Tuesday, March 30, 2010
A New Way to Write
In Barbara Kingsolver's, The Poisonwood Bible, one of the characters is born crippled. She walks with a limp all her life. Then she meets a doctor who tells her, essentially, "There's no physical reason for you to walk with that limp anymore. Stop walking for six weeks. Crawl instead. Then try walking again. The limp will probably be gone."
In the book, it works! After taking a break from her habitual way of walking, the character learns that she can walk normally. But she had to stop walking for a while before she could do it.
Several years ago I had some bad typing habits. For a long time I tried without success to break those habits. At last, I switched my computer to the Dvorak keyboard layout and made myself learn to type from scratch. It was a leap backwards at first. I went from being able to type at a reasonable clip to a slow, pained tap...tap...tap. But a few months later, my fingers could fly! I was typing faster than I ever had before. After a couple years I switched back to Querty, learned to type all over again, and now I can type fast enough to take down my grandpa's life history by dictation.
A little while back I learned something new about my writing---as much as I love to write by discovery, the kind of stories I love best don't happen to me by accident. Some authors seem to be able to do it, but now that I've finished three manuscripts I can see that story is the aspect I struggle with the most.
So I'm learning a new way to write. I'm outlining first.
There are some things I like better already. I am so excited about my story I can't wait to finish the book and share it with other people. In the past it has always been the characters I adored, and the premise and the setting, but this time I know my story rocks. On the other hand, I feel like I'm crawling around on my hands and knees, feel like I'm typing on a keyboard where someone has mixed up all the letters.
I'm hoping that I can learn this new way to write, and then something marvelous will happen.
Posted by Rebecca J. Carlson