Waiting For a Clear Mind and Fresh Eyes
Can I Keep My Hands Off The Story?
But…others advised me to stay away for a time. They suggested at least two weeks.
Why wait? Why not go in and fix it while it’s fresh.
Because…it’s fresh, and we will see with our mind’s eye, and overlook what’s on the page. And I knew that. But I hoped that, somehow, I was the special snowflake. But…I’m not.
So..an entire week…crawled…by.
And I wanted to crawl out of my skin. And I needed something besides life-things to occupy me.
How sobering that I’d posted no story on my blog for eleven months!
Still burning to write, I wandered through Scrib, and tumbled into a Flash Fiction group sponsoring a contest. After struggling with brain-lock, I considering the photo prompt, dusted off my favorite recurring characters, Leekah, and free-form wrote The Sweetest of Them All, 100 word nano-fiction.
How marvelous an entire story fits on one page, available in a glance, and to pick the perfect word, before snipping off others to reach the limit.
I promptly lost…as if I had any chance. Group voters pick winners. Just like Twitter or WattPad thingies, friends recruit other friends. Alas, I’d only recently joined the group. I’m grateful for votes I received.
I also rediscovered joy with half-forgotten writing exercises…stringing randomly drawn words into short stories, in the order drawn. With Neighborhood Goes to the Dogs, I brought back Janet, an ordinary white witch living in suburbia. If I was rusty, and struggled to weave words in smoothly, the tale took unexpected directions, thoroughly entertaining me.
A second followed. Brightness In The Dark revisited little Amy, an eight-year old. Try adult-sized words with a young character. This turned out unexpectedly autobiographical. I’m amazed when ideas pop up.
But…abandoning craft stuff, altogether, if even for a week, was too much to ask. So…a writing experiment.
Do word choices affect story feel?
In my last WIP, scenes unfolded as witnessed by four different POVs. Written from Third Person Deep, everything except that spoken by other characters came with POV filtering…word choices, sentence structure, biases…everything.
Each POV came distinctly across. But, non-POV characters assumed the POV’s flavor. On appearing with two or more POVs, they morphed to reflect the new POV.
How about trying for unique styles for important characters using different word choices? It turns out I adopted word-count based limits on use of the 300 most common English words, the verb BE, filters, non-LY adverbs, pronouns, and hardness — softness.
I conceived my little experiment using common words. I resurrected a small passage from some ill-fated melodrama. Then I revised, stuffing in commons where I could. The second revision focused on taking as many out as possible.
The passages felt different.
And, when I reach revision three of Chelson, maybe important characters will have sharply pronounced styles. Happily, with small novelettes, quick turnarounds let me find out sooner than long novels taking months to write.
I hope to report that I’m in Chelson’s First Read.