Wednesday, 20 August 2008

State of Play

So the writing was going well, and I was giving myself smug pats on the back for having produced about 45,000 words (which I knew needed heavy editing, but stuff was being committed to paper). Then I stopped, took a step back and realised my argument didn't work. In fact, I was making about four arguments, and slipping in and out of all of them in different chapters. My chapter outline looked so neat and achievable on a digital A3 diagram, but when I started writing, it went horribly pear shaped. I knew it, but it took me months to accept it. As a smart man used to comment when I was labouring over piece of awful artwork: "there's no use flogging a dead horse."

So. I had a little cry, raged about a bit, drank a lot of wine and now I'm ready to start over. As Kate suggests, a metaphor is a helpful way to understand the bigger picture. And so it goes like this:

I'm standing in a fully stocked kitchen, but I don't know what I want to cook. Cooking by putting everything I like into one pot will not produce an edible meal. The ingredients have to be selected because they 'work' together. Once I decide what I want to make, there will be a lot of unused ingredients, but that's ok, I can use them to make something else later. (Or they might go off and I'll just have to throw them out). Everything I need is here, I just have to choose a recipe.

As I was staring at my keyboard and thinking it's ok, it's ok, it's ok, the computer spoke to me ... surely I can't be the first person restarting a writing project who has noticed these keys, telling me what to do:
Either that, or this is the point the psychologists will flag as when I "crossed the line".


cristina said...

Quick, reach for your light-toothed sabre and your copy of Roget's thesaurus to Phend him off!

Zoe said...

I think he was spawned by the thesaurus. All that scribble is made of the words I can't explain anymore!

Timo Rissanen said...

Why not put those 45,000 words through Babble, or Oogle, or whatever that translation service is called (am drowning in a vat of grief wine so excuse me a sec) - Babel Fish! thank you, kitchen. Anyway, whack'em through to, say, from English to Dutch, then Dutch to Chinese and then back to English and see what happens. You might be pleasantly surprised at the time you've spent (you can only put through 150 words at a time) if not anything else. Then, back to Scrabble.

Zoe said...

T, see next post...

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