clues at the scene

clues at the scene

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Ink on the Page

Here it is at left.

I'm conducting a complete re-draft of an earlier work because I've figured out how to use a murder to twist a bit of commercial fiction into detective fiction which holds the hook longer.

At the left of frame, a couple attempts at this chapter. In the composition book, the chapter.

What you don't see is the set of outline notes (Scrivener) and the handwritten draft after it has undergone another tweak as it is transposed into Scrivener.

I file my completed longhand chapter in another binder (for reference) and start the next chapter in the composition book which holds my ready-reference of arcs, characters, and bits I think have to go into the tale "somewhere about here."

I've used this mechanism with success in non-fiction but less so in fiction because - gasp - I had to spend some serious time this year studying the mechanisms of telling a story in long form. Hey, I don't have the M.F.A. and hadn't internalized some of the pieces of fiction upon which I really ought to have had a better handle.

I had to get smarter. It hurts a little both to say now and to do previously.

So, pen to paper two or three times to let those little bits of compositional brilliance -- you know the things you think of "on the fly" that end up being the best bits of the piece -- coalesce into a contiguous whole then into the electronic version with the language edit to catch the little errors we make when too absorbed.

Don't be afraid of the ink. It allows for revision and refinement in a free-form way which is unassuming and keeps the voice of self-doubt at bay. At least, it works for me.

There's literary fiction hiding behind so many works that are commercially more accessible. Making that change on the page is easier for me in ink.

Besides, having a little ink on your paw at Sunday dinner is a good feeling.

We could all use that good feeling about our writing -- especially so when we can have it without saying one word to family or friends about the pursuit.

Get a little ink on yourself. It's good for the soul.


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Good point! I'm working with paper and ink at the library today as I try to wrangle edits...and the book is on preorder with a release date in less than a month, ugh.

I'm impressed at your neat handwriting! The danger for me is that I may not be able to read what I've written. I type too much and have forgotten how to write longhand.

jack welling said...

Hey - good luck with the edits. Exciting!

I've had to invent a "rolling" script larger and more legible than my native hand. I can't read my own grocery store note if I'm not careful!