Monday, June 27, 2011

The Mad Scientist's Son #1--No heart

I'M GOING TO TRY GETTING AT THE WRITING PROCESS IN A NEW WAY, NEW TO THIS BLOG ANYWAY. I'm writing a diary as I work though a manuscript. I hope I can talk about different aspects of the writing process and it will be fresh. I enjoy writing about writing, but I've done it for a while now and it's all getting a bit stale. New is good.

Here's where I am in the novel--I've written a first draft. My first drafts are neatly crafted works of art. HA. We're talking a hurl of words. We're talking a writing GPS that has schizophrenia. We're talking wandering all over the place. We're talking get-those-words-on- the-page-and-worry-later-if-it-makes-sense mentality because that's the only way I know how to do it. So my first draft is as rough as a Charlie Sheen breakup or breakdown or something like that. So, yeah, we're talking rough.

But it's done and I'm about halfway through my revision. So that's where this diary picks up.

So here's a place to start. My first thought this morning.

Crap. It's got no heart.

The manuscript has some things going for it, but there’s no heart. It’s the freaking TIN MAN of novels.

Maybe it was my focus on other things, especially the central idea of the novel that led me to my heartless manuscript. How do I get heart?

Go back to the beginning. Think about what the character wants/needs/ desires/ wants. I need to regroup and try to think this through.

On the surface he wants to find his father. He needs to find his father. That does help drive the plot. Okay so maybe I get more heart if I develop the relationship between the father and son more. Cause it’s there but it’s not there there. Needs to be there there.
But that’s not enough. It’s a good surface need, but it’s not really something that can give it HEART. I mean I want HEART. I need HEART.
Maybe identity is the heart. Maybe I need to make Frank more the outsider. I mean he is (he’s the son of a Mad Scientist but in this world Mad Scientists are sort of accepted and tolerated in the way that writers and other artists are in our world--sort of) but not enough maybe.

Make him someone who doesn’t fit and what he needs to know is why? Then he can move on. So he yearns to know why he doesn’t fit or to fit? Why he doesn’t fit, I think.

And it’s something I can do. I felt that way when I was sixteen. Maybe partly because I was adopted but mostly because I am who I am (Did Popeye the sailor man say that? Am I quoting Popeye the salior man now?). Anyway, I still feel that way sometimes. I can do this.


Lindsey Lane said...

You have so much heart. And so will your character. You're doing fine. Stop being hard on yourself. Please.

Brian Yansky said...

Thanks, Lindsey. . It's the typical writer love/hate relationship with his manuscript, I think.