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Getting “Mass” on a Problem

Tuesday evening I was doing thirty minutes on the bike at the club as a warm up for weight lifting.  I was irritated with myself because I started the third Edge book, and it just wasn’t working.  It felt like I was trotting people onto the stage, having them take a bow, and then moving on to the next re-introduction.

Ian and I had also been working very hard on a new version of our movie based on his Milkweed Triptych.  I was trying to figure out why the script had so much more fizz and power then the prose I was writing.  It couldn’t just be because I prefer writing scripts to writing books?.

And then it struck me.  In the script we were picking the _most_ exciting, and _most_ important scenes and dramatizing them.  In my book a number of interesting things had happened before the opening chapter.  I realized that the chapter I was writing was actually chapter  four.

I needed to show the decision where Richard is excited at the prospects presented by a team of scientists to build a space based solar energy platform that would beam energy back to Earth.

I needed to show where he and Sam infiltrate a subdivision where the layout of the houses forms a giant rune that will a hole in reality.

_Then_ he comes back from his “victories”, and gets slapped in the face by the officers of the company.

Showing not telling.  Every writing workshop gives you this rule.  And it’s a good one.  It can also have a terrible downside.  There are times when an author has to be able to quickly refer to events that have happened in order to catapult the story forward.  If you have every character experience every step in their story it’s no longer fiction.  It becomes transcription of a role playing game, or keeping a diary.

So now I’m energized, and ready to write because I figured out the problem.  Another tip to beginning writers.  If something isn’t working go do something physical.  Get out of the chair and away from the computer.   It’s amazing how many problems I’ve solved while riding my horse, or doing a workout.  And now I’ve explained the title.  Handle something with your physical body, move, sweat, and it will help your cognition.  I promise it works.

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