Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Turning Pages

Just the other day, I posed a question to my wife: are there times when you feel compelled to go out in the shop to create not because of some looming deadline but because of a driving, inner need to create? She said yes. I, too, say yes, but it’s mainly in the past tense.

There was a moment when I was in the middle of writing the Truman story that I realized that Treason at Hanford was the ONLY book I wanted to read…and I was the one writing it. To date, with my second novel (RiHT), that has not occurred. Part of it stems from my brain freeze on how the story is to be shaped and my insane desire to write this book just like the Truman book. That is, with a set outline, set in stone, largely unmoving. RiHT has been anything but set. I have vacillated back and forth, back and forth, never seeming to hone in on the subject of the book. Now, ironically as I decided to throw out the pre-existing outline style of writing and just go (always drawing images and scenes and dialogue from the huge cloud of ideas about this book), I think I’m on to it. At least my wife and my critique group think so.

So why am I not compelled to just dive in and see where this thing goes? I can’t answer that yet. But part of it is my compulsion to read. I’m kind of in a reading mode now. Back when I was writing the Truman book, I wasn’t. In fact, when I realized that whatever I was reading began to influence my writing, I slowed down my reading. Almost all of it was audiobooks. Yes, I listened to all of the Narnia books by C. S. Lewis and a few non-fiction works but my reading pace slowed incredibly.

Nowadays, as my desire to read more and more pulp fiction increases, I am captured by the numbers. Most of what I’m reading is Hard Case Crime novels. They are all about 200 pages and, with my slow reading rate, I get intoxicated when I blow through one or more of these books in a week. I start wanting more and more to read more and more. It’s a bad spiral.

There are signs that the end of this cycle is nigh. Stephen King just published a new book, Duma Key, and it’s a 22-hour book. His son wrote Heart-shaped Box and it’s on my list and it’s over 10 hours. Even with my 40-minute, one-way commute every day, it’s going to take time to read these books. But that’s okay. Not every book should be dispatched quickly. And there is a new work of non-fiction, This Republic of Suffering, that I really want to read. (Part of the reason, I'll admit, is story ideas...but that's another blog.) In addition to these books on my reading list, I am writing book reviews that I intend to submit to contests. While I used to write book reviews back in grad school, I do actually have to pay attention to what I’m reading and not gloss over details. That is slowing me down, too.

And then there is my current book-in-progress, RiHT. I can't help but wonder if this is the sophomore slump. I finished my first novel in June 2006. I have yet to complete my second. Is this on par with other writers? I wonder. On one level, I can see the next three chapters, including the current, half-written one. And I have a heroine that I enjoy and who I have placed in a rather large hole, so to speak. And I keep piling on, from various places and things that happen to me. I am actually quite curious to see how she deals with them.

But then I hit the inevitable roadblock of all writers in the first draft: it ain’t art that which I type. Take my chapter 7. I know what I wanted to say and wrote it thus. I printed it out and re-read it…and it was garbage. So, my natural inclination to want to know what happens next is trumped by the bumps in the road and the text. And then there is the natural reaction to the printed page as opposed to one’s own imagination. Wow, a writer says, it seems much more vivid in my head.

And isn’t that the true crux of a writer’s responsibility? To convey the world in one’s head in as best light possible to a reader, so much so that the reader is compelled to turn the page? Yes, that is the writer’s responsibility. And, for a writer, he is the book’s first reader. If he doesn’t care about turning the page, how can he expect others to? It’s interesting but not really a conundrum. If I can’t make myself want to turn the page, why bother writing the book?

Because I do want to know what happens. That’s it in a nutshell. I basically know my entire book in my head. I am now the transcriber. I believe that I have a good story to tell. Only time will tell if I do a good job and the transcription.


Anonymous said...

桃園房屋買賣 桃園房屋買賣 桃園房屋仲介 3D飛梭雷射 光纖美白除毛 4肉毒桿菌除皺 淨膚雷射 微晶瓷 網站設計 班服 團體服創意 T恤 T恤 團體服 POLO衫 圍裙 熱水器 三久 三久太陽能 太陽能 太陽能熱水器 三久 三久 三久太陽能 三久太陽能 太陽能 太陽能 太陽能熱水器 太陽能熱水器 省電熱水器 節能減碳 電熱水器 熱水器 衛浴設備 櫻花牌熱水器 包子 四神湯 宅配美食 肉粽 宜蘭民宿 埋線 針灸減肥 黃體不足 內分泌失調 團體服 團體服 肉毒桿菌 肉毒桿菌 禿頭 玻尿酸 美白 減肥 痘疤 雷射溶脂 雷射溶脂 電波拉皮 電波拉皮 皺紋

Anonymous said...

電波拉皮 飛梭雷射 淨膚雷射 植髮 微晶瓷 5雷射溶脂 雷射溶脂 醫學美容診所 外遇 徵信 徵信社 Biodegradable plastic Disposable plastic cups Disposable plastic cups Disposable products ECO products PLA Plastic Drinking Cups polylactic acid 包通 馬桶不通 清水溝 通水管 通馬桶 水管不通 包通 抽水肥 洗水塔 馬桶 馬桶不通 清水溝 通水管 通馬桶 抽化糞池 採光罩 鍛造 鐵門 欄杆 樓梯扶手 木工裝潢 居家裝潢 房屋裝潢室內裝潢 > 室內裝潢設計 裝潢 裝潢工程 裝潢施工 裝潢設計 舊屋翻新 室內設計 室內設計公司 室內裝潢設計 裝潢設計 水餃

Anonymous said...

mini usb Phone Jack RCA Jack Slide switch 6tact switch USB connector 開 關 抽水肥 通水管 通馬桶 肉毒桿菌 健檢 醫學美容 淨膚雷射 系統家具 food forming breading machine boiling machine meat processing equipment 二胎 工商融資 支票貼現 汽車借款 汽車借款 汽車貸款 借款 借錢 票貼 貸款 當鋪 當舖 融資 太平山民宿 宜蘭民宿 宜蘭民宿推薦 宜蘭住宿 宜蘭旅遊 新娘祕書 通水管 自由行 直航機票 自由行 直航機票 便宜機票 訂房 國內旅遊 國外旅遊 國外機票 雄獅旅遊 團體旅遊 簽證 月子餐 孕婦 坐月子中心 坐月子餐 到府坐月子 展場設計 展覽設計 會場設計 滷味 醫學美容

Anonymous said...

玫瑰花束 花店 盆栽 氣球佈置 婚禮佈置 7情人花束 新竹花店 會場佈置 網路花店 蘭花 Bmw ferrari lexus 二手車 中古車 中古車買賣 法拉利 保時捷 福利 < 賓士 賣車 保養 室內設計 清潔公司 清潔公司 清潔公司 命理網 姓名配對 星座 星座運勢 風水 算命 姓名學 剖腹生產 開運印章 月子中心 坐月子中心 飛梭雷射 婦產科 月子餐 抓漏 防水工程 油漆 屋頂防水 屋頂隔熱 浴室 裝潢 漏水 壁癌 舊屋翻新 不鏽鋼 不鏽鋼網 沖孔網 金屬網 金屬擴張網 菱形網 菱型網 製網 衝孔網 hand dryer 3D立體印刷