Saturday, August 22, 2009

Choices

My current book has become so big and unwieldy that I'm seriously considering putting it in a drawer and coming back to it later, so that I can see it with a fresh eye.  It's no surprise that this has happened, considering the way the book has been written, over at least two years, in fits and starts, making notes in hospital rooms, forgetting all about it for weeks at a time.  Then when I would finally get back to it, I wouldn't remember what I had been thinking when I left off.

One of my writing rules is that there really is no writer's block.  Sometimes you're in the zone, and sometimes you're not, but you can always write.  Just park your behind in a chair and go.  What comes out may or may not have to be altered, but at least you'll have something to work with.

Boy, do I have something to work with.

The only trouble with this rule is that eventually you do have to make choices.  One of my favorite movies of all time is Wonder Boys, which is about Grady Tripp, a University professor in Pittsburgh who had written a Penn Award novel years earlier, but couldn't for the life of him finish his second book.

One of his students found and read his 2000 page, unfinished manuscript.

"Do you remember how you told us that writing is all about choices?" she asked him.  "It seems to me that when you wrote this, you didn't make any choices.  At all."  

When I look at my unfinished manuscript, I feel as though I've become Grady Tripp (without the marijuana, so I don't even have that excuse.)  The time has come to make some choices. 

2 comments:

LINDA M. FAULKNER said...

Good for you, you figured out what to do to move forward! Not everyone does, you know.

Vicki Delany said...

Get out the red pen, and be ruthless. Do you have a critiquer or group, someone who can perhaps separate the wheat from the chaff?