Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Reasonable Insanity

If there was ever any wonder why writers can be so insane, my day yesterday would thoroughly explain it.

There's a scene I've been wrestling with for days. I wrote it, then realized after I wrote it that it was dull and needed to go a different direction. I had a vague idea of what it needed, but I needed specifics in order to write it, and then I could think of two vastly different ways to go with the specifics. I spent most of the weekend going back and forth on which way to go with it, then yesterday I finally picked one. I spent the afternoon rewriting that part, only to stumble across something just as I had to quit writing to get ready for the homeowners association meeting that gave me a totally different idea that sends things in an entirely different direction. The right way to go wasn't a choice of either of the two things, but rather something else. I'm not sure I'd have ever come up with that third way without writing what I did, but obviously there was something in my subconscious that had a vague idea -- I even own something that could have been a good clue to lead me in the right direction, but I didn't think of it until I wrote it.

The homeowners association meeting ended very early, since we didn't have a quorum, so I got home in time to do the necessary research for the rewrite. Now it seems so very obvious that this is the only way it could ever have gone. Even a lot of the real-life stuff clicks with what I need to make up. I'm not entirely certain that the exact thing I'm going to create exists in the real world, but it's the kind of thing that should exist or that I could believe would exist, so I think I can get away with creating it. So, today I get to spend the day rewriting the entire sequence yet again. But I guess it's better to do all this rewriting in the first draft when I can make sure I'm going down the right path than to realize I have to rewrite it after the book is done, and those rewrites then mean rewriting lots of other stuff.

Meanwhile, I seem to have hit a reading slump, this one caused by reading something so good that everything else pales in comparison for a while. I read Nation, the latest Terry Pratchett book, over the weekend, and it totally blew me away. I was leery at first because it wasn't a Discworld book, but then really got into it because it was a kind of book I've always loved, given the Pratchett spin. It's the story of the aftermath of a tsunami, when an island boy who's the only survivor of his community and an English girl who's the only survivor of a shipwreck on his island team up to survive and start building a new community as more survivors join them. I've always loved survival/stranded type stories where there's something real at stake and people have to find their inner strength and grow and change to adapt to their surroundings. When I was a kid, I was always reading books about shipwrecks and kids stranded in the Outback and stuff like that. This book was touching and moving and made me cry, and I've since tried to get into two other books without any success. Which means I suppose I can be writing, instead.

1 comment:

Carradee said...

I'm having a "wait--nix that" period with some scenes, myself, except after a blah draft one, draft two was too brutal. WAY too brutal.

That's what I get for writing while fighting nausea, I guess. My subconscious comes up with a reason for me to be nauseated.

Your subconscious sounds fun. Annoying, maybe, at times, but fun. Mine scares me.