Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like
Sometimes you pick up an old WIP with the best of intentions and you just can’t make it work. Kind of like looking up an old flame and hoping you might rekindle some of the old heat — usually you walk away shivering.
My most recent attempt is heading in that direction, mainly because I’m not in the right frame of mind for a satire at the moment (and the themes in this project are lighter than air) but also because the book doesn’t quite fit into the cycle I’m envisioning for the next couple of years. It’s a tonal thing. We’re going from light to dark, it seems to me, and I can’t see how I can shoehorn this farce into the mix.
But all is not lost. There’s something else to work on. No comment at this point, but it’s more appropriate for the coming line-up.
In sharpening my pencils and cracking my knuckles to get started, I landed on this post about writing screenplay treatments. I like approaching a new book from this angle — sometimes, anyway — so that I don’t waste too much time digging a hole I can’t climb out of. Often I take the opposite tack and just start writing, but more often than not I hit a wall at some point and have to write up a treatment or outline or synopsis or beat sheet (I like that one) to get me over that wall.
Mr. Harris’ method of writing these: “I start with a short paragraph (no more than 4-5 sentences), then expand to three paragraphs, then three pages, and on from there,” seems logical. Yesterday I did the short paragraph. Today I’ll probably take a stab at three. Tomorrow, on from there.
Incidentally, I already have about seventy pages of notes for this book, which has undergone a lot of mutations. But each year it’s been displaced by other novels, including Yesterday Road and Wish I Were Here. Now it looks like just the thing.
Some of us are “freedom writers,” going at it with spontaneity, and some are outliners — planning it in detail.
Some of us are both.