Friday, November 20, 2015

Writing is an exploration

It's been a roller coaster of a week.  I'm house-sitting at one of my go-to writer retreats.  This is the place I come to knock out five to seven thousand words over a couple of days. I'm starting a new story. I'm here for a week.

Writing is painful.  Literally causes a great deal of pain in my hand.  Physio this week was not only frustrating but discouraging.  Restricted use of my right hand continues. I've tried wearing bracelets and rings to remind myself to type one-handed. Yes, the pain should be an obvious deterrent.  When creativity flows, I ignore everything but getting the thoughts out. I pay for it later.

My editor came back with some BIG changes for the first book in the four-part trilogy.  Science has minimized or even solved some of the global crises I used as the basis for the hero's Quest. Several emails were followed by an hour long discussion on how to attack the rewrite.  I've had a few days to consider all the options and have found one that works for both of us. I'm anxious to fix it before I start the new book.

It is better to fix the mistakes of the past so that you can go forward with confidence.

Two books have helped me this week. A quick skim-through of An astronaut's guide to life to refresh my memory led to the new catchphrase, "What would Chris Hadfield do?" Dealing with life and death issues in space means he can't freak out and decide things are too hard.  Sometimes things break.  "Work the problem" is how NASA handles the unexpected.  Considering how much they train for every conceivable thing that could go wrong, that there is an unexpected is amazing. But inconceivable happens.

The other book I'm reading is a YA about the need we have to label everyone.   Openly Straight is fiction.  A young gay man chooses to move across the country and not tell anyone he is gay because that was the only way anyone saw him back home. His English teacher assigns semester long personal essays that follow E.L. Doctorow's edict that "Writing is an exploration.  You start from nothing and learn as you go."

Reading, thinking and the occasional jotting of notes will get me through this phase. Therapy will eventually strengthen my hand enough to get back to typing. In the meantime, I really need to mentally go through the manuscript and work out the best way to move forward with the original story and characters in a way that is less dated.

Sounds like a great way to work the problem.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous6:18 PM

    "Work the problem" is a theme in The Martian. Did you see it?