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David D. Levine
21 September 2006 @ 11:38 pm
Word count: 1226 | Since last entry: 679

Had to choose today between taking the train (writing, no gym) and driving (no writing, possibly gym). After yesterday's nightmare commute, leaving the driving to Tri-Met sounded like a real good idea. I'd hoped to get 1000 words for the day but it was still productive (though a bit heavy on the exposition... which is to be expected for this stage in the story).

I mentioned yesterday how I felt the story expand when I added the internal conflict to my concept of the story. I've been meaning to say something about a concept I think of as a story's "trajectory." The best analogy I can draw is to Evel Knievel's aborted attempt to jump the Snake River Canyon. If you look at films of the event, you can easily see that his "motorcycle" (actually a one-man short-range rocket with decorative wheels) was plainly on a perfect parabola to the other side of the canyon when its parachute accidentally deployed. If it hadn't been for that chute, there's no doubt in my mind he would have made it. In the same way, I can feel this story taking off at a certain angle. That angle tells me that the end is about 7000 words away (plus or minus about 10%) and I can take a thousand words or so to set up the situation. If the story were accelerating faster I'd know I'd have to get to the action right away and defer or cut that exposition.

(Okay, that's not a very good analogy, but it's the one I've got.)

Several people commented on yesterday's entry to the effect that "why change your working style when the old style is demonstrably working extremely well?" A fair question...

  1. I don't feel that I must change my style, I just want to try another way. Wouldn't it be cool to be able to write as well, only faster? I'll never know if I can unless I try.
  2. I'm working on a project that has a deadline. In order to get it critiqued in time to incorporate critique comments before the deadline, given that the group meets every 3 weeks, it has to be done by either 9/30 or 10/21. Sooner is better than later, and also there's a chance I might be out of town for the second (10/28) meeting, so I'm shooting to be done by 9/30. At my usual working speed this would be a stretch, especially with Foolscap this weekend.
  3. Now that I've gotten that external validation, I feel confident enough that I can try messing with the way I work and see whether it helps or hinders.
None of which is to say I'm actually achieving a faster speed. But I'm still trying.

Got interviewed tonight by a reporter from the Southeast Examiner. It was fun -- the reporter's an SF reader and we spent a good part of the time swapping recommendations -- and the piece should appear next week, I think.