Thursday, August 25, 2011
BINK...THE MANUSCRIPT CONTINUES
Though I have not talked much about Bink and his story in recent blogs, I've continued working on his manuscript. At the end of each working day, I print out a copy of the revised text. Even if I've changed only a few words, or the order of a few paragraphs, the fresh copy represents "work accomplished" to me. (Remember, writing is the "mostly invisible" process. I spend so much time looking out the window, doing laundry, or taking aimless walks while wrestling with recalcitrant words, that every tangible proof of "work accomplished" is golden.) By now I've gone through at least a ream of paper, perhaps even two. A pleasantly impressive and comforting stack on my desk---though still to be added to. I've worked out thoroughly the sequence of episodes, and pretty much all the nitty gritty details of the plot. Since plot has always been my bete noir, it feels as though the most difficult part of this manuscript is behind me. Now I am refining dialogue, making sure that each character is saying exactly the right words---words that will be both true to the speaker's personality, and a step forward in the right direction for the story. At the same time, I am always pruning, especially when working with dialogue. Like my narrators, my characters usually repeat themselves liberally, with slight variations, day after day. I have learned to write down every single word of their conversation, even if it seems to me that surely, this particular comment has been made before. So much easier to remove the extraneous comments later on, rather than trying to cajole a character into speech for a necessary quote at a time when he (or she)---rudely interrupted, perhaps, from a nap---deeply resents my intrusion, and clams up entirely.