Have I learned anything yet?

I try to keep posts about the Craft of Writing to a minimum, mainly because I have visions potential readers seeing them and rushing off to comics curmudgeon or passive-aggressive notes, never to return again.  But I suppose I should keep the literary tone up a bit, and generate a bit of unique content now and again, so I’m going to put down a few thoughts on this whole serial thing I’m doing.  It is kind of interesting comparing it to my normal writing process (interesting to me, anyway).  It is something of a high-wire act since it is still not done, and I’m just trying to keep a few installments ahead of the snapping jaws of readers out there (I am officially a professional author, and don’t recommend most people attempt this level of metaphor).  This was pretty easy at first, since for the first few thousand words almost anything could be fixin’ to happen, and I had a lot of flexibility to come up with new ideas and change my mind about what would happen later.  Every word I write locks things down a bit more, though, and closes off more possible endings, as well as creating more things I have to remember and stay true to.  Back in the first installment, I could have decided that it would be interesting for Israel to head for the Everglades, or steal an airplane, but it’s too late now (well, I could go back and change things, but that would be cheating).  It reminds me a bit of trying to lay out a sidewalk with too large of a load of cement.  As soon as I mix that bag the clock starts, and I only have so much time to fiddle with one piece, getting it just so, while other pieces are hardening.

This would probably be a different matter for many authors, but I tend to 1) write light on the first draft and add text and 2) have only a vague notion of the plot when I get started.  In other words, rewrites tend to involve me going back and adding in details to make the story work with something I just realized should have happened, as opposed to trimming.  I often wish I could be the sort who outlines, and I sort of hoped this process would push me toward doing that, but not so far.  Anyway, I have a vague notion of how this puppy will end, but that second-to-last bit is proving elusive.  We shall see.

~ by smwilliams on May 26, 2011.