Second revision draft is now on chapter 22. This book, thanks to the years of not writing and brain foggy stuff, may take more than one run through the “Construction Phase” to get things right, but every thing so far is willing to be nudged in the right direction. My metaphors for the problems are wandering all over my other skillsets, but would be covered by “following the blueprints but oh, lordy, the shoddy workmanship in places.” Luckily, not in ALL the places.
The beginning, as it is, will not be in the book at all. It would be a fine beginning for a movie, a sweeping view that the title and a few names could glide across, a quick look at what’s there: the view of the Vail of Valdaire, a quick glimpse of two particular travelers and then a dive into the city, but it’s not working as a beginning to a book that is not, after all, just a travelogue.
So today and tomorrow will probably go to writing at least two completely different beginnings and seeing if either of them works. One is already done and off to an alpha reader. It’s amazing to be able to do that kind of thing again. To have WriterBrain up and running, cooperating with me: “Tell me what you need, about how long, and then turn me loose.” It can take a night’s sleep, some thinking time, but then…there’s something reasonable close. And going from reasonably close to sharply focused worked for the other stuff I’ve worked on this week since the worst of the pain was down to a dull roar and now…nothing. When it was working before, I wasn’t able to define what it was that made WriterBrain more than just “a brain with the knowledge of vocabulary, grammar, syntax, basic grasp of structure, insight into human behavior.” Having lost the rest for several years, now I understand better how it works when it’s working. There’s a strong sense of Engineering going on as well: the ability to understand not just basic structure but how components interact…what a “bearing wall” is actually bearing, how to look at something and grasp how it works…how to look at a faulty thing and see what it needs to be “right” for its purpose and then make from scratch or improvise something that fills the gap. So this is where my parents’ EngineerBrains shows in connection with the StorytellerBrain (which, at the low end, confabulates reality, tells lies believably, though the lies themselves may be logically so flawed most can see it, and at the high end merges into WriterBrain seamlessly.)
What I think now (and could still be wrong about, of course) is that the best writing needs both skill-sets, both toolboxes, and needs them in balance. An overload of EngineerBrain gets you info-dumping, stiffness in the works, and insufficient or cliched characterization. An overload of StorytellingBrain gets you the kind of person who tells long, disjointed, nonsensical episodes on a long train journey (and will ask you, if they’ve realized you’re a writer, if you’ll just take some of their ideas and write them up and share the money.) WriterBrain balances at various points between, depending on the writer, and books that are somewhat heavy on one or the other can be equally good reads.
Finally got the permanent crown on the left-side molar w/problems; the right side molar w/ problems (site of the recent abscess) has another chance at dental work next Monday. Hope they look at it and say “Yeah, it’s doing great, good-bye.”
2 thoughts on “Second Revision Draft”
This description of EngineerBrain and WriterBrain intrigues me because I have always had difficulty with creative writing. I tended toward journalism in high school and college rather than writing fiction. During my doctoral work, I was told by several instructors that I’m an excellent writer. However, writing what my mother calls “educationese” is not at all the same as writing interesting fiction. I’ve tried and as you say, I tend to either info dump and produce stiff characterization or long, rambling stuff that never gets anywhere. Writing dialog is torture. Right now, I’m re-reading my mother’s collection of novels by Emilie Loring, born in 1866, her first novel published in 1922. Her descriptions of the physical environment make you almost see and smell the country side, but I’ve recently realized that her male characters tend to be very similar. Reading her books takes me back to my teenage years and also is somewhat of a history of the early and mid 20th century, from the perspective of an author at the time. Some would undoubtedly not be published today because like many books of that time, today’s audience would be offended by the cultural differences. I’m very excited that you are doing well with revisions and I look forward to more about the book and the process. Wishes for continued healing and recovery.
I’m SO glad to hear that the revisions are going so smoothly! That sounds like considerably more than having EngineeringBrain and StorytellingBrain in balance. Having WriterBrain able to do a competent walk through, not only acting as building inspector but also as an able and flexible contractor, that must both feel satisfying in the moment, but also be very rewarding!
I have a practiced EngineerBrain, with a bit of TeacherBrain, and can see technical issues, figure out fixes, and ways to explain them, but if there’s any bit of StorytellingBrain, it’s been napping all my life. I just don’t “get” how one could create a story arc, let alone an actual plot, to say nothing of dialog! If I in any way “have a book inside of me,” it’d certainly be some sort of technical manual or specification, rather than fiction.
I’m also very relieved to hear that you’ve gotten through the bulk of the dental work, even if the one tooth may need some final touch up. I hope that you’ll also have some weather conducive to working with Tigger and Rags. Will WriterBrain allow you to leave the keyboard long enough?