Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Provincetown 17

Never be afraid to start over.

The readings last night by Maxine Kumin and Matthew Klam were amazing. After I got back to my apartment, I looked over my manuscript and found it wanting. It has good situation and the characters are nicely drawn, but the prose lacked a certain edge. There didn't feel like there was anything at stake. No one was in a sense of peril.

So I laid the manuscript out on my bed and got my laptop. Propped up on pillows, I started over, and a dark theme emerged. This writing has more power than the last.

It isn't a matter of starting completely over but of retyping and infusing the prose with tension.

I'm much happier with this draft.

Writing is always a matter of trying to figure out what one wants to say. Every gesture, every word must count. A reader has to have the feeling that something important is at stake in order to keep turning the pages.

I think I was reluctant to let anything bad happen to these characters. I like them too much. I thought I was letting their vulnerabilities show, but I wasn't going deeply enough.

Tonight Pam Houston is reading.

Looking at my comments, I see there's a strong interest in what color I painted my toenails. The drugstore here didn't have a huge selection. I chose a respectable shade of pink. I also got another, more purpley color. Maybe I'll look for something bolder to go along with my new manuscript.

1 comment:

ggw07 said...

FANTASTIC! KEEP IT UP!
Gretchen

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"I was no better than dust, yet you cannot replace me. . . Take the soft dust in your hand--does it stir: does it sing? Has it lips and a heart? Does it open its eyes to the sun? Does it run, does it dream, does it burn with a secret, or tremble In terror of death? Or ache with tremendous decisions?. . ." --Conrad Aiken

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