Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Just as I am hiding from doing the exercises so too am I hiding from doing the editing. A task that has long daunted me, and makes me quiver with uncertainty and dread. But now I know what I am looking for, what I am going to try to change. And finally I have realized that I can't go through it page by page making it "right". I'm going to instead look at it for each thing separately. First I'll go through for content, for story, then I will improve how that breaks down into chapters, and paragraphs. I will go through it once for action verbs. Once for the lengths of sentences. Going on like that. Because when I have gone through trying to fix it sentence by sentence, I never knew what was right or wrong and it all just fell apart. Instead I will go through strengthening one thing at a time. And only worrying about one thing at a time.
Sin and Syntax, is next on my reading list. Mostly I am concerned with sentence structure.
Currently I am reading, Harry Potter's Bookshelf the great books behind the Hogwarts adventures, by John Granger. And I am really enjoying it. I feel like I am learning plenty of stuff that will help me in my own writing, but reading it isn't work it's pleasure.
So far in my readings for my writing in the past year I've learned how really important it is to make your characters sympathetic. I know that sounds obvious, but that doesn't mean that one automatically writes in the best way for it. I have learned that in my tendency to be bright (as in cheerful not intelligent) that I miss opportunities to have readers care about my characters. I don't sit down, and dwell in the uncomfortable emotions, my tendency is instead to glide above. And I need to let some pain show through.
I like having the over-all structure, the story down, but nothing set, nothing fully done, because the books I'm reading tell things that offer me the opportunity to look at the story in a new way. My tone, my atmosphere is light. But I've realized with Fountain of Swans how it could be Gothic instead. How the elements are already there, and it is interesting to look at the same story through this other lens and see if it might be better. When I was considering changing it to first person (still haven't decided) I was upset because then something that happens to the character will be a mystery for us just like it is for her. And for some reason I felt like that couldn't be so. But now from doing this reading, I realize that it would heighten the sympathy and the tension in the story if the reader shares the characters feelings, in not knowing why this thing is happening. Then the mystery to be solved can be one reader and character share.
Now I don't know if I will or will not do that (make it Gothic, make it a mystery), as I have said I haven't been working directly on my writing (because I am a wimp) but I love the fact that I am engaged in thinking about the stories in new ways.
Well October is nearly over. I know my focus should be on editing Echo. I do feel like a failure for failing to do so. But I am seriously considering signing up for NaNoWriMo again. Why? Because it fosters daily practice. It promotes bum glue. It helps me to tap into the energy of many moving forward together. My goal isn't to finish. But Fresh Oranges has long been neglected, and I could hash out parts of that story. The deal with myself being three hours a day, either I write Oranges, or I edit Echo. The only way to escape doing one being doing the other.