Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Writing Process

An interesting discussion is going on over at Novelr about what are good novelogs: The forms they can take and interestingly, how they are written. Several people have said they are writing their novelogs as they go. They don't overly plan; they just write.

I'm not one of them. Scary Mary and Unicorn Bait are both fully written. The reason I serialized was to force myself to edit them and then to be done with them. I find that if I don't set deadlines for myself, I will endlessly tinker with something. Conversely, it helps to have myself on a schedule. I'm forcing myself to steadily edit my work. I'm not letting myself slack. Too often with writers and artists, we go through manic creative spats and then doldrums. It's not healthy and doesn't make our work better. A lot of writing books (like Bird by Bird) recommend writing every day, especially the days you don't want to, to make you a better writer. It's the same with editing. Edit steadily, and the editing gets done. It's as simple as that, but sometimes the simplest edicts are the toughest to follow. That's why I'm posting the stories in a blog.

That doesn't mean I had all this stuff planned out when it WAS written. Unicorn Bait was written mainly during Nanowrimo a few years back. I'm doing some serious overhauling of the plot now, and the reason I'm having to do this overhauling is because how the story began is not how it ended. Plot twists that cropped up at the end have to be hinted at or at least made believable. I couldn't do that if I were posting all of this as it were written. And I think the story would be less if I were posting it as it were written.

I'm not sure if I could write something by the seat of my pants, as wincing.at.light describes his process. My first drafts are just too mangled.

4 comments :

Eli James said...

I tried your way at first, and then when it didn't work out I started writing by the seat of my pants. I've found this to be an entirely personal thing: you either tango with one, or the other.

PS: I can't for the life of me imagine the discipline it takes to do written planning ... which is why I admire the people who do.

Windvein said...

Eli,

I don't know if I'm a planner. I'm more an obsessive editor. Something has to be passed over several times before posting, and even then, I'm not always completely satisfied. I've gone back into SM a few times to tweak stuff, though nothing too major. I can't imagine posting while writing. It seems far too bold for me.

I'm trying to be a better planner, but the sequel of SM is kicking my butt. I have all these lovely flash cards written up with notes and plot things, but there are gaps, and no matter how hard I stare at a blank notecard, nothing comes to me. I've started writing and hope the nasty gaps get filled as the actual story is written. But not until it is finished will I post it.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if this comment thing will work, but I can't figure out how else to get a hold of you. Anyways someone said that SM should be longer, well fooey to them. I'm a fan of shorter stories, the kind found in magazines and anthologies (the great pulp paperbacks from the 60s and 70s come to mind) I like how everything is packed in at a nice pace and the story naturally flows. Don't clutter your style!

Windvein said...

Comment worked fine and thank you. SM is really lean as in no fat on its bones, but I made everything so tight, I can't fathom where to add stuff. I guess that's the joy of the sequel. It will give me a chance to explore more with these characters.

Thank you for commenting!