Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Precision in language

writing in circles
I am recursive in my process as a writer.  I often go several days between opportunities to write on my current project (short story anthology), so I always begin my writing session by reading from the last start to where I left off.  I edit, refine and basically work at being precise in my word choice, punctuation and description, etc,  while at the same time getting back into the voice, style and movement of the piece I am working on.  So my work tends to go through multiple editing, repeatedly before I put it through a start to finish edit once the first draft is done.  I cannot imagine writing along, never looking back, until I reach the end.  I am in a constant circling back process.
This makes the current story I am working on a new experience, not because I am not writing in my recursive manner, but because the writing style itself is different.  I usually rely heavily on dialogue, but this piece is dependent on place, mood and the internal lives of the characters.  There is dialogue in it, but I spend so much more time on the "where" and "within" than my book-length works.  Changing my writing to meet the needs of this story, when I have written in another style habitually, calls for a more intensive recursive approach.  I am on constant alert to remain in this other form that is so much more dependent on description, precise description.

Excerpt from book In Times Passed:

    Brent turned around and said,  "Hey, Ismar, you awake?"  Jove’s computer had been removed from the brackets which held her upright against the wall of Jove's old apartment and was presently leaning at a precarious angle in a distant corner of the room.
    "I'd answer you with a dignified silence, but you'd just think someone had accidentally turned me off and start saying unkind things about me."
    "Naw.” Brent laughingly denied.  “It's only fun when you can hear them.  I just wanted you to know it'll be at least a day before we can get you securely mounted in the lab.  Can you tell if you're safe where you are or should we make some adjustments.  Wouldn't want you falling on your pretty face in the middle of the night."
    "You just wouldn't want your sleep disturbed," she shot back at him.  "Perhaps some temporary mounts could be fastened here.  That way you don't have to feel rushed to get my place ready for me.  I know how careless you can be when you're in a hurry."
    Jove interrupted, "Qui and I will be setting up your framework.  It wouldn't matter if you weren't my pride and joy: Qui's just naturally careful.  We'll get you bracketed in for the night before we get started on anything else."
    Brent winked at Jove knowing Ismar's sensors would pick it up.  "What for?  If she falls now, it won't bother us:  we're already up."

Excerpt from short story tentatively titled "Scrapper":

     The boy lay on his mentor’s bunk and kicked one foot rhythmically against the shallow storage cabinet mounted on the driver’s side wall.  Sometimes the urge to kick out his frustration would send his foot with a great wallop into the image-shellacked wall next to it.  Pictures of the man’s family, whom he had long ago lost touch with, covered the space, and Moekaff had long since lost interest in the faces.  He kicked out again at them and heard a louder thump then he had created yet.  It gave him satisfaction, and he drew back his leg again readying it for a solid thrust into the transport's wall.  But the thump that resounded was oddly out of sync and out of place with his effort. 
     Moekaff sat up, tense and straining to listen.  A second thump resounded and the boy struggled between the seats in a rush to climb into the front of the cab.  Kneeling on the driver’s side seat, he shoved his cheek up against the window and attempted to look out.  Without result, he turned to the viewing system Uzzon had relied on for so long until Moe had provided him with another set of eyes and senses to jockey the rig against loading docks.  He flipped the switches, setting the view for the largest single image available then watched as the system ran through the available scenes.   He stopped it at the view showing the driver’s side door, but there was nothing. 

    The thump was repeated, and the boy thought it was less intense than before.  He resumed views until it returned to the driver side again. This time he manually shifted the focus inward toward the transport until he could see the side of the rig from cab end to the curved nose of the front end, just the edge of the undercarriage showing. The angle of view was as sharp as he could make it, and still he saw nothing. Uzzon would have told him to keep inside the rig, but he could not convince himself that delaying was the thing to do.  He finished preparing for going out into the still dazzling light of the desert route.  Dressed for the heat and exposure, he paused to glance at the view still stalled on the driver side image.  A sand-dusted and sun-sleeved arm rose up from below to strike a gloved fist against the rig side just behind the door.  It dropped weakly out of sight.  In that brief moment, he recognized Uzzon’s gear and took in as well the sure sign of bubbled flesh where the sleeve and glove should have overlapped.

Two entirely different styles, but both very much mine.  So circling back on my topic:  if I can only find time to work on my anthology.

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