Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Valdez Is Coming

It is a quiet evening here in San Jose. I am sitting at home, drinking a tall cold glass of ice water, watching Valdez Is Coming with Burt Lancaster, a classic western. Watching westerns is a soothing balm. There is some element in classic movies that just seems to be lacking in a lot of modern movies - not all - just a lot of them. I think a lot of it has a lot to do with the pace of the story telling. In the older movies they take more time to develop the story and characters and since I tend to be a very story driven person, that appeals to me.

It is a balmy night here. After a great pot roast dinner (make in my slow cooker, simmered all day), I took a two mile walk around the neighborhood. At the farthest point, just as I was getting ready to turn around, I ran into two of my neighbors, pushing strollers and trailing a gaggle of kids. That was a nice surprise, so I turned and walked back to the apartment complex with them.

I've noticed that lately I have been very externally focused - nothing wrong with it - just a little different. I've been writing lately, but not finishing anything. That is fine, sometimes when I write it takes a while for the writing to pull itself together into something I like. I was reading an article earlier in the day about writing - what the author described as his process of writing novels is that at first he spends time (a couple of months usually) writing about what he is going to write about. Describing thing, explaining things, writing character biographies, writing first person character material (as if one of the characters was extrapolating on something). Then, when he has written about the novel and the characters and the story for a month or two, usually between 100 and 200 pages, he finds that he knows the characters, environment, circumstances, voices, view points and motivations well enough that he begins the process of actually writing the novel. He does not so much plot the novel, but rather fills out the context the novel falls into. I thought it was a pretty interesting approach.

I think I will mull it around and give it a try and see what comes out of it. I have a novel length story that I have been trying to figure out how to tell, so we'll see what develops.

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