Monday, October 20, 2008

Developing vs. fixing

I wrote about this a few weeks ago, but it's on my mind again right now, because I needed to remind myself . . . don't fix; develop.

I've been working through Chapter 12 which is packed with problems, all leading up to a problematic--i.e. unbelievable--ending. I've been picking over the last few pages sentence by sentence trying to make it work.

But the approach I need to take is not to make it work but to think about what my character would actually feel and do in that situation. To think about that without regard to what I have already written. That's the hardest habit to break--limiting the thinking about an episode to what direction is already layed out. Sometimes it's just plain dumb lack of awareness and failure of imagination. And sometimes it's fear--if I start to have him behave thisaway, that will mean the following chapter is irrelevant.

Maybe, but there isn't any choice but to try and dig and develop. Otherwise the story is going to go emotionally brittle and snap off.

Speaking of which, I saw the film The Cooler this weekend, and to me it failed for just exactly this reason. It was like the writing of a talented and promising MFA student that at key moments, instead of being fully developed, started serving the needs of the plot.

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