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The Thing I Need Help With Most (1 Viewer)

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TheMightyAz

Mentor
Recently, I've mentioned I'm unable to visualise as before, that I keep coming to a grinding halt ... and I've discovered what it is. I still stand by my methods and feel the results of all that focus and practice are manifesting clearly in my work. I've still got a long way to go but I see it, and that's all that matters right now.

That being said, it's the reason I keep hitting a wall. Ironic and annoying. I'm so focused right now on the craft that I can't sit back and relax when necessary. So when is it necessary to relax and not chip away so much at the sentences and paragraphs? In the transitional scenes. It's the transitional scenes causing the lock up. If my protag was simply getting on a train, its destination London, then no problem. There is absolutely no transition to speak. It's simply a matter of moving the camera from point 'a' to point 'b', but lets say you're in a desert.

A certain amount of smoothing between scenes is necessary. Not a lot. Just enough to complete the emotional content of the initial scene. I've got Yarrod struggling through the desert. I've given him some meat, some meaning and introduced Stitch (the crow). There's a town half a days walk away. I've already exhausted the descriptions to show how tortuous the journey has been but to simply say he arrived at the town is too bigger jump. So there I am trying to apply the same level of prose to what should essentially be a simple 'filler' scene to make sure it doesn't jar. But I can't stop myself from being picky.

Vranger once pointed out that he feels I'm trying 'too hard' which each sentence, and he's right. I'm doing that deliberate for practice reasons. The only problem is, I'm now caught in a trap and find it difficult to let go in between scenes, making it difficult to progress. All I flippin' need is a paragraph to move him from 'a' to 'b' but I'm beating the hell out of myself to do it ... and it's not there. There ISN'T anything of worth to work hard at. It's just a transition and nothing more.

How do you hold two gears in your head simultaneously? I'm either on it or I'm not and it's infuriating.
 

vranger

Staff member
Supervisor
You describe the difficulty of the terrain and the journey once, then come up with observations and incidents to "fill the time". Occasionally relate them to the journey, but don't keep harping extensively or exclusively on the trial of travel. After discussing the dangers, show how the protagonist overcomes them. Then you can show him doing that until he's at the town. Or, he struggles and reaches safety in the nick of time. (I hate that solution, though!)

Heck, I just wrote a trip through a desert in the LM for this month. Check it out and see if it helps. Maybe I got it right. LOL Of course, you have to move things along when you only have 650 words!
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
You describe the difficulty of the terrain and the journey once, then come up with observations and incidents to "fill the time". Occasionally relate them to the journey, but don't keep harping extensively or exclusively on the trial of travel. After discussing the dangers, show how the protagonist overcomes them. Then you can show him doing that until he's at the town. Or, he struggles and reaches safety in the nick of time. (I hate that solution, though!)

Heck, I just wrote a trip through a desert in the LM for this month. Check it out and see if it helps. Maybe I got it right. LOL Of course, you have to move things along when you only have 650 words!
Throw us a link, man. :) I'd like to take a look to see how you've handled it.
 

JBF

Staff member
Board Moderator
To bum one from a friend from a few years ago:

When I'm sitting in church, I think about fishing - and when I'm fishing, I think about God.


Doesn't seem the sort of quote to be of much use here, but follow it to its logical end. When you're involved in something that takes time but not a great deal of focus you think on something else. Long road trips? You don't count the mile markers (unless you're looking for a turn). Instead, you think about other things - what's ahead of you, what's behind you, which fast-food joint you'll visit when you stop for gas, whether that rattle under the passenger floorboard was there before, whether you locked the house before you left, that you'll probably never see again the cute blonde in the drop-top Ferrari who passed you a couple of miles back, is there roadkill around here because something stinks, that guy doing fifty has been in the passing lane with his blinker on for the last half hour...

Your brain shifts on when your butt goes idle.

Incidentally, all this time you're more or less on autopilot. If a wild animal ran out in the road you'd respond. If you see flashing lights in the mirror you let off the gas. Anything out of the ordinary will immediately pull all of your attention. In the interim you fill the void with whatever's convenient.

Then again, I wrote a 28-page slog about crossing half the state of Texas for a ending that didn't happen, so...grain of salt.
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
To bum one from a friend from a few years ago:

When I'm sitting in church, I think about fishing - and when I'm fishing, I think about God.

Doesn't seem the sort of quote to be of much use here, but follow it to its logical end. When you're involved in something that takes time but not a great deal of focus you think on something else. Long road trips? You don't count the mile markers (unless you're looking for a turn). Instead, you think about other things - what's ahead of you, what's behind you, which fast-food joint you'll visit when you stop for gas, whether that rattle under the passenger floorboard was there before, whether you locked the house before you left, that you'll probably never see again the cute blonde in the drop-top Ferrari who passed you a couple of miles back, is there roadkill around here because something stinks, that guy doing fifty has been in the passing lane with his blinker on for the last half hour...

Your brain shifts on when your butt goes idle.

Incidentally, all this time you're more or less on autopilot. If a wild animal ran out in the road you'd respond. If you see flashing lights in the mirror you let off the gas. Anything out of the ordinary will immediately pull all of your attention. In the interim you fill the void with whatever's convenient.

Then again, I wrote a 28-page slog about crossing half the state of Texas for a ending that didn't happen, so...grain of salt.
As ever, you've done it again! This is what I've got so far and it's the perfect framework for what you're suggesting. First draft ... don't judge:

edit: He already had a red handkerchief from an event he can't recall and I was intending to bring that into the town scene. I can add that to the transition!

As the sun sank in the day, Yarrod pushed on, Stitch now up ahead and guiding him. Shadows stretched and turned in cobra twists, ashen to charcoal, the peeks of dunes sharpening in what dregs of light were left. And soon only shapes within shapes. Nothing tangible except the stars that winked in mockery.

From his gold-inlay waistcoat pocket, he eased a red handkerchief and slid it across his brow. Just like Stitch, it had always been there.
 
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Olly Buckle

Mentor
Patron
Nothing tangible except stars - and then you add a spent soul. Alright, not exactly tangible, but I would stop after 'mockery'.
 

vranger

Staff member
Supervisor
Throw us a link, man. :) I'd like to take a look to see how you've handled it.
Here is the link to all this month's LM entries. Mine is a few posts down. At this point they are all unjudged, so I wouldn't feel right about just linking to mine elsewhere. I really just deal with the struggle of the desert in a couple of paragraphs near the beginning, then go to the thrust of the story.

If you should read some of the entries, remember you should not click a reaction to any of them until after the judging.
 

KeganThompson

Senior Member
I notice you take craft very seriously, which is good. You have helped me realize things I just glossed over and missed,-yet I wondered why I hated my writing and wanted to know how to fix it. I have a better understanding now, but I still hate what I write a lot of the time. I am doing a major plot sweep and I've noticed a lot of issues going back into my older chapters. I am struggling with the same problem with "perfection." my goal right now is to fix and clean up the mess I started to get a better idea of where I'm going with my work. and I have to keep reminding myself "you can fix it later...you can fix it later." I full well know I'm going to be revising over and over again but the idea of looking at something I find horrendous is hard. I wanna fix it now. I want it to be good now. and it's hard to keep going forward even with the idea of "you can fix it later." Maybe that's my impatience. Anywho... what's been helping me deal with it is writing and scribbling in a notebook first before typing. Even if it's not the best when I type it up and I still got editing to do later, I get to be sloppy and write and rewrite on a sheet. I think the freedom of scribbling on paper helps. I can erase and retype but then I don't see what I had before and can compare the two. I'm getting a printer to help with my revising. I think the rawness of having it in front of me and taking notes will help.
I don't know you're full writing process and Idk if what I said would be any help but if you are stuck maybe scribble on a piece of whatever? I have sloppy handwriting and write really fast so its easy to jot and re-jot things down...

When I'm sitting in church, I think about fishing - and when I'm fishing, I think about God. AMEN
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
I notice you take craft very seriously, which is good. You have helped me realize things I just glossed over and missed,-yet I wondered why I hated my writing and wanted to know how to fix it. I have a better understanding now, but I still hate what I write a lot of the time. I am doing a major plot sweep and I've noticed a lot of issues going back into my older chapters. I am struggling with the same problem with "perfection." my goal right now is to fix and clean up the mess I started to get a better idea of where I'm going with my work. and I have to keep reminding myself "you can fix it later...you can fix it later." I full well know I'm going to be revising over and over again but the idea of looking at something I find horrendous is hard. I wanna fix it now. I want it to be good now. and it's hard to keep going forward even with the idea of "you can fix it later." Maybe that's my impatience. Anywho... what's been helping me deal with it is writing and scribbling in a notebook first before typing. Even if it's not the best when I type it up and I still got editing to do later, I get to be sloppy and write and rewrite on a sheet. I think the freedom of scribbling on paper helps. I can erase and retype but then I don't see what I had before and can compare the two. I'm getting a printer to help with my revising. I think the rawness of having it in front of me and taking notes will help.
I don't know you're full writing process and Idk if what I said would be any help but if you are stuck maybe scribble on a piece of whatever? I have sloppy handwriting and write really fast so its easy to jot and re-jot things down...

When I'm sitting in church, I think about fishing - and when I'm fishing, I think about God. AMEN
Everything else it fine, it's those transitional sequences that hold be up. As I said, getting on a train and going from 'a' to 'b' fine, but creating a smooth transition between two things that require at least a short link, I find taxing. The problem is I try to apply the same level of care to something that doesn't really require that level of care. A simple few sentences will do ... but nope. What's in a transition? Usually nothing of great importance, gravity or meaning and so there's not that much to dig into. I still dig though, and THAT digging is 'the wall' I hit.

One day, if I ever get a personal letter back from an editor, I have this vision: 'Writing was OK, story was alright, but my GOD, those transitions are awesome!
 

KeganThompson

Senior Member
Everything else it fine, it's those transitional sequences that hold be up. As I said, getting on a train and going from 'a' to 'b' fine, but creating a smooth transition between two things that require at least a short link, I find taxing. The problem is I try to apply the same level of care to something that doesn't really require that level of care. A simple few sentences will do ... but nope. What's in a transition? Usually nothing of great importance, gravity or meaning and so there's not that much to dig into. I still dig though, and THAT digging is 'the wall' I hit.

One day, if I ever get a personal letter back from an editor, I have this vision: 'Writing was OK, story was alright, but my GOD, those transitions are awesome!

So basically you overthink transitions because it's more simple than focusing on other parts of the writing? Look on the bright side...at least your not overthinking everything lol
Jw do you ever write on paper? Or are you all computer?
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
So basically you overthink transitions because it's more simple than focusing on other parts of the writing? Look on the bright side...at least your not overthinking everything lol
Jw do you ever write on paper? Or are you all computer?
I used to write on paper but I don't now. I can't get a feel for it without it looking as it would when printed.
 

KeganThompson

Senior Member
I used to write on paper but I don't now. I can't get a feel for it without it looking as it would when printed.
I am using it as a "thumb nail sketch"- in terms of art. I can relax because it doesn't have to be good, as long as i can get the basic idea of what I want before refining the idea. I've been trying to think of the writing process in terms of drawing to help me "figure it out"
 

Ralph Rotten

Staff member
Mentor
One of the ways I fix this exact situation is to turn off the radio, TV, and any other of the things that fill our lives these days.
Especially when I am driving alone.
I force myself to become bored...and immediately it switches into creative mode and I begin working through the dialog.
I literally talk thru the conversations. Other drivers simply think I am on speaker phone.
This gives me a chance to hear the lines aloud, and question the responses.
Would Alex REALLY say that? What would Laura REALLY say, based on her personality.

Typically I work out the scenes in the afternoon (by talking them thru) then write them in the morning.
When I run out of rehearsed material, I quit for the day.

Boredom is surprisingly handy.
 

Bloggsworth

WF Veterans
Is it "flow" that you are seeking, both ellusive and illusive I find. I sometimes I just write, no capital, punctuation, corrections or spell checks then sort out all the former later, a sort of stream of consciousness if you will, but first you have to be relaxed about writing, which doesn't sound like you at all.

Incidentally, apart from large tracts of the Sahara, deserts are seldom just sand and, just a thought, crows are carrion seekers, so where is your desert, and would there be crows?
 
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