Wading through Mud:
The last two days my writing feels like I’m in a middle of a vast drained lake, and when I move, I’m wading through mud. My goal is dry land ahead. It looks close, but when I start it feels dragging and painfully slow. And the reason is structure, voicing and narrative, so really not too bad…But the upside is looking back at those tracks–solid carvings, nothing soft about that road. So it stands up to further, more forceful edits, which is what I’m after. The hard part is highlighting what reads like poetry–or just plain think it’s cool– but doesn’t belong. So you delete. It pains you, but the story is king. You owe it to the reader, who is second-in-command (I say this but there is one piece of text I can’t delete, just won’t. That I’ll leave to a heartless editor to cut.)
So maybe this is just my confession about today, my daily scratching I need to purge to a computer-screen therapist that just sits there while I say everything, and hands me answers I already have inside. Damn, this guy’s (collective noun) good. I’m grateful it wasn’t a day I lacked confidence. Those days I can’t spell, can’t read, and most assuredly can’t (and shouldn’t) write. Those days I look for gaps that make a reader question their sanity, and either want to put the book down, or throw it through a window. Like if a character holds a key in one scene, and coming back, see it miraculously emerging out of a pocket. My worst (detected so far) is having a character in two different locations simultaneously, separated by miles, thousands of them (It was the first draft, they’re supposed to be scratchy).
After this post I’m going back in. I know it will be slow going, but going nonetheless. One word at a time, that builds a sentence, that builds to an idea.
Also published on Medium.