The Thinker

Note: I actually wrote this post two days ago but never got around to posting it. I’m sure that says something about my state of mind these days but I’m not quite sure what that would be. I think probably because I’ve been thinking so much as part of my revision process I haven’t been writing so I’ve gotten out of the habit of writing. That’s what I need to do here though is keep my writing chops sharp while I get all of the thinking out of my system.
My revision process lately has consisted of a lot of thinking and not much writing. This is a necessary step, and one I’ve usually glossed over with previous books. It’s vital but it is HARD. My natural instinct is to jump in and write through problems. This is very helpful in rough drafts but very unproductive for revisions. So I’ve been thinking. Mostly about my characters and their histories and motivations and why the hell they keep getting themselves into the stupid trouble that drives my story.

I’ve had some interesting revelations about my characters and it’s helped me shape a book that I think will be faster and stronger and more emotional than the mess I have right now. One of the biggest things that’s helped me is reading up on screenwriting theory through Alexandra Sokoloff’s site and the Wordplayer site. I’m someone who is much more creative in a confined, rules based environment. If I can do anything I want, I panic and freeze up. But if you give me some rules, I look for ways to bend them or use them for my own evil purposes. So screenwriting theory gives me the rules and structure that I need. I’ve started going through the list of standard characters like the mentor and the Gatekeeper to the Special World and such and realize I already have many of them in my story but at a very base level. Knowing who they are and what their role in the story should be has helped me shape them into more vibrant and realistic characters.

I’m also reading while I’m thinking. And, again, that’s the part of this blog I regret most about ignoring. I want to write more reviews of books I enjoyed and that I think other people should be reading. Two of those are WOLVES OF FAIRMOUNT PARK by Dennis Tafoya (who was even nice enough to provide me an advanced copy and this is how I treat him) and MONSTER by A Lee Martinez. I also liked Duane Swierczynski’s new one EXPIRATION DATE, but I don’t think I need to tell anyone reading this blog to go out and read it. Books I’m looking forward to include John Rector’s THE COLD KISS and Adam Langer’s THE THIEVES OF MANHATTAN. I also really want to read SAVAGES by Don Winslow, but Winslow is the only writer I can’t read while I’m writing because I love his style so much and find myself ripping it off.