Thursday, January 14, 2010

WIPS: Bust It Up

It helps to see Works in Progress (WIPS) in a new light.  Printing out a draft, reading it aloud, having someone else read it aloud, even changing the font-- that helps.

It also helps to switch genres-- turn prose into poetry, a prose [treatment] into a script, turn a one-act play into a short get the idea. You see the work in  a new light... a new spot light, a new stop light, a new white hot light.

You can "bust it up" as we say around these parts-- by taking just a portion and "translating" it into a different genre.

Here's an example...from my WIP, a short story I'm working on. The story has a noir feel, it's grounded in realism with a hint of whimsy.   This morning, I kept being snagged by one of the paragraphs. So I busted it up, turned prose to poem, so I could figure out how to change it in the story.

The scene: an all night diner, late at night. Two women, strangers, [one of them agrees to bring a red rose to be recognized]  meet and arrange an illegal, underground deal...

I took the wilted rose from her.
I don’t know why. She seemed anxious
To be rid of it.
A rose dethorned, deleafed. A bud
That would never blossom.
Sometimes they brought fake roses,
Silk, or plastic.
Usually real though,
Like this one
Bought from an apron-wearing guy in a parking lot
Toting a bucket of rosebuds
Sheathed in plastic wrap.
I laid her rose on a white paper napkin.
It reminded me of funerals.


  1. That's a heck of a hook...all night diner, late at night...strangers...illegal, underground deal. I'm in!

    I so "get" noir. Not sure why, but I do. Your mention of it prompted my memory of the "Idols" story you referenced some time ago. Southern noir. Great stuff.

  2. Yep, Noir is a classic... Fun to modernize, to. Thanks for you comments, Constantine.

  3. Too I mean. Not "to." Need more coffee!

  4. I always need more coffee. with or with 'noir'.. but lovin' the noir too.. intrigue.


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