Saturday, September 17, 2011
I envy people with obsessions; at least they’re able to focus.
I’m writing a little book, and it’s really difficult to stay on topic, or more exactly, stay on plot. Plots bother me, suspense most particularly. In books, in life, I’m entirely character-driven.
But save some experiments of the last century, no one wants to read about characters sitting around being characters. Your people have to do something, often a series of unpleasant or uncomfortable things, at least part of the time.
It doesn’t even matter if the author forgets who is doing what to whom and why, so long as folks move from place to place. A proof that honest effort has been made.
Writer friends of mine think they understand the misery of slogging through the plotting progress.
“I know,” they’ll say. “I’m stuck at 400.”
“What, words?” I ask.
How can you talk to writers like that? If you even try, then they’re liable to drop terms like “seminal” and “exculpatory.” Which gives me something new to google when I get back to plotting again.
So I just tell them I recently read on YahooNews! that sitting for long periods of time leads to an early grave and leave it at that.
In my young and impressionable days, I often traveled to Europe by myself. There’s nothing like the freedom of crossing an ocean when no one you know is waiting on the other side.
I have lots of notebooks from the time, and plan to poach on some real-life adventures and passages to pad my latest effort.
Arrived in Venice. Got lost, incredibly lost today. Venice is a series of circles and it seems your only choice is to walk around, forward, and back again. I either passed ten different cheese shops, or the same cheese shop ten times.
Rounding one corner, I met Claudio, who offered to take me back to my hotel. But first, he bought me a drink. Oh, he’s cute, mighty cute. Beautiful, really. I think he looks like someone in an Italian fresco, but I won’t know for sure until I see an Italian fresco. His English is good, but mostly he says, “Why not?”
“Why not?” said Claudio, pushing me against the wall of the Campanile di San Marco. “What would make you happy?” I lied and said I’d like to visit a museum or two. We saw some tapestries and paintings. He took me to the Palazzo Ducale. He felt me up on the Bridge of Sighs.
Labels: the writing life