Radical Rewrite, Day 2

I woke up and tried to work on my dramatic questions. No dice. My brain was fuzzy. It soon became clear that the problem was that I didn’t have enough bacon in my system. Fortunately I’m married to a man who loves to go out for breakfast. We have our usual argument about going to Breakfast Eatery A (which had good food and overly dramatic/dysfunctional service), Eatery B (average food, competent service), or Eatery C (good food, good service, a bit of a drive). We elected C. Late in the afternoon, after breakfast and some errands, I settled back down with the list of questions that would heretofore guide The Fucker to completion.

Panic.

Mastery of panic.

Conversation with favorite second oldest sister.

Then I stared at the questions for a while. I had four statements that I was going to use as answers to the first question. I came up with a few statements for later questions.

Panic.

Mastery of panic.

Finished the last 30 pages of a sub-par mystery story (at least the murderer was a surprise, too bad he wasn’t a real character), and picked up a book on writing memoir. And I realized that books about how to write are prime examples of reverse engineering. No one knows how this shit happens, so authors generalize off their own experiences, which is all any of us can do. If your mindset is similar to the author’s then you will probably like the book about writing.

I’m not sure how I feel about my current author, so I am reserving judgment. Although I have a couple plummy quotes I will inflict upon you later. (plumby?)

What writing books do you like? What writing books do you dislike? C’mon, be honest.

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8 responses to “Radical Rewrite, Day 2

  1. Bacon is as good an answer as any to life’s existential questions.
    Maybe you should try not looking at this as a radical rewrite (my god, how daunting) and rather as a writing assignment completely separate from the book? Baby steps, you know? I start at A and will freewrite one story that gets me to B. No one’s going to read it. Just you and one specific story, not from the fucker, which you should put away for the exercise. Fresh eyes and such.

  2. I like Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott and On Writing by Stephen King.

    I simply couldn’t get into Writing Down the Bones, probably because it was assigned reading in high school and I wasn’t much into that, either.

    I’m generally in favor of bacon, though, as long as it’s dark brown crispy. Flaccid bacon does nothing for me.

  3. Everything is better with bacon. Everything!

    My latest favorite is Dani Shapiro’s Still Writing, though I basically read these for enjoyment or permission (ugh, I know) anymore. Reading “how to” at this point is just avoiding writing, like watching an exercise video while sitting on the couch with a bag of chips.

  4. I have dozens of writing books and I love almost all of them. One of my favorite practical guides is Make a Scene by Jorden Rosenfeld. It’s getting pretty dog-eared, actually.

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