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  • December 5th, 2007 | 8:10 PM
Process and progess

One true sentence a day. That's all I'm shooting for.

Every day before I start to write, I look through my yellow index cards to keep the various story questions in my mind as I write. If I have time in the morning before I go to work, I give them a look then as well. I never know what my subconscious will come up with on the drive or while I'm working on spreadsheets and other not-so-creative tasks.

Like today.

I've been working on the opening of the book. I decided to go back when the main character is very young and living through a horrible experience. (see this week's Teaser Tuesday.) It's a scene I've written many times over the years. Most versions I gave away too much. So I started cutting, digging in for just the emotion of the moment. But the rhythm was off at the end of the scene. It needed something more. One sentence. Just a few words. 

They were running but I had no idea what happened next. They were running and then they weren't. They were running and something happened. I almost gave up and then I realized that they were running and they just kept on running.

It was enough and I ended the scene. I had no idea who was running (besides the main character.) I had no idea where they were going or what would happen when they got there. I just knew they were running. I knew it was a true sentence. On the way to work today, in that half awake fog that is my commute brain, I knew at once who it was. 

I filed that new knowledge away and started my work day. But first I gave my subconscious something to work on. Something that had to do with names. On the way home from work I got an idea and couldn't wait to get home and play with it. I'm sure it is as a result of the suggestion I gave me subconscious  And now, as I call it a night, I can say it worked out better than I had hoped. 

I finished tonight's writing session with one of those sentences that not only gave me goosebumps, but put another whole layer into the story. 

I love this job.
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There are so many stories only you can tell.Tell them, please.


( 3 comments — Leave comment )
December 6th, 2007 02:08 pm (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
December 7th, 2007 05:15 am (UTC)
Isn't it amazing all the mind games we have to play with ourselves to get the story out? I can hear it all so clearly in my head but it's a lot more difficult to get it down on the page.
(Deleted comment)
December 7th, 2007 03:57 pm (UTC)
Oh I totally believe that. I think that's why, for me, the subconscious thing works. I try to do sleep suggestions around my current WIP each night before bed. They used to work well but the last year, not so much. I think I am so stressed, so exhausted, so sleep-deprived that all my energy goes into just sleeping. :-)

But after working with a problem before bed, coming to a point in the plot that I NEED something before I can go on, I often find if I remind myself of it on the way to work I can have a breakthrough when I'm sitting in an engineering meeting or doing statistics or something that takes me totally out of my right brain.

I love it when that happens.
( 3 comments — Leave comment )

Who am I?I was born on the Cancer/Leo cusp and share a birthday with Ernest Hemingway and Robin Williams. The similarities don't stop there as I can go from depressed to ecstatic without ever passing go. I feel scared most of the time though my friends call me brave and I find it easier to believe in my friends than to believe in my own abilities to make what I want out of my life.

Who am I? A wife, a mother, a daughter, and even, gulp, a grandmother.

Who am I? A writer who never gets tired of playing with words, even when the words are hard to find. A writer of books for children and articles for grown-ups and many things in-between.

Who am I? A motivational speaker, writing instructor, workshop leader and full-time follower of dreams.

Who am I? Read and find out.

Susan Taylor Brown

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"Successful writers are not the ones who write the best sentences. They are the ones who keep writing. They are the ones who discover what is most important and strangest and most pleasurable in themselves, and keep believing in the value of their work, despite the difficulties."
--Bonnie Friedman

"As writers, we must be willing to feel our sadness, our anger, our terror, so we can reach in and find our sweet vulnerability that is just sitting there waiting for us to come back home."
--Nancy Slonim Aronie

"Writers write about what obsesses them. You draw those cards. I lost my mother when I was 14. My daughter died at the age of 6. I lost my faith as a Catholic. When I'm writing, the darkness is always there. I go where the pain is."
--Anne Rice


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