Post Writing Writing

Yesterday was an excellent writing session. I walked away still writing in my mind. I’d reached a natural ending point for the chapter, but was then left mulling, what happens next? Meanwhile, I had other chapters in mind to write. Most of them were bridges, pivots, and place-holders.

Bridges, pivots, and place-holders are my terms. Someone in literature has probably developed more formal terms, but it’s how I see it, and I go with it. Action scenes often come in flashes, and I write them fast, to capture the lightning. Then they’re edited.

They’re not linear, though, and they’re often not connected to the main body of action at that point. That’s where a bridge or a pivot comes into play. A bridge links two or more action scenes; a pivot turn from one course of activity (or thought, or string of events) to another.

Then there is the place-holder. That’s a poor name for it. This piece of the novel is explanatory material, as exposition, dialogue, of stream of thought, for what has happened, and what the characters think is going to happen. My characters can’t be trusted in this regard. Some are like me, and try to analyze what’s happened to this point and predict what will happen next, but they’re woefully under-informed, so it’s garbage-in, garbage-out.

As I walked after writing yesterday, an audacious twist struck me. It so surprised me, I laughed out loud as I walked along the street. The energy of the idea made me walk faster as the flash scene developed, and then the structures of the pivot, bridge and place-holder scenes jumped into being. By the time I sat down with my coffee to write this morning, I just needed to recall what I wrote in my head on the previous day. The biggest challenge of today’s writing session was keeping up. I’m a fast typist, but not fast enough to keep up with thinking.

Again, I ended up spent, in a good way. I’d stopped at a natural point once again, but a lot of words and scenes remained to be written that I’d already written in my head.

I love it when this happens, but it’s not always like this. I take advantage of it as I can. Eventually, knowing myself and my writing habits, I’ll reach a point that I won’t really know what to write. Then I’ll walk away to think about it. I’ll hopefully begin writing in my head again, because lightning often does strike more than once. If not, I’ll read and edit what I’ve already written. That usually triggers a natural flow of more words.

Meanwhile, the sessions of the last two days are a little different than usual. I’m reaching the end of the novel, and the series. That awareness causes a different tension in the writing sessions as I actively ask myself, is this really going to be the end? Will the ending work?

In such sessions, my thinking and writing focus narrows and sharpens. Even as I do that, other potentials for this series hang on the horizon, because that’s the nature of creativity and my writing process. Ideas rarely stand alone. It’s more like the classic process of thesis, antithesis, synthesis triad.

I’m careful not to look too closely at what’s on the horizon right now. Number one, I want to finish and publish this series of four books. Number two, other projects are in the wings.

This one must be completed so I can go on to them. I’m done writing like crazy, at least for today.

 

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Back When

Back when I needed  a new character, I cast a net for who they were. I found he was male, and a scientist. I named him Professor Kything in honor of the communication technique L’Engle employed in “A Wrinkle In Time.”

I didn’t know much about my new character. I’m an organic writer. I knew he would grow into something, but when I introduced him, he was a minor character, essentially a cardboard prop at the moment.

He grew, though, as my primary hero encountered him. As I developed a description, he became based on a person I used to work with. A senior research and development engineer, my co-worker managed to be smarmy, arrogant, and condescending in almost every encounter with me, usually with a smirk. Since my new character was evolving into a major villain, remembering this former co-worker was very helpful. He was supposed to be a deep thinker, but the certainty of his own knowledge kept him from thinking too deeply. He was dismissive of others instead of working with them to advance ideas, and he was conceited, a womanizer, and a liar.

Most of my characters aren’t based on one person. They’re typically composites of others I know (including me), so this guy, being based on one person, is different. When using composites, I generally think about how one of the composites that I know would react in the situation. That helps me stay consistent, even when the person I base them on is inconsistent and unpredictable, which translate to the same for my character and their behavior.

My cultured dislike for the fellow behind Professor Kything works well for this villain. I’m posting about him today because he was active and smug yesterday, crowing about how much smarter he is than others, and he’s going to be exposed today for the fool that he is.

Sweet.

Time to write like crazy, at least one more time.

Sunday’s Theme Music

Many of you know this song because it’s one of those ubiquitous tunes that started during one era, and gets pulled out and employed to make a point.

The song is “The Beat Goes On,” originally by Sonny and Cher. Sung in a flat, almost monotonous style, it features words and stanzas that reflect superficial changes even as certain defining trends of an era continue. “Drums keep pounding a rhythm to the brain.” “Cars keep going faster all the time. Bums keep asking, hey, buddy, do you have a dime?”

Yes, cars are getting faster. We don’t call them bums, hobos, or panhandlers any longer, but there are still people out there asking for money, usually more than a dime, because a dime just doesn’t buy much in these times.

Here it is, from 1967.

One Piece

When you’re vacuuming, you ever notice there’s always one piece, usually lint, but typically a clump of cat fur in our house, that has supernatural powers to resist the vacuum? You run the sweeper over it repeatedly, but it defiantly stays on the floor, sometimes moving around and pretending that it’s been sucked up, only to re-appear a few moments later. Then you’re forced to other courses of action to get it up, even stooping to pick it up and feed it to the vacuum, just to prove who has the power.

Yeah, that’s so annoying.

Incatation

Incatation (catfinition) – spells and verbal charms used to call felines; many people often mistakenly think they’re calling a cat’s name, but cats don’t share their true names with other species.

In use: “Calling, “Here kitty, kitty,” he hoped the incatation would work on Ashley. Darkness and snow were falling, and he wanted her home safe and warm.”

The Pirates’ Thanksgiving Dream

To begin, it’s Thanksgiving. I’ve volunteered to feed the pirates a Thanksgiving meal.

Setting: a modern port city. I don’t know its name. The pirates are not a baseball or football team. They’re not a social organization. They’re pirates on sailing ships.

My offer to feed the pirates pleases them. I set about getting the ingredients. It all comes together. Strangely, though, I’ve put the meal in someplace that turns out to be a toilet, and the meal is gone when I automatically flush.

It’s freak out time. OMG, the food is gone. OMG, why’d I put it in the toilet? Why’d I flush? Well, did the flushing part matter? I mean, once it’s in the toilet….

Panic time. Find replacement food. I scurry about, reaching out and begging for help. Promises are exchanged but time is growing short. Thanksgiving is almost here, it’s almost time for the meal – but there’s also a storm coming.

People are fleeing the storm. The sky is darkening. Storm surge waves are growing larger and more powerful. I’m on a plaza by a hotel, and the waves are half of the hotel’s height.

But strangely, on that plaza, I’m in sunlight. I know the storm is coming. but the waves and wind don’t touch me. I’m less worried about the storm than I worry about feeding the pirates. I know my opportunity is slipping away. People have evacuated. Ships are sailing away. I’m not certain of the pirates’ location now, but I’m certain that I won’t be able to feed them a Thanksgiving meal, and I’m sad.

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