Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Road Tripping and Writing

I just spent two weeks of road tripping through Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, and California (then back up through Oregon and into Washington).

My husband is "THE Driver" and prefers things that way. I used to fuss over that, claiming I needed to drive, but after several years of marriage to "THE Driver" I'm content with a load of books, my laptop, and the amount of daydream time I get staring out the window. Plus, I have good conversations with The Driver. He's a much nicer driver than I am in many ways - if I'm driving I want control of the radio, heat, and basically everything that's going on in the car. I'm kind of a driver control freak. My husband just wants to drive and the rest is up to the passengers.

During our drive, I read aloud portions of my book to my family, and I discovered something during that time . . . I need to let my characters open the windows, and change the radio station now and then. I've suffocated the story in this last revision, forcing the highs and lows.

 My poor main character has been boxed into a tight passenger corner, not allowed to even open a window and let the sun shine on her face.

However, I need to stay at the wheel, and keep the shift engaged for the wild ride. Plus I need to clean the windows now and then . . .our car became bug spattered so often on our drive that we stopped more often to clean off the windows than we did to fill the gas tank.

The bugs on the windows of my story have a tendency to be massive amounts of repeated words and phrases. My family and I started laughing every time my characters "ducked," "turned," or "breathed." I think I used each of those words at least two dozen times in three chapters. Aagh!

So, I'm back at work, hoping that somehow this story will be the story I want it to be, hoping that when I get done it will feel like this:

My husband says this is how he wishes he could have driven through San Francisco.

Oh, and this is my 72nd day of 100 Days of Revision - I'm going to have to give my revision process more gas to make my goal.


Tonja said...

I'm THE Driver. I can't read in the car. My husband drives a little too close to the car in front of us for me to ever get comfortable if I'm not driving.

Good luck on your revisions.

Barbara Watson said...

What a great realization about your revision. It's important to allow ourselves to see what we've done--sometimes it's fantastic and sometimes it's not.

I'm not THE Driver, and happily so, but I do get horrendous motion sickness so all my time in the car as THE Passenger can't be spent writing or reading. And I so wish it could be.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Welcome back! And glad you figured out some things about your manuscript during your trip. I repeat words often, so I know the feeling.
I'm both the driver and the control freak. What can I say?

Emily R. King said...

What a fun road trip! I hope it was sunny at least one day you were in Washington State. Did you happen to make it up to Deception Pass?

I use the words "turned" or "sat" or "walked" a lot. I need to remember the reader doesn't need to know everything the characters are doing at every waking moment. :)

Tyrean Martinson said...

Tonja - my husband used to do that . . .then in the rain about six years ago, the driver in front of him slammed on his breaks. My husband doesn't drive that close anymore.

Barbara - hopefully you get great conversation and daydreamin time!

Alex - glad to know I'm not alone in the driver and control freak thing.

Emily - actually we started and ended in Washington - it's home, but we live on the Peninsula so we're familiar with Deception pass.

Priscilla said...

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Unknown said...

Reading your story aloud can definitely help you rethink things, as well as taking some time away from it, which I'm assuming you did on your trip! Glad you got some inspiration.

Allison (Geek Banter)

Maurice Mitchell said...

Tyrean, everyone should drive like that.

nutschell said...

how fun! I'm sure the road trip gave you tons of ideas for a new story:)