Posted by: jeannineatkins | March 10, 2011

Writing 90% of a Book

At my Paton School visit two days ago, one student, who we can bet will grow up to become an amazing writer, asked, “What do you do when you have an idea that doesn’t fit into the book you’re writing?”

A scene, a voice, a character an image: these come to mind and don’t fit on the empty paper before you. I answered that I keep different notebooks to safely store ideas that may move into the next book, or the next. A lure and a way to start out without having to stare down a blank page.

I not only have those nuggets, but as I mentioned in my last post, drafts of books that haven’t been published because of timing, because they’re just not great, or because parts of them haven’t reached their potential. Sometimes I had a good subject but the wrong form: right now I’m revising a novel into poems, which I expect will occupy me for another few months. But when that student asked me if I knew which put-aside manuscript called to me most, I didn’t hesitate. I didn’t need to look through and contemplate. And ever since that exchange, I’ve been hearing a ringing call, like the bells said to have been tucked away in caskets centuries ago, so that those who were thought dead, but weren’t, could alert the living and get another chance.

Time has passed, but my love for my subject, another known but underappreciated woman, feels fresh. Yesterday I wrote what might end up as a new first page. I’ve had a few conversations about the novel with my husband. Today I’m writing a second page, before getting back to wrangling with my work in progress. I told myself to just finish what I’m working on, and I will: you have to be a little vigilant about all the voices that call you, which are why those varied notebooks are nice: listen up, take diligent notes, then get back on track.

Still, I’m giving those tinkling bells, that voice I put away eight years ago, a little more room. Maybe ten percent of my writing day. If all goes well, I’ll move on with my present manuscript, then happily fling the doors wide open, offering an old manuscript new space.

Advertisements

Responses

  1. Not just a diagram but a Venn-diagram. Oh the many ways we can apply math in the real world. Love it.

  2. Sounds like a very good call – appeasing that old project while keeping moving with the new!

  3. Premature burial
    Jeannine, I often read interesting and unusual things in your blog, but I don’t think I ever expected to find you referencing the fear of premature burial… and connecting it to writing! Amazing.
    I can’t remember if you read any of that book I had kicking around a few years ago — “Buried Alive: The Terrifying History of Our Most Primal Fear” by Jan Bondeson — but it was pretty interesting. There were even examples of people having telephones installed in their coffins or crypts! — PL

  4. Thanks for coming by, Angela!

  5. If you, oh amazing balancer of many projects, say I’m on track, that’s good enough for me. Thanks, Kelly!

  6. Re: Premature burial
    Um, sounds interesting, but a bit too creepy to delve into at book length for me. I was just drawing on a reference Cathy made on Saturday: that “saved by the bell” comes from that old practice.

  7. The ‚lite of roof scaffolding after your motor
    As a consequence of you seeking visiting our website to reconnoitre your options are a roof rack. The creme de la creme of roof scaffolding looking for your transport can be confusing because again various ways. We have attempted to plan for communication here to communicate as much information as feasible so as not to confuse completely.
    Avail oneself of your buggy on the fist side menu to allot your car. Here you last will and testament detect a unalloyed enumerate of within reach roof pain from Rhino, Thule, Rola and ProRack. To see in more tidings up each of the stand on the immature roof racks pictures, click the results.
    We do not necessity a car in behalf of each liber veritatis, because it will objective be overwhelming. We examined each for fear that b if for the purpose all vehicles and using our practice of these racks in our opinion, the pre-eminent pick in support of such things as simple fit, quotation, weight-based rating and aesthetics. It is our promotion, but of execution we can sell each of the Thule rack, Rhino and Rola ProRack. So if you hold a tenter are not listed, we be aware, you rouse us.
    [url=http://barsandracks.info/]Bars and racks[/url]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: