Monday, July 03, 2006

Thinking it through

I've had some difficulty thinking stories through before I write them. It always seems to work better when I apply seat to chair, fingers to keyboard or pen to paper and write. Write it all the way through. Then go back and make sense of what I've written.

So, I wrote this 12,000-word story thinking it'd be a simple thing to do. Take me a few days, no longer than a week. I mean, it's not like I haven't written stories before AND SOLD THEM. But here I am, three months later, still wrestling with this story like Jacob wrestling with God from dusk to dawn.

Molly asked, "How can we help?"

"I can't think of a thing," I wrote back, "unless you want to read this story for me and see if it makes sense to someone besides me."

"Send it to me!" she answered. So, I did.

The part about her initial comments to me that got my attention was: "profound tale of faith."

Whoa! Hold on! Back up! Someone else was seeing just exactly what I was writing! How exciting! And when she said, "Hold the gratitude. Before we're done with it you may want to punch me in the nose!" well, I was on Cloud Nine, almost. :) I am SO excited to have a knowledgeable writing friend who will give me some guidance, be my sounding board, help me toward my goals. Punch her in the nose? Oh, no. Uh-uh. Not when I'm getting a learning experience of a lifetime. I have alligator skin in the criticism respects.

This morning I've studied my Bible a bit.

"The Lord God took man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the Lord God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.

"The Lord God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him."

Faith is grace. And everyone needs both.

Cause and effect...I took my cup of tea, notebook and pen to sit beside the window. It overlooks our backyard and the old, oak tree there. I listed causes and effects for this world, this humanity that I'm a part of. It is a fitting tool of procrastination for the day. Or is it procrastination? Now I will sit down with Sam's story and determine the causes and effects of his story so that it will be depicted accurately and clearly.

Virginia Woolf, in A Room of One's Own, said that women should write as women, free from the worries of the day. I have the room of my own. Just moved to a new one twice the size of the one I've been in for the past five years. It's comfortable here, and now that the children are grown, I am less interrupted when I write these days.

But still, I need to think through the stories to get them in perspective, filled with the right emotions and dialogues and settings and motivations. My biggest fear is that when I've done editing it, I'll have purified it too much. God bless Molly!

(c)2006 Cathy Brownfield

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