Friday, September 08, 2006

1300 words, and if I do say so myself, they're really good words. Or I suppose I should say, they're common words but put together in a really good way. I've put Tommy through his most emotionally wrenching experience in the story, and now it's on to more plotty stuff - blood, gore, explosions, and maybe some sex.

What was particularly nice about tonight's session was that I finally got into the flow again, the swing of writing. The words came tumbling out. Luckily, my computer caught them. That's the most enjoyable way to write, as surely every writer must feel.

I said a few posts ago that I tend to write excessively detailed outlines for my novels and then write different sections of the book based on that outline. I jump around in the book, writing this part or that part, rather than doing it linearly from start to finish. When I first started writing novels, I did write them from start to finish, and that was exhilarating as what was going to happen next kept coming as an exciting revelation. It also resulted in messy plot problems that I had to fix up during endless rewriting - on a portable manual typewriter, on a small desk where the typewriter sat on a flimsy swing-out shelf that I had to support with my knee. Oh, how I've suffered for my art!

The method I use now means that I feel pressured to get the story written, the details of who goes where and does what with or to whom. The first draft tends to have all of that in place but lacks color, emotion, sensory impressions - the depth and texture that make scenes come alive. I try to add that during the rewriting.

The late, great science-fiction and fantasy writer, Poul Anderson, said something like (and I wish I could remember the quotation exactly), "Remember that the reader has five senses, and try to appeal to at least four of them in each scene." Or did he say "five senses, at least"? He seems to have a bit of the mystical touch about him. Sometimes, in Anderson's fiction, you can see the writer working deliberately and consciously at that. You can tell where Anderson told himself, "Oops, missed a couple of senses in that scene. Better add some sounds and smells." In spite of that, his fiction does come alive in a very sensual way, as in sensory.

I've never felt that my writing has enough of that in it, and I keep trying to remember that rule while rewriting. Unfortunately, I have a rotten memory.

When I decided to start this blog, I told myself that it was a frightfully clever idea, and that I was a frightfully clever fellow to have come up with it. For surely no one else in the entire world has ever done anything like this! Ho, ho. Google has cured me of that delusion. I'm a Johnny-come-lately.

Some of the other writerly blogs I've come across are blogs that are written by writers. I.e., they're fairly general blog-type blogs, albeit with more of a writerly tilt than the average blogs. But some do seem to be very specifically focused on the blogger's writing, and often that means fiction. It would be nice if some of the other writers who have blogs that are in some way similar to this visited here and, if they liked what they saw, offered to exchange links. The links to the right are rather limited right now. In fact, there's just one of them, and it's a link to a page on my own Web site.


Chris said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog! (By the by, a dreadful word, "blog", but it seems we're stuck with it.) I'd be happy to add you to my links, if for no other reason than for your hilarious and illuminating essay "David Dvorkin vs. George W. Bush".

Also, feel free to poke around my links -- I've tried in most instances to collect blog links that specifically deal with writing, as opposed to simply being BY writers, as so many of them are.

It's funny, as an outliner myself, I've found that jumping from spot to spot in my first draft results in my collecting a series of unconnected good scenes, with no impetus whatsoever to connect them with what my brain then deems "the boring bits." I need the carrot of the next big scene to propel me through the smaller ones.

Okay, enough procrastinating. Off to work on a query letter for my novel. Well, that, and sweat over my wife's first read-through...

PS I am amazed with my own restraint at not geeking out over your multiple Star Trek publications. Go me! Another comment, perhaps.

David said...

Cool! A link to someone else, instead of just to me! I've added it.

I agree about doing the big scenes, the fun stuff. That was why I got into the habit of making notes for the other parts, planning to come back later, in hopes that they would be easier to polish off.

They aren't really easier, but I do find that when the manuscript is substantially done, I feel pressed to get those dull but necessary parts taken care of so that they won't hold up the completion of the book.

Ah, Star Trek. I've been a fan since the original broadcasts of the original show, TOS, the only real Star Trek. I was very unhappy when it went off the air. I watched the reruns over the years till I knew them by heart. Writing my first ST novel was like getting a new episode at last. It was a delightful experience.