30 March 2006

Whining about the novel.

I’ve been thumping my head on my Leavetaking novel. I’ve been working on it but it. Does. Not. Want. To. Go. Anywhere. The first chapter looks halfway decent, but that’s because I’ve been working on it since last fall. And now I’m on the second chapter, trying to pull it together. Usually I start marking up the text like crazy and revise the novel that way. So this slow pace frustrates me.

Perhaps this is just how I have to work on it. Each book demands a different approach, and for some reason I just don’t feel like I can move forward until I have these chapters laid out. Gotta get the characters’ motivations right. Gotta know what they want. But this means trashing entire scenes, and that in turn means work, and I don’t like work.

Another thing about this novel that bothers me is its lack of coherence. I’m asking myself, what the heck is the center, the heart, of this damned novel?

But today when I was subbing I saw a copy of Writing the Natural Way (I think that’s the title) in the teacher’s room and flipped through it.

The author talks a lot about how to draw clusters as a brainstorming device and as a way to find out new things about what you’re writing. And he was talking about quiet visualization as a way to find a complex image that would be at the heart of the story. And when you discovered the image, or whatever makes it cohere, then you experience a sort of shift in the mind, and you’re like, okay, yes, there it is.

So. That made me think that maybe I should start clustering and find out what the heck I think is contained in the novel thus far. Use some quiet meditation instead of banging my head against the keyboard the way I usually do. Though headbanging is an important part of the process.

Geez, another mile-long post. Oh well, it’s my blog and I’ll pontificate if I want to.

(That didn’t quite scan …. )


Disco Mermaids said...

Isn't it frustrating that every book requires a different approach? It keeps the writing process interesting, but it sure can take awhile to get things rolling. Good luck on the book!

- Jay

Melinda said...

You sure got that right. I thank God every day for ice cream and cussing (not necessarily in that order).