Veronique Darwin

Archive for August, 2012|Monthly archive page

Accomplish One Thing

In Thoughts on Writing on August 7, 2012 at 4:54 pm

Then you can leave your seat, or you can lean back on your chair, not forward.

Then you can do some real work, some work you need to do to get paid.

Then you can go outside and see the sun and see the moon.

Then you can go to yoga, to de-stress from having accomplished one thing today.

Then you can read a book and not think it must have been impossible to write.

Then you can be a good person to those around you, patient and still.

Then you can scratch those mosquito bites – only then can you scratch them!

Then you can go and do other things and mull over your story in the back of your mind.

Then you can go and make suggestions to yourself in your diary, small suggestions only.

Then, and only then, only once you accomplish just one thing, can you go to sleep, go to life, go to work. Just one thing. One little thing.

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Uses of CAPS LOCK

In My Writing on August 4, 2012 at 4:31 pm

In my latest draft I have been writing SECRETS to myself in CAPS LOCK. They are lazy secrets, codes to be filled in later. For example:
“Jillian was the last to sit down on the picnic blanket. SETTING. She raised her head slowly to look at Mea, who was pouring maple syrup on everyone’s pancakes but her own.”

Of course I don’t have time to describe the setting. I’m writing a story here.

This is the current stage of editing I’m in. It’s called CAPS LOCK editing. It involves combing through with a pretty wide tooth comb with the intention of making the plot of my book make sense. Action must be motivated by a previous action. Everyone must want something. Everything must involve tension and suspense. Show things, stop whining about them.

Because I’m focused on plot, I brush over spelling mistakes and blaring inconsistencies in people’s occupations and appearances because if I worry about that now then my plot might fall apart again. It’s being held together by fine lines of bossy CAPS LOCK.

For example, following the previous segment where Mea pours syrup on pancakes, I write: WHAT HAPPENS AT BREAKFAST IS VERY SIGNIFICANT

If, in another chapter, Nye shouldn’t have done something right then, I say NOT WHAT NYE WOULD DO.

And when it isn’t clear why Jillian doesn’t want to go to Cape Breton, I say WHY DOESN’T JILLIAN WANT TO GO TO CAPE BRETON? And I try, not very hard, to answer it in further lines of Caps Lock. Sometimes I go for a run and think about it (really I did that for the first time today).

I hope I will return to the beginning of my story once I am done this draft with a lot of energy to integrate these frightening notes and questions into my story (in minuscule letters). And hopefully the plot will be ready for it. Once I have my plot all rehashed and ready to go, then I am pretty sure the nuances of the significance of the breakfast picnic, what the scenery looked like and whether Nye was a computer software programmer or an artist will be clear.

Then it will be time to just add in cute details and make my writing readable. And then do another draft where the details are more than cute, they’re sophisticated, and the writing is actually good. And then one more draft, where angels falls from the sky to write on my behalf.

From My Heart (and Dreams)

In My Writing, Thoughts on Writing on August 2, 2012 at 8:00 pm

I try to write from somewhere near the inside of me, so that the words that come out don’t feel like you could have written them, and so that they feel true. I don’t know where that place is, but I assume it’s the same spot other people take their writing from when they say they’re writing from the heart. Also, I take my writing from my dreams.

There’s a book I tried to really like but don’t know that I really liked called From Where You Dream. Something I took from it (maybe I just read the title) was that you should write from that liberated, unconscious part inside of you – the place from where you dream. Simple? There’s a whole book about it.

Now, last night I dreamt of my book, and not in a good way. In my dream I was sitting at my computer and I read through a paragraph I had written. As I read it I realized I had just written things like “She walked into a room. She walked across the room. She spoke to Bill.” I don’t know what I had actually written, I don’t remember the dream exactly, but I remember reading this paragraph I had written and thinking it was so empty. In my dream I discovered this big game changer: I was writing empty sentences and I was supposed to be writing full sentences!

And in my dream I had a great understanding of what that meant, a full sentence. That’s the beauty of dreams (my dreams at least) is that I understand things – emotions and events and the significance of things – without having to spell it out, without having to put it into words.

I don’t know that I fixed my paragraph in my dreams, but I sure sat down at my computer today and thought about empty and full. I translated it to my waking self as the idea of images. Is there one? I translated it to the idea of heart. Is there one?

Because there are other priorities for my book right now – for example, make the plot make sense – I didn’t start back at sentence one and ask myself these obscure questions. But I had it in mind as I rewrote through the part I did today. I kept thinking, where is Jillian’s heart, and how do I get deeper into it? The more I did that, the more I found images. The more I saw Jillian’s face and was able to show it. The more I saw how Jillian touched her boyfriend’s hand, the more I saw the way she spoke to her sister. I didn’t find Jillian’s heart today (she’s not real), but I wrote from it. I wrote full and I wrote hearty.  Thanks crazy dream!

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