Archive for March 31, 2009

Cut and Paste time!


No, I’m not indulging in my craftier side—though I am a crafter at heart, but that’s a whole other story.  No, dear readers, I am sitting here looking at a printed out copy of my YA fantasy manuscript, the one I seem to have hit a brick wall on, and I’m getting creative.

You see, I’m what a friend of mine once called a “chronologically sporadic” writer.  Some writers are very talented and know how to craft a story step by step, starting at the beginning and working their way in a straight and steady line to the end.  I have never been that kind of writer.  Generally, I write the prologue or first chapter, even up to the first several chapters, all in one go.  It’s not that I putter out after that (though that happens occasionally) but really rather that I get distracted by other scenes I know are going to happen down the line.

You know how they tell you that a story should have rising action, falling action, and major and minor climaxes throughout?  Picture that diagram that they show you in your mind, the one that looks a bit like a mountain range of ups and downs.  You know what I’m talking about.  The beginning of a story has to start with something happening, some incentive to get the story going and get the reader interested.  That’s the first slope leading up the first mountain, right?  If you were a chronologically-minded writer, you would probably follow going up that first incline by going down the next side, and so on and so forth.

Me?  It’s like every time I get to the top of that mountain, the fog rolls in down below, and then all I can see are the very tip tops of the summits (or climactic scenes) as they stretch before me.  The valleys, those imperative valleys, are covered up for the time being.  Now, with determination and work, I can clear that fog away and see how to get from one summit to the other, it just takes work, and a lot of paying attention to what my characters are trying to tell me.  But in the meantime, I can see those summits in perfect detail, so I write them down, get them taken care of.

What does this have to do with cutting and pasting?  Well, the problem with writing things in this “chronologically sporadic” way, is that sometimes, so far as actual documents go, the scenes get all mixed up and out of order.  I think that’s the major block I’ve had with this story lately, I just don’t know exactly which parts I’ve written, where.  I have whole bits of writing, from a few lines to a handful of pages, that I need to reorganize.  I know where they belong in the story, but in the document themself, they’ve gotten lost.  So I’m going to spend the next few hours—or days? (hopefully not!)—cutting this manuscript up and putting it in the order it’s supposed to be in, so that I can gather my wits and see what parts really do need to be filled in.  Wish me luck!

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