Time to kill

Having finally handed in my essays (one of which I may even possibly have handed in on time) and realising that over the next six weeks I am going to be expected to:

  • Research for, write and perform an oral presentation
  • Compile ten blog posts into an edited document to turn in as an assignment
  • Write a 6k word essay
  • Write another 6k word essay

It occurs to me that not a hell of a lot of actual writing may be in my future.

I mean no, that’s a blatant lie: I just outlined four things that I have to write. But you know what I mean. Tallulah ain’t leaving the dock anytime soon – and actually, that might be for the best.

Since trying to write new things into the story proved useful only insofar as it proved that it was not the way to go, I am left with the unenviable task of trying to work out not only how best to proceed, but how to proceed without changing anything. This is obviously hyperbole, but the tentpoles have been stuck into the ground, and as far as I can make out, that’s where I’m supposed to pitch the rest of the tent as well. It now comes down to what colour tent I’m after, more or less.

I have to revise, not rewrite. I like the story that I’ve got, and while some things are going to have to change for the sake of better storytelling, I don’t know what those things are. And since all of my writing time is spoken for …

I guess I’ll just re-read it a lot.

And hope that this is the way to go.

Though judging by how things have gone so far, I’ll probably find out if it’s the thing to do or not fairly quickly.

In any event, that’s my plan for now: focus on passing this whole Honours thing, and get to know my story better so that I can work out what it really needs. I do think trying to write something new also had the benefit of pushing the established boundaries of my comfort-zone with the story; some weaknesses were addressed in the new stuff I wrote, but new weaknesses emerged as well. What I’ve gathered from this is that there are always going to be weaknesses, so the trick now is to try and manufacture the right kind of weaknesses for this specific story. And also that, where there are currently weaknesses in my story, there are opportunities to explore, to see what this knotted tissue is painfully holding together and if there isn’t a more comfortable way of tying all the necessary threads together.

I want to mark out all the points of uncomfortable tension in the story, because they’re probably there to bridge the events of the story and hold everything together – they just need to be replaced with or upgraded into something better, stronger, with more structural integrity. All I have to do now is find every single one of them.

And the best way to do that, I figure, is to read the story a jillion times and get used to how it flows, and how it doesn’t flow as well. This is all assuming that I can read it and pay attention the whole time, instead of drifting off or getting bored or just assuming I know what comes next and therefore missing a whole bunch of really important stuff. It’s a big assumption, I’ll grant you. I’m not sure I have much of a choice, though. I can’t think of anything else to do except try to write new stuff again, and I already know that’s not the answer – or not the way I was doing it, at least. Having said that, there’s probably something about what I wrote that I should look at, too, to see why exactly I thought it was going to fix things and see if there isn’t some future use I can put it to.

All of this equates to “read a lot” however you spin it, so my plan remains the same. Cool. I have a plan.

Now I just need plans for the four assignments I have to do and everything will be just dandy.


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