Eileen R. Tabios / #EileenWritesNovel / May

May 1, 2016

MAY DAY! Or 121 days straight of daily writing at the novel! It's the longest fiction stretch for Moi! Thank you, Universe!

May 1 (Eve), 2016

Nope. It wasn't the ending. It was just a cool plot twist. Poetry experience was helpful, i.e. past assessments of when a poem should remain short or be extended. This helped me know to continue the narrative past what seemed at first to be a logical ending. Poetry (and wine) also teaches about resonance and the *long finish*. Anyway, onward!

May 3, 2016

Research—it’s not just googling.

May 9, 2016

Not that you are mere fodder for Moi but … Was flitting here and there to copy coverage of the Philippine elections—as many philosophers have waxed and waned, “You can’t make up this shit.” I came across such pithy lines as “Namaste, Fuckers." But when I began to incorporate socio-political elements in today’s Daily Writing, I got stuck on the banal. To wit, I have a character frequently observing the street below his window. While writing today, I realized his apartment is too high for him to see what I wrote he’s been seeing in more than 200 pages—I would need to move him several stories down or make the novel contain a two-feet high population. Whatever this novel is, it ain’t science fiction. So rather than waxing on one resolution to the historical conflict of interest represented by the equivalence of money and political power, I ended up waning on changing the manuscript's 50 or so "Apt. 13J” references to "Apt. 3J." (Where’s that Search-And-Replace function?!) Tomorrow is yours, Mr. Big Issue. For now, the Devil is in the details….

May 11, 2016

Poetry background affects the novel. One (unplanned) effect is, in some places, writing the story through what’s unsaid—this referencing things that do not exist elsewhere in the novel. It feels “normal” to me because poetry can be the art of silence. Not the silence of no mouth because, after all, the poem has (spoken) words. The silence of no eyes—eyes can be didactic …

May 19, 2016

I’m discovering many things through this long-form novel, specifically, tipping points that I believe surface only through the consistency of effort. Such as: you wake up and realize you're holding a parallel universe in your mind to your reality—that you'd developed the novel enough to sense its world next to yours. I've been living in such two worlds since about a month ago. Downside? I'm eating for two—must stop that! (I never sensed this tipping point with prior attempts at the long-form novel: perhaps that's why they failed.)

May 23, 2016

Hit a Frostian road-diverging-into-the-woods point last night. I had to decide whether to go for the Happy Ending or the, uh, non-Happy Ending. Slept on it. Today, am opting for the Happy Ending. Because the dark is a fertile Muse but (through poetry) I've already mined it down to the gazoo. Restless Moi wants to do something different. And I think a Happy Ending is actually difficult to make believable because it often isn't (look at your FB feed!). But what's fiction for? Good fiction, of course, makes its stuff believable—such may be called Integrity.

May 25, 2016

I'm soon to finish the fifth month of daily writing at the novel! I‘ve been so surprised by the process, including that I’ve not yet ran out of steam! I’d ran out of steam several times in the past, which is why I post about it on Facebook, hoping that I’d continue writing as I’d be too embarrassed to stop. It’s also why I started out writing in a journal versus the computer because I thought I’d find encouragement in the physicality of the journal. Well, this week I finished my second journal! Hello No. Three! (No. 3 recycles one of my past false starts, hence the crossed out title of an aborted work). Onward!

May 27, 2016

Recently, in four paragraphs I moved from present to past to future. An easy flow. Elsewhere in the novel, I moved from one decade to another in two paragraphs. And I didn’t think anything of all this until I read this interview of Julian Barnes in LitHub’s wonderful new series, “How The Writer Edits.” (You can see interview at http://lithub.com/how-the-writer-edits-julian-barnes/). There’s this bit where Barnes addresses “fictional time” and how he got better as he “got older” so that, recently, he was able to have “40 years go by in a paragraph.” It’s interesting that I’ve not found it tough to move across years with a few words. But in this sense, I am discovering that poetry has been great training—that “leap”!—for writing fiction in a non-didactic way. 20 years of consistency at making poetry and you learn more than you know. Heck, prolonged consistency at anything, and you’ll learn more than the subject at hand. In my case, Thank You, Poetry—your lessons are boundless! As for Barnes, his approach is poetic: his material is as much atmosphere as it is words; it’s interesting how he consciously adjusts diction and syntax for said atmosphere.

May 31, 2016

Unfortunately, the furry ones aren't fans of my novel. All they know is that, as I slog on through midnight, they're left waiting on the bed. Writing a novel wreaks havoc on one's life in so many ways ...

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