Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Novel 101 (Starting Over)
I know I've been incommunicado for a few weeks now.
But, like spring, I do believe I too am emerging from winter and hibernation, tossing off some covers and turning my face towards the sun.
I've been doing lots of reading, a little traveling, and am in the process of wrapping my head around a new way of looking at things, particularly my WIP.
I think one of my strengths as a writer is how I capture the quiet moments of my characters, their introspection, their "resting." And that's all well and good, but in and of itself it isn't enough. As one of my most trusted readers/editors put it, I need to "earn the resting" and I need to earn it through action.
I know this, I really do, but I don't always do it. I can fall in love with my own paragraphs, sometimes, to the detriment of the whole. Last week I was talking to high school writers (one of my favorite things to do) and I found myself saying, over and over, "No matter how beautifully written a scene is, if it doesn't move the plot forward it has to go." They'd nod at me and jot down my words (almost like they thought I knew what the heck I was talking about) and it made me feel all professional (which is nice) but when I was driving home and thinking about it I realized that I needed to hear that advice more than those kids did. I need to listen to my own pearls of wisdom. And put them into action.
Next week (or maybe sooner, depending on how the week plays out), I'll be opening up a brand new document. And I'm going to allow the "what if's" to fly across the page. I'm going to earn my resting. I'm going to be open to the possibilities of magic in the world of my characters. I'm going to be prodding myself to know that it's in the characters' doing that emotions are elicited and honest and true. I'm going to be relentless that every scene--action and quiet--has to move the plot forward.
Because while the resting is important, I need to remember that growth is an action.