February 12th, 2007

eyes_derek

Empathy

One of the side effects involved in writing (from my viewpoint, at least) is the ability to empathize with characters and their experiences. Some days that's good. Some days it's unsettling, akin to the onset of a cold or a bite from a wormy apple. There isn't any bad about the latter. You just wish you didn't have to go through the experience.

I like to believe that writing about matters other people find uncomfortable to consider makes me a better person. I try on the shoes of someone who was shot, or burned, or hit. Someone being raped.

I try to capture my memories of betrayal, try to imagine that's how that particular situation feels. I tell myself I'm lucky, because I'm in a good place, and my heartaches aren't even shadows compared to reality, and while I do torture my characters it's only so I can understand myself and my world better. Face the day as a better person. Because of empathy.

Yesterday's NIN quota stopped after two pages. I've done as much today finishing the sixth chapter and the disjointed scene that depicts Joan's rape. I could have tackled the scene yesterday, but my head was in a good place, and I didn't want to spoil the restful weekend. It was a luxury I could afford. Sparing my characters. Sparing myself.

Today, the scene is done. Short, quick. Distasteful. Best done early, when the rest of a snowy February day can wash away the memory. Until I need to make Joan live through the consequences in her next chapter. For now, it's back to Christopher as he deals with the firefight aftermath. The main goal of the chapter is making his actions--his retreat--believable within the story context.

I'm glad this chapter is split in two parts. Primarily because of the rape scene. I think it will increase the impact. Which just goes to show how far my empathy extends when it comes to my characters. Writers are such cruel gods.

A bright note is that finishing this chapter puts the projected goal past the quarter mark:

Projected Goal
Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
37,750 / 150,000
(25.2%)
eyes_derek

To Do List

1,800 words for the Novel In 90 quota. A good day. But the darn muse ambushed me with a new story idea. Heh. She's a glutton for punishment. Mine.

1) Make quota on NIN for the rest of the week.
2) Rewrite "Sacrifices" so I can submit it, possibly next week.
3) Squeeze out a draft/outline for the new short story.