clues at the scene

clues at the scene

Thursday, January 9, 2014

When it all Meshes

Andy Dingley took this wonderful photo of propeller reduction gearing for a Bristol Centaurus engine. It is a beautiful piece of work.

I'm not sure when you know you have lightening in a bottle. I do know that when you have a story that flows well to you, there is that flush of wonderment at how you got it here. I mean, there are piles of the things that are either "not good" or "okay." What makes that one you compose click?

There is a huge need to judge the quality of work without bringing into question the quality of your talent.

You will never be the brightest most imaginative writer working. Your work can however be stellar. Care, craft, attention to every single word and nuanced inflection of what a character does or does not do; does or does not say. You can be the brightest thing in the sky for just that second you first look up.

How does it happen that you go from the depths of misery to the peak of accomplishment all from a few hours when that mess of a rough draft idea jells?

I don't know how; but, I know it happens. I know I want it to happen more and more.

I get sidetracked by exploding chickens (funny to me) and zombies working at Starbucks ("Don't Eat Cat" Jess Walter) and how many times you have to hit someone with a piece of sucker rod before they look like a semi-truck hit-and-run along the highway. The core, though. It's bloody marvelous when it works.

We all try things that we hope work but which didn't: Changing POV in a flashback...no. Using first person present for a "gritty" approach that instead becomes ingratiating because the narrator is an ass. Adding Aunt Marge as a victim just because, well. You'd have to know Aunt Marge.

Still, it isn't about how you kill the beloved reindeer in Christmas Noir. It's about the story that just stands on its own and works for you. There's an audience for it when that happens. You might or might not be able to find it but there is an audience for fiction that "works."

I have to believe that. It's what keeps me going.

I hope you're going well, too. I hope you're writing. Write some more. It helps.

It feels good when you are done.


2 comments:

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Yes! Our work should be judged, not our talent.

Christmas Noir...ha! That sounds like fun to write.

And--that's the big thing about the new world of publishing--the audience is out there and they use computers to help connect them to their favorite genre. And we can connect to it with the right keywords and metadata...and then, connect to it via the excellent quality of our stories.

jack welling said...

I'll run the Christmastown noir through the ringer and see if the hardboiled guys will take it next season. It was fun to write... On a diet during the holidays. There's a lot of rage in a diet. I didn't know that. Explains some things.

Great to have you by. You're always so encouraging.