Monday, August 2, 2010

Evolving Stories

All the plants are peaking. They are stretching up with their leaves, their stems, their flowers, reaching as far into the air, toward the sun, as they can. We only have a week or two of them at their ultimate growth. And it all has happened earlier than usual this year, because of our warm spring.

I feel this stretch too. I want to write better and more than I've written. I want to push myself to capture the world, the characters that move in it, and the questions that I am forever probing, even more than I have.

I just finished reading Charles and Emma, a YA non-fiction book about Charles Darwin and his wife. Their relationship was extraordinarily close. They were rarely apart. He struggled with anxiety most of his life and yet he worked through it. He was extremely worried about how his theory of evolution would be taken and even stalled in publishing it for a few years, hoping that it would not make too big a stir. It was beyond inspiring to read about him, how hard he studied, how long he honed a piece. And there was always Emma, reading everything and editing it all.

I am working on two books now that I want to give just a bit more oomph to before I send them out into the world. I can be brusque in my novels, getting to the point, forgetting that the getting is the point. Each book needs another scene or two that are dallying scenes in which our sense of the characters and their desires deepen. These scenes will make the books richer and denser in a good way. I hope. I push myself. I study my stories for their intrinsic turns. Their evolutions.

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