the clever shadows of sleep

I spent most of Sunday working on Chapter 17. This is the second draft, so the work was fleshing out the narrative details, making sure the action added weight to the emotional changes of the characters, and honing the dialog to be as crisp and short as possible.

By the end of the day, I was happy with what I had done.

Until I went to bed.

I crept under the covers, snuggled into my pillow, and felt the delicious tug of Dream pulling me under. And then, just then as my mind was straddling the two worlds, I realized that Chapter 17 was all wrong. No, of course he can’t see that yet. It’s too early. She can see it, but she thinks she’s the only one. They are still very much in the dark about each other. The chapter is completely wrong.

Yesterday I spent most of the day totally rewriting Chapter 17. Again.

Was Sunday’s work a waste? I used to think so. I used to get very upset when I would “waste” a day or a week going off on a plot tangent or approaching a scene from the wrong point. Nowadays, I just mutter a little and get back to work. I think I have to test out my characters, sometimes following them down the wrong path, to get to know them better and to measure the fabric of the story.

The magic moment between Wake And Sleep is when it is easiest to see.

2008 Resolution Tracker
Week 2 – Miles Run: 21, YTD: 41
Week 2 – Days Written: 7, YTD:14

Only 50 weeks to go!

How are your resolutions holding up?

15 Replies to “the clever shadows of sleep”

  1. So far, I’ve managed to stick by my resolution to let you run a whole lot more than I do. I might slip up at some point if I have to catch a bus or chase after a wind-born dollar bill, but I’ve pretty much kept the pedometer pegged at 0 for the first two weeks of the year.

    As for wasted writing days, remember doing drafts on a manual typewriter? I can’t believe everyone used to retype each page.

  2. Finished a new Crowell File (short ghost story)- emailed it to the website hoping they’ll accept it with few changes needed and I’m working on the second story.

    I have a good rough first draft of the prologue of the Witch story in place while continuuing to work on the outline.

    And I wrote a cute little Christmas tale and I need to e-mail a couple women’s magazines and see what their deadline is for Holiday stories. (If I pull this off I might actually get paid for a story finally! The online stuff, already published, while morale boosting and a weak addition to the resume…isn’t quite as solid as a hard copy with cash in the bank. But I’ll get there.)

    So I am busy, busy, busy.
    You, Laurie, and Stephen King continue to inspire me to write as often (and as well) as I can.

  3. Edisonian

    I always liked that Edison quote. Whenever one of his attempts didn’t go right, he said it wasn’t failure, it was finding out what didn’t work.

    I LOVE finding out what doesn’t work, writing scenes several different ways. Sometimes I love it a little too much…and I might not recognize when I *do* get it right, and I eventually end up going back to an earlier version. But I never consider any of it time wasted–even though it can get awfully frustrating….

    More on all this at KW, no? Can’t wait to see you there.

  4. Maybe you should slightly increase your complex carbohydrates. That ought to help.

    And don’t forget to stretch those calves!

  5. It’s strange how writing revelations always like to make themselves known in that half-asleep state (or in the shower, haha). I agree with the whole testing-out-the-characters thing, since I tend to write a lot before realizing, “Ah, man, it has to go a *different* way!” As long as you’re getting to know your characters, the writing is never a waste.

  6. resolutions-Going strong, but I’m on college break…hopefully my workout routine will fit into next semsters schedule! I’ve lost..two days so far, because of rain/snow..(Hey, I live in New England!)

    So you never answered my ques over facebook(dont blame you!), but do you think that running/excersize helps your creativity/creative process? Just curious. Oh and by the way I think you are superwoman because of all your running, writing, and keeping up with LJ/facebook..amazing!

  7. I like this entry … I agree that sometimes you (your characters) have to go down the “wrong” path in order to find the right one.

    I am so impressed with your running! Are you doing any outdoors running these days, or mostly treadmill? I am finding it hard to do my winter running this year, with all of the snow we’ve been getting…

    🙂 Sarah

  8. Resolutions

    Be more organized- Hell has not yet frozen over, so no.
    Read and write more- Maybe a little, but not really.
    Spend more time with the people I love- Scheduled a couple lunch dates.
    Take better care of myself- Um… not so much.
    Be more involved politically- Registered for a party so I can vote in the NY primary.

  9. I love how you write about the writing process in your journal. I’ve only found this journal a little while ago, but I’m been following the entries, and as a writer, it’s really something I can relate to. Writing is so unpredictable and since I’m still just a young wannabe (I’d like to think I’m a writer, even if not a professional one), I can’t even believe how professional writers can put writing’s unpredictableness aside and meet their deadlines! Care to enlighten me?

    I’ve had to rewrite/rethink things too. It’s frustrating, but since I’m currently on maybe the fifth or sixth (scary, I know) draft of something I’ve been working on for the last 2 2/3 years, that’s been happening a LITTLE less (but just watch me, and I’ll curse it!). What seems to happen, though, is I get a block in the middle of the chapter, don’t get to it for a while, which really bugs me, then go back to it with a new idea and discover I really AM glad I had the block, because otherwise, with my new idea, my chapter would have been outdated. Weird, huh? It’s like I unconsciously know something is missing…

    I’m sure I have other “quirks” like that, but I can’t think of any off the top of my head.

    Anyway, just wanted to tell you I’m glad I’m not the own. I seriously should make more writing friends, so I’ll feel less weird about my “habits”. 🙂 (Unfortunately, since I’m still quite young, that’s rather hard!)

  10. Re: Mr. Banks

    Now, you have the opposite problem I do. If I start on a first draft, I can’t get two pages into it before my editor kicks in the front door, rushes in all wild-eyed, and cries, “Obviously my services are required here!” Then I have to get out the duct tape.

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