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Thursday, July 13, 2006

Road Trip

Going on a road trip soon. Was going to visit my friend Al Pope (author of Bad Latitudes - fine book) in the Yukon but don’t have enough time. So heading to Waterton Park in Alberta instead. Now none of this would be important if my journey wasn’t relevant to writing, yes?

I very often talk about the writing process, in particular plot, using this travelling metaphor. You have got to get from point A to point B. From the beginning of the story to the end. You can take the highway and get there in fairly short shrift, but what do you see? Who do you meet, and what do you learn?

Or you can take the back roads. Takes a little longer, but you’ll usually find more points of interest. Instead of by passing the towns and villages you can drive right through them, stop off for a coffee, check out the local museum.

The thing about back roads is that it is easy to get lost or way laid. The reader can forget where they are really supposed to be maybe even feel a little motion sickness. It is okay to veer off the main route as long as we return back to it further along in our journey. If it is bringing us in the wrong direction, too far away or doubling back on itself, you can be sure you have got a problem. Too many pee stops, too many cries of “are we nearly there yet?”

So we are looking to get from A to B. We want the journey to be interesting. We want to make discoveries, learn things about this particular journey we did not previously know. So feel free to depart from the highway and check out those small towns along the route but keep an eye on the map nevertheless, make sure you are going in the right direction.


Billie said...

While on your road trip if you happen to find your Stockton say hey to Greasey Bob and Spitt`n Jimmy.

Dead Beat said...

It's Billie I'm looking for or is it Mary?