Thursday, October 30, 2008

No Longer Hearing Voices

Normally, as I go throughout the day at various tasks, one of my characters will talk to me, telling me what is going to happen next in my story. But this past weekend my brain was silent. I assumed it was because I was on sensory overload from the amazing Book Group Expo.

What a spectacular party Ann Kent, Susanne Pari and Kathi Kamen Goldmark arranged.I met tons of booklovers. I had a wonderful time doing my Salon (and was thrilled when several people came up and said it was the best Salon they'd been to all weekend.) I met authors I'd only conversed with online, or I'd seen before and hoped I'd run into again, or whose work I loved, but never thought I'd get a chance to say so in person. And I came home with a huge stack of books to read.

So, definitely, I was on overload. I waited for my voices to return. And waited. Then this morning I took a walk. That's when I started thinking, "Maybe I made a wrong turn last week. Maybe there's something wrong with that last chapter."

On the other hand I loved that last chapter. It was funny. It was real. It was full of tension.

Still, if I couldn't hear my characters....

I went home and started cutting. Oh, that was painful. What a great chapter that was. I took out a piece and moved it to the end. (Surely I could use it sometime). I took out a little more. And a little more.

What was interesting--more than the pain of having to remove what I had so carefully constructed--was that with each cut I made on the computer, I made a similar cut in the soundproofing material covering my brain this weekend.

I've got my voices back. Yeah!

5 comments:

Lynn said...

Only a writer would be excited that there were voices in her head. I rejoice with you :)

addhumorandfaith said...

This is sooo interesting! I took my first ever fiction writing class in the spring semester, and Dr. H emphasized that we shouldn't fall in love with our own words so much that we couldn't bear to part with them! It's exciting to hear an author discuss that very thing!

Thanks for stopping by my site.

I'll be back to learn more about you and your writing. :)

Jana McBurney-Lin said...

What I tell my students is just to write whatever comes to mind--then go back and cut and re-write. And normally I'm okay with dumping my words...it's just I'd spent a week writing and editing and getting it just so, and then had to trash the whole thing. Right away. Perhaps the immediacy of the trashing was what hurt. (I've dumped chapters before, but usually it's several months or years after I've written them.)
Good luck with your writing.:)

beckylevine said...

Jana--what a great description of what we too easily think of as writer's block. And so glad you were smart enough to recognize what was going on and to get those voices back.

Jana McBurney-Lin said...

Thanks, Becky. I've never really believed in Writer's Block...I guess because I've been calling it something else.:)

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Friends of the Museum Book Review 2008
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