Last month I wrote about my buddy Laura Bradford and her efforts to raise awareness and money to fight Multiple Sclerosis. Many of you asked how you could help. Here you go . . . On April 13 I'm joining other friends and writers to walk with Laura--you can join us from afar by making a pledge to our team--we've nearly reached our goal of $2000.
Now, updates to my WIP, tentatively titled Spinning. One nice thing--for a writer-- about traveling is the dead time/thinking time. Waiting in the airport, killing time in the hotel room (I mean, you can't drink grapefruit martinis all the time!), sitting on the airplane after I've finished the crossword puzzles I brought with me. I even had an 80+ minute car drive that gave me more pondering time. As I've mentioned, I'm trying to think through the whole story arc as fully as I can before I hunker down for the bulk of the writing. Here's what I've figured out/learned about my writing process:
~I'm not good at waiting when the characters start talking to me. So, I've written a prologue (just 2 pages, but still) that's already been vetted and approved by a talented and brilliant writer (Hi Amy!). I'm still committed to working out the story arc, but when the words come bubbling up I can't just shove them back down.
~Narrative Voice/POV is all. I spent much of my "thinking time" rolling options around and trying them out. First person? But that's going to be complicated since I want to show this story through three different characters. So, I'm leaning towards 3rd person for all three. Next to work out . . . do they each get their own chapters? Or will I just vary it by scene? I even toyed with the idea of having each one tell a third of the story--first Maggie, then Jim, then Grandma, but I knew I needed to have a rationalization for whatever device I chose. And I've decided since they are all in it together, growing, changing, learning, I'm going to let them tell it as naturally as I can, which to me means the POV will shift within chapters. Stay tuned.
~Each book chooses the way it's going to be written. Yesterday, in the airport, I did something I've never ever done before. Sitting at the gate, waiting, I opened up my laptop and wrote 4 pages of chapter one. Yes I did. I know writers who say they can write anywhere. I've never been one of them. I like my talismans: crisp new legal pad, new package of Uni-Ball pens, good coffee, a quiet house. In cold weather I sit in the living room by the fire. In warm, I'm outside on my front porch. I write the first draft in long-hand. But yesterday, I was in the airport (Gate A-1), announcements blaring out, a couple behind me bickering, no ink pens or legal pads handy. But, earlier that morning an opening scene had been playing over in my mind. And I didn't want to just jot down notes. I didn't want to wait. I wanted, no needed, to capture it. Right then. So I typed. My fingers flew. And while I know it's not yet where it needs to be, I also know where I'm going.
~Don't throw too much away in the first draft. I'm a good censor. A good editor. I can always pare away a scene, lop off an unnecessary paragraph. You need to lose 20,000 words? I'm your girl. But I think I've often done too much pruning in the first draft which makes more work in the later drafts. So, yesterday, on my drive, I'd thought of two competing motivations my character has to explain one action. I examined each one trying to decide which one to go with, which one to throw out. But then, I decided to be madcap. Yup, you heard me. Write it with both. Start the scene with one, by the end, the other motivation prevails. And it was more complicated, but so's the moment. It gives more depth. It explains things. It's more human.