Saturday, April 22, 2006

More from Friday's Nonstop

After the nonstop I excerpted yesterday, I went off to find photographs of the desert because I didn't like the one on my bulletin board. When I came back to the subject at hand... here is what I wrote next:

"So. I came back to it, began to pursue details again – 80,000 slaves on the Darb el Arbain (the 40 Days Road in the Sahara), caravans, where are my characters going? -- and my brain snarled. It feels like I’ve just gone through too much -- too many options, too much shifting -- and I lose all track of where I am, what I’ve decided, even if I have decided. I just keep piling up options and questions. The more I work the more they pile, and then the whole mass is way too complex. I can’t hold it all in my head.

"It’s like this. If there are only 20 slaves, then that would determine where and how they camp. If there are a thousand, things are going to be much different. If they are going through the dunes, that will determine how they stop for the night, where and how they rest, or if they even rest at all. If there are no dunes, but steep sided wadis instead, with shade and hard-packed gravely surfaces...well that destroys my whole idea for the moving road. I like the thing with the moving road.

"And now it's gotten too big for my head again. I can't think of it all any more and my train of thought collapses. So. What do I do? I’m getting the notion that I need to make a temporary outline or scaffolding, just so I can work on something. I can’t deal with it all at once.
That being the case... I have these areas that I know for sure I want to do... Of these four I see now that the moving road is the most important. Which means there have to be dunes..."

From that point I was able to carry on, asking questions and getting solid answers that enabled me to stop wrestling with endless maybes and how abouts and flesh out something fairly solid in terms of a scene. Hence the 8 pages I mentioned in yesterday's post.

And today, after 2 1/2 hours of writing one word after the other, one sentence after the other, I am pleased to say I've exceeded by two my goal of 7 pages and in so doing have finished Chapter 22!