clues at the scene

clues at the scene

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

First, Tell Yourself

At left, G. Lanting allows us the use of the road image for just the attribution. Thanks! Road image hosted on wikicommons.

This is the Old Strynefjell road in Norway. Good metaphor.

I have to tell myself the story before I can write it. I don't know all; but, I have a map: a vision.

I have a beginning, middle, and an end.

Projects I can see to completion have this map. Many of my still-wip projects did not and still do not have such defined elements.

I tell myself the story. I write a draft. I write another draft. The story becomes full, integrated, and comprehensible in the process.

Today, I picked up an incomplete project from the fall of '16 and in a revision, I managed to tell myself the story.

I've a map for the next one to compose now. I've characters and their traits. I have events and their meaning. I know the end. I know the killer. I even know the why.

It isn't important the reader know all those things even after finishing my tale.

It is important I know it before I compose the first full draft.

Feels better to me this way.

Might feel better for you.

Certainly it makes the hours in the composing mode much more enjoyable for me. It's easier for me to find the correct words when i know in advance what I want them to do for me.

Great looking road, eh?  I'm more a "drive along the valley floor" fellow than a "drive along the ridgeline" sort. 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Stuffed and Trussed

At left, a copyright free image courtesy the Hassocks4589 as hosted on wikicommons. This was their Christmas turkey straight from the oven in 2006.

I'm writing tonight. It's a cool, calm evening and I'm at the desk finishing a story. Nice feeling (much better than finishing the run at the gym felt...).

My drafts are "stuffed." I've got lots of details and feelings and things I want to be important and little notes to myself and dialogue that is stilted but important so it stays and ...

It is stuffed.

Now, I know disciplined writers who have the core of their story in their first draft and that's it: the core. They add dialogue and characterization details and the environment later in successive drafts.

I wish them well.

I'd like to have the ability to stick "only" to the core plot events of the story.

I outline. I plan. I draw pictures. I draft.

And yet knowing how the story turns before I begin the composition does little to keep the first pass from being bloated and slightly over-done much like most Thanksgiving turkeys.

I don't even like turkey all that much. I'm a baron of beef or standing rib roast sort of fellow. I eat turkey for lunch every day because my metabolism has slowed to a glacial pace and it seems I can't eat anything but carrots and turkey-hummus roll-ups for lunch.

Come Thanksgiving, I can't wait for turkey. I bet you're the same way.

I'm embracing my bulging drafts. I'm looking on them as great starters for a pared down late-night meal of leftovers which -- in my experience -- becomes the best part of the show.

You've got a little cranberry dripping out the sandwich there ... too late. That should wash out. Oh, dry cleaning? Sorry. Gift giving opportunity for the rest of us then. You look like a medium extra-ink stained.

Over stuffed isn't a bad thing. Avoid dry and under seasoned; but, overstuffed? Go right at it.

Careful carving solves all ills.

Happy Thanksgiving to the ink-stained crowd.

Mind the family. We all have them.

Two drink minimum.

Write something this holiday even if just the germ of a new story. You'll feel all the better for it.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Something Wrong With Us

At left, a public domain image from Firebelly (thanks, 'belly) hosted on wikicommons.

This is an American Irish Pub. How can I tell? Real Irish pubs have Carling's Black Label on tap. Yep, Black Label. The same $14 a case beer your buddies bought in college (or I bought if I was your buddy).

I once went fishing with a buddy, got stuck in the mud during a squall, and had to walk out. We had a cooler in the truck with most of a twelve pack of Black Label left on ice.

When we got back to the truck someone had shot a hole in the front window, rummaged through the glove box, and taken the cooler out of the back. We drove the truck out of the now dried mud.

The cooler thieves dumped the cans of Black Label beside the truck. Nope. Dead serious. That's the true story of this one.  There was something wrong with those guys.

Something wrong with us, too.

It is Friday night and I'm writing here with a feagle (that's a short foxhound who looks  a lot like a beagle) at my feet. I should be out having fun. I should be out with friends at a bar.

I'm here at the keyboard composing.

What is wrong with me? What is wrong with you? Why must we lock ourselves in the basement utility room and scribble passages about adventure in Peru instead of talking to someone in a social setting about going to Peru?

Well, Peru ... maybe not. It can be cold and Americans tend to pant like dogs down there.

I love Estes Park in Colorado. It's the gateway to the eastern part of Rocky Mountain National Park.  Great place at 7500 feet above sea level.

At attitude, I don't enjoy drinking. I go straight from having a couple drinks to hangover. No drunken revelry in-between. Drinking and now .... hangover.

Right. So back to this writing thing. Why are we drawn to this solitary devotion?

What is wrong with us?

It's got to be some sort of curse. I must have stepped on the wrong shadow. Must have.

Off to the prose. The story doesn't write itself.

Have a drink. Skip the hangover.