Monday, June 13, 2011

Increasing the saturation

If you read the last post (all three of you - you know who you are), you may recall that I left off with a word count of 2,135 and was concerned that I was trying to sabotage my effort to complete a first draft.

Well, I'm not worried about that anymore. At least, not right now. Why not? Well, let's just say I had a bit of an explosion of productivity this weekend, quite unexpectedly. Remember, my baseline goal is 500 words a day, but on Friday, I set an informal goal of doing 1,000 each on Saturday and Sunday. Take a look at the ol' word counter now:
That's right. I went into the weekend aiming for another 2,000 words and somehow wound up writing over 4,000. The really extraordinary part is that I didn't spend that much time actually writing. Most of my weekend was taken up with doing research on the areas of Portland where the bulk of my novel is set, areas that I "know" but didn't really know.

Even stranger is the fact that, for most of Saturday, I was feeling a little stuck. I'd discovered that I no longer believed in the set-up of the next scene and was casting around for a replacement. I found it, but it wasn't taking off quite as I'd hoped. And then, bang! Somehow, all the research I did (primarily so I could write a paragraph or two referring to the locations authoritatively) took my inspiration tank from "E" to full to bursting.

I guess this is a demonstration of the effect Robert McKee describes in his book Story: Substance, Structure, Style and The Principles of Screenwriting (popularly known simply as Story) as a cure for writer's block. McKee in fact suggests that you aren't really ready to begin writing until your research has completely saturated your in your fictional universe.

I think that's what happened to me yesterday. Researching my neighborhoods eventually saturated me with knowledge of where my characters live and work and made them start to breathe, until I couldn't help but start to put it all on paper... or rather, pixels.

So with my week off to such an auspicious start, I'm very interested to see how it will unfold.

No comments: