Putting Words to Paper

rough draft

“Biting my truant pen, beating myself for spite:
“Fool!” said my muse to me, “look in thy heart, and write.”
Philip Sidney, Astrophel and Stella

I think I have all the pieces to put words on paper this time. Now, I just need the courage to try again. It really isn’t surprising that many writers reach for liquid courage. Caring hurts and writing demands you care.

My previous attempts at this chapter went into the trash can. Sometimes things flow; other times you run into plot-hole after plot-hole. I have written a few scraps and some is written in my mind. This is the first time that I have used anything close to an outline People may see fluff in my writing, but I hide a lot of complexity in simple prose.

I have a “Research, Rattle, and Roll technique” but the rolling onto paper part comes too infrequently. I enjoy research and the rattling inside my head comes naturally. I pray some rolling happens this weekend. My muses’ voice keeps echoing Fool! Fool! Fool!

Illustration in the writing process


I decided the only way to get my present chapter, in rewrite, done is to make an illustration to help me keep my thoughts in order. No, the above illustration is not my work. I considered adding the tower of Babel to my image, but I introduce the prospect of crowding or diminishment of more important images. The illustration needs to help with me with my traveling sequence. My characters, in this chapter, travel through an eccentric man’s estate. The pacing and the amount of description has proved problematic.

The image manipulation apps, we have today, make me half way competent. I am happy with parts of my work. I did not use my image in this post because it may show too much of my hand. All the legal elements often bug me too. When I started writing this book, I never thought about being a lawyer or an artist. I knew visuals play a part in marketing—the cover matters.

The above image is just one I liked and would fit well in my book. It comes from Wikimedia and here are the credits

illustration from a book of fairy tales of India.
Date    1898
Source    Title: Old Deccan days; or, Hindu fairy legends current in Southern India; collected from oral tradition (1898) 3rd ed. London, Murray
Scan: copy held by University of Toronto, obtained from IA.org: olddeccandaysorh00freruoft
Modifications: Conversion to PNG, greyscale, black and white point adjustment to 3%/51%
Author    Catherine Frances Frere (d. 1921), in a book by Mary Eliza Isabella Frere (1845–1911)

In Search of the Epic Chapter

Complete Version of ye Three Blind Mice by John W Ivimey Illustrator Walton Corbould

I give praise (Loa) to the Divine Narcissus and Sister (Sor) Juana Inés de la Cruz. My search for the foundation; on which, to rebuild a certain chapter in my novel may have come to an end. I knew Narcissus held a role, but I only heard garbled yodeling, from the muses, echoing in the wrinkled gray of my brain. Fear strikes me this chapter needs to capture something important. Maybe a long walk in nature will clear the lingering fog. I have bearings, I just need to trudge forward.

The image comes from John W. Ivimey’s, “Complete Version of ye Three Blind Mice,” with Illustration by Walton Corbould. It captures the smirk and the blind eyes of Narcissus; the full face still hides in shadows.

The Dick Tag and Fem Organization


I get out of order easy. I planned to stay in the fauna category, but my mind went elsewhere. I did miss this snake item, so my departure in thought gave me some accidental help. I get into trouble when things fall into multiple categories. Tiresias can be classified as man, woman, or better yet – a metamorphosis. Hera turned him into a woman after he beat his snake (maybe the same thing happened to Michael Jackson — sorry can’t pass up a beat the meat pun). Snakes act as a new life symbol and also falls in to the fauna category that I was supposed to be organizing

I mean no harm in saying I need a woman in my life to act as secretary. I’m straight and the person who compliments me best is someone with secretarial skills. I am sure some women need a man with secretarial skills, but they don’t get into trouble with feminists for saying what best fits their needs. I’m guessing one of the two snakes is male and the other is female, but personality type trumps gender in who makes the best secretary.

I also see Tiresias as a Hermes type. She/he (notice I wrote it as female-slash-male even though putting the male first means no difference in my mind, I’m not mean). Tiresias also comes under possum because she/he is a main character in the T. S. Eliot’s poem, The Wasteland, and Eliot goes by the name – Old Possum.

My category and tag system is a mess because I get flustered in making these secretarial judgments, but feminist would get mad at me for using the word, “flustered,” on a woman instead of myself. I’m sorry I come in peace to those from Venus who wear the red of Mars. Now please someone tell me which category this goes under: humor, frustration, feminists, war and peace, snakes, possums, or even cats because the musical Cats comes from a piece of Eliot’s work and I have already written about the cat and snake connection.

I read there is some problem with throwing too many tags onto one post. Maybe I should have just one tag – junk. It seems many feminists see my junk (penis) as junk, so maybe a penis can make them happy if put in their junk (as in trunk – more fun with euphemisms). Dick is another euphemism for penis if people do not get my title. I just want to know where the Dick tag goes, all I know is who will have the blue balls.

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f _me


While white-boarding my book’s main concepts, I drew up a bunch of f-words in almost an “f” shape. I added more words to make this image. Working on white space in my chapters has me thinking about presentation.A little dabbling and this accidental image may have some use. Simplifying concepts helps me think about what I want to enhance as I edit. A presentation idea also hit me as I looked at the image..

Tibetan mandalas have a mind map quality about them and I see a way to do an interesting symbology exercise. Mind maps favor a central thought, but some book elements come from different parents than the central theme. I write around what I call literary buoys. Some elements in my book orbit around Florida. I then tie my Florida buoy to my Flora buoy. People may look at my blog and see me going off on wide tangents, but I beg to differ. A better presentation may help people see more method in my madness.

You see many of those “f- words” in my posts. When I thought more about f-words, I came up with a new one – felines. My central mythology character, Ptah, is married to cat goddess. Women link to cats in many ways. Adding some cat stuff makes (gotta say it) purr-fect sense.


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Bring Dat Lingo Over Here


I play with lingo and stereotypes for  various reasons. Cultures may share roots, but they all take different paths. Dialects, from past centuries, spread until they became new languages. Radio and TV has stolen many accents and lingo. This loss is a linguistic shame. I try to use the word, “ain’t” just to keep it alive. Idiots think “ain’t,” ain’t even a word. People say it and write, so it is obviously a word.

I used this sample from Peter Mathiessen’s Far Tortuga on my white space post, but it interests me in many ways. I love symbols, adding an illustration, like in the above, interests me. Mathiessen skips the identification of speakers and I do much the same thing. Mathiessen may work as a style guide. So much to learn, finding the right people to lean from is another job to do.

The Art of Writing


Peter Mathieson paints words onto paper (Sample from Far Tortuga). I’m studying how to add white space to my novel. My first attempt changed the tone. Adding dialog added white space, but lightened the mood too much. Matthiessen used white space with special intent. Mathieson talks about his use in an interview by George Plimpton in The Paris Review  titled, “The Craft of Fiction in Far Tortuga.”  Poets often paint words, but a novel needs a different brush.

My second attempt at adding white space worked much better, but still need to learn from more practiced authors. What looks good in Microsoft Word; may not, in ePub.So much to learn, too little brain to handle it all. I try to tackle one editing issue at a time, but I add a few smaller tasks to the bigger.


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Writing Analysis Criticism


I show two sample reports from Autocrit, which, I used to analyze about half my first chapter. I use first-person point of view for my narrative and every perspective has its own nuances. Autocrit flags sensory terms, but the first-person perspective needs such terms. Creative fiction also differs from college term paper style. My overuse of, “have” and “it” may need addressing, but small one syllable words read quick and become close to invisible. My one “generic description” flag comes due to an allusion I use, so it stays. If Autocrit performed different checks for different writing styles, I might find it more useful. Such tools can help identify where you get extra lazy, like many of my blog posts. I rarely edit these things. They go as they go.

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Felling Gravitas


Editing to add white space caused an unwanted shift in tone. I often use levity, but my first chapter needs heavier gravitas than many other chapters. The change in tone surprised me. A few added words and some rephrasing led to, “Timber!”

Both images come from Wikipedia The first has this description: Center of pressure in relation to center of gravity while off-balance. The image takes a more humorous tone when attached to my tale involving a fertility cult. The second image shows how earth warps space-time. My novel does some warping of its own. Dreamtime acts as warp drive for my main character, as he needs to make big jumps in time and place.


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