Tuesday, April 22, 2008

How Not to Write

Mood: Manic

There are a number of writers who can come up with a couple of characters and bang them together and make a story. Just start on their story with no clue as to how it's going to end, where the story is going to take them, just strike out for unknown territory with one or two people for company.

I am not one of them. This is the first time I have started a story without a clear ending in mind. It was, in process, a disaster. As it stands, the story is some six thousand words. The file is about nine thousand words, which includes two starts to the story that didn't pan out, several wads of research and ideas that make up the background for the story, but did not actually make it into the story itself. That's about three days' worth of work that are not in the story.

This is not a comfortable way for me to write a story, and I'm not sure it's producing good work. Because I obsessed over the story, to the exclusion of virtually everything else. I'm behind on my blog (I've got a month's worth of blog ideas), I'm way behind on my personal correspondence, because I've been afraid to devote energy to something else. And when I get that intensely focussed, I don't turn out my best work because I stop new ideas to the story.

But I got the first draft done last night. First revision today, and it goes to the Roundtable tonight. Then, I think, it'll sit for a few days while I start a new story. One that I'm not going to obsess about so much.


Ray M. Solberg said...

I find I can write that way but it's more inspirational writing and lends better to short stories or a work of NaNoWriMo. The advantage is supposed to be you don't worry about all the connections research and kinks you just get it out then make it worthy of you in rewrite but I STRONGLY empathize with your mania I get the same damn thing. :D

Congrats on your writing group I found one too!

John Goodrich said...

I'm finding my writing group is good and helpful.

To liken writing to fencing, if you're relaxed, you can react more quickly than if you're tense. Of course, in fencing, you have someone trying to poke you with a yard of steel, and seems to happen a lot less with my writing.