Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Catching up

I haven't posted anything on my writings in the past week or so. Sorry about that, for those of you who are interested. I haven't stopped writing, however. In fact, I've been writing and writing and writing on this story, though I'm still nowhere near completing a single draft.

I started this story writing out a plot outline, writing character sketches and getting a solid idea behind what happens at the end of it all. And I've found out that those things don't corner you at all. In fact, I've found a million different ways to go with this story and I've already tried hundreds of them. I keep writing the beginning of the story and then start over from a different perspective. I've tried third person omniscient, third person from each character's point of view, first person by one character and first person by the other character. I've also written in different voices, not quite finding the character's voice I'm looking for.

This is both good and bad. The bad is obvious. I've been laboring over the same story for a few weeks now with no real results to show. The good is I'm learning. I'm learning what can be done, I'm learning where I'm weak and I'm learning I don't know all I thought I knew.

That last one is especially important. I've been writing nonfiction for newspapers and blogs for the last 12 years. You'd think that would help me. It doesn't. I'm learning what I've read a million times over the years from writing books and author interviews: You learn to write fiction by writing fiction. That's it. You can study and that will help, you can pick apart other stories. But until you keep at the keyboard and create characters and have them interacting, you don't learn anything.

So I'm struggling. I haven't grown weary of the story. This is a good sign, I think. It means there's something to it, something I'm trying to reach. I have confidence in the rickety plot and ideas I'm working through. I just need to keep working.

I also need to focus. I write every day now. Now I need to spend more time each day. I waste much of my day and only spend about an hour on a day's writing. This is terrible. I get antsy. I'm working on getting control of this.

One day at a time, I'm working to become a better writer.

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