Sunday, March 20, 2011

Salvage: Rescue, Recover, Reclaim

"Antique Junk" (photo copyright by Dory Adams)

I’m deep into the mess that is my novel-in-progress, work which had been temporarily shelved more times than I care to remember. I’d fallen into a habit of working on it in fits and starts, waiting for larger blocks of writing time to immerse myself more fully in the writing. Guess what – it will never get finished that way. I finally realized that I have to make the time now, even if it’s only a few minutes each day.

Thanks to the help of Scrivener, I’m pulling together all the bits and pieces existent outside the written chapters: notebooks filled with details for scenes and chapters, character sketches, settings, timelines, lists of changes to be made, notes on structure and POV; index cards with research notes; file folders stuffed with newspaper clippings, post-it notes and scraps of paper; maps and photographs. This has allowed me to see the threads and shape of the story better, to see what is left to be done and not feel so overwhelmed by it all. It became clear to me as I worked with these scattered pieces that even during those times I’d claimed the novel was shelved, it never truly was – it was always with me, tugging at me to come back and finish the story.

It’s likely my posts here will be shorter in the coming months, and the focus will probably be geared more toward the writing process. This week, I’m sharing some interesting pieces I stumbled onto from around the web:

  • Cynthia Newberry Martin has a series of posts at her blog “Catching Days” on Jennifer Egan’s book, A Visit From The Goon Squad, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award. Cynthia’s post “Dear LA Times: This is a photograph of Jennifer Egan” takes the newspaper to task for running a photograph of Jonathan Franzen (who did not win this award) instead of a photo of Egan in their article. Additional posts explaining the photo choice can be found at LA Times’ blogs Jacket Copy and Readers’ Representative Journal.
  • One of my favorite books of all time is Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried. Back when I was teaching, I always managed to work at least one of his stories or essays into the syllabus. Here’s a link to a video of a short interview with O’Brien by Jeffrey Brown at PBS.

Bookmark and Share

No comments: