Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Love the moment

Here's something I struggle with during a first draft. I get very excited picturing this scene or that scene, to the point where I can call up any detail from the color of the sunlight to the sound a cat makes walking down a gravel road (nearly silent, by the way). I can see it! It's a great scene! I am brilliant! Editors will tremble before my prose, and weep!

Usually I have several of these scenes in my head at any one time, and then all I have to do is connect the dots: write the story that links each beautiful and compelling moment to the next.

The trouble comes when I'm writing the parts of the story that are not those scenes. That stuff is less interesting. Bor-ing! It's no fun to write, so I throw something together while daydreaming of how great the next scene will be.

Then I remove that boring transition months later during revisions.

I remove, in fact, everything that's boring. And if it's boring even to write, imagine how dull it must be to read! Here's my solution. It is not exactly rocket science:

If it's boring, don't write it.

A book isn't a series of precious scenes strung together like beads on a cord, it's a whole, with scenes and dialogue, narrative, transitions, flashbacks, all of it, knit together so tightly and so multi-layered that often several things are happening at once, nothing is removable, but nothing more is needed.

So I try to love the moment. Every moment of the story has to be interesting. Has to be worth writing about, has to be worth taking the reader through. I don't mean it all should be slaptastic melodrama, or lurid description. But it does all have to mean something.

Loving the moment means finding the interesting, beautiful, remarkable, noteworthy elements of everything, and then writing about that. Because every moment of the story should be relevant, important, even critical to the story.

It is also, I suppose, a worthwhile principle for daily life as well. Love the moment.

1 comment:

*~sis~* said...

omg, i hate writing the boring bits. the stuff that links it all together. i get so bogged down by having it all make sense that i haven't even written the fun parts. this is why i went back to the prose poetry. i can just put down the bright images and leave out the boring bits!!