A sometimes half-arsed record of the process of writing in its' variegated many forms.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Play it as it lies

Several years ago I read a book of William Goldman's recollections about his many years as a novelist and screenwriter. He said he always had to write his first draft in one great rush because if he read anything as he went he would have to give it all up and start over or words to that effect.

I'm beginning to understand a little about what he was getting at. Also there was a saying that he emphasized but that came from older writing lore; it was something like you have to be willing to kill your darlings to be a good writer. Again, I'm paraphrasing miserably here.

The real weight of what it is that I'm trying to do in writing this thing, this novel or collection of novels (whatever it is that it turns out to be), this weight begins to reveal itself. But it's the weight of life and truth. It's not some added weight or affectation. It's just the true dimensions of life. The really felt consequences.

Or at least that's the general idea. Who knows right? What is it that any of us do? What is the real, earnest meaning of our thoughts, our words, our actions? I don't suppose that I know.

Really, it's that kind of abstract, somewhat mindless sentimentality that I'm struggling to winnow and focus. Mostly I'm realizing just how much of what I've written has to be rewritten. Editing is a daunting task, and I really failed to budget sufficient time for the process. Time management becomes such a crucial task as the freneticism of multi-tasked realities burrows its way deep into the soul.

So, I'm rearranging the schedule. It's seems that I am perpetually rearranging the schedule. But I'll leave off on that. I am trying to get back going for the second round, but there is so much conceptual work that needs to be done. Why I didn't either realize how much time needs to be spent on that (on research and on plotting and on character building), I don't rightly know. My timetables tend to be wildly optimistic. They assume a level of discipline that I have yet to show myself capable of. I suppose I have more confidence in myself than the evidence would seem to warrant. And whatnot.