Monday, May 19, 2008

Outwitting your imagination

Something I said to a friend this morning:

"I'm still at that stage where I'm not looking directly at the story yet. I'm kinda glancing around the corner at it just long enough to work on it. Pretty soon I'll have to haul it out into the light of day and stare it down... You're in pretty sad shape when you have to outwit your own imagination."

"Wings" is still in the adding-to-it round of drafts. First draft was the slamming out of the scenes as they occurred to me, in this case in mostly-chronological order. (It doesn't always happen that way.) Second draft, I sat down with my usual story structure method and sorted out what I already had and what I needed to add to make it a solid, whole plot with character motivations and everything. (Often I have to do this before/during the first draft, because monotonous and anti-creative as it may sound, it tends to clear out the cobwebs and fog and let me see things--exciting things--about a story that I hadn't seen until then.)

This morning I took my list and made it almost half through the ms with little tweaks and additions. I should be able to finish up the second draft tomorrow and start in on the third draft, which will consist of more adding-in, this time focused on making sure descriptions are involving and mood-setting. THEN it will be time for the light of day and staring-down business. Maybe after a couple of days in the drawer to let it cool down and restore my objectivity.

No, this is not the exact same process I go through for every story. But the bits and pieces of it are similar enough that I no longer feel like I'm driving blind every time I get behind the story-writing wheel. My imagination still refuses to show me the map sometimes, often won't tell me where we're going, and frequently hollers, "Oh, you were supposed to turn there!" just for fun. But we don't crash and burn anywhere near as often as we used to.

This is a good thing.

No comments: