Befriending the “Delete” Key…
This morning I sat down to write…
I was on page 3 of my new novel–and struggled writing the story up to that point.
I mean, I saw my character move through the world and her reaction to it but she was sluggish somehow and I couldn’t speed her up. Get to it.
See… I chose a point of view (POV)/tense duo, I’ve never written in before (First Person/Present Tense).
I sat there at my desk to try again–“read it,” I commanded myself.
And frankly–I was bored by my prose. I know where she ends up (thanks to the outline)–and I want to see her get there not watch her sluggishly drag along.
I don’t know about other writers but when I need to know what to do next–I consult the experts… And I needed my number one guru–F. Scott Fitzgerald… THE GREAT GATSBY…
I need to hear Nick Carraway say, “reserving judgments is a matter of infinite hope. I am still a little afraid of missing something if I forget that….”
And then he goes on about how experience has made him weary of this belief–because he’s found no hope in men…but then, there was Gatsby…
By the time Fitzgerald gets here, I am only on page one and a half… and what gorgeous prose you have F.Scott!
Gatsby, who represented everything for which I have an unaffected scorn. If personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures, then there was something gorgeous about him….
You see, when I reconnected to this–I had to delete those three pages and start over…
Another thing I finally get–just got it this morning–because I too had been one of the whiney ones who said, “how can an agent judge the merit of my story in a two pages!” Yet here I am reading Gatsby–and I just woke up, put an egg white omelet in the oven and made a cup of green tea not too long ago. This is the hardest time to really garner my attention because I have the remains of my day–this Saturday–scheduling itself in my head. So, though my prose didn’t hold my attention… The Great Gatsby did! And in not only 2 pages but ONE PAGE.
And I can’t passively say… Well, that’s F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Is he human?
Am I human?
Is he a writer?
Am I writer?
Did he hold his writing to a certain standard?
Should I hold mine to that same standard?
The answer to all above–YES.
Even if I’m writing a story about vampires–I must remember I am telling a story to others. And I think that is the key–not get lost in self indulgence–remember there’s an audience and I have their attention–now keep it! (Woe–just had another revelation about Mary Sue characterization–I’m going to blog on that tomorrow!)
And this is how I learned that the “Delete” key (on my computer “Backspace”) is my best buddy!
First Person/Present Tense–not working for me…
She stares at the blank page
I’m going to try First Person/Past Tense…