Thursday, June 19, 2008

Intentional Coffee Shop Pages

Went to a new coffee shop last night and did my first out-of-the-house pages since I acquired a dog. It felt good. I got about two and a half pages of the story about finding bones.

Since the other day when Deb told me what she saw as my thesis theme, I've been slowly seeing more and more of it myself. After all this time, trying to figure out what connects my stories and being too close to them, I think her comment was just what I needed to be able to take that step back. While I'm still very much looking forward to what the group has to say, I'm starting to feel I have my own direction.

Which is even better for hearing others' comments.

Whenever we're talking about writing, one of those bottom lines we're talking about is what the author is trying to convey versus what the reader sees. As the writer, I can have a crystal clear vision of exactly what the story is in my mind, but unless the reader reaches the same conclusion, my vision is a moot point. Sometimes, unexpected and fun things come out of this when the reader says, "Well, here's what I see," and it's completely different from what the writer had planned, but better than the writer's plan. Then you steal the reader's vision and use your revision to bring it out, all the while claiming that it's what you were going for the whole time.

So, now that I have a clearer idea of where I'm going, I'll be better able to use the feedback from the CWC folks. Now I have a baseline.

The reason I've brought this all up is because it's relevant to my pages last night. Thesis themes have been rolling around in my head and I've been looking more closely at how those themes cross from one story to the next. Last night I sat down with an idea, which would have been alright on its own, and then played with it a bit to make it fit the themes I can see elsewhere in my thesis. In short, I sat there and said, "Well, how can I make it speak to theme X? Well, if I change this detail, then it relates to that other thing, and if I make the setting this place, then that has something in common with the other story..."

Last night, as I sat there with a raspberry green tea and my fountain pen, was the first time I worked on a thesis story with clear ideas of what made it a thesis story.

Cool, huh?


Jenny said...

That is cool. It's like 'going over the hump'--where you can see where you're going and know what to do about it.

Debbie said...

Cool, indeed. I sometimes have an easier time writing if I know what's supposed to be happening. Not always, but it's amazing how the structure can be freeing.


Debbie said...

I also have to say that every time I read the title it looks like International Coffee. Then I picture you sipping a cup of hazlenut roast and asking Jenny if she remembers the name of that cute French waiter.