Saturday, January 21, 2006

I've Traded Reality for the Internet

You would think having a baby sitter would give me time to clean house today. Aunt C. took CWGIII for the afternoon. I have had since noon to get that done. It is now 3:30 p.m. Know what I've been up to? I spent an hour or so poring over the book publishers requirements in my Writer's Market. Then I spent another hour looking at topographical aerial photos on the web of my proposed setting. They weren't much help, too blurry.

I logged into my writer's group and posted there, talked to my husband via instant messaging, checked the email, and put on a pot of soup for supper. He asked if there was any mail. I replied, "Don't know." I haven't stepped outside today. I sat up late revising my outline and rethinking plot structures. I have two mental character sketches done in my head. My biggest struggle is for a descriptive passages for the settings. And now, knowing where my story will go, I wonder if I will grow bored of it before I get it written. Has writing the outline spoiled it for me already? Or is the lack of detail, the lack of life, that an outline presents?

The story itself will be mainstream suspense, I think. I'm not sure my story fits in any particular genre. I despise predictability. I love surprise. I'm not sure I can render a work that is fresh. Every time I have an idea, I can almost pinpoint a story similar that I have seen on television or read in a book. My friend, M., asked me what the novel was going to be about. I replied, "It's a surprise." I suppose I wanted time to snoop around on the internet and make sure it is an original story. I used to compose a little music here and there in my youth, but every time I tried, the music came out sounding just like something I had recently heard. But wasn't it Soloman that said, "There is nothing new under the sun."

Someone in my writing group read one of my shorts and said that it seemed I was holding back a a bit and had not quite found my voice. I struggle with it being too formal. I am a stickler for solid grammar. I am not fond of eclecticism in language. But that may well be what editors are looking for these days. I want a publisher that loves a great story with good, solid writing. I fear the public is seeking sensationalism, graphic horror, and science fiction. Maybe there are a few people left in the world that read for the pleasure of imagery and sound and old fashioned values. I tend to be overly nostalgic, sentimental, and maybe even weepy. (See the No Place Like Home post). But that is not what I am aiming for with this new project. Most of my essays are written for pure, selfish motives. This work will be written with public consumption in mind, so I hope to project the emotional issues to the characters themselves, and therefore be much more objective in the telling.

I see it's moved to the 4:00 hour. I really should scrub a few toilets and throw a load of laundry in to wash. I saw a cartoon the other day somewhere (my memory escapes me) that showed a housewife in curlers at the table in front of her laptop writing away while the dishes piled up behind her and the pots on the stove boiled over from neglect. The caption read, "They said I should make writing my first priority." I laughed when I saw it. You should see me in the mornings at my laptop. On second thought, that is not a good image. And please call before you knock at my door. I'll try to have toilet paper in the loo.

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