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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Spring Cleaning

In the middle of a crisis in faith in regard to writing, I was offered an article from a local magazine I contribute to whenever they ask.  The topic of this piece was signature seafood dishes from area restaurants.  I never say no, even when the deadline is tight, and this one was.  I still said yes a few days later when the editor emailed to tell me she had to move things up a week.  Woo wee.  Time to get cracking.

The thing is, I’ve been in pondering mode for so long now with regard to the current novel in progress, writing the article felt like someone had opened a door to my brain and allowed the clean scent of spring to waft through.  Suddenly, the writer in me felt fresh and alive again.  A thousand-words I didn’t have to agonize over?  Now, that’s what I’m talkin’ about.  The topic involved eight restaurants, three that were new to me.  What can I say? To write knowledgeably, of course I had to sample…

So, it was research when I spent Friday night with my husband in a street-front grille, slurping Nova Scotia oysters and enjoying a yummy fried-oyster slider.  Saturday, we worked in the yard all day. Then, since a nursery was offering a deal on a product we needed, and it happened to be located close to one of the other eateries I had yet to experience, after we finished our errand, we stopped in. More research meant a few more oysters for me and a deconstructed scallop and bacon appetizer we split that hands down, featured the best scallops I have ever eaten. 
Monday was a holiday in Massachusetts, and I still had one restaurant to investigate.  Discovering my dilemma, my husband's 83-year-old mother said, "Let’s go out to lunch."  Folks, lets just say I’m a nothing but a dutiful daughter-in-law. 
Licking my lips in memory, I finished up the article with days to spare.  The only bad news?   No expense budget came with this gig.  Such is a poor writer’s life. Tasty as it was, all that “research” sure munched into my profit.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

IWSG April. Cutting...Back

It's Insecure Writer's Support Group day!  For those writers looking for the support of peers, join us the first Wednesday of each month. Thanks to Captain Alex Cavanaugh and his minions, you can find more info and contributors here. 

You know what they say about first drafts?  All you have to do is finish them?  Well, here’s what they should say about second drafts.  They.  Are.  Bloody.  Hell.

There I was editing away.  Cutting lines and adding paragraphs, and then, like a truck driver with a load of cement who encounters an unexpected cliff, I stomped on the air brakes.  About a third of the way through my first draft, I’d clearly gone on a backstory roll. Page after page of tangent, essentially, an entire chapter that could be condensed into two or three sentences and seeded in somewhere.  Bottom line? 





I’ve spent days now, pondering how to clean it up, how to attach the threads from what I wrote before the dump, to events that occur afterwards. Ugh.

I"m not an outliner.  I wish I was, but sadly, the only way I can get a story out of me is to write it.  I actually remember sitting at the computer while this pile of backstory poured out, delighted to have discovered something so important about one of my main characters.  Yikes.

But, a wise writer once told me that backstory is how we writers tell ourselves our tale.  So, even as I ponder how to cobble together this project into something palatable, I’m cutting myself some slack.  The brain dump may be way too much detail for anyone else, but the information allowed me to make an otherwise unlikable character sympathetic.

That has to count for something, right?


I'm a few days late, but wishing all you A-Z bloggers luck for the month of April!