Author Gail Gauthier's Reflections On Books, Writing, Humor, And Other Sometimes Random Things
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Work has come to a grinding halt on The Durand Cousins just two chapters before the end. I have only a vague idea what's going to happen. I'm at a loss. So I'm taking the week off now that I was planning to take off between drafts, hoping something will come to me.
Great week off. I'm cleaning my desk. I know there are some writing books somewhere here, and if I find them they might tell me how to write an ending. So far, I've found a few business cards that I can take to the MSLA Author Fest on Sunday.
I've also come upon Squiggles by Taro Gomi, which was sent to me by Chronicle Books a few weeks ago. Squiggles is an enormous drawing book. It's filled with drawings that have only been started so that kids can finish them.
Drawing books are definitely not my area of expertise. (That's even assuming I have an area of expertise.) But this is the kind of book I was a sucker for when I was a professional mom, something a parent could feel good about giving her kids to encourage their creativity. (Because creativity is good, right?) Squiggles reminds me of the Anti-coloring Books, which were all over the place back in the day, but much simpler and with far less text.
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I think Squiggles is AWESOME. And, I remember the anti-coloring books too :)
Funny thing: I have this in my office on campus and the college students constantly pick it up and want it for themselves.
I did wonder if adults might like it. It might be a neat thing to keep in the living room to mess with while you're zoning out in front of the TV.
I SO VERY admire the fact that you're taking a week off before your draft is finished and you don't appear to be freaking out about it. Tell me what goes through your mind? Do you journal about how you're stuck? Do you process it with family/friends? Do you hope something just comes to you while you're cleaning?
Can you tell that I'm stuck?
1. Well, this kind of thing has happened to me before. I try to accept that everything always takes longer than I expect it to and that things will get done in the end. Whenever that is.
2. I believe very strongly in what's called breakout experiences, which I've written about before at my blog. I experienced these long before I heard of the term, and you probably have, too. You've been thinking about something for a long time--a writing problem, what you're going to get your brother-in-law for Christmas--and you happen to forget about it. Then you're taking a shower, driving in the car, mowing the lawn and POW! You've got the solution. I was out in the woods for a couple of weekends this fall, and I wasn't even having any particular problems with the manuscript, but while I was doing physical, nonethinking things, I was getting all kinds of ideas. Well, you can force these breakout experiences to some extent, and I'm hoping that will happen this week.
3. I do freewrite. I've been better with that with this manuscript than I ever have before. Yesterday morning I did some freewriting from a couple of characters' points of view and got some really good takes on them, which should prove helpful.
4. This draft was written in the first person. I'm planning to rewrite the whole thing in the third person. I have a spreadsheet with plans and sheets of material for many chapters. If all else fails, next week I'll start the rewrite, and I think that will bring up an ending.
So, in short, I am not without hope.
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