Wednesday, November 30, 2011

this story irritates the hell out of me

The title of this post is from the notes to myself that I made last week regarding the fifth chapter of the new novel. In truth, this story irritates me. It fills me with great discomfort and I am tempted often to walk away from it and work on something else, which I take as a sign that I'm on the track of something good here and I should keep writing this book. My best work--by which I of course mean my favorite work--has always come out of my areas of discomfort, because I'm picking away at something of real meaning to me. Very likely this irritation is also felt by the reader, which is why I am not a published author. But still, it's what I do so I'll keep doing it.

I'm not working at any great pace on the new book; I think I'm getting about 500 or so words a day onto the page is all. But last night's 500 words are pretty good. They're almost all dialogue, which is one of my strong suits. I credit my facility with speakybits to having read all that Shakespeare. When all you have is dialogue, you have to do everything with it: mood, backstory, plot, character, and all the rest. Likely all my reading of Shakespeare also explains why my novels are such talky things.

I recently read somewhere about a young writer who hates dialogue. I forget her name, but I have to say I think she's being a dope. She needs to read more Shakespeare, and some Chekhov wouldn't come amiss either.

7 comments:

  1. Have you ever given up on a novel idea, Scott? Do you do it regularly?

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  2. I frequently start making notes for novels and drafting rough outlines for the stories and then don't write the books. I'd say I do that twice a year at least. I have a growing stack of books I've decided not to write. But I've never abandoned a project at 22,000 words. Some of the books I've abandoned might end up being written if I figure out how to write them. And every time I finish one novel, there are about three that fight among themselves for my attention and I have no idea which one will cry out loudest and actually get written. I thought I'd be writing the Antarctica book now, not this one. And while I tell myself I'll write the Antarctica book after the one I'm doing now, I have a strong suspicion that I'll write a different, short novel before I take on the Antarctic. But no, I don't really give up on novels once I've begun writing them.

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  3. I asked because I was wondering last night if Cyberlama was fundamentally flawed. I considered starting something new last night, but then I read some of what I wrote and felt better about things. It's a rather meandering story though.

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  4. I don't know if meandering in itself is bad. As long as there's movement, you know?

    Right now my protagonist is at a softball game, drinking a beer and bitching to his wife about his employers. Is this a linear progression from the previous chapter? I have no idea. But it's where he is and what he's doing.

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  5. I don't know why I'm intrigued by a softball game scene, but I am.

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  6. What a yummy post. :) I find that Scales is uncomfortable for me, and that's why it has taken me nearly 11 months to write 26,000 words. It annoys the hell out of me, as you say. A lot. I just want it to be done already, but I do enjoy working on it every time I sit down to it. I enjoy it immensely, and maybe I'm just prolonging everything so it lasts, I don't know.

    Anyway, a softball game with bitching to a wife sounds intriguing. I love your dialogue. It's always exciting and adds so much to your stories. I can't say mine does. :)

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  7. Michelle, yes, annoying as all get out to write, but I really like it when I'm reading it over. I think it's going to be pretty good, no matter how much I dislike being the guy who's writing it.

    Read Shakespeare for dialogue! You can learn how to accomplish everything and anything with dialogue from old Billy.

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