Friday, July 10, 2009

Recently I was looking at my tag line wondering what do I really know about the craft of writing. Not much really. I must know something, because MMP is publishing Moonlighting in Vermont. But most of what I know is not in the forefront of my mind. It's more of a feeling, a sense of what sounds right. It's about how my body responds to the words on the page. Don't get me wrong, I learned all the usual stuff about structure and grammar in college, it's just that I'm not thinking about that when I write.

What I think about when I write is does it sound right to me. Does it flow. How does it make me feel? Does it make me laugh or cry. Does it make me cringe, my jaw ache, my stomach drop? That's how my body reacts when I don't like the way the words are put together. When I like what I'm reading I get lost in the story and forget to edit. Writing is more about storytelling than structure. Oh I know that structure is important, I'm not disputing that, it's just that structure doesn't really occur to me.

I'm going to contradict myself now. Sound, flow and physical reaction don't really come into play during the first draft at all. During the first draft I have pictures in my head. I'm watching what's happening and recording all the details I can before the scene moves on. During the rush of discovery it's all about getting what I "see" down on paper. (Well electronic paper, but you know what I mean.) The other stuff becomes important the second time around when the story is already in place. It's when I'm editing that the feel of the words becomes important to me.

So what does that have to do with the craft of writing? I don't know. And I'm thinking I may have to change my tag line.