Monday, July 31

What we learn

Ok, so it's been a few days. During that time I swam, drank, ate, and even managed to write a little bit (on the way there).

I am almost over the crushing disappointment I suffered on Friday, when I discovered that Guster canceled their Pittsburgh show, which I had tickets to thankyouverymuch. And it would've been my first Guster show. And today is the 2nd anniversary of the last Dispatch show...the Dispatchiversary, I call it.

Anyhow, I actually wanna post about writing. I had an interesting experience on Friday, writing a scene as we drove to Williamsport. It started out as one scene, then quickly turned to another. Then, even as I wrote the scene, the end changed completely.

I was going to give my protag what she wants, or at least the beginning of what she wants...but then I realized that would be SO dumb. Granted, what she wanted in that scene was just part of a I probably could've started her down that path, and it wouldn't really have been a problem. But come on...why would I do that, when I could torture her some more? Silly me.

This novel has definitely experience. What they say is true; you don't learn how to write a novel, you learn how to write this novel. I learned how to write the first one--yep, I did, right about the time I was finishing it up. This one's different. I expect to learn how to write it...someday.

First of all, circumstances:
THIS novel: I am coming to it with some knowledge of What the Hell is Going to Happen. In the biz, this is called the Plot. It's kind of important.
THAT novel: I pretty much figured it out as I went along. This meant many inconsistencies that had to be fixed in the OhDearGodThisIsHorribleHowCanICallMyselfaWriter Edits and Revisions.

THIS novel: On a lark, I did character sketches, at least of my two main girls, somewhere in the very beginning--and discovered that, SHOCK! These do help.
THAT novel: Er, I tend to think, personally, that my MC was a little bland. She just seemed...vanilla. Her friends were great, though. I want them to be my friends.

THIS novel: I know what's coming, thanks to the last one. What's coming is the point where I dig my protag into a hole that seems impossible to get out of--and then, someone has to figure out how she gets out. I would like to delegate this responsibility to someone else. Any takers?
THAT novel: I think I made the mistake of not allowing my protag to dig herself out--she had a little too much help from her friends. Thus, I intend to make all of my current protag's friends...uh...indisposed, when the time comes.

So, I'm coming to this novel with everything I learned from the last one (a LOT...I learned a LOT), but still knowing that I have a long way to go and a lot to learn. I'm also coming to the point where I don't quite have each scene sketched out in my head before I write it. This is scary and exciting at the same time. I know where I want to go (which is new, for me) but I'm not quite sure how I'm going to get there. It's sort of vague and fuzzy in my head. I need Mapquest for novels.

What I learned recently: Although writing romantic or semi-romantic scenes embarrasses me for some reason, they're still a lot of fun to write. Who knew?

Off to write.


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If you don't feel that you are possibly on the edge of humiliating yourself, of losing control of the whole thing, then possibly what you are doing isn't very vital. If you don't feel like you are writing somewhat over your head, why do it? If you don't have some doubt of your authority to tell this story, then you are not trying to tell enough. --John Irving