Wednesday, March 7, 2012

If Your Writing Were a Photo...

As part of my daily "suffer for 25 minutes" discipline, I'm going through the bazillions of digital photos I've taken.

I'm also struggling a bit with several works in progress. They're in revision, as in re-vision, as in "Where is this thing going?" Not to mention, "Why won't it get there more easily, for crying out loud?"

I was mulling this over while deleting fuzzy image after fuzzy image, and I happened on a couple of photos that gave me useful ways to think about these recalcitrant works.

Whoa, dark. So maybe the answer is shining some light on the characters. What's important to them? What do they want? It's not outside the realm of possibility that I'm putting a heavy symbolic burden on those poor people, and all those symbols are obscuring the real point of the story. In this case, I need to get the actual story part out first, and leave consideration of the difference between good and evil for later. Like, maybe never.

Wow, that's a gorgeous birch tree back there. Too bad that fuzzy thing with the thing on it got in the way. Maybe the answer for my writing is to look at point of view -- which character is telling the story? Whose story is it? Is it the type of story better told by an observer or a participant? How does the observer change by observing? Another set of questions: is the setting of the story entirely in focus and particular, but the story itself too generic? How can I sharpen the characters?

Both images represent ways to think about different elements of a revision. Who knew that dud photos could turn out to be tools?