Tuesday, August 02, 2011

The Magic of a Mentor

I've written 3000 words on a new novel--barely a drop in the bucket--but I felt that I was wandering around in the story. Yesterday, at lunch, I handed the pages to Fred, my mentor, and then I put it aside from my mind. I'm reading galleys on the first novel, due out August 29, and I need to concentrate on that. But I'm a great believer in the "back burner"--I think things simmer in the back of your mind when you're not consciously thinking about them. If I sit myself down and say, "Now I'm going to plot this novel," I come up with zip. But if I wait and let it come when I'm at the keyboard, ideas flow.
Late last night I wrote Fred an email that simply said, "There has to be a murder." I am what they call a pantser--I write by the seat of my pants and not with an outline, though I have a general idea of what's in a story.
Today I got Fred's  response--as always, he told me to slow down, write in more backstory. This time he said I had packed so much emotional intensity into six pages that it threatened to wear a reader out--spread it out (another version of slow down). He suggested some possible plot scenarios--I think I'll take some, omit others. Even as I proof another book I can feel ideas for this new one simmering in my mind, and I itch to get back to that manuscript--a good and positive feeling. I think that's why I keep writing, since I'll obviously never become rich. I have long said working things out in words is for me like the satisfaction a mathematician gets from working out a complex problem.
110 officially today--and it makes me feel 110. Picked up Jacob at 4:30--the hottest place I ever go is the side of that gymnasium as I walk to get him. Home to juggle a five-year-old boy, two dogs who had to pee but couldn't stay out in the heat, dinner, then feed the animals, take the garbage carts down and, in a fit of compulsion, bathe the puppy. It was Sophie's first bath and she didn't enjoy it much but I guess it wore her out as much as me. She's sleeping at my feet right now. Of course, after bathing her, I had to shower to get rid of eau d' puppy.
Supposed to be even hotter tomorrow. I think I'll stay in all day--no errands, no lunch out, just me and the animal kingdom.

No comments: