Tuesday, October 4, 2016
Sunny and cool
Errands, research, writing yesterday. Didn’t get much done on the revisions. I was working on other stuff. Each of the projects on which I’m currently working requires such a different approach. It’s interesting to stretch my creativity in this way. “Process” has to grow and change along with the work. If everything is done the same way every time, it stunts growth.
Plus, I’m exploring a variety of characters and situations that interest me. Digging into the motivations and the possibilities.
The interesting thing about fiction is that, in order for it to work, characters have to be active. Too many people, in real life, are passive all the time, especially now that all they do is view the world through their electronic devices instead of actually living lives. It’s fun to push characters’ buttons and provoke them into action, and then explore the consequences of those actions.
Cleared out a bunch of research books and took them back to the library yesterday afternoon, and have another stack to take back today. I have a map of Vermont spread out in one spot, dealing with one project, and a map of Newport in another spot.
I have to reconfigure part of Chapter Three in the Victorian mystery, because where I have a catalytic event taking place doesn’t make sense in the actual geography of the place. I had misremembered distances and proportions. I’m glad I was in Newport a few weeks ago to jog my memory, or I would have really been in a mess. But figuring out WHERE to place this event so it can still happen and have the impact it needs to have in order to set in motion the next chain of events, which results in the first body drop, is an interesting challenge.
The Victorian mystery is not something that can be written fast, and I feel as though I’m working on multiple drafts at once. Instead of pushing all the way through the first draft as fast as possible, which I usually do, I write a section of dialogue and action, then figure out what I have to research to make it work, then research, then rewrite it with the proper period detail. It’s almost as though each scene or sequence has to be created as a short story in itself. Very different from the way I usually work, but interesting.
Many people would have done ALL the research first and then just written. I’ve done a good bit of research on the period, and on the particular months in which the piece take place, but I don’t really know what I need in detail until I figure out the plot points and character interactions, and they are growing and changing as the piece changes. My heroine breaks a lot of rules — and there’s a social and economic price to pay for that, which is what interests me in this particular set of stories and characters.
On top of that, the rain has finally stopped, which means I need to get to work putting the yard to bed for the winter.
I reworked one of my comic noir mysteries this morning; I need to send it off in the next few days. I’m very fond of this particular piece, and hope it finds a happy home.
I missed a grant deadline by one day — for some reason, I had it down as the 15th of October, and when I went to send off the materials today, it said the 3rd of October. Yesterday. I hate it when I do something stupid like that.
Oh, well, have to trust that I can find another, better opportunity. But I’m still kicking myself around the block.
Have a great week!