clues at the scene

clues at the scene

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Fictive Protection

My friend at left is conscious of how his thoughts can be influenced by outsiders.

Over the course of time it can take to complete a work, so many things can change in our perspective. Our tone and characterization can wander. Sometimes they wander badly.

I've talked to writers who use physical space to maintain consistency. For example, they only work on "the novel" in the same chair in the laundry room after everyone has gone to bed. Or, alternately they only work on "the novel" at the corner table at Z's Espresso on New Hampshire in Lawrence.

I've talked to writers who need the soundtrack - some playlist they've created - to keep the consistent tonal images providing the crutch of stability for the work in progress.

Others do some blow and drink a quart of Jack before working. Well, while they lived that's what they did.

I leave myself little notes. I'm doing well at keeping everything from the WIP in a three-ring binder so re-reading the notes helps each session.

How do I keep consistent? I don't.

The consistency of a piece I'm creating comes from the direction of the outline. The consistency of the tone comes from the final careful re-write. Line edits after the last draft help fix occasional bobbles, too.

I do like the tinfoil hat, though.

I wear it sometimes when I come out of the library to shock the spouse.

"What was I doing? Writing."

I never mention the skullcap of Reynolds Wrap. Adds to the mystique.

I recommend them to everyone I know that asks "how's it going?" Really cuts down on those sorts of inquiries after a while. "How is it going" is my least favorite writerly inquiry.  We all know it is going like shit except for the occasional book launch party or Pulitzer dinner.

So, tinfoil hats on. March to the kitchen. Get a large glass of water. Sit your ass back down in the chair. Write. Give it a good three hours.


Block the world's intrusion and write something. You'll be surprised how one good medium-sized sheet of foil can really help in that.

Try it at the coffee shop. Write about how it goes. Call it "fictive disguise" if anyone asks. They probably won't so, don't get your hopes up.

But, you'll be writing then, won't you?

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