Saturday, June 5, 2004

Mad Scribblings

I had planned for a very different Friday than what I wound up doing.

Just to get my summer plans a bit more organized, I opened up my Writing folder to see what was in there. The timing of this was highly unusual, because I usually don’t get bit by the writing bug until we only have a couple of weeks left of summer. I have this novel that I’ve been working on, off and on, and in different forms, for nearly 15 years. So today, I took it out and dusted it off, and next thing I knew, I was writing away. I had planned on going in to school, just to visit, but I didn’t exactly make it. But now the novel is up and running again, and I’m pleased with it. I also think I may have finally settled on some character names! That’s always the hardest part for me. Heaven help me if I ever have a child. It’s kind of hard to Find and Replace when it comes to kids!

When I’m writing, the easiest thing to put on a page is dialogue. It’s almost like
I literally hear the conversation in my head, and then I put it down on paper (or, more recently, on the hard drive). Then I will go back and flesh it out later. I love it when the characters say things I’m not expecting them to, and then I have to figure out the ramifications on the plot, and other characters. I’ve always said that the number one person I’m trying to entertain when I’m writing is myself. That’s probably why I rarely finish anything – once I have the story all figured out, there’s no point in writing any more on it! :)

I was talking with my friend Mav yesterday and we were swapping college experiences. His were much more interesting than mine, so I let him do most of the talking! I told him I was a complete hermit in residence, and I was. But I had a Friday night ritual, once I had a single room. I would get two litres of Diet Pepsi, a stack of looseleaf and a favourite pen. I’d put on the radio and I’d stay up all night writing, propped up on my elbow on the dorm room floor. It would be four or five in the morning by the time I finished, but I’d always have a finished short story by dawn. I like short stories specifically for that reason – you can get them done in one sitting. For people with writing motivations like mine, that’s a godsend.

So far, the novel is just over 24,000 words long, and I’m just starting to get into the story. It has quite a palette of characters, which is unusual for me, because I have a hard time keeping them all straight. Even if I’m watching a movie, if there are too many characters, I can’t follow what’s happening. It’s no wonder I can’t keep the kids at school straight for their first couple of years of high school!

The cat has decided that I am her personal pedestal, so I’m taking that as my cue to go to bed. No short stories to write tonight (I’m getting too old for all-nighters), but the novel is well underway, and I am pleased.

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