Monday, May 5, 2008

Okay, already.

When do we get to stop learning annoying things about ourselves?

I’d been reading interviews with several writers who say that their method is to write the really powerful scenes they love the most in their books and then go back and connect all the dots with the bridging scenes. I’d never tried this before because, frankly, it sounded outlandish. In real life you don’t get to skip to the good parts and then relive the no-so-exciting ones, so why should I get to do that as a writer?

Anyway, the writers who spoke of doing this are all quite successful so I thought I’d give it a try. It worked marvelously! And then failed miserably. I wrote two unconnected, unanchored chapters that I had really, really been looking forward to writing; they were two of the scenes I’d thought about most when I first dreamed up the idea for the book. The minute I started I couldn’t stop! The words flowed like hot magma! I thought I’d finally found the secret to writing!

The next day I opened the manuscript to do the bridging chapters. Can you guess what happened? I got nothin’. No interest at all in writing those chapters. I even thought about turning it into some kind of experimental novel where there are only high-octane, amazing scenes and you, as the reader, have to fill in the blanks about how and why these people get to be there. Yes, my friends, desperation had set in.

The bottom line? I suppose I’m impulsive and greedy. If given the choice of having dessert first I will. In fact, I’ll eat so much dessert that I won’t want dinner anymore. The ability to write scenes out of order, to do the fun stuff and then go back and do the technical stuff, that’s for people who have temperate dispositions. People who have willpower and discipline. Me? I have to deprive myself of the good stuff until the mundane is done and then, then I get to feast.

1 comment:

bluelikethesky said...

I feel your pain.

During lit class today, as I watched eyes glaze over as I blazed on critical theory, I came up with at least three fabulous "things" on art and the World Trade Center attack. But string them together? STRING THEM TOGETHER?

More wine. Now.