Sunday, July 27, 2008

Doing science and I'm still alive

Woke up this morning, got myself a gun. Actually, we went to church only to find out our pastor is leaving the congregation. I don't like this, not one bit. I like this preacher.

Anyhow, on the writing front. Started another zombie piece as a World is Dead backup, but only have a general outline done. I'll be writing on it next week in between setting up the nursery, this week just got away from me a little. I wrote every night, but mainly just fluff to make sure the pump is still primed. I'd hear a line on the radio or T.V. and write a few apragraphs of a story flash based around that idea. Make sure I'm good to go.

Starting tomorrow, however, I'm getting back into my old routine of spending an hour every night at the computer, even if I'm writing a sentence and deleting it over and over again. I've discovered one thing in my life, and it's if that first line doesn't lead to a second line right away, then there's nothing to it.

I should explain my writing process a little. I don't plan. I have an idea, and I'll mull it over for a while, then I'll start writing. Once I start, I stop only at predetermined points and let the story sit for a few days. I'll then go back, reread the last couple of paragraphs, and get back to work on the story where I left off. A short story can take two writing days, with three/four days of thinking in between. A flash piece is normally done in a marathon sitting, a couple of hours writing and an hour of revision. If a piece really catches my fancy, like a recent zombie story did, it gets written without another thought, tossed in the air, sliced into little bits, and revised. Those are the ngihts I go through an entire pack of cigarettes and a bottle of whiskey.

Planning seems futile to me. Like going on a good roadtrip, a story should change as you make it. I can't force a dramatic piece to be funny, a comedy to be scary, or horror into romance. I have to let the story go where it wants and hope my fingers can keep up with the flow. I used to call it "finding the thread", but I now call it "tuning in". Good stories are like watching television shows with rabbit ears...you have to keep them pointed a certain way to have a clear picture. Move around too much, and you end up watching Spanish soap operas and ER flashing in and out through a screen of static, then spend a long time bringing it all clear again.

That said, here's the lowdown on the writing front:

I'm restarting my submission for Malpractice . I think I know what I want to do, mixing it with my dead story "Norton is Watching" to make a creepy little stalker bit about an abortionist and an insurance representative.

"Guilty in God's Court", my outlined piece for World of the Dead is this week's project following a day of rest tomorrow.

I still have about a dozen pieces out, and am once more questioning my e-mail's accuracy in reporting incoming messages. As a result, I'm going to start submitting from my Graveside Tales e-mail.

other than that, not much to report. Hoping to "tune in" tomorrow night and get a big chunk of a first draft knocked out.

If not, then I'll start writing and deleting openign lines again.

Peace,
J.C. Tabler

2 comments:

Natalie L. Sin said...

All my planning is generally in my head as well. Unless it's a Chinese story, then I might have a list of names/items in Cantonese. Otherwise I forget and have to go scrambling to check online (or call Ying) at awkward moments.

Catherine J Gardner said...

With short stories I don't usually plan. I normally have a list of words or ideas that I think will fit in there somewhere and go with it.

For novels, I tend to plan. Of course I always deviate off course.