Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Process Examination #23: Lights, Camera....Uh, Where's the Set?

Last week I threw my writing skills against a chapter for what felt like an eternity. Every night I would sit down and tell myself that I would finish the thing. And every night I would shut down the computer after having written another 4 pages that extended the chapter instead of bringing me to the concluding action sequence. It drove me nuts and made me wonder what the heck I wasn't getting right.

At first I thought it was a problem with writing action. This seemed a very plausible theory. Writing action requires a detailed knowledge and understanding of your characters, the story so far, and the setting. Plus, I wanted to get the action as right as possible for this draft because it would be hard to know if a sequence that essentially went "and then this happened, then that, then this other thing..." actually served the story I was writing or just served the purpose of finishing the friggin draft.

So I gave myself a pep rally, reminded the left and right brains that I can write crap, and plunked myself down Sunday afternoon, determined to finish a chapter that was already long at over 4K. And I discovered that as soon as my MC described the room she was in, the rest of the chapter flowed very very well. Turns out visualizing the surroundings was holding me back. Wrote 2K in two hours to round out the chapter at a shocking 6.5K. Yeah, probably will need to break that into two chapters in revisions, assuming it stays in the book in any recognizable form.

To further prove the point, yesterday my vague outlines for the next chapter featuring the MC crystallized once I sketched out the area of the antagonist's ship in which it occurred. Now the only thing holding me back is plot and backstory details, knowing what three characters were doing before the MC busts into the room with a goon hot on her trail. I know essentially how I want those three characters to interact once my MC is in the room, but I want to know what they have to transition from to get there. That will certainly make it easier to start writing this next chapter.

By the way, I have only the denouement to write after this chapter, and that's already well sketched. I'm thinking I'll definitely meet my July 31st deadline. Go me.

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