“Something Resembling Logic”

(or a “logicoid” in medicine)

I’ve reached that horrible point where I’ve force-flexed my imagination on one subject for so long that the imagination itself is sore. I can only explain this by saying that when I think of wonderfully fantastic things, I get a nice little hit in the mind.

Ah, it’s more like a pinch, really, but there’s this accompanying pain, as there would be with a sore muscle, when thinking about some dogs and a cat.

I’ve also had that more-than-humbling moment where I realize that my story, the book, it’s all crap, in bad taste and poorly written. It stands for nothing, it’s unfocused, “who is it for?”, it’s trite and tripe. I hate it.

But I knew this would happen, some of the frustration stems from becoming especially wordy on this last part (4), some of it from realizing some of the above, and some of it because I’ve mostly reached the point where my “exceptionally” (< see previously mentioned “30%”) outline expires.

It’s the “forced-flex” creativity that’s really getting me down. Or, while it was super-fun, as it needed to be in the beginning, now it’s like I’m obsessed with a bunch of fictional characters and their “not real” ways. A rabid psychologist would probably argue that I’m anthropomorphizing the animals because I’ve become so disconnected from actual people. Ah, I don’t know if that’s true, I don’t know anything about rabid psychology.

Either way, I’m taking the day off from just writing to do some of the logical planning. I decided this yesterday where I had written, rounded up for humorous exaggeration, four pages on dogs waiting for the car to move.

I’ve been going about the creativity methodically, which could probably argue against its effectiveness, although all this simply means is that I reach an event in the story and I think for a moment about how it should play out. In the case of the garage sale, I just flubbed the heck outta that, although with some tweaking, it could have some decent moments. As for now, the 8hr (which will really be 12hr) car ride was the last thing I’ve had to “plan,” and since I have begun the “notebook phase,” there’s already a loose-leaf with a list of things that can happen during that time.

But I need today to remind myself of a bunch of things. I’ve been exposed to some other bits of writing that helped me learn or remember certain things, namely – how important structure is, avoiding redundancy (< I’m sure there’s an exception =P), and, well, saying what I want to say, no matter how “cruel” it might be. For some reason, I’m still struggling with that, even though I’m not really saying anything “bad.”

And that’s another thing, I may have to really sell the downward emotions. I’ve noticed that I’ve written Justin as a pretty happy guy despite Dad leaving. He’s been pretty positive throughout the story, but, he should probably be upset. Though, like Sophie, when the family moves to OH, then he can enjoy a mood turn-around. I’m thinking about it way too much and that’s good and bad.

As I’ve said, though, today’s the logical day. I’m doing the next great detail (or some of) the next part, beginning with the trip, initial impressions of OH, Poe’s injury, then the discovery of Dad’s Pizza Kitchen, which needs a fancy name. (And worse, a new character! Not right away, but it can’t just be Dad in the pizza kitchen all the time, apart from Rico, who’s too old to actually work; for some reason, I never considered this! [because I acted as a one-person team in my own restaurant < bad habit])

I also need some development of Justin’s (and Sophie!) having to accept that Mom and Dad aren’t getting back together, at least right away. I don’t know about the end. It seems like the story should end perfectly, but since I’m not having any one die there won’t be a tinge of “loss” without something that’s emotionally down.

Plus, sequel or not, the reader can speculate what’s in store for Mom and Dad’s future, if they do get back together or not. It’s all I can hope for that the book is so stimulating that anyone might actually be upset that it didn’t end “properly.”

That said, I do know that all of this is subject to change, too. This is the first draft, the rough draft, the one that’s supposed to be crap. When all is said and done with it, start to finish, then the real work begins, though not the hardest work. Well, probably not true, but as a natural-born editor, it won’t seem like that (not true!)… and it can’t just be me editing, either. But that’s a day more than down the road.

Some of the organizational thoughts I’m having are stacking up. Or, the first realization, tiny chapters, helped me (subconsciously even!) think of one-lines here and there that could be used as the end of one. Since I know that “idea” is finished, when the next paragraph starts, it can be a fresh focus of something else: a change of perspective, a new event, whatever.

Then, the idea to avoid redundancy and structuring means that each tiny chapter will really become its own “idea,” the central theme of which will be, probably, comprised of all the chapters that sort of said that same thing.

With the rough draft done, the creative part is, too. When doing the second drafts, adding or subtracting, changing, etc. will be more the logical process that I guess my mind is craving, painfully so, right now.

It didn’t help that my creativity crash came along with the “glory” crash where I realized what I’m doing is stupid.

But it’s not, I know it’s not. My emotions run extreme, I guess because I’m trying to channel them into the story, carve a little nick that I can develop more of later on. I doubt I’m even doing that correctly, but if I have a penchant for anything, it’s blundering into enough of what’s right that the rest can come later. Or, uh, the tragic opposite of blundering down a well.

And the rest will come later. I’ll read something, or a bunch of somethings on the same subject, use the best parts of it, expand on them, condense a little more and have something that’s … I don’t know, completely different than the way it is now.

Plus, I’ve just spent so much time on the computer, I’m sure I’m growing diodes somewhere. In some ways, that’s what helped finally necessitate the (somewhat) shift to pencil and paper drafting. All the electrical buzzing isn’t good for restful sleep, which is something I already get none of. As much as I’ve worked to establish some kind of routine, I have more than reached the stage where it’s time to configure it to better suit mental and physical health.

Back to the point, though, since I had the thought yesterday (after the four pages of “dog sitting”) to make today the logical planning day, I can’t tell you what a difference that made when I woke up this morning. I felt so much better knowing I wouldn’t have to force anything today, it was like a nice weight was gone. And to be clear, I’m not taking the day off, just furthering the cause a little bit.

And writing out some of my more frustrating thoughts is one of the only ways I know to work through them (it works for me) and, as expected, it helped immensely.

The trouble is, I was able to be forthright about it. I may not have sold it as bad as it really is/was, but I am able to admit that I’m honestly struggling… So why can’t I do that in a fictional setting if there’s a particular bit of scathing dialogue. I read (paraphrased) “If your dialogue sounds like something you’ve heard in real life, it’s bad.” so I’m a little worried there. But that’s a worry for draft 2. Or cohesion round 1. Or whatever in the future. It isn’t today; the mantra, as Herbie Hancock said in 1976, “Just keep on doin’ it!”

The weather’s finally turned warm at last. I even got the second fan out of storage (it was in the next room) so my sleeping can be a bit more comfortable. More importantly, the early morning walks can begin, get some of that “vitamin sun” which I have learned I so desperately need.

I had the strange thought, too, in my recent downturn on my work, that it was a lot like being in love. The extreme highs and lows of emotions of … I don’t know, just writing. It stirs up my own feelings a lot which I haven’t been able to figure out at all. And so, I suppose that’s why the idea of linking it to being in love (and hating it for being less than I hoped! =( ) came about.

And that’s my hour, but this was just as therapeutic as I hoped it would be. And now, in the “play” sense I get to put some puzzle pieces together, although that’s not what I’m really doing.

-j.

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