Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Writerly talk

I had a really terrific lunch with a brilliant writer friend and after two hours of fabulous talk about our lives, the end of the world and politics, we turned to writing. One thing she said really struck me, that you need to know your destination as you write, so you can write to it. That doesn't mean there are no surprises as you work or that things won't change, but you do need some sort of a spine. My students in my Novel V sometimes grouse or want to hurl their computers at me because I make them write a supposed last chapter before we even look at the first one, but I think it's a kind of stretching exercise that forces you to think about the shape of the novel.

All I know is that this new untitled novel is far easier right now to write than Breathe or Girls in Trouble was, and I know it is because the spine is there, because I have an idea of my destination. It thrills me. It make it so I can't wait to sit down again at my beloved Mac. (We will be celebrating our month anniversary, and being a romantic, I may buy my Mac a lovely present. Some special cleaning cloths!)

2 comments:

Clea Simon said...

I love the idea of a destination - I have one for my WIP, too. But that may be different because it's a mystery. I mean, I think I know whodunit. But I still have only a very few vague ideas of how we find this out -- or, I should say, how my characters solve it. SCARY!

Tell us about the special cleaning clothes! I usually just use a Swiffer duster.

Sorell Says... said...

Caroline, I love this idea and I know it is has been true for me in other forms of writing. When I was writing storytelling/standup perfomance pieces, I always had an opening line and a closing line that came to me and then I would work the middle.

Now that I am working on long form, I still always have an opening and have an idea about the ending, but one of my problems seems to the that I like to link everything before I am ready. So...I have taken your advice and Clea's and have given myself permission to write in chunks.

And I must admit that although I dread the outline...it is time that I hammer one out.

Happy anniversary to you and your Mac...and the cleaning cloths are amazing :)