Thursday, August 11, 2011
more mad scientist
Still working on my mad science novel. I've been writing some blog entries as a kind of diary of the work and to show how I worked through problems in a specific novel I was writing. The blog entries are a little behind real time now. It's a strange, strange novel, so I do worry that I'm writing one that won't find a publisher. You never know, especially if you take chances in your work, if it will find a home. Even if it does work (and you're not certain of that either until you finish and sometimes not even then), your publisher--even if you've published a few books--might say no for a number of reasons. Still, you have to write what you have to write and the real enjoyment and pleasure in writing comes from that. But I can say that my agent has read a version of the novel and loved it. That's encouraging. Still more work to do, but I feel good that she didn't just say, "Now what is this again? Tell me again what you've written?" More later...back to the journal.....
I have to keep working on the language because one of the things I discover in revision is that I put a filter between the story and the reader too often. Yes, you have to summarize sometimes but when you’re trying to involve the reader in a scene the filter not only distances the reader it makes me unable to see the deeper aspects of some interaction. I have to make the connections to deepen the writing.
Specificity of language helps me find my way and I keep working on that. You can write your way into deepening a character sometimes.
This is my third rewrite of the whole manuscript though some places have been rewritten more than that. Thinking about character today. Fiction is ultimately about getting readers to feel and experience what your characters experience so they care about them. Ideas behind all that are interesting if they’re interesting ideas, but they aren’t the reason the reader will read and care about your story/novel.
Okay, so one thing I’m doing today to try to deepen the characters is strengthening the relationship between the father and son. And what I just did was have a flashback and not long after that a flash-forward.
Flashback helped. It helped me see more of dad and son and I have to keep working that. I need to feel more what’s at stake between them.
Flash-forward is me trying to say indirectly what the consequences of what’s happening in a scene might be. This has to come out of character though. It can’t be thought up. It has to flow organically from the scene. What it adds, besides character development, is a hint at the possible future of the story.