Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Chugging Along

Yes, my dearios, it is another meeting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group!

 In their own words: 
Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!
Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time - and return comments. This group is all about connecting!

The optional question this month is

October 2 question - It's been said that the benefits of becoming a writer who does not read is that all your ideas are new and original. Everything you do is an extension of yourself, instead of a mixture of you and another author. On the other hand, how can you expect other people to want your writing, if you don't enjoy reading? What are your thoughts? 

My thoughts on this are fairly strong. Why would you even want to write if you don't read? If you don't know the magic of falling down the rabbit hole of a good book what could ever interest you in the very difficult engineering work of creating that rabbit hole yourself? I suppose if you are so aligned  with new and original ideas it would be also a good idea not to engage with any sort of discourse with other humans - or for that matter let the world in all its pain and beauty touch you at all. That's all I'm going to say as I think it is more than enough on this topic!

In other news -

I'm really having a great time working on Crooked Knife. For those of you who have dropped by for the first time, CK is a mystery I've been engaged with (and disengaged from) for a few years. I got bogged down in a swamp of my own making - the heady and sometimes inarticulate brew of a pantser. My plot got away from me and my passion for the subject clouded my judgement. Which is to say I stopped working on it for quite some time. Something shifted - I made a commitment for an outside editor to work on the problem and then realized that was a silly and expensive waste. I have still engaged the editor but promised to get her a workable finished draft with the plot holes all filled in. I have until the new year to do this which seems today as entirely workable. 

How am I doing it you may ask? Well - I've gone back to the beginning of the story and I keep teasing out the tangles. If, for instance, I find a problem in chapter five - I work it out before I go further and then I go back to make sure everything behind it (prologue to the end of four) is consistent with the changes I've made. This means a constant going over the story - slowly - like a gleaner in the field after the thresher has gone through the grain. It is pleasurable. There! I said it. Revision is pleasurable to me. Is this revision though? Yes, I would call it so. It's like a dream that I'm analyzing. I put in some clues that I know no more than the cop protagonist. I either have to figure out why that clue is there or get rid of it. Is it good grain or some weed seed? 

I am also writing the back story so I finally know what it is. Some people do this before - the plotters - but my feeling is that it is the same work whether it is front-loaded or back-loaded. And the thought of plotting like Elizabeth George - who explains her method in her book - Write Away - is death to me. I cannot know what happens in the story I'm writing because I would be bored silly if I did. I have to find it out bit by bit. And George writes a whole book before she writes a book! I do it backwards. I write the novel - then I rewrite it right. (say that five times in a row!) And don't think for a minute that I don't admire George - I love that book and much of it is very helpful to me - but not the plotter approach. 

The other thing that is working for me and giving me pleasure is that I write every day - okay, sometimes I miss a day or two, but I at least think about it daily - so I am not overwhelmed. I sort of remember what is happening. What a concept.

How about you all? How is it going at your desk? Joy or sorrow? Or a heady mix of both? I wish for you that the muse arrives and takes up a good chunk of real estate in your mind - and that you listen to him or her and give your total allegiance to what is, after all, a sane refuge - writing.


Liza said...

I am so glad you are taking a deep dive back into your story. And I am with you. I love the revision process. I am in a similar place as you. I have pulled out the first book I ever tried to write and disaster that it is, am re-writing it. Everything I have learned in the past ten years by writing (and reading of course) is helping me to see how awful this first attempt was, but also, how I can fix it. It feels like a slow going victory! Looking forward to good news from you once you send your work back to your editor.

Pat Garcia said...

You have found out what works for you and that is the best thing. Therefore, Crooked Knife will get written and you'll finished it. I read a lot of craft books and writing books from authors who have reached the public spotlight too. I have the book by Elizabeth George and a couple of others. I hear them. I see what they are talking about, but there is nothing like discovering what is best for me.
So, my hat is off to you.

Have a lovely October.
Shalom aleichem,
Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I used to be more of a pantser, but over the last few years I've grown more into a hybrid of sorts. I do some planning but leave it loose, if that makes sense. :)

Margot Kinberg said...

I can't tell you how happy I am, Jan, that you're feeling some fulfillment in writing. That's such a rich feeling and it's so nourishing. As for reading? I couldn't imagine writing without doing a lot of writing. To me, they are two sides of the same coin.

Diane Burton said...

It sounds like you're happy with your process. Others will tell you to finish the first draft before revising. I say do what works for you. Best wishes for a great writing month.

Judy Ann Davis said...

I think we write in much the same way. I always go back a few chapters, read them again, fiddle with them and untangle something, before starting to write. It gives you much cleaner copy to work with at the end. I think I'm a panstser first and then a plotter. It I get stuck, then I stop to plot, diagnose, and figure out the problem and where to proceed. I love your phrase "so I am not overwhelmed." Write on!

tf_shodiq007 said...
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Lisa said...

Good luck on getting your WIP finished and off to the editor!

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