Sunday, September 27, 2009

building an addition

Takes a certain amount of vision. Also, it helps if you know a thing or two about architecture and design. Right now I'm adding additions to the Laine story. When I returned to the pages in my notebook, I expected a few revelations. I thought I'd change the order of the story a bit. I didn't think I'd find that the floorboards had warped or that the electric wasn't hooked up yet or that the basement was flooded. I thought I'd just tack on a nice little addition at the end and repaint the walls.

Instead, I reread the story and thought: hm, this needs a lot of work. My problem (big problem) was that I secretly hoped I'd find that Laine and her story were basically intact, even thought I did rush through the ending (as in, there isn't really an ending yet) and hodge-podged the order of the scenes. I secretly hoped I was more brilliant than I actually am. I took a deep breath, reminded myself that this entire project is about immersing myself in learning how to write a book. So learn.

Most days I manage an hour or two on the laptop, typing my fiction. With the Laine story, I had to type the first draft from my handwritten copy and so I revised bits as I typed. I cut a lot that seemed, well, gaggy. But I also realized that the story didn't hold together so I've been adding to dialogue and creating entirely new sections because I need to tell the story. I think my first draft was more like a sketch of what I might be able to create and that this second draft is more like a first draft.

Today I panicked a bit when I saw that I could easily turn my story into one of those houses you see that might have started off neat and tidy but are now a meandering mess of ill-planned additions, all eras and styles smashed together in sloping porch roofs and gigantic plate glass windows you can't help but want to launch a rock through, and gingerbread shutters. With an ancient solar panel the size of a door raised up top, next to the TV antenna. That is what my story could easily become.

I will not let it keep the old solar panel. It isn't even hooked up anyway.

I am close to finished with the Laine first/second draft. I'll repeat the Leave It Alone Week and see what happens when I return to revise a more cohesive story. Because even though I joke about what a dump it is, the contractor tells me moving a wall isn't as difficult as it sounds.

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