Deconstructing deconstructing

Joe’s Post #114

In Paula’s most recent post, she raised a good point. Are we writing more about writing than writing? Or analyzing writing instead of writing?

The answer is simple.

Yes. Yes we are.

But it’s a process we’re using to get back to the job of actually writing a book. Put another way, how do you break out of a slump?

Hence, the idea of deconstructing a book. But what book?

Reading crap is the worst thing to do. It makes you wonder why your novel wasn’t published when some piece of garbage was. Oh, I know there are reasons for it, chiefly being that publishers (rightly) always consider the bottom line or, in other words, will it sell?

Reading a good novel, though, could help us get back to the idea that words and ideas matter.

GorkyParkI can’t speak for everyone, but that’s working for me. I’m looking at Gorky Park. I’m reading it slowly, seeing where he puts in his hooks, how he works his pacing and description and manages to keep a complicated plot understandable. On page 1, our hero is looking at three mutilated dead bodies and the evil KGB dude beside him says, “One day that’ll be you.”

I mean, wow. So I stopped reading and made notes on how I can do something like that in my story.

Then we see our hero try to get out of investigating the case. Now this is not normal. Not normal at all. It’s a massive ‘refusal of the call’, and yet his reasons are sound. No one messes with the KGB and this case screams KGB. If he takes it on, it could ‘lead places’, places that could get our hero in serious poo.

So, again, wow. All this in 3 pages.

I wrote more notes. I remembered that I needed to get the plot and stakes going fast. Like by page 5, fast. It’s something that’s easy to forget. Put hero in poo and make it super smelly.

arkadyI read on. Our hero’s fighting his inner self. The inner self has many questions about these murders. Despite his wise ‘self’ thinking he’s got to find a way to dump this case, he just can’t. It’s not in him. He will find the truth, no matter the cost.

Damn, I’m hooked. Aren’t you?

More notes are made. An opening scene is coming to mind. Characters are forming.

This is working.

Oh, this may not be for everyone. I get that. But for me it’s like doing a warm up before doing heavy exercise (not that I do that, but, you know, I’m, just saying.)


This week, call it week 2

Watched Walking Dead. OMG good. Want to learn about great writing, take a look at that show.

Outlines Done – 0

Pages written on New Book – 0

# turkeys eaten – 0!!! Not a one. Nada. So sad.

# of new friends made on Twitter – 102

# of new friends who offered to sell me 1000 followers for $49.99 – 86

Days to SiWC – 7

3 thoughts on “Deconstructing deconstructing

  1. Pingback: Deconstructing Deconstructing | Justjoe

  2. I hope the friends trying to sell you followers aren’t from ISIS.

    I’ve seen the writing about writing problem up close. Over my academic career it has become more and more common to say that more and more classical poets are really writing about poetry and literature when they talk of, say, taking their dogs for a walk. It’s as if a great artistic mind really wants mostly to write about writing literature: never mind love, friendship, life, death, nature…. Just because these sadsack academics can only think about their work doesn’t mean Vergil or Ovid or Horace wasn’t capable of more.

  3. This was like going to the chiropractor in the old days: You put me in an awkward position, you crunch, I groan, but then I feel better. I took far too long to set up the story in my first (putative) novel, wanting to back the reader into it the way the narrator stumbles into the core story. Now, as I hope to start my second novel, I have to try to not make the same mistakes as I did in the first one. Then, with some luck, I can take what i learned from writing the second and re-write the first. (It’s a great story line, but I didn’t tell it the right way.) You’ve been a good teacher in this blog, Joe.

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