Thursday, February 5, 2009

Focusing exercise

Did one of my sketching/note-taking exercises this morning to start some perspective. Not sure this one did me a lot of good, but that's the deal with exercises--some days they work, and some days they don't.

Every once in awhile the urge comes over me to say screw it and turn to page one and starting working on whatever makes itself apparent. To learn by doing. That has its virtues, but I'm trying to resist as long as possible so I'm as well equipped as I can be when I get started.

In particular I want to start dealing with the length. I get an urge to start hunting long passages to cross out. I have moments when I'm feeling brave, and I want to take advantage of them.

That said, I don't really have a specific plan for tomorrow. So maybe I will dive into it after all. I'll have to think about it today and see if I can come up with another way to focus my work.

I'm also re-reading This Boy's Life by Tobias Wolf, paying particular attention to how it handles pacing. Like mine, it covers a few years, with intense focus on one character (duh--it's a memoir, but it's such a good narrative it's easy to confuse it with a novel), and it's about 2/3 the length of mine. How does he keep it moving at the pace he does but make it all feel fully developed?

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