Tuesday, July 18, 2017
The River Flows, the Words Not So Much
I'm six hundred words into a new story.
Let me tell you, I'd much rather be out on the river today than writing about it. This is the hard part, the starting. The story is there but putting those first words, first paragraphs down is torture; it's rare to have the flow right from the first sentence. But I know how this works and I know what to do: All I have to do is write the first draft. It doesn't matter how crappy it is or how many facts and details need filling in; all that matters is getting the skeleton of the story put together. That gives me something to edit.
So remember that, all you with a story that wants to be written: you just have to write something down. No first draft is good, they're all crap, so just write and worry about the details, about the style and the structure, the spelling and grammar once you've written down whatever it is inside you that wants to be birthed into the world. Listen, I've published a book and I still dreaded sitting down at my computer this morning and opening up a new document. I would have much rather sat on the deck today reading than start typing in that blank white page. But if I don't start it, it doesn't get done.
And here I am, six hundred words later. Stalled only because I allowed myself to be distracted.
My plan is to expand the Moon Tide story, with its 11-year-old protagonist, into a book of four stories, set in winter, summer, fall and again in winter, for children aged eight to eleven. This is the story that won a writing for children competition in 2015 and will be published in an anthology of winter stories this fall. Already there are significant changes from that original story; the grandfather is still alive, for one thing, and I've added a sister.
Today I've started to work on the summer story. As with Moon Tide and all the other stories, it's inspired by this fella, and his childhood growing up along the River Philip. I'm looking forward to some in-the-field research today or tomorrow: Dwayne will take me out in the boat to show me the swimming hole I'm writing about today.