clues at the scene

clues at the scene

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Not Gonna Row Itself

At left, an image of a  rowboat hosted on wikicommons and made available here by amanderson2. They title this image our little row row boat Bled Slovenia. I'm assuming the case choice for the title is germane to their intent and have preserved it here.

The photo is delightful as it illustrates the dilemma of re-casting a novel: it doesn't write itself.

Sure, we want help with the work. After all, writing is decision making. Usually it is at least 130,000 individual decisions. Having someone make some of those decisions for us would be lovely!

Is this character too likable? Not likable enough? Too minor and I should bring them back later? Too annoying (Hello, Jar Jar) and I should push them down an elevator shaft in the next act?

Writing is decision making and even recasting a work that you've passed through a couple drafts requires the entire litany of decisions, again. The feedback from a couple test readers can be a life preserver on a stormy night ... only after the draft is done. [ Bulwer Lytton Fiction Prize ]

I'm putting words on the page. I think they're the right words. I'm happy with the words. I've solved plot problems. I've re-crafted characters that needed some attention.

I'm rowing the boat.

Just like you.

It's nice to think I'll go into spring with a full re-write and detail edit of a work that has too long been a problem for me. I suspect if the thing keeps springing into your head over most of a decade, you must tell the story

What is it Bukowski says about the prose must come bursting out of you

He never said it has to come out in the same form in which it goes to publication!  

I'm rowing the boat. I'm scratching the itch. I'm telling the story.

I'm whistling in the dark walking past my personal graveyard.

Just like you.

Keeping pulling on the oars. There's something out there. I can hear it.

I have clam chowder on the stove. Then, the ink and the snoring of a foxhound.

Not a bad evening, I think.


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

It sounds like a great evening of food and writing!

I'm now in the painful process of trying to find and weave in thoughtful subplots to a too-short project. Whistling past the graveyard, indeed!

jack welling said...

Ugh. Sub-plot integration.

Too short works always seem to strike when the "big arc" is something really clever and awesome and unique ... and the bits of gold that make the rest of the story flake off and litter the desk like the glitter of a birthday disappointment. It wasn't a new bike. It was new bicycle grips with funny plastic streamers too stiff to flap in the wind as we rode our fastest.

The Christmas of "the big thing" is memorable; but, we had more fun the year the packages rolled out into the middle of the floor - all with our name on them.

Good luck with the sub-plots. The patron saint of sub-plots? I think Tolstoy.