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Progress

I am starting to see some little glimmers of life in this story. Some small indications that it might be growing on its own. This one is a revision--as in, to see it again in a new way, I hope. And that is harder than you might suppose.

I always find it very difficult not to prewrite--not to jump to plot, not to panic and say there is nothing worth writing about when I can't see the whole piece. This is even harder, in that it is complete. This is technically a second draft, but one where everything has to be on the cutting block and I desperately want to keep some pieces of it--probably all the wrong ones.

Then there is the language. Nothing pleases me more and makes me just giddy than to pull out all the stops and write pretty. But now, I will admit, there is a small inner voice of restraint. It takes a harder look at all those words and deftly trims out the ones that don't add anything to the actual picture. And--in voice too, it makes me pause, makes me think--is this too obscure somehow, too stilted for the time and place and type of character I'm listening to speak--is it my writerly voice or her true one?

These small things may actually be the only thing that I can come away with from my time spent in Literary Fiction. A slightly more refined sensitivity--and a quiet one--I must say. It's not much more than a hestitation or an uncomfortable uncertainty with my words that heretofore did not exist.

I have not yet thought that it is possible for me to make the transition between genre Fantasy and Literary Ficiton. It's a dangerous proposition. But here, at last, as I try to apply what very little I have learned--I see that I actually have learned something, when I was sure it was to be all for naught and that I would have to abandon Fantasy if I wanted to write well. It may not be true.

Oh, but this is me being overly optimistic. I see lots of trouble ahead. A weak setting, made weaker still by improbabilty issues. Contrived going-ons. Watch and see if I don't get slapped with a purple prose warning--no matter how much restraint I try and show. Let's not even talk about sentimentality--I doubt I can get around it, though I did an admirable job on the fantasy end. And then the killer--all those things that I am using to ground the story in reality have a dear price--they have to reconsile at the end. No magical happily ever afters--what started the thing must end it as well.

Still, I'd like to try and see if I can't revise my way to success this time--instead of dropping everything and just writing from reality, telling myself I need the practice There isn't any doubt--I really do. I am so young and so new at this. But I'd like to dig deeper in that pile of decomposing emotion, really deep. I haven't had the right tools, the right knowledge to make decent sense of it--but I have some small ones now that I didn't before.

Once I did a tutorial painting where the entire thing was rendered with a 1 pixel brush.How many brush strokes do you think it took to render it, without blending? I kind think that's where I am at. I can do it--but it's going to be pretty hard. Mistakes are going to happen and I am going to be convinced that I've done nothing but make a nasty ugly mess of something that was flawed but at least had a little beauty to it.

I want to try and stay committed though. This time, I am hoping when I hear the inevitable--this is unclear, the image is cluttered and cliche--I won't go running. When the plot starts going where I want it to and not where it needs to--I hope I can be brave enough to wreck what I thought was good and suffer with not knowing for a while. And--I hope , if I really think it needs a little bit of a plot, I won't be afraid to say so.

 

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Every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not the sitter.
Oscar Wilde