Writer’s Notebook 6/12/12: And That’s How It All Went Down – With Rainbows

Last week, The Professor asked me when I had last worked on the novel.  As the answer was, “Not this past Monday but the Monday previous, and then, only three sentences,” I figured I had better stop waiting for Inspiration to Knock Me Upside the Head and set aside the time and the mental space for my most central of projects.

Guess what?  It’s working.

I have a prologue.  I never thought my novel would be the type to have a prologue.  But last Thursday a piece of the back story fell into place in my imagination, and, like logical magic (because it all really is very logical), bam!  Prologue.  And with the prologue, I gained insight, focus, and momentum.

I also have a few more scenes – or, at least, parts of scenes – written today.  And this with the added distraction of my Inner Perfectionist getting all maimed and mangled because I made an honest mistake over something so simple and I looked like a fool and turn on the Self-Justification and suck my thumb and and and…

Distraction.  Gah.  But my husband reminded me of my own maxim: give this to my characters.  I can stay stuck in crazy, or I can let Lisa, Chuck, Sean, Tess and Co. have at it.

And so I did.  And now I have another scene.

Oh, I should mention, this helps:

But not too much, or things starting looking like this:

And then we can’t write, now, can we?

Moving on… My husband just called, on his way home from his sanity night away from the house, to tell me to look out the window.  And what did I see?

And, the other end:

Hard to capture with a standard camera and no photography skills whatsoever, but that’s a full arc-en-ciel, shining forth like all things bright and beautiful, to quote the poet.  With such a rainbow, it’s easy to see why God gave it to Noah as a sign of His covenant.  The flash of color across a half-stormy, half-glaring-white-light sky bespeaks hope, simply.

And looking at my first attempts, I need all the hope I can get.  Because it can only get better from here!  And I mean that without disparaging myself in the least.  Falsehoods lead to false hope.  Looking the truth of the matter (i.e. not knowing what I’m doing) square in the eye leads to true hope.  Perhaps it’s this glass of wine, but I’m making sense to myself, at least.

Switching subjects radically… I’ve come to see how important reading is to my writing.  When I read, I’m working.  I have become so used to spending most of my free time writing that, until recently, I had forgotten to spendsome of my free time reading, as well.

Now, the Professor and I usually read literature.  Classics.  Stories proven by the test of time and critics.  However… reading the best and only the best provides a limited education for one so clueless about the craft of writing.

The bad, bad novels – the absurd, the boring, the meandering, the phony, the doozies – teach me a great deal, too – i.e. DON’T DO THAT!

Rest assured, I do not spend any of my husband’s hard-earned cashola on these bad novels.  The public library is kind enough to spend public funds on such failed works of something-or-other.   I pick up a few new releases at a time, start them, and (as predicted in Noah Lukeman’s book, The First Five Pages), either keep going or chuck the project after the first, or possibly the second, chapter.

I’m grateful for this week to work on the novel.  I’m grateful for wine, and rainbows, and good and bad books.   And that’s a wrap.

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2 thoughts on “Writer’s Notebook 6/12/12: And That’s How It All Went Down – With Rainbows

  1. I agree that reading as a writer is a key part of the craft. Those books when I wonder, “Wow, how did she do that?” and those books where I think, “I can see where this is going…” are equally informative. Connie Willis recommends reading Agatha Christie, and then rereading the same novel again immediately so you can analyse exactly how she laid out all the clues. Good stuff.

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