|Books by Richard Whitten Barnes||
I’m between guest bloggers, and I need to keep Throwing Stones current, so here are some of my musings that might only have a mild interest among fellow writers.
Truth be told, my day starts around 12:30 AM the night before. I rarely get to sleep before then, and find myself invariably planning what to write in the morning. Usually that entails trying to figure out how to get over and around a snag in the plot. Sometime this works. More than often, I fall asleep before an answer arrives.
I never seem to get started writing before 10AM. I read the paper, check my email, and goof around on my iPad before getting a piece of toast in me. That’s not to say I don’t rise early. The dog and cat see to that.
While I don’t have a set routine, a good day goes something like this:
I like to write in a spiral notebook, in cursive, in pencil. The Pentel 0.50 Twist-Erase is my favorite. Its eraser is really a good one, and believe me, I use it. I try to write a minimum of 500 words, in a day, and am elated when the muse visits letting me hit 800-1200 words. I then transfer this to the computer. By doing this I feel I’ve almost done a first revision, as whole paragraphs can get shifted around in the process. Besides, the words look different in printed form, and I’ll substitute verbiage in that second reading.
I don’t write every day, but I try. I think that’s important. I have a note above my computer that exhorts me to at least write something. Of course, those of us with obligations outside of our passion may have to miss a day.
I have other little reminders posted around, as well. SHOW, NOT TELL is one that reminds me not to get too wordy in my descriptions, but rather give the reader the opportunity to gather atmosphere, attitudes, feelings from the story, itself. Then there’s the P.O.V note staring me in the face chiding me to keep the dialogue in one character’s reference at a time.
The most important rule I try to follow comes from a quote by Pablo Picasso: “Art is the elimination of the unnecessary.” That’s the most difficult one to keep of them all. We writers fall in love with our words, ones that the reader might not share as so important to the story. We love to expand on our favorite subjects to the point of boring our audience. Of that, I plead guilty, but a good editor will strip the manuscript of those shenanigans, if I don’t.
It’s not all fun. A block in forwarding the plot is frustrating. Conversely, nothing is more satisfying than to put my pencil down and realize I’ve just written four pages of dialogue.
At times like these, writing is effortless, a joy.