Philip Brewer's Writing Progress


Friday, 19 September 2003

I'm going to do a quick but major rewrite of my story. It's necessary.

I've done the same thing I've done over and over again--avoided the tense scenes. This story involves a conflict between our hero and his girlfriend--she wants him to do something and he doesn't want to. (There's a lot of speculative stuff too, and it bears heavily on the consequences of our hero's eventual decision, but the relationship conflict is the central conflict in the story.) I had started it with the scene where she broke up with him and traced his reaction and his eventual decision and the consequences.

What I should have done--and will do in my rewrite--is start when their relationship is first getting rocky and have several scenes where it gets worse and worse and then have the breakup scene be the precipitating event for his decision.

I figured this out when I found I was having trouble with the precipitating event--after breaking up at the beginning, what pushes him over the edge into making his choice at the end? It took me a week to figure out that the breakup has to be what pushes him over the edge and the other stuff all has to be fit in around their increasingly tense relationship.

I'm not quite sure why I keep making this same mistake. Perhaps it's just because I like to avoid tense situations in real life. Anyhow, I think I've caught this one early enough to feel some enthusiasm over fixing it. I'm looking forward to writing about this hapless guy whose girlfriend wants something from him, but he can't quite figure out what it is or understand why she's unhappy; both of them getting more and more miserable until things can't hold together.

This is not the story I was talking about a week or two ago where I was going to write about a character who was completely different from me--I'll be able to draw extensively on experience from personal experience. Experience from the distance past, of course--Jackie and I never have this sort of problem.

Yesterday we lifted in the morning and then I ran after work. The run seemed hard. I'm not sure if it was because I was tired from the lifting and the day at work, or if I'm not running enough and am getting out of shape.

Tomorrow I'll do a 5-mile run. Whether that seems easy or hard may be a clue.

I got the test results from my physical and they all seem good. I'm healthy, as best as anyone can tell.

I'm reading Charlie Strauss's Singularity Sky and enjoying it a lot.


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