Topic: Grounding the Reader
Mistakenly thinking I was asking for story ideas (a mistake I invoked by saying a few days ago I was “gathering ideas”), a friend sent me this:
“Ralph pulled hard on the paddles fighting the current to pass through the water funneling between boulders. A bullet plowed into the rock directly in front of him as the blast of a high-powered rifle reached him.”
When I explained I wasn’t really looking for people to send me ideas, he wrote back that he was going to write a story with it himself, but that he wondered where I’d go with it.
I told him I might use it toward the end of the challenge. I didn’t want my take to affect his.
But I probably won’t use it at all. At least not as-is, same POV, etc.
I take great pride in my ability to ground the reader in my stories. And I’m still learning and practicing how to do that.
In short, I would want the reader to feel he’s in the boat with the guy
And that’s the problem.
I’ve never been in a boat on a river. I’ve never used paddles, though I can imagine the feel of them in my hands.
I can imagine the muscles of the arms knotting well enough, maybe even one elbow twinging a bit from a reaggravated old injury, etc. I can imagine the feeling in the guy’s back and shoulders and shoulder blades.
I know the sound of a bullet ricocheting off a rock, and I know the sound of a bullet splatting on a rock and the sound of one hitting two solid surfaces one after the other.
I know the smell of a river (at least the one I “see” when I think of his lines). I know the sights around it. I know the tastes it evokes in my mind.
But I don’t know the motion of the pitching boat, the sound of the paddles in the water or the current going by. I don’t know the tug of the current on the paddles.
And all of those things (and more) are necessary in a good opening. But in many fewer, more terse words.
Will I get a story from his idea?
Yes. Yes I will. Maybe even today.
But it will be peripheral, a result of the thought process that resulted in this post as much as the result of the original idea.
Grounding the reader is just that important. And it does involve writing what you know.
Topic 2: Day 4 of the Challenge
Trying a new tack today. Instead of fretting and searching, etc. for a story idea, I’m just gonna relax.
Moved out to the hovel around 6:30.
Ha! It worked. By 9:30, and with two short breaks mixed in, I had written the story for today.
I posted the first scene to my site at around 8:15, then cut loose and just wrote. (In the Hovel, no Internet.) The story flowed, and I’m done.
Back to the house to update.
Also, mostly because what goes on Facebook is “out there” free forever, I’m not going to continue posting my challenge stories to Facebook.
I’ll continue posting them, once scene at a time (most of the time) to my June Challenge page on my website.
Today, and Writing
Rolled out at 3.Then all the stuff above happened. (grin)
Had a nice lunch with my wife, then went back to the Hovel at around 1 to work on the novel a bit. A couple days ago, something didn’t feel right about it. So I used the excuse of the big story word counts to put it off.
Today I opened it and realized the main character’s voice had changed. So the novel had taken a wrong turn.
You know all the detective stuff I’ve been doing lately? He was becoming one of those. And that isn’t who he is. Hasn’t been from the beginning.
So I cycled back a bit, deleted a few sentences (where he and I made that wrong turn) and turned him loose again to be who he is.
The result is nothing short of amazing.
The influence of the conscious mind pops up in all kinds of strange ways.
I only got a few hundred words done on the novel today, but I’m tired so taking the rest of the day.
See “43 Words Invented by Authors” (video) at http://www.thepassivevoice.com/2017/06/43-words-invented-by-authors-2/.
Fiction Words: 3047
Nonfiction Words: 740 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 3787
Writing of “The Pity of Bill Trevor” (Story 4 for June)
Day 1…… 2542 words. Total words to date…… 2542 (done)
Writing of June Novel
Day 1…… 2248 words. Total words to date…… 4925
Day 2…… 0505 words. Total words to date…… 5430
Total fiction words for the month……… 18158
Total fiction words for the year………… 311065
Total nonfiction words for the month… 3140
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 93120
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 404185
The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 556 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels)………………… 5 novels
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 25
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 3
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 171