Thursday, September 22, 2011

Experimental Writing Technique.

c2011 (S)

What's unique about the book I am working on is that it has gotten up to 46,000 words and I have no chapters or chapter titles.

There are scene breaks. My preference is for three asterisks, where many use three number signs. But this is a new thing for me. I'm sure someone has tried it before and I don't claim to have invented it. Normally I would jot down a quick title, and then write on that subject or scene until I ran out of steam, then jot another chapter title, and write on that until I ran out...and so on and so forth.

It gives me a start, if nothing else. Another thing missing from the book is the 'gag,' which I have mentioned before. That would be some twist, some different way of looking at things. For example, a publisher had in their guidelines, 'no talking animals, please,' and so of course I had to go and do it--and shape-shifters are a nice allegorical tool. You can use them ever so many ways.

Another thing that is different about this project is that I haven't actually read it.

That sounds very odd, I'm sure. But when starting out a story, it's pretty easy to get up in the morning the next day and read the first five, ten, or twenty pages. For me, when the thing gets up to about forty pages, (double spaced, even,) I tend not to read the whole thing before starting afresh. It's just too much to read, and I don't want to forget or lose any of the ideas I had in mind. So generally, I would read the last five pages, or maybe the chapter, or the last two scenes I wrote the day before.

Now that 'Maintenon Gets a Vacation' is up to 46,000 words, I can crack it open at any point and recognize what's there, and remember why I put it there. But the whole thing is not a sort of coherent, linear whole that usually happens when we begin to visualize a tale from beginning to end in all of its complexity. While I hate like hell to print anything out these days, I really should bite the bullet and read the thing from beginning to end. The other day I sat at a park for two hours, just looking at a pond. It wouldn't be too hard to bring a file-folder with ten or twenty pages along.

With other projects, some of which took years to bring to fruition, I did read them. I read them fifty, a hundred times, maybe more by the time they were edited and published.

The other thing is to try and visualize the plot better, especially insofar as the ending is concerned. There is no deadline here. But, if I'm going to publish it myself, then I'd like to have it out in time for Christmas. If I'm going to submit to a major publisher, then the sooner it's done the better, because those guys have a long turnaround time on submissions and rejection slips.

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