Archive | May, 2010

I write too much

29 May

I write too much. This is one my biggest flaws as a writer, and cutting things down becomes one of my biggest (and most tedious) chores. This is the lesson I learned (and am still working my way out of) in my old novel, and the thing I have been trying so hard to avoid in my new one.

Maybe too much. I wanted to try to stick to just a few character points of view (like, oh say, four), rather than ten, like my old novel. I think showing a peripheral character’s POV on a situation can really shed light on the situation and showing a peripheral character’s POV on the main characters can really give depth to the main characters. The problem that arises is that when you write from a third person subjective stance and want to enter the head of a peripheral character, you have put “padding” around their thoughts with scene-setting and action.

In other words, you have to increase your word count exponentially for each new perspective you bring in.

That paid off beautifully in my first novel, although it made the length prohibitive for publishing. And I’ve been trying to avoid doing it in writing this new one from scratch.

Except for the part where I’m finding that I can’t avoid it, at least not upfront. I don’t know the overall situation in my new novel well enough yet to do that. I am finding it extremely useful to add in new scenes (::ca-ching::, ::ca-ching:: word-count register adding up those words) from the POV of characters whose POV I have no intention of leaving in in the final draft, just to understand their motives.

And it’s necessary that I do this. I am discovering all sorts of interesting things about the characters whose only purpose in the story is to make things more complicated for my main characters. I am discovering their motives, and *why* they are making my character’s lives more complicated, and in the end, when their POV scenes drop back out, I will have a richer story for it.

But right now, for right now, it’s giving me a bit of anxiety. Because I’m editing my old novel at the same time I’m writing my new one, and the goal in the first case is to cut out words (>36,000 at last count), while the goal in the second case is to write my brains out until a story starts emerging.

It’s no wonder sometimes I put the computer away and escape to paint brushes and power tools.

Writing question du jour

13 May

I’m trying to think of the legal term for stealing someone else’s unpublished ideas, specifically in a science context, but the same term probably applies generally. I don’t think the term is “plagarism”, because that’s really about stealing actual text as well as the ideas themselves.