Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Sloggy Part

Writing is a joy... except when it isn't. I'm in what I like to call the "Sloggy Part" now, with my newest work in progress. Meticulously reviewing and revising each scene, catching all the loose ends, questioning each sentence. This is not the fun part.

Or is it?

To keep my creative juices flowing, and to immerse myself in the world of the age group I'm writing for, I've been devouring middle-grade books from my local library. (Not literally devouring them; I don't have that much money to spend on lost-book fines. Metaphoricaly devouring them, finishing one about every two or three days, then starting another.) I picked up Norton Juster's "The Phantom Tollbooth," recalling how much I adored it when I first read it, at age eight or nine or thereabouts.

I adored it again. It is hilarious, inventive, sweet, and full of tasty prose. (Hmm... another eating metaphor. Snack time? No, food is one of the many ways I distract myself from my appointed Sloggy Writing Tasks, so it's on my mind.)

Juster brilliantly gives names and personalities to the "monsters" that keep us lost in the Doldrums. The book populates its world with the Everpresent Wordsnatcher, the Terrible Trivium, the Senses Taker, the Triple Demons of Compromise, the Gross Exaggeration, and the Threadbare Excuse. Young hero Milo must battle these demons to return the good princesses Rhyme and Reason to the kingdom of Wisdom. 

And that's a lot more fun than saying Milo has to learn to pay attention and apply himself, isn't it?

So instead of "revising," I'm off with my companions the Redundant Repetitive Phrase Demolisher and the Elegant Prose Protector, and we are on an adventure through the Sloggy Parts, ready to restore Ripping Yarns to the kingdom of Storytelling.

Or something like that!

Elizabeth Fountain is the author of An Alien's Guide to World Domination from BURST! Books


Big Mike said...

The title did make me pause and re-shift my gears.

Michael Davis (
Author of the Year (2008 and 2009)
Award of Excellence (2012)

Julie Eberhart Painter said...

Good attitude. The sloggy parts are the key to good and clear thought in literature.

Liz Fountain said...

I hope the reshift was a good thing, Big Mike. And thanks Julie... I was chatting with a retired schoolteacher recently, about how much I love the rush of first drafts and find meticulous revision more challenging. She laughed and said, "oh, you write like a first grader!" We finally agreed that the main difference between me and a first grade writer is that I know revision is needed. :-)