Sunday, January 31, 2010

Maybe scratch some of that last post

You know, I just read an earlier version of the first page and a half of that story, and it actually reads allright. In a different voice, but actually a pretty successful voice. Loping, descriptive passages, use of free indirect discourse for the main character's internal thoughts, and sparsely annotated passages of dialogue. It's all the changes I started making that fucked it up.

It's always a good thing to keep previous drafts lying around.

Most of writing isn't actually writing

Man, nearly a week went by, huh? I can't believe how I squander time.

I haven't got much writing done in this time either. I started writing a new story completely unrelated to anything else, and just to have something to work on, to, you know, write, that isn't so tied down to some large complex world system. Sort of a palate cleanser, if you will.

By way of comparison, I spend most of today researching the area surrounding the story that I thought I had "finished." Turns out I didn't. I printed it out, and realized that I would have to go through it, sentence by sentence, the words feel so jarring to me now. I had also, during the week, done some editing one of the other three or so interrelated text files I have up all the time on my desktop, and had finally stumbled upon something closer to what I want to be the voice of the piece. I have toyed with the idea of leaving this story as is, in a different voice, so to speak, but I find that this voice is not just different, but also inferior, and based upon certain approached to syntax that are really just unclear and needlessly messy. I tried to be poetic, and all I got was unclear.

So, it needs a new draft, into which I can then start making the necessary insertions that are necessitated by plot.

But, in order to do that, I figured I needed to make sure all the thing are correct in terms of time and place and culture. Hence all the researching today. It had been so long since I had done such things, I couldn't remember what I had based certain aspects of the story on, or if there were changes I had to make to make sure the story was historically accurate, or if there certain details that could be added to make the story more vivid, or just to make the way I went about writing it feel more lived in.

And this meant spending much of the day freaked out that certain assumptions I had based the story on were erroneous, and wondering how much of the story would have to be changed, or if the entire internal arc would have to be dumped. It looks, at this point, that that is not the case. Basically, I needed to be sure that the place I set this story in was the farthest area to the west along a border, or at least the farthest area of it's own size. (This does seem to be the case.) As this area is in France, I spent most of the day bopping around the French version of Wikipedia, as run through Google Translate, checking on all the major towns in the surrounding area, marking them on Google Maps, and taking notes on which ones existed when, and for what reasons. This was useful for more than purposes paranoid, as it a lot of the information I accumulated can be added in in ways that are useful and colorful more than destructive. Still it was a rather unpleasant experience.

By the by, the patron Saint of the region is Martin of Tours, whose feast day is November 11.