Thursday, October 07, 2010

My Novel's Journey: Rediscovering Discovery

I'm asking Santa for one month of NO DRAMA in my life.

As I said Monday, this was a hellish week on big and small levels, but I still got some writing done--not a lot, but still a few thousand words, which, given the amount of time taken away from my writing to handle problems, is about as good as I was going to get. This also doesn't count the two writing workshops, the newsletter and the blogs I wrote, which I consider part of the "business" of writing and not the creative art of writing.

But you can imagine, this week was tough for writing, and I was not only fighting a lot of distractions, but also a lot of self-doubt and the "why should I bother?" attitude. There's only one way for me to handle this, and that's slog through, giving myself permission to write stupid drafts if needed and trusting that my characters will talk to me.

I also had the challenge this week of killing a scene I really liked in favor of one that moved more slowly, because the old scene no longer fits the logic of the story. This was tough to do! And, unlike the first chapter, which I scrapped, I cannot remake this into a short story. So it took a lot to just make myself junk a great group dialog-and-action scene for a couple of small scenes of one-on-one conversations. However, it did give Sister Ann another chance to shine in her own many-faceted way.

The next scene, the fire rescue, was pretty easy to mesh back in, but here I re-experienced grief over the manuscript I lost in December 2009 when the computer died, taking the backup with it. I'd melded two characters into one, which gave a lot of energy to the story, but I could not remember much about the new character but general details. In the fire scene, Sister Ann meets OvLandra for the first time. I only needed two lines of description, but I was stymied because I could not remember what I'd written and loved.

Finally, I whined over IM to my best friend, who gave me a virtual pat on the back. Then I told myself that whatever was good before can be better now, but not unless I write it. I'm not sure it's better, but it is written. I can move on and I can make it better in the edits.

Rather than post a before-and-after snippet, I'm going to post a scene I added a few sentences to, with the new sentences in bold. Ann is going to be having a lot of visions of saints and angels during this trip (more than she ever has in her life), and I wanted to start introducing them slowly.

She peered in, saw the flames arching and dancing on the bed and broken table, climbing across the walls, arching along the ceiling. She reached into a belt pouch, pulled out a grenade and pulled the pin.

"Father, Son, Holy Spirit!" She tossed the grenade into the room.

A pause, then a THWOOM! that she felt more than heard.

She peeked back in.

Droplets of fire-suppressant foam dotted the room, expanding quickly, snuffing the fire as they grew. Still, there were pockets of flames merrily fighting for dominance. She'd bought herself some time, that's all.

The door was scalding hot. She grit her teeth and set a gloved hand on its edge and one on the threshold and pushed it apart. Even through the gloves, she felt the heat on her skin. She pulled away with a frustrated hiss.

St. Florian, patron of fire brigades, help me! She pushed her hands against the reluctant door again. Again the heat seared through her gloves, but this time as she was about to pull away, she felt a pressure on the backs of her hands. She knew St. Florian was helping. She leaned in with her legs, and
the door at last gave way.

She ran across the room to the bathroom door and pounded on it.

PS. I'll be at the MuseOnline Conference next week, so I'm posting some reviews of terrific books I got to read over the summer. Please check in and if you're going to MuseCon, I'll see you there!


chrisd said...

I think it sounds great and I bet a lot of other people would think so too.

Hang in there!

Walt said...

Looks good to go. Get that puppy into the air!