Friday, April 11, 2008

Crazy Weird Writer

I'm a little bit weird. I approach music and writing as I would approach an athletic event, or an athletic training regime. I draw from piano, swimming, and taekwondo for writing.

Today I sat down and considered the fact that I want to improve my endings. So many books have brilliant beginnings, and then the middle and end are ... well, just normal. 

One weird thing I've done, in the past, is to re-type novels and stories that I want to deconstruct and figure out. I figure, composers handcopy the composers they admire, to figure out how the music works, so why shouldn't it work for writing?

It does.

Except, I always stop once I get to the middle. I decide to type up these genius beginnings, and then the middle falls flat and I stop typing. Hence, I don't type the end, either.

I was reading a book about the art of learning by that chess/Tai Chi Chuan genius. He talked about learning the endgame thoroughly before learning opening moves.

John Irving said he started his books at the end. (So did R.J. Keller!)  I don't. But it got me thinking.

And I remembered that when I learn a piece, I always start at the end and work my way backwards.

So I figured, what if I read a book backwards?

Wouldn't that be something?

I like to turn things upside down, examine things from different angles. Look at things in a new way.  Force my brain out of its box.

Maybe I should type it backwards.

Heck, maybe I should write a book backwards.

Do you do any weird things to "train" as a writer? What's the weirdest thing you've ever done?  And genius beginnings abound in novels. Can you recommend any genius middles? Brilliant endings?

5 bonus scribbles:

Edie 4/12/2008 07:23:00 PM  

I get bored easily, so any book that keeps me turning pages must have a brilliant middle. Like the last Harry Potter book. While reading it, I resented having to get out of my chair for any reason, and that was a loooong book. I got an awful backache. The ending wasn't bad either. :)

Since you like to analyze, I just re-read Blake Snyder's Save the Cat, and he has a Beat Sheet for what's supposed to happen and when during a movie. I know books are different from movies, but I might try to see if the beats match during the later drafts of my wip. Not the first one, though. It will be interesting. :)

spyscribbler 4/12/2008 11:51:00 PM  

I just re-read it, too! And the new one, about movies. Very interesting. I'm not convinced the beat sheet works for novels, though.

It sorta does.

I mean, all story has a similar form. I'm not sure. I have to think about it. But I think the beat sheet precisely would make for a ... bare novel. I don't know. The novel needs more, I think.

I have to think on this more. :-)

Edie 4/13/2008 12:16:00 AM  

I like what he says about the "fun and games" part, the first middle. LOL I'll look at that part differently from now on.

spyscribbler 4/13/2008 12:53:00 AM  

Yes! Wasn't that great? And I love the primal thing you blogged about, and the whole Save the Cat idea. There were lots of great nuggets of wisdom.

Edie 4/13/2008 09:10:00 AM  

Did you get as many nuggets from the second Save the Cat book? I thought it might be only great for screenwriters, so I'm interested in your opinion.