Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Writing Life



another Tuesday without my writing pal, Gwen. She's been good at keeping me in the loop - writing me nice long emails about her process, the animals, the recreation and, of course, the food!
Today I have some plans - some projects - an agenda. I will share it with you all and then I will be sure to get to it all.
I'm going to walk the dog, meditate, phone my $ person about some details, collect my library books, plant my planters and cover up my strawberry plants with some wood chips and plant some more lettuce, beets etc..., weed, water, find the Golden Compass to take to the grandkids today and write myself a letter re True. Yesterday I didn't write. I just mulled. I had some time at work and took along James Scott Bell's book on editing and revising which I would dip into here and there. I took a notebook and I just figured a few niggly things out. I don't want to start revising for a couple of weeks but I knew I was going to tinker with the plot a bit before I put her to rest. I don't want to go in and actually start moving things around so instead I'm going to write myself a letter. In it I will write my plans - I want to get rid of one minor character and beef up another one. I have some changes to make so that the conflict intensifies. Just tenderly letting it mull around in my brain yesterday shook some things loose.
It reminds me of the way Ron and I designed this house. In the middle of the night I might say something like "why don't we put the stairs coming up from the entrance instead of the kitchen?" And he'd say 'but then we can't have an en suite.' And I'd say "I don't want one - I'm good to walk across the GREAT BIG WIDE hall (sarcasm here) to go to the bathroom.' I don't get en suites but I'll save that for another day. Then we'd get all excited at what this change might make and decide to do it or not. Every time you make a change in a plan it affects EVERYTHING else and I find that is the same as a novel. And I must go meticulously through every chapter and find out what got jiggled and to where. But not today - today I write the letter trying to put in every possible thought I had yesterday and then I LEAVE IT ALONE FOR TWO WEEKS. I'd like to leave it longer but I just can't. I'll go back to working on Earth Bound so I won't be tempted.
After I've gotten a good chunk of this done, I will go off to meet my grandkids off the bus. It seems beautiful so far - maybe we'll walk down to the beach and tear around a bit.
Later, my dear readers.

14 comments:

Mason Canyon said...

Sounds like you've got a lot planned for today, but some very enjoyable things. Hope you have a great day.

Changing one things does effect so many others, sometimes we don't even realize it.

Mason
Thoughts in Progress

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Do get out and enjoy the beach a little!

Niamh said...

I like your approach to writing! Tinkering with the plot sounds very gentle, very do-able, I'm writing the "end"? chapters in my novel and finding it a challange to care how it all turns out for the characters at this stage! Sounds like a fruitful day!

Jan Morrison said...

Mason - yep - the butterfly that flies in Buenos Aries can be the breeze that kisses your lips today!
Diane - I'm going to take that as an order! yeehaw.
Niamh - thanks - it is very hard to find your own way to do things and it has taken me a long while. I think I'm nearly there...

Watery Tart said...

I think that is a great way to go about it! I spent some time this morning 'preparing to edit'--not editing yet, but I printed the thing out and printed out the feedback I've gotten from my first readers. On CONFLUENCE though, I got formal feedback that has implications for the full plot and I may just TRY that letter idea of yours. Sounds like a good way to keep the swimming thoughts straight until I get there.

Jan Morrison said...

thanks tartlett! We'll see as the proof is in the pudding. speaking of pudding I just made a rhubarb and berry brown betty ready to go into the oven. I got rhubarb at my son's house - they don't eat it!!!! I cut it up and mixed it with this health food sugar sub and topped it with oatmeal, cinnamon, more sugar sub, chickpea flower (off wheat again) and butter. I'll tell you how it goes later. My plan is to feel better and lose about ten pounds before my niece's wedding.

Jemi Fraser said...

Busy day! Hope you get to it all!

Mulling things over is a really good idea. I felt like I was stalling earlier in the year. I couldn't move past one section. I let it simmer in my brain for a few weeks, and suddenly the answer was right in front of me.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Did it all work out?

I can't imagine designing a house! Too many choices.

Another beautiful photograph. I'm really enjoying the one you sent me. Makes me feel cool on hot days. :)

Jan Morrison said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jan Morrison said...

hmmm...I replied to these but again, the computer ate my homework. so weird when this happens.
Jemi - I got to most of it and was best pleased! Mulling and ignoring and pretending to be doing something else is some of the hardest work we do as writers. Stephen King calls the process letting 'the boys in the basement' do their work. Let them tinker away at plot problems while you do something else.
Elizabeth - the house or the day? Both worked out quite well actually. The hardest part of the house (besides the frightening money burden that is) was the seemingly endless selection of lighting fixtures. Next time, I'll choose all identical or at least in the same family! Urggghh. And thanks about the photo. I love knowing a tangible thing has passed between us blogging pals.

Helen Ginger said...

It's a great idea, I think, to muddle first, then make changes. I always keep the original so it's there for me to go back to. I make a copy and tear it apart as I re-construct.

Helen
Straight From Hel

Jan Morrison said...

Me too, Helen. In fact, I have endless versions all labelled slightly differently. For instance I'm working on my latest version of Earth Bound and the file is called Radical Edit! oh well, whatever gets me through.

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