In a very real way, one writes a story to find out what happens in it.
Before it is written it sits in the mind like a piece of overheard gossip or a bit of intriguing tattle.
The story process is like taking up such a piece of gossip, hunting down the people actually involved, questioning them, finding out what really occurred, and visiting pertinent locations.
As with gossip, you can’t be too surprised if important things turn up that were left out of the first-heard version entirely; or if points initially made much of turn out to have been distorted, or simply not to have happened at all.
― Samuel R. Delany, The Jewel-Hinged Jaw: Notes on the Language of Science Fiction
I loved finding this quote
today yesterday, as it so perfectly applies to my novel Finding Dragons, the book that this blog is supposed to be all about, and it gives me a chance to refocus as April comes to a close.
I do like Neeka’s Story, which I’ve been working on week by week through the WordPress Discover Challenges, and I also like blogging pictures of random dragons and trivial facts about the world at large and my own life in particular every day.
And as much as I’ve enjoyed the experience, I find myself getting excited as the April A to Z Challenge draws to a close, because the start of May means I can take another hard look at my “real” book after hiding behind the excuse that I was “blocked” and having no motivation to move my first draft forward.
Delany’s summation here really speaks to me in that light, as I don’t think I’ve ever seen this sentiment put quite like this before. But I certainly know the feeling — I have the entire outline of the story of Finding Dragons both on paper and in my head, and I “know” what’s supposed to happen and when and why. It’s often felt more like I’m trying to retell an old legend, like something out of Greek myth, as I’ve been living with these characters and concepts for so long, but transferring the story to the page has become troublesome.
So come May, I hope I can continue the tough but rewarding daily work of “hunting down the people actually involved, questioning them, finding out what really occurred, and visiting pertinent locations” in my story, approaching it with a renewed sense of purpose and actually make some forward progress.
However, I also don’t want to get my hopes up too high yet; if things had worked out according to my original plan, I’d be telling you about Chapter 8 of Finding Dragons right now. Instead, I plan to use tomorrow’s Random Writing Friday to share a prose poem I wrote about an important scene coming up in the book, so be sure to come back for that!
Thanks for reading, everyone — stay creative, I know I’ll try to! 🙂
(Time got away from me yesterday, so this post is a day late, oops. But I expect my posting schedule to undergo another revision soon anyway, and I’m revamping my menu bar at the top of every page to make things easier to find too, so check that out if you have a chance and let me know what you think!)
Delany Quote from Goodreads, created at Quozio.com
Bitty Baby Book Dragon by Lindy Briggs at How Many Dragons?
3 thoughts on “
WednThursday Writing Craft: Verifying the Gossip”
I have really enjoyed your posts on dragons! I’m looking forward to following you after the A to Z challenge ends. I too need to return to my book, a coming of age memoir and incorporate my final edits. It’s been a pleasure following you on this journey through the alphabet!
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Thank you so much!
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