Monday, January 16, 2006

The Case for the Writing Process

Okay, so remember the “domesticity issues” I've hinted at two entries ago? I've been getting a little emotional about how I feel about relationships and commitments. It's not just romance, because that's always been on my mind - especially now that I've got friends who are either getting married or just going into relationships that could go there - but the whole realization that there's a whole new world outside of my apartment and I'd like to share more of myself with other people. And because I tend to be more private when I'm vulnerable, I've decided to pour out these anxieties into the novel I've been working on.

A few months ago, I mentioned on this blog that I have been working on my novel, and that I promised to talk about the writing process with regard to said novel when I'm more confident. Apparently I haven't mentioned it again, seeing as I was caught up with school while I was working on it, but now's a good time for me to share how it's coming along.

I think that I'm happy with the first five-and-a-half chapters that I've finished, including the two whole chapters I knocked off before Christmas. Those of you who may have read the previous drafts will be surprised to hear that the editing took care of some of the aspects that would have bloated up an otherwise workable story about four twentysomething professionals. For example, even though most of the main characters were working in major mass-media jobs in Honolulu, I kept the unnecessary commentary on Hawaii television news to a minimum, mostly because it was getting way too much in the way of the story. Because of that, many of the peripheral characters were also eliminated so I could focus more on the interior dialogues and character development.

And because of the focus on character development, I feel like I've invested a lot more humanity into the characters, as well. To take a metaphor from Japanese cooking, I seem to have slipped in a little umami into the characterization - there's more than one dimension emerging, and it's not all sweet or bitter but something tangible and indescribable at the same time. The conflicts emerge a lot earlier because I'm still trying to capture that mindset of getting everything you could ever dream about in your 20s and then suddenly realizing that it's not what you thought it would be. (And as someone who's all but done with that phase, I think it's so much better to go in there with some emotional distance.) There's also some commentary there about being in that place and asking some tough questions about taking chances and having faith.

All in all, the book has been a great way for me to work out some things that have gotten into my beeswax in the last few. Hopefully I'll have a manuscript worth sharing some time soon.

Stay tuned for more "fun" entries soon!

No comments: