Betwixt Art and Craft


Well, as this week draws to a close, it feels like my book is half done.  I finished off another chapter this week, and have passed the 30,000 word mark.  I did a lot of editing and tightening up of the thing today, adding some flow and some depth to the story by weaving some other items throughout.

I feel really good about it.  I fleshed out yet a little more the (outline for the) second half of the book, making sure I’ll be able to tie up all the little story lines which have developed.  It’s quite interesting watching how it develops of its own volition.

But it is still work.  You know the formula: 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration.  Kind of the art and the craft – in this case I’ve been focusing on the art part, but have gone back a little bit and crafted the product.  I wouldn’t put it at a 1:99 ratio, but there have been a number of times when I’ve been indecisive about what direction to take characters, or storylines (whether major or minor).

It’s at these times that I go back and edit.  First I try to brainstorm over a smoke break, but if I can’t resolve the issue and I’m stuck, then I simply go back and edit.  I often find that removing some awkward wording or an other sticky point frees up something else.  I’ll weave in a little something, and pick it up again later on, adding some depth to the whole tale.

And I’m feeling really good about where it stands.  The story has hit its arc – the protagonist is firmly in the middle of the story, thinking he knows what to expect, excited about the possibilities.  There are still some surprises in store for him, but we know (and hopefully mostly like) the character by now, fully understand the plotline and (also hopefully, to this author) want to know how things are going to resolve.

We’re building up to a climax, which I’m not sure I can do justice, but I’m not worried about that yet.  Just the building up is exciting enough in itself.  Now I can tell some additional little vignettes, kind of a fictional “bridge” (as used in music terms).  Change to the relative major, or relative minor, or another key altogether, and give a different flavor, so that when you get back to the major theme then patrons are again ready to know what happens, after all, to our hero.

I’m blathering, I know.  It’s 3:00 on Friday, and the wife and kids will be home soon enough.  A couple of days of no writing, and then onto another week.  Oh well. 

So have a good one.

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