Writing Wrongs

March 02, 2005

The other day, I mentioned to my writing group about how The Boys Club, more than any other novel, isnít coming in chronological order. Let me explain. I know what happens in chronological order. And in the past Iíve been known to post out of order. This had more to do with the ďin-between scenesĒ (the ones I didnít present for feedback) being pretty darn awful.

Sometimes pretty darn awful isnít too awful a few months later--and sometimes it is. I donít need someone telling me to fix the dialogue/scene setting/transition or whatever when I already know it needs fixing.

To keep things simple, I donít post those scenes for feedback. This often drives my writing group crazy, but what can you do?

This novel is different. As I said to the group:

I slide along the timeline of the novel, stopping at different points, sometimes thinking, sometimes writing. I know what happens. I know what motivates this quartet. I donít know if Iím missing an important ingredient, have a fear of commitment, or what.

I wonder if itís because the timeline covers years instead of months. D. says she admires my ability to hold my stories in my head. To me, this is a no brainer (sorry, couldnít resist).

Long before I ever wrote a story, I held them in my head. At night, Iíd tell myself a story, in increments, as a way to fall asleep. I often revised ďscenesĒ until they were perfect. When the story was done, I moved onto the next.

In college, a friend was having trouble sleeping and I suggested they do this. The look on their face made me realize that normal people donít tell themselves stories in order to fall asleep. I didnít mention it again until many years later.

A few weeks back, Andrew was plagued by scary thoughts at bedtime. I explained about the stories--it had been my coping technique for scary thoughts. ďYou imagine the story in your head,Ē I told him.

His face brightened. ďLike when my teacher reads to the class.Ē


I still donít have an answer to my patchwork novel, but I am glad I can hold it in my head.

Charity Tahmaseb wrote at 3:32 p.m.