Friday, May 18, 2007

Think of Trees

I may not be writing on this blog but I have been writing elsewhere: morning pages, writing practice and short stories. I just finished the second on efrom my novel-in-stories and sent it out to my writing group for Sunday. It's still not quite right. I'm not sure about the title which means I'm not quite sure what the story is about yet. I've found that the perfect titles emerges when the story has found its focus. Maybe listening to my group discuss the characters and plot might trigger something for me to work on in revision. I just pulled out the next story and re-read it, to refresh my memory. The good thing is that I was intrigued by it- wanted to keep reading to see what happens. The bad thing is that it needs some major rewriting.

One thing I've been hyper aware of lately in my writing is the "viewpoint intruder." I read an article about it in a magazine and now I notice it in my own stories. Martha notices, sees, watches, etc.... Once the POV character is established it's okay to just let the scene unfold without constant viewpoint intrusion.

As part of my writing process lately I've been reading a poem out loud every morning before I start my own writing. Currently I am reading "The Woman I Kept to Myself" by Julia Alvarez. I love getting that language in the air. Sometimes the poem sparks a prompt for me to use in my writing practice. Usually I just listen to the words, so lyrical, so lovely, almost breathing in the writer's own breath.

I've been reading "Special Topics in Calamity Physics" and was hooked by it at first but now am kind of, I don' tknow, annoyed with it. The structure and style feel so self-conscious, always calling attention to the writer's cleverness. And there's this other annoying habit of using so many unusual verb to describe, say, the setting. I know strong verbs can be an amazing strength but in this case, once again, it just seems to call attention to itself. So I have put the book down for now. I am only a few chapters into "Sense and Sensiblity." Not far enough to have an opinion yet. I've been so focused on my own writing that I don't have the concentration needed to read that much. This happened when I took the class at OU and while I was and am currently incredibly productive I do miss my reading or the ability to get lost in another writer's world, perhap because I am so immersed in creating my own fictional world.

"When I think of my death, I think of trees
in the full of summer, a row of them
marking a border, still too far away
for me to name them, posted with rotted boards
everyone but the faint of heart ignores."
- from "Last Trees' by Julia Alvarez


Miranda said...

hey kim this is miranda! u know....all ure wrightings r very deep

Anonymous said...

i feel the same way re: reading and writing...I'm writing a lot right now and my attention is waning for reading...all the books I'm reading are sloooow going. I'm trying to be okay with that but like you I *miss* the reading.

Kim Haas said...

Hi Miranda- You're too sweet. I'm flattered that an almost fourteen-year-old took the time to read and respond. Thanks!

Courtney- Oh the sacrifices we make for our Art...":)