Tuesday, November 13, 2007

So, now what?

While I didn't reach the lofty heights of writing 5,000 words yesterday (who was I kidding, anyway?), I did get a lot done, and I'm mostly pleased with the results. When life isn't getting in the way, I've found a pretty good rhythm to the writing that seems to work.

See, fiction? Pretty much new ground for me. I took a fiction writing class my senior year of college because it fit nicely into my schedule and I needed an elective, and my friend had recommended the instructor. And I wrote a few short stories that the instructor had proclaimed to be very, very good. (Strangely, looking back, they were all in the horror genre, with cannibalism, burning at the stake, and bludgeoning being the themes of the three stories.) After the course ended, however, I never had any interest in writing more fiction.

Essays, research papers, reaction papers, sermons: those are my comfort zone. Even my blog posts, when they aren't about what I had for dinner, take the form of essays quite frequently. The five-paragraph essay, the one I learned how to write in seventh grade, is still my favorite thing to write. Except the 8-10 page research paper, with footnotes. MLA style, preferably, although one of my graduate professors told me I used APA style "with sophistication." (Strangest comment I've ever received in my academic career.)

And that means when I'm writing historical fiction, I find myself slipping into nonfiction, especially when I'm trying to include details from the era, or set up the situation with the whole Civil War thing that the book sort of hinges on.

But I've figured out that I can fix it afterward. If I just need to get those details OUT, onto the page, I'll allow myself a few paragraphs of nonfiction. But I have to highlight it and go back and fix it.

I'm really proud of how I did that yesterday. I turned two dry paragraphs about Grant's Vicksburg campaign into two pages of good dialogue.

I'm still working on getting the characters to act out their thoughts instead of just thinking them.

5700 words. 11% complete. Yes, I know the month is 43% complete. I'm behind. But I'm making progress. I just need to find a way to write 2,500 words a day.


kristabella said...

Good work!

I'm with you, non-fiction is much easier to write. I would have a hard time with dialogue, etc. Although, I do talk to myself, so that's kind of the same!

Keep it up!

winslow1204 said...

Way to go.. keep it up:)