In Search Of…

This week I am hoping that the infinite monkey theorem works in my favor, for I wrote like a nimble-fingered simian with a penchant for salted caramel mocha coffee. 

Also, I don’t always shave my legs once sweater weather hits.

The point being, the work feels like I’m inputting not-entirely random words and symbols on a page and hoping for, well, I’m not going to aim high and say Shakespeare, but something that doesn’t necessarily deserve to have monkey feces thrown at it.  I assume even monkeys who can type throw feces at their work because they are monkeys, and one doesn’t escape one’s nature just because we’re working QWERTY.

 

Chimpanzee_seated_at_typewriter
I find black and white photos more flattering than color, ne vous?

 

 

Because my office was the spare bedroom and the boys now want their own rooms, I now work in the family room. It’s nice and I have a beautiful view, but it does mean that sometimes I have to put words together three feet away from a heated chess game, or children breathing on me, or someone getting a snack, or one of the neighbors trying out for the All-American Leaf-Blowing Squad, or the dog barfing on the carpet because that’s where dogs barf. The same dog also got skunked last night.

Which is all to say it can be loud and smelly, and if you were to ask me what my ideal writing conditions are, “Loud and Smelly” wouldn’t crack the top ten.

Soon the landscaping will stop and skeet shooting season will start. Some of you may recall how I feel about that.

Another mighty distraction this week is the earworm I can’t shake. On infinite loop in the ol’ noggin is the Kirin jingle. Oh, it’s Kirin/When you’re beerin’/Kirin, the great beer of Japan. 

I spent an embarrassing amount of time this morning looking for that jingle anywhere online. I couldn’t find it, and now I’m wondering if I made the whole thing up. I’m wondering that to the tune of the Kirin jingle, which I think is the plot to Inception 2: The Beerin’.

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So, about that first draft:

Oh, dear lord I may have to redo everything I did in week one, for this past week, I got a new idea, took a different path, explored a fruitful tangent in the fourth scene. I know I’m not spinning my wheels, I’m discovering and uncovering, but sheesh.  I’m not going back to fix the other stuff yet, but I’m making notes.

Some days things flow and everything I need to research/figure out goes in a file for me to do once this first draft is don. Maybe some answers will come by the end of the drafting process. Maybe not.

Here’s what I know for sure: so much of writing is trying to exist comfortably in squishy unknowns.

And as if a new plotline wasn’t exciting enough, I found some new characters lurking around my story. Lots of strong women. Some weak ones, too. So, you know, people.

I’m already at 22,000 words (which is approximately 25 percent) although my guess is  that only about 10,000 of them or so will make it through the first round of edits. It’s ok, but I wonder about my efficiency vs. my exploration. Am I just kicking the can down the road? Hard to say. I’ve never done this before It took about 80 essays or so to learn my general process….so I guess it’s going to take another 79 novels or so for me to figure out this process.

I think for the next book (HA!) I would wish to try a different approach – writing in the morning and going back for a light edit of that same writing in the afternoon. Then not looking back at that particular day’s writing until the entire book is done. It would feel…cleaner, I think. But that’s just something I’m tooling with (and something that probably just gave a number of you the willies – don’t do it! Don’t look back! The call is coming from inside the house!)

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Until next time, I’ll keep searching for a little peace and quiet, good words, a nice scented candle, and that damned Kirin jingle.

3 thoughts on “In Search Of…

  1. Jackie, you have many “symptoms” of first-draftitis! The cure is different for each writer, but there are some tried-and-true remedies that may work for you. Don’t edit the first draft. Plan it, shape it, but don’t try to fix it. You’ll be spending so much time revising sections you may end up cutting. By pushing out the first draft, you’ll discover problems along the way that you can jot down and attend to later. You can reread yesterday’s work for flow but not to get bogged down into major changes. If you must, stop in the middle to assess. We can spend forever revising a first draft before ever finishing it. And, actually finishing it does feel wonderful. Then the big work begins.

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    1. Yes indeed! That’s the plan, and I’m sticking to it. When the draft is birthed I’ll have a better understanding of my own process. Thank you so much!

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