Friday, March 11, 2005

Slogging Along

I am in the middle of writing the third book in a series. This is like nothing I have ever done before; when I wrote the first book I never thought of writing another, or one after that. The second one was harder to write, because I had to find the emotional kernel of the story (which is always my starting off place in any project...if I know what the emotional journey is, the actual plot is much easier for me to deal with). This third one is the hardest yet. I'm not entirely sure why; I love the character, I like the people who surround her, I've got some fun plans for the mystery...yet there are days when I apply what's left of my mighty brain to the story, and it slides right off. Some of that is the mystery thing--I never meant to become a mystery writer, and I'm always second-guessing myself as to whether the mystery parts work. Particularly because these books are meant to be noir-ish, and noir has some particular requirements of its own--corruption, the honorable person in a dishonorable world, etc.) that need to be worked in. And (and this is the thing that is new to me) the continuing places and characters have to be groomed and taken care of. It's an interesting juggling act; if it doesn't kill me, I will doubtless have new skills and writing muscles.

Today I had a pretty good day. Some things fell into place, and some new doors opened. There's an almost physical pleasure when that happens.

7 Comments:

Blogger Gregory Feeley said...

Hey, good for you! How far along are you?

The thing I find most appealing about the "honorable protagonist in a dishonorable world" is the suggestion, when there is one, that the protagonist imagines himself more honorable than perhaps he is. Of course, a lot of those "down these mean streets" novels (and especially their movie versions) simply don't acknowledge that, which allows creator and audience to settle together into a nice warm bath of self-congratulation.

5:11 AM  
Blogger Gregory Feeley said...

Life is a slogalong, at least for the working novelist.

You want constant intensity, do stand-up or lyric verse. For novelists, though, it's a life in the trenches, digging.

7:55 AM  
Blogger Madeleine Robins said...

Writing, for me, is a little like old-time skiing. When it's going very well, it has a similar exhilaration of a good downhill run. When it's not, it is not unlike having to walk back up the damned mountain with your skis on your shoulder.

I'm about seven chapters in--for the third time. I keep reevaluating what I'm doing and backtracking. I feel, sometimes, as though my brain hasn't worked properly since we moved West.

As far as the honorable protagonist goes, what I find fun is having her encounter places where she cuts corners, as well as the places where she stands on principle. And, given that a fallen woman of the time was frequently said to have "lost her honor," this has all manner of fun ripples to it.

4:46 PM  
Anonymous Sarcasm Girl said...

Don't worry, Madly! If iyou can think up stories about purple cows and brainwashing (hehehe...), then you can certainly finish this book with a wonderful character who has alredy developed in your mind.

Life just stinks right now. It's taking its toll on your work.

And if all else fails, blame Bush. ;)

Ta!

10:42 AM  
Blogger Madeleine Robins said...

And yes, I am reading all of this. So you better not say anything you might regret, MOTHER.

10:44 AM  
Blogger Madeleine Robins said...

Hey, someone impersonating me has forced her way into this blog. I suspect it is Sarcasm Girl herself. Busted.

5:43 PM  
Anonymous L.N. Hammer said...

The constant intensity may be why I write more narrative than lyric verse. Hmmm.

---L.

9:07 AM  

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