I write. I do it every single day.
Maybe you hadn’t noticed?
In the context of this 1000 days I’m losing my stride somewhat because life and work intervene. I think this is OK, but I’d like to better dodge these obstacles then to simply step out of the race till they’re gone. Regardless, I do write everyday. I compose emails. I jot down notes. I twitter.
Writing when I’m writing keeps my words sharp and my attention honed. These other contexts hold a different purpose than does this blog. Each have different audiences: co-workers, myself, or disinterested others, but each requires my writing to be succinct.
I am reading a book in the evenings in which the main character continually rehashes her previous medical experience in the context of her new magical skills. My perception of this character is that she’s standing at a locked door holding a key and can’t work out what to do on the next page. I suppose the author felt as if she were building to this scenario more than I feel she did. Each similar scene subtly different than the previous one. Possibly she sees the events I find repetitive as progressing: character sees key, picks up key, wanders, wanders into door, matches key to lock, etc. I don’t.
I don’t know that I could structure a novel of my own with such a repetitive theme. Once I say something I find it hard to say it again. I work at extending the things I’ve said once to make sure I’ve covered them well enough for a reader to follow. I still feel as if I’ve shorted them.
Going to give myself another pass of narrative tonight.
I keep a record of every writing idea I’ve had or stolen in Evernote. This past week I organized the straggly bits it and discovered I am frequently drawn to stealing photos and art of mech. Robotic exoskeletons, pure robots, scifi weaponry and vehicles, and armored soldiers. I probably never write about such things though—once (I checked).
Each time I see these martial themes in print I respond as most men might, “That’s bad ass.” As I consider writing though, I struggle to find ideas that do more than just shoot shit up. I’m all for explosions and improbably aerial vehicles–the starker and more angled the line the better—but I how do you wrap a storyline around pyrotechnics and gunships? My instinct tells me the Millennium Falcon suffers serious loss of cool points in an all text rendition.
Not that it couldn’t be done. I think you’d need to treat the mech as a character of sorts or maybe like a pet. Give it coincidental dialogue or make it an aspect of a character’s personality the same way you might a horse or dog. You’d need a memorable possibly poetic name. A name that could stand in for the whole character when needed.
You risk humanizing a piece of metal, of giving a bolt more significance than a nail and both more significance than they deserve.
Also, I don’t know how well I’d do at a military storyline implied by many of these types of inspiration. I often career off opposite to the initial reaction I have about such things. How can I make this weapon an instrument of peace? How can I make this robot a gardener? How can I make this soldier a life bringer?
I wish I didn’t do that. Writing anything is hard enough without me making it harder.
In part to remind myself what I’d written regarding the Chronicaller thread and in part out of curiosity for what someone else recently read on 1000 Days I just read back through about ten of my entries. I suspect my positive opinion of what I’ve written is a shortcoming of an inexperienced writer. If I knew better I would have been scandalized by the terrible things I’d written and the terrible ways I’d written them.
I wasn’t. Or at least not universally.
Enjoying reading your own writing is a good feeling. I’m left somewhat more heartened about what I might write in the future than I have been in the past months.
Screenwriter John August edits dull or bad passages from scripts in videos on his blog. His near complete replacement of the original words reminds me of these house remodeling shows. The episodes where the photogenic carpenter opens with a house situated on a particular parcel of land, then brings in a bulldozer to raze the house, then closes with a shiny new home. Sure there is a home where another home once stood, but not exactly what I’d define as a remodel.
This analogy is unfair because words and walls aren’t exactly equal, but still technically correct in that John’s edits aren’t tweaks of grammar or upgrades on non-visual words. He starts with a boy stealing a car and he ends with a boy stealing a car, but much better. Either the result is more efficiently lined or more compellingly visual.
I hope I’m not overlooking portions of my own writing in need of wholesale razing.