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Seems like I'm supposed to have something to say, but I can't quite think of what.

So, a meandering about writing.

My book is going. It is not going as fast as I would like, but I'm getting bogged down in research on occasion. Which sounds maybe not ideal, but it's actually part of my process. There are certain things I could just leave as a blank and fill in later; writers do that, I'm told. But it never works for me, because those little details end up being the foundations of theme, foreshadowing, and all the je ne sais quois that adds up to having a tapestry of detail and texture. If I can't feel the texture as I go, it's just no fun to write. And if it's no fun to write, I don't keep going. And there's my process--or, that piece of it.

The other side of the piece is picking and choosing which textures to focus on. I think it was on Jordan Castillo-Price's podcast I heard this, where she talked about taking a cue from visual arts in learning how to focus detail in writing. It's like depth of field on a photograph. You foreground the important stuff, keep it sharp and in focus, highlight the details... and blur out the background, so it's there in general, but not the thing in the picture that the eye will return to.

Something I'm reminding myself as I go.

First drafts are my favorite thing about writing, but that doesn't make them easy.

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( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
mmuenzler
Jan. 5th, 2011 02:11 pm (UTC)
I have a feeling that few novels get written as fast as the authors hoped they would. I know mine dragged out way too much as well. Ugh.
sartorias
Jan. 5th, 2011 03:22 pm (UTC)
This makes so much sense.
madwriter
Jan. 6th, 2011 03:31 am (UTC)
What you're doing is what I file under the personal term "spot research". Usually that means checking on small things, but it can also mean big ticket items too (I'm getting ready to do more research on a battle, for instance).

I too have heard plenty of authors suggest you just write on through, but I can't do that. Well, OK, I could, but I won't always do that, because I've found that research often helps me come up with more story ideas, plot points, and even characterization. Spot research or otherwise.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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