Twiddling Prepositions

Notes on Craft – Part Whatever

Sometimes, in order to remind myself to work on a story, I’ll leave it open on my computer, leave the computer on, and just turn my monitor off. Then, each time I sit down to my keyboard (usually in the early morning while the kids are still asleep and the house is quiet), the story will come on with the monitor and remind me in its patient and high-contrast black and white way that I need to work on it.


If I’m feeling good (if I’ve been struck by some genius idea in the night, for instance) I may write a whole new section, but usually I just play with the handful of the sentences that appear in the frame of my monitor. I might flip one back-to-front, fiddle with the verb, change entered to entering, maybe reorganize a paragraph depending on how the words strike my ear as I read them aloud.


There’s almost an obsession with the flow of the words, the rhythm, the cadence of the writing. Sometimes the result is good. Sometimes other people agree. Sometimes it’s only me, my ear, that is satisfied. But it’s writing just the same and somehow it lets me feel I’m moving the story forward. If only glacially.


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