fuel

Ack! I’ve not posted in over a month! I’ve not been idle though:

I’m still sticking to my habit of cranking out at least ~200 words a day. Even if it’s another version of a scene or nothing to do with the book I’ve kept this up (except during travel: writing on the go is the next thing to figure out).

Unfortunately I’ve come to a point that I’m rehashing the same material which is not only boring but isn’t moving the book forward.

I’m finding that once I’m in a rut it’s best to stop writing and start reading. Research is preferable but fiction is good too – really, anything that shakes up the brain pan.

The research is, as ever, essential because it provides not only more information but new ideas. For example, one name I pulled out of the source material and used as a placeholder for a minor character turns out to have been a spy with ruthless methods and uncertain motive. Using this discovery makes this character both more interesting and better rounded, which in turn makes his interactions with my protagonist both more layered and easier to write.

Fiction introduces rhythm of prose and familiar words used in new ways (I’ve always been a reader, but I’m finding that my work uses an embarrassingly small vocabulary). Descriptions are also helpful, because for all I can see scenes “in my head” they never turn out on the page the way I envision, so it’s good to see how others do it.

So, still always the student.

In the new year I’m going to have my first writing group critique, so I’m spending some time hammering that out into something I’m confident sharing. Keep you posted.

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4 thoughts on “fuel

  1. JLS says:

    Ah, how time flies when one is slacking off … finally getting ’round to commenting on this …

    The switching back and forth between writing and research is something I’ve seen other authors mention. Good authors. 🙂 So obviously it’s a good technique. I can see it beneficial in more than one way … firstly the writing leads to new questions and therefore new research, secondly, even new research involves a certain amount of rehashing old info but the having done some writing and the interpreting that goes with it in between will have you looking at it from a new perspective (not necessarily drastically new, but even the most miniscule change of mental angle has the potential to have you see something new/different).

    If I’ve not said it before, I’m so happy to see you doing this for yourself … I know you’ve wanted to for such a long time. 🙂

  2. A. Thurman says:

    Thanks for commenting, and for keeping up and for your encouragement 🙂

    The only problem with the research is it encourages my rewriting/polishing habit (see latest post) because every new fragment of information has to be considered: how is the action or conversation in question colored by religious attitudes, environment, housing/furniture, privacy standards, etc.? That, and I LIKE the research so it’s easy to go down the rabbit hole forever!

    But it is a two way street – the writing feeds the research feeds more writing, so it’s best to just keep moving forward with at least one at all times.

  3. JLS says:

    I’ve read your follow-up post so I comprehend what you mean.

    Curiosity … when you do the rewriting/polishing, are you making these changes to your original spontaneous piece? If this was still the age of writing in ink on paper, I’d make the old suggestion of doing it in school-type exercise books … your original scribbled on one of each pair of pages only, saving the facing pages for recording extra research notes, different turns of phrase, editing/polishing ideas that relate to what’s on the corresponding “original” page. So electronically, I guess, if you’re not already doing so … maybe, when the urge hits, do all these things to a copy rather than to your original, so that if you find your rewrites restrict you later on in the story, you’ve still got your initial, more flexible version available to try out in a new direction; I have this notion in my head that the original is very important to this, since it’s the first, fiery version of your inspiration … but bear in mind that such writing leans as I possess tend to be of a nonfictional instructional nature. 😉

    • A. Thurman says:

      “when you do the rewriting/polishing, are you making these changes to your original spontaneous piece?”

      Yes, and this is exactly the problem. I retread the same ground repeatedly in pursuit of perfection that is neither necessary or smart at this stage in the process.

      I am using Scrivener, software specifically designed for novel and other long form writing, which has versioning and comment/footnoting capability. The former is great for editing as I can take a “snapshot” (save a version) before I start work, but I need to start leaning more on the comments for the facing page type of notes you describe.

      I wrote ~400 words today and they’re open in the other screen while I make comments, and I’m gritting my teeth not to get into a edit/re-edit cycle with it – there’s so much more to write!

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