Thursday, August 02, 2007

getting down to the bones

Today was my day to read in writing group, and I was eager to move on to the next chunk of the novel I'm editing right now.

I've been reworking the structure and now my focus is the voice of the main male character, a CIA agent who is struggling with the ungrieved death of his wife 26 years ago and his 26-year old daughter who has run off, south and west, in response to a marriage proposal.

I'm shifting the Scott sections from first person present to close third past, trying to find a more distinctive voice. What I have captures his sensibility but the expression is too lyrical. Too similar to the voice of his daughter.

Today's advice is to dig right down to the bone of the matter. The rhythm of the sentences and the actual sentence structure itself.

I have an undergraduate degree in English but if someone asked me to parse a sentence I'd be about as horrified as I was taking the GRE math section.

But as we talked about how to tackle this task, a group member read some of my sentences out loud and suddenly I could hear the voice differently. I madly jotted down notes and some very concrete things to try with those sentences.

I might have jumped right in upon arriving home, but made the mistake of opening my cell phone bill and discovered $600 worth of TEXT MESSAGING charges that are NOT MINE - I don't do test messaging!

I'm officially on a tear and have clients tonight so all this will have to wait.

But I have the notes. Will get to the bones. I read again in two weeks and I'd love to knock some socks off. :)

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