Monday, October 9, 2017

Writing Update

I started writing my novel five weeks ago, and today I hit 10,000 words! Yay me! In theory, that means I'm about a tenth of the way done with the first draft. I'm also finding that I'm writing faster now than I did when I started. Research still slows me down--I'm not even remotely as familiar with daily life on the Rhine River during the 1740s as I am with daily life over here during that period, so I'm spending a lot of time reviewing scholarly works on the subject, trying to be as historically accurate as possible.

My feline research assistant, asleep on the job.

I'm finding that my many years of training in the visual arts is very helpful for writing this book. In drawing or painting, there have been plenty of times when I've gone back over my work and erased entire sections of the composition, reworking them until I get them right. It's something I'm comfortable with, something that doesn't intimidate me, because I've done it before.

I keep reminding myself that writing is the same. The first draft has the broad gestures and lays out the overall structure. The second draft is when I will fuss over the details. That mindset is keeping me from getting bogged down over specific scenes or sentences.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Switching Gears

It's been two years since I posted on this blog, and it's been a very busy two years. Although I am still painting (updates on that soon), I've also launched a new creative endeavor: writing fiction.

When I was six years old and was asked what I wanted to do when I grew up, I declared that I wanted to make pictures and stories. Somewhere I still have a copy of my first effort at an illustrated book about a blue jay, started when I was six. Now, nearly forty years later, I'm making another effort at a book.

I've made several false starts at fiction over the years, mostly during my teens and twenties. I've been successfully writing nonfiction for decades, and I feel very comfortable with it. Two years ago, I decided to try fiction again, this time using my nonfiction experience to help me make the creative leap. In some ways, I felt like my writing style was as constrained as my painting style: very literal, unable to depict the world of imagination or fantasy or emotion. Rather than bemoan this as a weakness, I chose to use it as a strength.