Thursday, June 17, 2010

The role of cogitation in fiction

I'm spending a couple of days at the beach. One of the projects I brought with me is to transfer all the notes on my current fiction project into my new creative journal (I keep two journals going all the time--a daily journal and an ongoing creative journal that keeps all my notes and quotes and ruminations).

The soon-to-be-completed creative journal, I'm happy to discover, is full of notes and questions and thoughts about the novel I'm working on. I take regular writing retreats and at the end of them, I spend the last few hours writing a lot about what's next to resolve. Copying these into the new journal is a great way to refresh my thinking and so it has set me contemplating and cogitating in preparation for my upcoming retreat and how I'm going to tackle some of the issues that await my characters.

As a long-term recovering alcoholic, I have a very conscious relationship with thinking. In the throes of my addiction, when I drank all day every day, I never really thought, I just reacted. And when I got sober, I became conscious of thinking again, of generating ideas, of being pro-active instead of just reactive.

Nothing pleases me more than the ideas that come to me about the characters and the plot tangles and the ways to resolve the predicaments I've written them into. And it takes quiet and space to do that, quiet and space that I don't usually allow myself at home. But I'm delighted to have this pre-retreat to get reved up.

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