Tuesday, October 25, 2011

How I write

With NaNoWriMo almost upon us, I thought I would share how I write.

It's not complicated: I fly by the seat of my pants.

At least, that's how I've worked on my first novel (tentatively titled "The Dragonlords"). When I started, I had the first scene, the prologue, stuck in my mind. And I just went from there. I let the story tell me where to go. And when I got lost, I would talk to Chris. He would ask great questions (sometimes as simple as "why?") and of course I knew the answers. And those answers were usually where the story needed to go next.

I only had ~25K words after last November, so I've been fleshing it out for the last year, with the help of my writing group. I had some good bones when I started. I have almost 36K words now and plan to use this November to reach 50K (or, ideally, 60K). It needs filling in, but I know a lot of the places that need work, thanks to the lovely ladies in my writing group.

I also have the start of a stageplay/screenplay("Life is a Journey") that runs about 8 minutes so far. After I'm done with my novel, it is next on the list. Chris and I came up with the idea on a car ride a year and a half ago. We actually did outline the scenes before starting. I've done most of the work on the stageplay version, but want to switch it to a screenplay, since that is Chris's forte. Since Chris and I are working on this together (I write most of the dialog; he helps with the general story idea), this one needs to wait until we have time to work together. That means January at the soonest.

And I even have a story idea for next year's NaNoWriMo, when I will be ready for something new. I just can't juggle multiple projects without dropping them, so I need to concentrate on one at a time.

That's what I'm writing.

I actually do some of my writing in longhand and then type it up later. Sometimes I type directly. It really depends on what mood I'm in and what resources I have available. When I'm revising, I tend to do a lot of longhand, in red pen, on the printed pages. I can arrow stuff around and do insertions (I know, I can do that on the computer too, but it isn't the same as seeing what I've done).

I sometimes wear a writing outfit of cozy pajama pants, a shirt, my big black sweater, slippers.

I read recently a nice blog article about writer's block that really resonated. The gist is that no one gets talker's block, so why do they get writer's block. If you are a writer, go read it. I'll wait.

What did you think? Eye opening? He makes sense. I'll even add to his cure for writer's block: talk. When I get stuck, I bounce my story off Chris and he helps me get to the next scene (or the one after that). Just by listening and letting me talk about it. I probably don't even need to talk TO him. I bet a voice recorder would do just as well.

An example: at the last Bloomington Screenwriter's Community meeting, a writer was explaining how she didn't know where to start, then told us what her story was about. She does know where to start, she just has trouble writing it down. We suggested she record herself talking about it and she'll have the whole thing down in no time.

That's pretty much how I write.

So why do I write? Because I have these stories inside me and I want to share them. Finding the right words and being able to express these characters who inhabit these incredible worlds and do amazing things? What could be better than that?

1 comment:

  1. I'm lucky to have my husbands help when I write too. He's excellent at helping me work through plots.

    We go up to Chicago the weekend before Halloween, then to South Bend for Thanksgiving every year, which gives me 16+ hours of time to talk with my hubby about that year's NaNoWriMo book. It works out great.

    Someday I would like to work WITH him on a novel. He's got awesome story ideas and I think he could come up with a great storyline even better than I can. But he says he doesn't like writing, just reading. I've told him I'll do the writing if he creates the story, but I haven't gotten him to bite on it yet.


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