Braindead Dairy #19: Walk Beside Your Character

Stephen King spoke about how writing is hypnosis. I’ve heard that before. It’s a process that should draw you in to a world of your creation. You’ve got to really nestle yourself in the tale, feel its twists and turns, its ups and downs.

If there’s one thing my first big project taught me (non-fiction), it’s that you can’t just execute then edit. You have to take your time, go over it, again, again, get some opinions, and then re-edit. Sure, we want things to be brought to completion, and sometimes there are deadlines, but for most of us we have – as Louis Armstrong put it – all the time in the world to make sure our grand idea is of the same quality in reality.
The delete button is my best friend, but you also have to make sure there’s enough in each chapter to distinguish it. They can’t just be another cobble in the road. You have to keep spiking attention levels. Each will have its own struggle or theme. Because Book 2 is a little thin at the moment I’ve been adding essential details – the kind many would interrogate me about after finishing.
And, of course, the slower you go, the more attention is paid to those paragraph-by-paragraph transitions, the more refined each will be – not just in terms of structure but substance. I want to imagine the strain, feel the thudding pulse when all is not right, the psychological torment. I’m putting myself in Joseph’s big boots.
Speaking of boots, I’m buying some tomorrow, and when I climb Helvellyn later this month reality will nicely flirt with fiction. 😀

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