Saturday, July 15, 2006

A little bit every day

Just a little bit every day, at least, accumulates. I'm up to page 313 and I wish I could say there's an end in sight for my novel, Starletta's Kitchen, but there's not. Here's where an outline would come in handy. But outlines haven't worked for me. I've tried outlining. I get bored. I want to write.

I return to the idea of writing a book on craft. A blog I read this morning prompted that thought--again. Someone ... Gail.... (Here is her blog...) said wonderful things about my book, especially for someone who doesn't like books on writing, but said it didn't go deeply enough into craft for her, and I thought two things: One, it wasn't supposed to--and Gail knew this and indicated such--and two, there's so much to say about craft so that it gets through and isn't loaded down with verbiage, y'know? I've been wanting to do such a book, to take up where Pen on Fire leaves off.

Pen on Fire skims craft and focuses more on getting started and staying on the path. It's good for that. Craft, though, is the next step. There are few books on craft that I recommend. And none that I can think of that quote authors other than the author of the book itself, as I would.

I mean, is there a good chapter in any writing book that covers filters? Janet Burroway in Writing Fiction goes into filters more than any book does, though she could go even more into them. And I'm not talking about the filters that you use in your fish tanks or swimming pool, but the filters we insert in narrative that diffuse the power of the sentence, of the image: "I could see the car in the alley emitting a cloud of exhaust that choked the birds, the bugs, and me" instead of "The car in the alley emitted a cloud of exhaust that choked the birds, the bugs, and me." Remove the filter and you have a stronger sentence, no?

Or a writing book that talks in depth about the various types of outlines there are and how you pick one that reflects your personality? Or how you should choose none because that's your personality?

Anyway, I was sitting here working on my book before Travis wakes up, wearing a black hat befitting Zorro that belongs to my son (Why a hat? If you have Pen on Fire, somewhere in the book, author Kelly James-Enger talks about putting on a hat when she writes fiction so everyone, including herself, will know it's time for fiction) and I thought to blog while I was thinking (again) about this book idea on craft.


If you're here in Orange County, and want something literary to do today, come down to the Huntington Beach Barnes & Noble off Edinger and Beach at 1:00 for Jo-Ann Mapson's signing and talk. Her new book is The Owl & Moon Cafe. You can also listen to the podcast of the show with Jo-Ann.

1 comment:

Nicholas Borelli said...

Hi, Barbara, it's Nick Battista. Read your recent post. Outlines don't work for me either; too limiting. I like to let it flow. The one thing I do, however, is to write my last chapter very early on in the novel. Then I have an ending to work towards.

Filters. Hadn't thought about it quite like that. Good thought.

I created a blog too--under my pen name, Borelli. I've posted a couple of poems I wrote and some other blather.

Hope to hear you back to the microphone this week.

best regards,