“If a story is in you, it has got to come out.” William Faulkner
The key word in this quote is: if.
How do you know a story really is inside you? I don’t.
I think about a story I’m working on whether I’m out for a hike, working in the garden or sitting still. Okay, that last bit doesn’t happen very often.
I get what I think are brilliant ideas, even write these down, only to have them disappear when I finally get in front of my lap top and face the actual blank page. Glaring at that page, I eventually start to put down whatever comes into my head.
My hope is that I will work my way into my story, uncover the keepers and get rid of everything else. Most of the time this process works. Yes, I’m a big believer in what April Young Fritz said about writing: the worst thing you write is better than the best thing you don't write.
At the moment, in my new manuscript I’m stuck, so I’m trying a different approach. I’ve printed off the pages I have and I’m reading them as a reader, not a writer. This means without a pen in hand. When I’ve finished reading, I will begin again, this time with pen and red ink. It’s a painful process. It takes time and patience. And you know as well as I do, I’m not good with either.the worst thing you write is better than the best thing you didn’t write.
I think this new method is helping. I’m seeing the bits I’m missing, making connections within the story I didn’t before. I’m making more notes to go forward.
Then again perhaps I’ve just found another way to procrastinate. I don’t know, but I’ll let you know when I get through the process, if I get through it.
Before I go this week, I’d like to leave you with another quote: Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass. Yes, Mr. Chekhov, this is what I’m trying to do. I’m trying.
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