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August 15th, 2013

Traveling Thursday

As I type this, I am sitting in an airport I've never been to before trying to figure out what to do with a layover on my way back (across the country) to campus so I can get my dissertation prospectus approved tomorrow. It is so strange to be traveling alone. The only upside I can really come up with is that it will give me a chance to get work done, collecting research material for my dissertation and, hopefully, writing. Writing that isn't my dissertation.

Work on Bridget has been moving along steadily for the last few weeks. I've transcribed everything I'd written (that is, everything that was worth transcribing) and started filling in the gaps. I've plugged my chapter and scene outline into the actual working document so that I know where the gaps are and what needs to be accomplished in the blank space.

I've also read two (whole!) books since I last posted. The first was Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird, which is her book on writing, and I read a little of it every day just to get me into a writing frame of mind. It worked. Every time I picked it up, I found something--a thought, a question, a problem to address--that got sparks going and got me writing. Of course I've been writing by hand, which means I'll have more to transcribe, but when it comes to first drafts, my writer-brain just works better with a pen. The second book I actually just finished on the plane a couple of hours ago, and it was Shannon Hale's Princess Academy. Highly enjoyable. Much younger in feel than what I'm writing, but that's naturally because her protagonist is younger than mine. As one of the reviews on the dust jacket says, it's not a "predictable fairy tale"--but it ended perfectly. And I love perfect endings. I was also trying to pay attention to how she established the world and the main character at the beginning, since my beginning is still unwritten and I want to get a sense for different ways to do it. On that note: do any of you have book beginnings you love?

Overall, I'm learning that the HOK thing really works: the more I write (and read), the easier and better the writing gets. The more I write, the more I get surprised by ideas for characters and plot and world while I'm sitting in the car or making dinner. And, of course, the more I write, the more I, you know, write. It starts to actually go somewhere. And I get to enjoy the ride.

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