Yes, feeling a bit aimless this morning. It feels a little ironic given that the solution to a big writing problem arrived last night in finally getting a grip on Grabbe’s characterization. It is now a hard rule that no new character will be written into a story until I have a firm grasp of what that character looks like, sounds like, and thinks like. There was a time when I wrote more character-driven works, and I’m trying to get back to that, even if there is a fantastic element to the work itself. I think I read somewhere once that if you have strong enough characters, they can do the heavy lifting when it comes to the plot, and that has definitely been the case this time around. Where once direction was heavily scripted, pushing the story forward through artificial plotting contrivances, this version is being driven by the needs and wants of the characters, even the incidental ones. That feels good.
It seems to be that period in a novel where the only desire is to keep driving forward, rather than stopping all the time to examine what’s going on. Read a good article last night in Write Good or Die about how overwriting and editing can be just as deleterious as not being careful enough with your writing. The gist is that you can suck all the life and passion out of the prose, and I suppose on some level I sensed that and am going to try to avoid it with this draft. Another key point of this article was that agents are not the best judge of what is right for a writer’s career – a writer is, and it’s important to keep writing what you feel passionate about, rather than targeting trends. This may especially be true for Mary, who is having trouble getting passionate about her latest project. I suspect this is due to it being more publisher-driven than driven by her own love. A cautionary tale, I suppose.
Wheels are spinning but not much is linking up. It doesn’t help that sleep wouldn’t come last night. There’s nothing to easily point to; just had trouble getting to sleep in the first place, and then staying asleep once I was down. Perhaps it’ll be one of those days, or perhaps I’m over-thinking it. That could well be. One of my prime concerns is making this a more high-quality blog than the ones I have written in the past, a distillation of the lessons learned in the close to five years that I’ve been blogging. The problem then becomes that there’s a certain pressure to be perfect, when I know in my heart of hearts that today is not a perfect day. It’s a sloppy day, one where I just need to lie about the place, metaphorically speaking.
Received a link yesterday from Michael Pallante and his site Pale Horse: A Novel about my rejection letters. Looks like he received his first yesterday, too, and it was a really encouraging one! Good luck to you, Michael.