I was a little stymied today. Aside from yesterday's banking annoyance (which got straightened out this morning, but not without lots of other minor online finance hassles - like slow..... loading..... pages..... every..... where..... I.... went.....) I had this silly idea that I would write the Flamingo scene over from George's point of view. I'm playing with point of view right now, and am finding too many scenes that are delicious from different points of view, so I thought I'd play around.
But alas, I realize that the scene isn't equivalent for each character. It is the first meeting between George and Karla, but unlike Karla, George is aware of her existance before she is aware of his. So in order to get his first perception of her, I had to go back. I had to go back to the first chapter, actually.
There is a reason I have not written the first chapter yet. Why I am writing this firmly from the middle out. Actors have a term for it. It's called "burning your steps."
See, if you're an actor, you have to reach a certain emotional pitch right at the height of the scene. So you have to be careful not to burn you steps, or reach that pitch too soon, because otherwise you get halfway there and you've used your energy up, and you have no where to go but down just as you need to go up.
In writing a novel, burning your steps can make things repetitive. When you realize where you're going it's easy to anticipate and get there too soon. Writing those scenes first, though, forces you to not only know where you're going to but to feel where you are going and in a very detailed way - which means you not only can build up to it in a very concrete way, but you also have to get creative about those details.
Of course, you can always go and rewrite the key scene again later. You may find that you hadn't actually burned your steps, that you actually need to take it to a higher level when you get there. But at least you had a target.
So I backed off my scene, and I wrote some material for my Reading Chinese Menus blog while I mulled it over (to be posted later - more anon) and then went back to the beginning.
Which makes for 386 words for a blog post and 782 words of the first chapter
Running Total: 18820 Words.
Gwen receives the dossier (which does not mention the flamingo) and makes a deal with George.