Monday, February 16, 2009

Process & Demons

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, animals both domesticated and wild, welcome! But please take your shoes off before entering.

Wow! I mean what about that last post, dear readers. You're probably asking yourself, can he top that? I mean sometimes I intimidate myself, but ... 

Today I thought I'd talk process.  I am currently in the second revision of Sowen, my YA dark fantasy series, and it's been a rough ride getting to this point.  I think anyone who writes-- professional, hobbyist, whatever-- can agree there is a point in the writing process where the demons gather, whispering taunts and dares--You suck!  So and such is better then you'll ever be.  Give up now and spare yourself complete embarrassment. I think at one point I had a gaggle of tiny demons scurrying around my feet, on my desk, everywhere, and they were binging on my frustration. I began spending more time with my demons then with my story.

It took me several months to complete the first draft, in part because I'm not too big on outlining, and my characters kept going off in new directions that caused me to have to add and subtract huge chunks of my manuscript. It's part of the process, part of the amateur's process especially, but it ultimately gave me a couple of weapons to defeat those pesky demons.  And so I thought I'd share two of the things that worked well for me:
  • Forget Plot.  When I started writing the story, I got about halfway through and got stuck.  I wrote myself into a corner that I couldn't write myself out of.  What worked for me was to write other scenes unrelated to where I was stuck.  I put my characters in different situations just to see how they'd react, to hell with the plot.  Without realizing, I was putting chapters together, and though there are still a few gaps in the plot, I was able to finish the draft, and crush a few demons under my foot.
  • Break away from writing to recharge my creativity.  During the drafting process sometimes I felt drained, as if my creative juices had soured.  I had nothing to offer to the story, and everything was stale, flavorless, characters wondered around like zombies (even though some were supposed to).  What worked for me was to immerse myself in the scenes my characters were in.  Since most of my story takes place in my home town, I went hiking on the trails in my story, sat next to the lake which I used as a gateway to a dead world, heck I even went to a car dealership to look at one of the cars I used, a brandie-new gold Shelby Mustang GT, if anyone cares.  This helped recharge me, even gave me a few ideas I had not thought of.  And best of all, I could hear those little f'ers squishing under my heal.
The demons have not left, but they now walk aimlessly with no distinct purpose.  I'm sure they will regroup and attack again.  They always do.  But at least I have some defense against them, you know, for next time.  Maybe it's what separates great writers from good writers: not their prose nor their imagination nor their encyclopedic knowledge, but their ability to slay those demons and just write. 


Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More