Sunday, May 27, 2018

It made me both cruel and sick to my stomach

Often, when thinking about creativity, I marvel at how close it is for various disciplines, such as art and writing. In both disciplines, I'm interested in questions such as, how much detail should I flesh out? Where can I provide just a hint, and let the reader participate by 'connecting the dots'? 

This last question is particularly important when writing a suspense novel (the ink is still wet on the last chapter of my upcoming thriller, Virtually Lace.) I want to provide enough detail so the sharp-minded reader will solve the who-done-it early in her reading, but not too much detail as to make the exploration a thing of boredom. It's tricky to find just the right balance between red-herring and real clues.

The earliest version of this novel was written nearly twenty years ago. Luckily, I could not manage to find a publishing agent at that time. Luckily, because now I could separate myself from the writing, discover its flaws, and completely rewrite it, using my newly-gained experience as a writer.

It's easy to say 'rewrite'--but the process was harrowing to me. First, I removed all the over-the-top, flowery phrases, deleted a few characters so I could focus on the main protagonist in more depth, gutted out many of the scenes, and marked passages that were worth saving. The destruction phase was difficult. It made me both cruel and sick to my stomach, until I embarked on the creation phase. That's the part where, phrase by phrase, paragraph by paragraph, scene by scene, chapter by chapter, the characters start to breathe in me, and they take over the story.

This, to me, is much like painting in watercolors. Creating beautiful watercolor puddles is where the image starts to flow, starts to suggest to me how to flesh out the forms that only I can see in there.

More about Virtually Lace in upcoming posts. Stay tuned... 


This is a recent watercolor painting, inspired by a bone, which I cast into becoming an underwater creatures crossing your path.

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