Thursday, March 20, 2008

It's working

Epoxy nearly cured. Drips scraped up; a good clean gluing. This is the part of the boat that defines the cross-section shape right in the middle, a big, six-foot gently curved piece of gorgeous marine ply.

AND: the story tightening is working. Sam's not so bored ... or boring. It's cleaner, more direct and less meandering. But my favorite part is this, though I don't know how much sense it will make without context.

The precipitating incident, Sam finding the bone, is now the very thing that sends him over to meet the other characters. Because he finds the bone, he goes to them. Because he goes to them, they clean it and read its message. And because they read the message ... the story rolls on.

It's a kind of head-hurting tautology: if he had never found the bone, he never would have done all the things that had to happen in order for finding the bone to be meaningful. None of which could have happened without that initial incident. It embeds the whole thing in a chain of cause and effect.

It is, in other words, inevitable.

My muse is not an ethereal winged being; not Stephen King's cigar-smoking extra from a George Lucas movie; not a magic box that ideas come from. I see her as a tall English lady of a certain age. Probably wearing a hat and frown lines. And she paces behind me as I mutter and scribble and cross things out. She paces and I struggle and she paces and I struggle and she is not helpful whatsover except to vex me and keep me working.

And then, sometimes, she glances over what I've written and the corner of her mouth lifts in the ghost of a smile.

Yes, she says. Not bad.

Now back to work.

1 comment:

P said...

Yes, progress is good. Especially when the change is so obviously the right thing to do that you can't imagine NOT cutting out all that material. I find it so much easier to really take note when I stop editing to look around, stretch my back, have a snack. What made me stop? Why did I lose interest in what I was reading? If I did, most likely the reader will too, if he hasn't already used by book to prop up a table leg or start a fire.

I find it tedious to write characters into their action scenes. I feel like a general pushing around little models of tanks and infantry on a battlefield map. I'd much rather jump into the action and skip all the plodding description and movement--the character ate this, then went to the bathroom, then opened the door, then walked down the hall...Bor-ing!

If you still feel pulled from one section to the next, the narrative is flowing well.