleased with those days. Yesterday it was about 300, but I’d had a lot of interruptions: boss guys, customers, phone calls. At the end of the hour, I thought: I should keep going with this because I have so few words.
Did a bit of soul-searching on the concept of things I should do. The main reason I switched from a word count goal to a timed goal was because my time isn’t always my own at work (go figure). Some days reaching a WC goal can take all day, and right now I have to divide my time, and not just with work duties. Tempest is a hard story to write; there is no comedy or fluff within its scenes. She is living a nasty life in a nasty place with little hope of relief, and things are still getting worse every time I sit down at the keyboard. (I’m about 1/3 of the way into the story.) If I spent all day every day on this novel, I’d get depressed.
Don’t ask where it came from. I’m not a dark person. I don’t like dark books. And this isn’t dark in the sense of a horror story, but in its hopelessness. Because my life (thank God) is NOT hopeless, I have to struggle to immerse myself in her troubles in order to depict them, and it’s not a pretty place. So, all in all, I’m glad I also have other things to think about, and why it’s not a bad idea for me to be working on timed goals rather than word count.
Quite a bit of the rest of my time (around the work stuff, which is fairly busy this time of year) I’m spending on the Thinking Sideways classwork. (If you click the link in my previous post now, you’ll notice that the brief window for signing up for the class is over for now.)
I can’t begin to tell you how much my mind is being stretched with every week’s lesson. It is being pushed and pulled and folded and then pulled some more–much like making taffy, perhaps. I’m so logic-oriented that it’s amazing I write novels at all. I shouldn’t be good at it. (And maybe I’m NOT good at it, but I enjoy it and have written seven of them to date, so there’s obviously something in there calling me to the process!)
This week we’re talking about plotting and I’m beginning to understand that I’ve blown off advice I’ve read prematurely. Holly Lisle talks about writing a Line-for-Scene outline, and I’ve always thought that I needed more information than that to remember what should go in that scene.
Today I’ve come to the sad realization that there is a difference between a focused sentence and the…junk…I write in my short paragraph or two. Because I’ve been writing AROUND the central issue, not being able to figure out ahead of time what the core purpose of the scene is. I can look at my scene and, I believe, tell you that it is important, that it moves the story forward. And I believe that I’m right! But I can’t tell you WHY.
So I pulled Tempest back out. I just wrote a new scene this week, after all. It’s still fresh in my mind. If I was having trouble figuring out a concise sentence for a vague idea of a scene for my yet-unfleshed-out novel, surely I could do better for the scene I had just written in a novel I know.
This is a really really REALLY key concept. I can feel the importance of it. But catching a hold of it is like tackling a greased pig.
I may need something for my headache.