The second installment of Things Unsaid comes with cleaning up the writing area and finding post-its. Here-in lie jewels of wisdom, some I thought up and some are quotes but without sourcing where the words came from, who knows. Written ideas/lines that didn’t make the cut but I liked what they said.
If I write them here, I can throw away all the bits of papers. WordPress will keep them for me.
But first, over the last couple of years of writing, here’s some things I learned that helped me, like **** (four stars), enormously.
An idea from one of the many writers’ blogs I read: when writing backstory, insert a symbol you can search and find and see if backstory is overloaded. I began by using [%] etc, meaning I typed the bracket and inserted new symbols for new pieces. I could search for a particular part of backstory to see if it was or was not written. The list of symbols, deleted from manuscript, is in recycling.
And two books: The Plot Whisperer by Martha Aldredge which gave credence to intuitive writing and yet nudged me to plan; and The Situation and the Story, Vivian Gornick.
We dream ourselves into being.
Just as I made up the story I wanted, he made up his. The loner story, the outsider, an untamed Jack Kerouac in the 1990s.
…the limitations of sight…
The origins of the phrase “drum up business” from the word drummer, a peddler.
…skin smelled like dark musk and sunshine, a hint of chlorine after a swim.
I’m writing my way around myself, talking in circles, of what will be instead of what is.
…folded into his religion like a razor into its case. Alexander Durrell.
The harbor took color with the new light, rocking in layers of green, silver, and blue…. Also Durrell.
Our shields cracked and there we were.
Robespierre: did he write of the hand of Providence? (I still haven’t looked that up.)
How grudging memory is, and how bitterly she clutches the raw material of her daily work.
I have no idea who wrote that but it’s a great line.
Guilt always hurries to its complement: punishment. Think about that one for a while!
And a last quote from I don’t know where but it’s so fine I have to give it to you.
Mr. Otis had his hat on–hunkered under it like a cat under a table, peering forth reflectively, chewing on a mouthful of air, as old men were known to do. His eyes stretched into crepe-edged triangles.
Thank you. I’m down to bare desktop on The Corner of Notes.