Monday, November 14, 2011

Sophomore Slump: Taking the Long Way

I'm now at the novel-writing point where I get hung up in the tenses. I see that I have written most of the novel in first person (which I have never done before) past. First person aside, I tend to struggle a lot with whether to write something in the past or the present or even the present past (is that present perfect?). I wish I'd paid more attention in grammar class.

It's only in novel writing I get this way. In short pieces I have no problem on deciding the tense. It's kinda obvious.

At this stage I also have a lot of difficulty getting going. Basking in the glow of having started a novel makes it a lot harder to be motivated to continue. I'm so thrilled to have characters, a setting, the intimations of a plot, and thousands of words. I feel like I've arrived before I've finished.

The only solution is discipline—making myself sit down and write no matter what. Whether I know what I'm going to write or not (as if that mattered), whether I feel like it or not, and no matter how lovely it is outside or what strange housekeeping task needs to be performed. (There are none really. I live alone. Most tasks are either quickly done or optional.)

This is also the stage of the novel when I write silly posts in the blog (like today). Wasting time feeling productive instead of actually writing.

I also spend a lot of time "researching." And not just discovering actual facts which sometimes spur me to writing. Last night, for example, instead of writing I watched a movie. The movie was "The Long Way Home" with Jack Lemmon and Sarah Paulson. I called it research because the two main characters are similar to mine: a man old enough to be the woman's grandfather. I'm not sure what the possibilities are between such a couple, so I watched the movie.

Right. As if other possibilities matter when I sit down to write. Possibilities develop, don't cha know. I write in a way that the thing pretty much writes itself. Which means I write intuitively. It's messy. Then I go back and clean up.

Anyway, this is mostly drivel. The pure purpose of which is to get it out my head so I can get on with writing, which I will do now—once I've fed the dog, reviewed and published this post, and wandered out to the write-in I'm hosting at TaZa.

Work. Gotta love it.
"Uncle Tauber's Trunk" An old man and a woman young enough to be his granddaughter riddle out the secrets of an old German trunk.
Word Count Statistics
Goal: 50,000 words by midnight Nov. 30
Today's Total: 16,648
Written Today: 110

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