Writing toward a complete first draft. Depending on mood and circumstances, I find the experience fun, stressful, aggravating, hopeless, useless, pointless, and/or the equivalent of whistling in the dark while listening to things going bump in the night. Wrong turns. False starts. Bits of dialogue floating through with no follow-up. Other bits of dialogue behaving like the seed of a barnacle grasping on to a piece of rock. Who’s who, why now? Are the voices behaving like an intruder at a politician’s fund-raising event? Like the paying guests wanting to hear what they’re paid to hear? The politician? The politician’s retinue?
Why now? Why. Now, as I embark on the fourth part of the proto draft. Perhaps for the need to look away from the front-runners. The need to take in more of the background. Or to focus more sharply on “an irrelevant detail”. Bottom line: the need to find out which of the characters refuse to give up. They all claim their take on life is what matters most. Which ones keep my interest engaged?
(At this point, the writer happens to be the reader, so the issue is even more crucial than keeping the pathos or ridicule in a synopsis. I’m at least seven full drafts away from calling this one done. Maybe I keep writing to avoid the loathsome encounter with the synopsis + cover letter +. One of my neighbors is convinced I have a psychological issue in need of resolution on this matter. Maybe my neighbor is right but this changes nothing to the fact some bits of dialogue insist on a landing spot somewhere while others float downstream.)
On one of the walks down narrow streets and narrower sidewalks yesterday, I had the feeling that, true enough, all the characters wanted answers or vindication, or even a brief shining moment of spot-on realization, revelation, love, what have you. But maybe all of them were just like the writer at that specific moment: about to swing the umbrella away from a building so as to negotiate a right angle turn from one narrow sidewalk to the next, with no idea of the dealings about to appear on the next stretch of road.
Or, maybe like the writer, the characters spend their days in a proto draft – bits in the Sargasso Sea; bits on the rocky Atlantic cliffs; bits on dry land; bits in search of a misplaced landing document. And so on.