Sunday, March 16, 2008

Re-Weaving, Skipping, Treading

This re-weaving business is making my eyes cross. I've almost reached the end of the original novel material, but there's still a little left that doesn't quite fit with the new direction the story has taken; however, among the old is important information that directly affects the new, so I still have to pick out the threads that I need and discard the rest.

One simplifying idea came to mind as I lay in bed this morning, in that hazy time between waking and actually getting up. I can skip a lot of words and effort--and avoid boring the reader--by simply letting characters arrive where I need them to be. "Duh," right? There's so much action going on that making a simple statement--"they arrived"--seems simple and perfect. After all, the reader knows this particular group of characters is on the road and will meet soon with the main party; why not skip the rest of the trip and just have them show up? Someone ought to have an uneventful journey.

(Reminds me of the wedding in The Princess Bride, when an anxious Prince Humperdinck tells the speech-impaired Venerable Clergyman, "Skip to the end.")

To give my brain a rest, I worked on the pirate story last night--not creating the fiction but compiling a collection of lists: the pirate crew and passengers; the constable freighter and its crew; planets and places; food, drink, and drugs (how plants can be used, not a list of chemicals); clothing and culture; and miscellaneous characters. I'll need a list for currencies in use among the planets, another list for government officials, and still another list of historical events, places, and people that affect the story's present.

And soon, to boost the brain further, I'm going to go plug in the treadmill and pump some blood up to the grey cells. The treadmill is borrowed from a friend, who has borrowed four movies and one book. Fair trade, eh?

6 comments:

The Texican said...

Well maybe that's my problem - No blood flowing to the brain. Brilliant!
Within the minds of some
the light's not often burned.
The switch so seldom used
refuses to be turned.
I'm afraid exercise might ruin the quality of my flummery.

KEANAN BRAND said...

Flummery -- besides balderdash, isn't that some sort of pudding or dessert or something?

I know the light's been a little dim around here the past few days; I keep trying to make progress forward, but I end up going backward -- editing what I've written, looking for why the story feels awkward. I may have found it.

Eaglewing said...

Depends on what the movies and book were ;)

I like a good skip to the end option when applied right. No need to drag it out sometimes. You could always throw in a flashback side story at some point to highlight an adventure they had on the journey too.

Good luck picking out the threads.

The Texican said...

Once again, your knowledge of the trivial astounds me. You are correct. Something akin to thick boiled oatmeal, or flour. Tasteless but filling. Kind of fits my usage of the word too.

Jadesmith said...

So what's the problem with, "They arrived"? You could let reader imagination do the trick. There are always characters in stories and movies we don't know everything about(as in Lost, when I want to follow one character, they ALWAYS switch me up to someone else--and some things we will NEVER know!)

KEANAN BRAND said...

Eagle - the book was the basis for one of the movies (The Visitation), and the other films were Frequency (one of my favorites); A Ranger, a Cook, and a Hole in the Sky (made for TV, with Sam Elliot as the ranger); and Stranger Than Fiction (any writer of fiction should own this, or at least watch it once).

Tex - Filling words, but certainly not tasteless.

Jade - The skipping about (that makes it sound like a frolic, doesn't it?) is what I like. I try to do that in my own work, but a couple readers have told me the effect is herky-jerky. Oh, well. I'd rather not read passages or scenes that continue well past their natural life; there are some authors to whom no one seems to have ever said, "Skip to the end."