Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Writing is ketchup out of a bottle

WARNING: Since I'm grumpy about my limited writing tonight, and tired, this may be rambly.

The best writing is the writing that flows, the ideas falling onto the page faster than you can type them; the characters practically pushing themselves out of the way to get their voices registered and  their deeds put down on paper. I feel like I say this in almost every blog post. I probably say it on those days when my writing is not at all like that, like tonight, where I got 300 words and that was all, and I'm a little grumpy about it, because I wanted to do two full scenes, not part of one.

Characters in stories can seem real.  As a writer, you are only really a translator.  You want to ask the characters to slow down a bit here, go back there, or maybe have them go into deeper detail for you, to explain it more. The story isn't yours. You are just recording it. The characters aren't stupid, though. They don't want to waste their time telling their tale if no one is going to show up to write it.

So make sure you show up, and actually write, lest all your characters of today and tomorrow abandon hope and wander away.

Or maybe they do show up. I don't know, it could be like trees falling in a forest. The trees fall, the vibrations are there, ready for ears to pick up, but if no one is there, the sound of a  tree falling isn't recorded. I bet every tree that falls leaves a different sound. Maybe they show up and tell their tale, and the stories are in the air, waiting for the ear to hear it and record it. Maybe.

There are times when the words are not pouring onto the page, though, and the characters don't want to talk and it's a trial, I find, to write some nights.  Tonight, for instance, I managed only a part of a scene, a minor note in the entire book. That's all, though. And that's alright, for now, it is. It happens. I'm just grumpy about it.

Writers write, but sometimes, we can only write a little. We can force the mechanics and revise and edit, but in the first draft, it's important to focus on getting the story down, and that happens in spurts and fits and starts. It's ketchup out of a newly opened bottle.  Yes, I'm comparing writing to getting ketchup out. It's valid.

I want to write more on it, but I'm at a turning point. I need to decide what happens next, but I'm not quite sure. Oh, I've got the outline, but the outline is just that. No, my decision is, character-based. Do I let this third character exist with a voice, or exist only in the memory of the story? Is her tale told through bits and pieces of others' tales,  or with her own voice?

I'll have to sleep on that.

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