Timpressionist (timpressionist) wrote,

Writing, living....

I haven't been around here much. Quick version: I quit my job, and am trying to act like writing and music are my real job while I do enjoyable things that make money. Behind the cut is stuff about a long story I'm writing...really, it's probably a novel. I've always tried writing shorter things, but I'm almost more comfortable knowing I have to come up with Lots of ideas and that I have space to relax into the world of this work. I'm not looking for help on specifics, which is why there aren't many below, but more on attitudes.
Added about fifteen hundred words or so, muscled through a really tough bit of dialog--which doesn't really work, quite, yet. But it stitched the section together, which is way better than having a note that says [he talks to the girl at the bar and is interrupted]
I had to stop because I'm getting bogged down in detail, especially on the greater setting. I'm picturing the city as a sort of Worcester/Savannah hybrid: attractive like Savannah, with a similar level of tourism. Meanwhile, it has a more industrial past like Worcester, and I want to get more of the ragged and congealed feel of that city (I mean those as complements, really). What's really interesting to me about the two cities I've spent the most time in is their vibe of defiance and self-importance. I want more of that. The countryside around it looks more like south Fayette county, though. pine trees and fields. And all the street names I'm coming up with sound like there's a midwestern sort of french influence: Marten, Beauregard, DePaul. Sometimes I think its a coastal city, sometimes not. I say something about colonial architecture, so its an older city, but I'm not sure about that, either. The city needs to be as much a character as the people in it.
I really want to cheat and set the whole thing in Savannah. I know the geography of the city really well, and if I need to check what a place felt like, I could just go look at it. I don't think it would work though, because then I'd be tied to the local reality too much. It's more work to do it the way I have, but it'll be better. So I'm going to keep trying to doodle maps. I need to know how many blocks it is from the store to the apartment, where the campus is, all that crap.
Other problems include really wishing I didn't have a first person narrator. For one thing, it's really introspective. It's ok, because the narrator is too. First person also puts me in danger of writing what I think about things and not necessarily what he thinks (there are definitely places where this happens too much) In fact, though, not all of the story so far is in first person. I think it can work to have narrative shifts, not for long, but as sort of interludes to change the rhythm of the thing. I do wonder if I'm good enough to pull that trick off.
It's hard to tell at this point whether I'm spending too much time on one subject, or at least one setting. This first bit goes a good 2,000 words before I get them out of the first scene. There's a good bit of internal moving around within it, and I am introducing four characters all at once, so maybe that's not too bad. Perhaps I read too much crap lit and watch too many movies where things happen staccato. I've been dealing with this same section nearly everyday this week. Maybe that's why it feels slow? It could be because I'm more interested in relationships between people and social dynamics than I am with rooftop chases and explosions...and those more subtle things take longer to develop.
I read a lot of stuff about 'why do we write?' Usually the answer is something along the lines of 'because you can't not do it' which is unsatisfying, to me. It's like that stupid thing about climbing mountains because they're there. I think, right now at least, that I write because I like solving puzzles. At this moment, I'm busy creating a puzzle that I don't know the answer to.

Well, that was rambling and more than a little vague. I want to talk about this story, but I feel like its bad luck to actually show it to too many people at this point. If someone is going to tell me it sucks, I want it to be a big thing that sucks hard. Again, If anyone has advice about dealing with these types of choices, I'd love to hear it.
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