Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Too many ideas

Library of Congress

I continue to reflect on the NaNoWriMo experience. Wow, that was quite a ride!

One thing I have in spades as an artist is creativity. I am an idea person, sometimes to great excess. One of my teachers spoke often about the power of restraint. That was in a drawing class, should say. Even in drawing, once I start, it's hard to leave any corner of the page empty. I go on and on.

As the month of writing progressed, this particular characteristic was evident. I jammed too many ideas into each chapter, far more than needed, far more than made any kind of sense, too many to be interesting. I couldn't stop myself from inserting every spy situation I could think of.

The Tell wasn't all bad. Indeed there are pockets of "good" writing (whatever that means), an odd paragraph here or there in which I'm in a groove. The style and content convey the soul of the story. It's kind of fun to read these paragraphs. They appear in the text, inevitably, just before I stopped writing for the day. Every day I spent at least two hours writing, non stop. Apparently I had to churn out one hour and forty five minutes of crap before unearthing fifteen minutes of writing that actually worked, at which time I stopped writing. Hmmm.

One reason the month of writing was so fun is that The Tell was unplanned in every way conceivable. I let it come to me like an aimless wander. Though I was at it morning and evening, I didn't really care about the book itself. The rush of all those words coming out of me was what I was focused on. It was quite a rush! At some point I realized I had at last come into synch with Vega. It was at that moment I started to care. That coincided with my decision to stop writing until after Thanksgiving. Yeah. It's interesting to think about.

Real writers are tough, intense, powerful artists who can hang in there, even when they care about their characters, the story. People who can write - and finish - a novel are mighty. I am in awe!


Kerry said...

You are so full of ideas, and that's so much better than being without them. Restraint, judgment, is a finely-tuned quality that every artist strives for: when is it time to quit? 12-year-old students of mine wrestle with this, and so do I. How much is enough, and how much is too much? If there were an answer to this, everybody would be a Leonardo, a Faulkner. But there is no answer, and that's what's cool.

Pauline said...

I find the paring down, the tweaking, the tightening, to be the best part of the writing process. I admire folks like you who can let the ideas tumble out freely. My internal editor is overworked!