Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Stuck in the Middle.

That didn't take long! Four days into working on the book again and I'm in molasses. Cold molasses. Fortunately I've been here before, and I know what the problems are. Pace and structure. And the dreadful fact that I don't have an outline. As it stands, I obviously know what comes before this moment in the book, and I know what is on the horizon in the next few thousand words, but between here and there is a bit of a swampy area.

The structural problem is that I've got several lines of action going for my main character at the same time. Perhaps too many. My memory is bad, and I've layered in enough logical systems in this book that I have a hard time bearing them all in mind at once. Things my character can and can't do. I keep having to rewrite scenes and paragraphs and sentences... Grrr...

And pace! I've written about it before, and I'm usually nagging writers to pick up the pace. But now I have the opposite problem. I have reached a moment in the book that was perfectly described by Gandalf of all imaginary people as "the deep breath before the plunge." If you'd like something a bit more highbrow, go listen to Beethoven's Emperor Concerto. That second movement, the Adagio? It's like that. A moment for the story to slow, to become calm, and to let a bit of time pass. A time to breathe.

I'm not great at that. I've been writing screenplays too long. They don't do the passage of time well, for the most part. The flying calendar pages of days past should tell you that. Novels have more graceful ways to do it, but I'm struggling with it. I think it's just that I want to skip to the Rondo.

Next time, I shall outline.


Nicola Morgan said...

Very interesting and wise. I've just come here from my blog party (thanks for leaving your link!) and I'm working my way through your good sense. I did a post on breathing in plot and pacing - not sure if I can remember what it was called, but I think you'll find it in one of the posts labelled "structure". Anyway, lots of what you say rings true with me. And I'm now going to post another comment in your most recent post, because that REALLY resonated.

Keep up the hard work!

Lorelei Armstrong said...

Very kind! Thank you! Wow, someone actually visiting my blog. The excitement... I may need to have a lie-down!