Thursday, January 10, 2008

And now, The Writing Process...


Just FYI, any time I talk about the Writing Pro-cess, it should be pronounced Proooooo-Cesssss. I encourage using a James Lipton voice in your head. But then, James Lipton actually is my inner voice, scarily enough...


I figured that a post about my writing prooooocesss should start with a shot of my Writing Corner. Sadly, I don't actually write there that much anymore, as I find writing in bed much comfier. But still. Look how fun! My desk is purple! And there's leopard skin! And a giant book about ghosts! Although- confession- that book is actually kind of lame. It's a katrillion pages of some German dude saying things like, "And zen we walked into da house, and zhere was a chair zhat fell down! And I say to Inga, 'Scheisse, Inga! Ees ghooooooooost!" Ad nauseum.
So the other day, The Husband and I went to Books-a-Million after having lunch at the China Buffet (side note: being temporarily unemployed at the same time has made us somewhat like old retired people. We go out to lunch like every day at around 10:30. Then it's straight home for the daily Ben-Gay application and naps! Whee!)

I wanted to go to BAM because I wanted- ahem- a 2008horoscopebook. Look, 2007 threw us some crazy ass twists, so I figured I'm going into '08 mutha-effin armed- Sydney Omar style, bitches!


However, while I was there, I found myself drawn, as per usual, to the Language Arts/Writing section. Like a lot of aspiring writers, I have a truly ridiculous amount of How to Write books, and as I browsed through books such as This is the Year You Write Your Novel, and The Spooky Art, and Seriously, Writing is Easy and Anyone Can Be Successful at It If They Buy This Book and Stop Being So Damn Lazy, Rachel, it occurred to me that most of them are...um... how do I put this? Oh, right. Shit.


I can't tell you how many books I've bought or articles I've read that promise the secret to easy writing. The most recent one was an article in Writer's Digest that suggested making huge, huge piles of notecards for every chapter with plot points and characters all getting their own separate card. And, you know, that's...yeah, that's not happening. Not that I'm knocking that if note cards work for anyone else. But when I was in school, I was always that weird girl in the corner of the computer lab with like 5 library books spread out face down all around her, no previous preparation in sight. I like my writing spontaneous, and as Stephen King said, almost too hot to touch (BTW, King's On Writing is the only actually useful and awesome writing book I own. So, so good!)


Now, the consequence of my "hot writing" is that before polishing, my writing often sounds like it was written by a schizo. Characters names change halfway through, POV can change, verb tense... oh, it's loony. It also creates problems with timing. Like, with my current WIP, I just realized that I needed to do a little time-spreading or the whole book would happen in three days. And then there's always the fear that you'll get halfway in and have no idea where to go next, but even that's fun in its own way.


I like it this way because I like to be surprised. I like when characters suddenly pop out of nowhere, when plot points resolve themselves as I type. That, to me, is the real magic of writing- that weird sense that your almost channeling something, like you suddenly got a direct line to your subconscious. My favorite writing analogy comes, again, from Stephen King. He says the story is always there, like a fossil, and all you're doing by writing is excavating it. Awesome.


So, my writerly friends, I ask you: What's your process like? Are you a planner? A Seat-Of-Your-Pantser? What's the best part of the writing proooooocessssss for you?





2 comments:

Ally Kendall said...

OMG, I want your desk! What I like most is that it's by a window. I'm in a measly little corner of my bedroom and I have to keep my blinds pulled because my house is so flippin' close to the neighbors they'd be able to read the words on my computer screen if they'd across. :(

Anyway, on the writing...I used to be a totaly pantser and, man, that was fun...the spontaneity and all that jazz. But when I decided I wanted to take my writing a bit more seriously, I began to plot. Well, I'm still workin' on the same shit I was before I got "serious". I've tried the note card thing and, for me, it was a total waste of the three hours I sat plotting out the story. Once I got writing, I decided all those ideas I had were boring as hell and I pitched 'em. My problem is that I'm so indecisive I can't commit to one idea for more than a week. Therefore plotting is pointless for me. And so is editting, because by the time I'm ready to do so, I wish I'd done this and that all differently and I go back and change it. It's a never ending cycle and, thus, why I've yet to send you more Josh and Car!

Oh, wait...this is YOUR place to rant and rave, isn't it? Not mine! LOL!

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