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the importance of storytelling

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palmer



Joined: 30 Mar 2004
Posts: 1324
the importance of storytelling  Reply with quote  

This summer I finished the first draft of my second novel (the first one, alas, isn't published yet). To get it done, I had written on inspiration a lot of the time; even did some pure "Hail Mary..." writing when I got stuck from time to time, which was fairly often, especially in the last third or so of the book.

I decided to give it a rest, and take another crack at trying to sell the first story. What a shock! I must have learned something since then, including from this glorious forum -- thanks AG! -- because I saw a lot of things that needed fixing, whichI did. I'm letting it sit again for a bit before giving it what I hope will be a final polish.

So, I went back to the rough draft of unpublished novel #2 and saw that something was wrong, very wrong. The writing struck me as not so terrible, but the storytelling...

Ouch!

I had made so many howlers, I couldn't believe it. The plot is a lot more complicated than the first one, covers a longer time span, has multiple POVs...and boy did I screw the proverbial pooch all over the place. And there were holes in it that I could drive Arnie's Hummer through.

Now, what I thought was a first draft has to be demoted to something closer to brainstorming. Sheeeeeeeee-it! But I guess, as they say on MTV, "It's all good" -- that's what I keep telling myself...

I wonder if by thinking more like a storyteller and less like a writer, or some such thing, I could have saved myself the "false"start.

Post Thu Sep 23, 2004 5:20 am   View user's profile Send private message
chris
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Joined: 02 Mar 2004
Posts: 3833
Location: People Republic of Northern California
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Sounds like you already know that answer to that, P.

Post Thu Sep 23, 2004 2:14 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
palmer



Joined: 30 Mar 2004
Posts: 1324
don't let this happen to you...  Reply with quote  

chris wrote:
Sounds like you already know that answer to that, P.


I guess I do at that, but thanks for a place to smack my hand to forehead, and say, "Stoopid, stoopid, stoopid," and vow never ever to do it again.

Perhaps it's a useful cautionary tale to the unwary: "Don't let this happen to you..."

I imagine Tolstoy saying, "Now, don't try this at home, kids," when I was out of the room.

All that said, and the shock wearing off, if I way quote you, "Onward!" (I am seriously considering putting that single word over my computer.)

Post Mon Sep 27, 2004 12:47 pm   View user's profile Send private message
chris
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Joined: 02 Mar 2004
Posts: 3833
Location: People Republic of Northern California
Re: don't let this happen to you...  Reply with quote  

palmer wrote:
chris wrote:
Sounds like you already know that answer to that, P.


I guess I do at that, but thanks for a place to smack my hand to forehead, and say, "Stoopid, stoopid, stoopid," and vow never ever to do it again.

Perhaps it's a useful cautionary tale to the unwary: "Don't let this happen to you..."

I imagine Tolstoy saying, "Now, don't try this at home, kids," when I was out of the room.

All that said, and the shock wearing off, if I way quote you, "Onward!" (I am seriously considering putting that single word over my computer.)



Wish I could take credit for that, John, but in the only letter I ever received from Tom Robbins, he closed it with "Onward!". Feeling much like you probably do now, I co-opted it.

Post Mon Sep 27, 2004 4:43 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
palmer



Joined: 30 Mar 2004
Posts: 1324
Re: don't let this happen to you...  Reply with quote  

chris wrote:
Wish I could take credit for that, John, but in the only letter I ever received from Tom Robbins, he closed it with "Onward!". Feeling much like you probably do now, I co-opted it.


Then it comes from a noble lineage. I'll try to do it justice.

Onward!

Post Tue Sep 28, 2004 9:44 am   View user's profile Send private message
Regina



Joined: 02 Mar 2005
Posts: 952
Location: Northeast U.S
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Eeeek! I hate looking at old stuff and realizing how much is wrong with it- there's always this weird idea that everything should be perfect the first time - excluding typos Wink

Conversely, I LOVE having a huge block of material on which to carve something. When I first started writing seriously I used to hate rewrites, but I really love doing it now. There's something so satisfying about the moment you know that you've nailed something that's indescribable. Of course, the next time you look at it, you always find something that can be improved, and if I'm not careful, I can end with the "neverending rewrite."

So here's a question, does anyone have a good formula for knowing when to stop playing with it? My theory is that its fair game until publication.

Post Fri Apr 01, 2005 3:31 am   View user's profile Send private message
palmer



Joined: 30 Mar 2004
Posts: 1324
 Reply with quote  

Regina wrote:
Eeeek! I hate looking at old stuff and realizing how much is wrong with it- there's always this weird idea that everything should be perfect the first time - excluding typos Wink

Conversely, I LOVE having a huge block of material on which to carve something. When I first started writing seriously I used to hate rewrites, but I really love doing it now. There's something so satisfying about the moment you know that you've nailed something that's indescribable. Of course, the next time you look at it, you always find something that can be improved, and if I'm not careful, I can end with the "neverending rewrite."

So here's a question, does anyone have a good formula for knowing when to stop playing with it? My theory is that its fair game until publication.


I doubt that there is one. That said, and in the spirit of the previous posts in the thread, "Onward with a hard-on!" (symbollically or with gender equivalents)

(I'm not sure of the hyphenation there)

Post Sat Apr 02, 2005 11:27 am   View user's profile Send private message
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