Frequent visitor to my blog at "Terry's Place", Elizabeth Spann Craig, spends some time each day on Twitter, giving references to blogs about the writing craft. I followed one of her links to this site about writing a first draft.
There's some good advice here, as long as you don't feel too restricted and regard them as hard and fast "rules." Anyone who's followed this blog for any length of time knows I don't like rigid rules.
The other night, our landlords invited us up for a glass of wine and some conversation. As I mentioned a while back, she is a sculptor who works primarily in stone. She mentioned that it was interesting that we were both artists.
Frankly, I'd never considered myself an artist, but we discussed our creative processes. There's an old saying that in order to carve a block of stone into an elephant, you simply chip away everything that doesn't look like an elephant. In writing, you keep adding until you get the elephant.
When she asked how I created a book, what my preparation process was, did I outline the plot, or develop the characters, I answered that I knew very little when I first started writing.
She said she worked the same way. She might have a very simple sketch—no more than a line drawing, when she started, and a vague idea of the finished product, but the actual sculpture was dictated by the stone. She starts working and lets the stone show her the way.
I joked about how my characters were always surprising me, and that the discovery was as much fun as the final product. On that, we were in total agreement.
But imagine if you started writing your book and couldn't go back to fix things. Once you chip away that piece of marble, it's gone and you can't reattach it to the sculpture. I don't think there is such a thing as a 'first draft' for her. Some artists might make models first, using a different, "less valuable" kind of medium, but she likes to get right to it.
In writing, it would be like being able to change what comes next, but not what came before. Scary. Really scary. I mean, I know authors who sell on synopsis, but when they write the book, it's all different. As long as it's good, there's usually no problem. But how much can you change your mind when you're working in stone?
As for life here. We've had weather shock, but I had no problem staying inside yesterday. Our landlord used his snowblower on the driveway, and the hubster's got a 4WD pickup. It wasn't snowing hard during the day, so if we'd had to leave, we could have. But I enjoyed that "vacation" day and didn't worry about writing anything other than this blog.
What I wasn't prepared for, however, was the culture shock of moving to a small town with an ethnic configuration much different from where we lived before. Monday night is the first night of Passover. With 2 of our 3 kids in town, having everyone together for the ritual Seder dinner would be a first in many years. Our daughter volunteered her house, since it has the most room, and since I have no kitchen, the plan was that I'd go to her place on Sunday and we could shop (if we hadn't already done so), and do some preliminary prep work. We'd come up with a blended menu, since by now, each of us has favorite recipes, and a grand time would be had by all. (Passover is one of my favorite holidays because of all the food. OK, there's mandatory wine-drinking, but I'm such a lightweight that it's all about the food.)
The hubster and I were out shopping at the local supermarket and I looked for the Passover foods section. Nope. Not in Monument. They had ethnic foods, but nothing devoted to all the restrictions of the Passover holiday. When I asked the customer service lady about it, she had no idea what I was talking about. All those foods were in Aisle 19, she said.
There's one other market in town, but my kids say the best bet is Colorado Springs, about 25 minutes away, and even that's limited. Today, we're meeting our Realtor to look at a house in Divide, which is barely a dot on the map. Should we end up there, I can imagine that holiday supplies for any of our celebrations will require a trip down the mountain. Way down.
Causes Terry Odell Supports
Pro Literacy Worldwide, The Nature Conservancy, The Adult Literacy League, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society