Thursday, May 10, 2007

Word by Word

So I slogged my way through my story today, showing up although everything else clamored for my attention from the chocolate brownie fudge ice cream in the freezer to the blue skies and the 77ยบ day outside. But I kept my butt in this chair and managed to make some headway. Some days it's just word by word. One trick I learned from Ron Carlson is the 20 minute rule. When you feel the need to get up and indulge in whatever has been clamoring for your attention, stay in your chair for just 20 more minutes. Stay in the room, he says, meaning the room where you write and the room or scene of the story. He promises that almost always it is worth the time. Today it was. A scene that had no focal point at all finally came into focus during that 20 minutes.

I know I sound like a broken record, but really, it's all about showing up. Really. It's the same lesson over and over.

So I am now reading "Sense and Sensbility" as part of my self-designed MFA. It is the second story in "The Master Class in Fiction Writing" and focuses on characterization. I've read chapter 1 so far.

For enjoyment I pulled "Special Topics in Calamity Physics" from my bookshelf and I am hooked.

"In the arts, your weakness becomes your signature. The fact that your work is imperfect makes it interesting. A perfect face isn't interesting. A book's flaws make it less predictable."
- Janet Fitch

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