Sunday, November 7, 2010

dream analysis

One of the things I always say about writing and remind myself when I write is not to think, not to force it, to try to find the place in myself and in the story where it unfolds as it would if I were in the story. I want to get in the zone or what Robert Olen Butler says is the “place we dream”, a kind of dream state. I go there every day when I write and I try to live moment to moment in my story. I do all that. Yes.

BUT there comes a time in revision when thinking is required, when you must puzzle over every aspect of a scene, a chapter, a section, the whole. You have to use your mind in a different way to analyze whether something is working or not working or how you might make it work better. How is what’s happening significant? How does it fit with the rest of the story? Why is it necessary? These are some questions that come to mind but there are many more and there are always those that are idiosyncratic to the manuscript I’m working on. Main point: you need that analytical and evaluative side to step in at some point and chide, advise, and order the more dreamy side that has, with luck, made the story and characters vivid and alive.

Or so I think today.


Sherrie Petersen said...

The thinking part makes me crazy sometimes, but when it comes together it's a thing of beauty!

Brian Yansky said...

It is. I agree.