Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I am Ginger Rogers ... or perhaps Fred Astaire



I’m okay today. I’ve picked myself up, dusted myself off and started all over again.

I’ve finished my article. Isn’t it wonderful the way it works? The way, as you’re fighting through the words and ideas, that it just … sort of comes together? A bit like a puzzle, though I hate puzzles and don’t understand their place in the world. Particularly jigsaw puzzles; what are they for? When we’ve got books?

Anyway I think I like writing articles because it’s like solving a puzzle but I make my own rules. I don’t always know what the rules are before hand – which can tip me off balance - but somehow it becomes clear to me during the process.

The pessimist in me might ask ‘why I can’t do this with fiction’, but the realist would say ‘because you haven’t/don’t do it enough.’ Finally the optimist would say ‘if you do it more/enough, this will happen’.

And then I start to realise I’m having conversations with three parts of myself, which can’t be healthy.

So now I'm off to do some website stuff I've promised ... it's coming Louise.

7 comments:

Stray said...

Go JJ!

I'm *completely* with you today as I'm 30,000 words into my book (plus another 8000 or so as bullet points to be expanded) and each new chapter feels like what you describe.

I'm really excited about the description you gave though, because it sounds like something from 2nd-order cybernetics. Cybernetics is the study of patterns that connect. 2nd-order cybernetics is the study of patterns that connect the patterns that connect.

The rules that define how you find out what the rules are ... I think this is the bigger puzzle that would like your article writing in to your fiction writing :)

Perhaps it's something about the fact that in non-fiction there is the illusion that the story already exists and you are merely uncovering it? I think the line between creating / finding a story is a really strong deterrent to me in thinking about attempting fiction.

The three-way conversations are a clear sign of impending insanity by the way. I'm sure Ms M will confirm that all inner dialogue is to be discouraged. ;)

Stray said...

I think this is the bigger puzzle that would like your article writing in to your fiction writing :) - not sure if I meant link or liken, but I definitely didn't mean like. Sorry - too much typing, it's all nonsense now!

JJ said...

Oh Stray that made me laugh. Of course I knew all along that it was 2nd order cybernetics... No alright then, that's bollocks.

Is it possible to find out what the rules are? Does cybernetics suggest that it's definable? I'm not sure - I think it's something out of my control. Trying to control it in fiction writing is where it all goes pear shaped!

I'm feeling all Pollyanna with it coming together like that plus the Ginger Rogers song. The only thing that didn't happen for me today is no title appeared in my head. Normally it comes as I write ... so we've got a working title. Never mind at least it's done and sent off.

Stray said...

Is it possible to find out what the rules are? Does cybernetics suggest that it's definable?

That's why it's so lovely that you've defined it as second order.

The first-order rules of writing your novel will, as you describe, emerge organically.

The second-order rules (of the rules of writing) are:

1) The rules will emerge organically.
2) The title will emerge in the course of writing.

... now it would be helpful to know what the other rules are, if there are any. Simply having rule number 1 is a very, very useful thing, because you can now approach any writing knowing that not knowing the rules at the start is how it is supposed to be.

Am I making sense ... ?

JJ said...

Yes, you are making sense, although we've frightened off any other commentators.

I lay awake at 4am last night thinking about the rules (note to self: I must not check my Blackberry in the middle of the night)and to some extent the rules are simple: have an idea, research, begin to write. The next rule - if it is a rule - is where the fiction stumbles: Faith. Having faith in the process is easy when I know I can do it (non-fiction) but difficult if I believe or suspect I can't (fiction). Maybe that makes the whole thing break down...

Carol and Chris said...

I have absolutely no idea what the two of you are talking about....but....yay to finishing your article - don't you just love it when a good article comes together :-)

C x

wordtryst said...

Yes, that coming together is an adrenaline rush. As for the cybernetics and the orders of rules: Arghh! I call it organic and leave it at that.