Gun-totin', Chronic-smokin' Hearse Initiator (ludickid) wrote,
Gun-totin', Chronic-smokin' Hearse Initiator

What jail is like

You know, whenever they show a writer in movies, the writer is doing one of two things: either jotting things down in a journal at lightning speed, as if the quality of the work was judged on a time scale, or sitting in front of a typewriter or computer, with fingers flying, cranking out page after page of text. The camera will occasionally shift from the page to the writer's face, back and forth, perhaps with the screen reflected in their "writing glasses". This is how work gets done.

This weekend, I finished final edits on chapter 10 of my novel, and completed the initial draft of chapter 14. Here's how I did it:

First, I opened up a bunch of the files affiliated with the novel and read what I'd written yesterday, editing the infelicitous language and correcting typos. Then I consulted a bunch of notes I'd made about what was supposed to happen in chapter 14, and what has to follow in chapter 15. Then I ate some breakfast. Then I went over my notes some more. Then I noticed that a lot of the action in chapter 9, which I thought was finished final edits and all, seemed to flag, and didn't read particularly well, so I made some notes to go back and fix it. Then I made some notes about sprucing up the style later in the book, because chapter 10 was a little too turgid and plot-driven for my tastes. Then I had to make a big chart of a couple of subplots, because I didn't want to lose track of them. Then I read a Tom DeHaven novel for a couple of hours and thought about techniques I might want to crib. Then I had to look up some stuff about police procedures in an old textbook I had from college, so that a section of chapter 9 didn't come across as totally ridiculous. Then I realized that there were two ways I could end chapter 14, and that while both were plausible and even desirable, I had to make the decision, because how it ended would effect everything that would happen in the subsequent chapters, and it was a very tough decision to make, so I sat there staring at the screen for about an hour, and then went around doing other stuff while I thought about it. Finally I made a decision, and so I finished up chapter 14. Then I printed out chapters 10-12 so I could read them more easily and do the final edits. Reading them in the shower, I noticed that the whole section is a flagging plot line and there would need to be wholesale revisions, a prospect that totally depressed me because it would be a ton of work, so I just thought about that for a while. Then I did the final edits to chapter 9 again, and then read the first draft of chapter 14 to see how it looked.

This proves two things:

1. Either movies have lied to me (and that hardly seems likely), or I'm doing something wrong.

2. There is nothing -- nothing -- more boring than hearing someone talk about their writing.
Tags: diary, junk, lit

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