Thursday, January 17, 2008

A New Hypothesis

I've learned a valuable lesson about myself as a writer so far in January 2008. I can't start a story on page one and write to the end. I'm pretty sure it's not possible for me. Yes, I have to plot and know what's happening at the turning points. Yes, I need to know my character arcs BEFORE I reach the end. But where is it written that I MUST start on page one and write the pages consecutively? I tried this one time "back in the day" and I got bored by page 25. I've been writing from page one with Danger and I'm stalled on page 23.

Yet, I've been jotting down notes at all hours of the days and nights on various other parts of the book.

Only now do I realize this idea of writing consecutively from page one is what's been stopping me over the last few days from working ferociously on this manuscript even though I love it. I've always claimed to be a "pantser", one who writes a story by the seat of her pants instead of using an outline, plot or any kind of notes. I've always loved writing scenes as they come to my head, trying to connect them to the story and weaving them all into an un-put-downable book. I'm going back to that method. That's what works for me. That's where the magic of the story happens. It's where my muse and my brain feel free. As we are often told in this business, we need to find what method works for us.

But it's important to remember this is a BUSINESS. So, I'm also going to combine my "write whatever scene I want" method with an approach that will be good for business. This manuscript is the first one I did serious plotting for BEFORE the writing began. I uncovered the internal conflicts of each character, decided what changes they need to go through and have examined what their worst fear is. I've also figured out how I can use those elements to make a killer Big Black Moment and an unforgettable ending. So starting tomorrow and throughout my 3 day weekend, I'll take my outline and write whatever my characters want to tell me. I'll keep the conflicts (internal and external) in mind as I create the scenes that will make an impact with my readers. Maybe then the magic and the muse will break free again. Now is the time to test my new theory. I'll keep you updated throughout the testing phase.

12 comments:

TJBrown said...

good luck with that. I love hearing about the way people write. I am so linear, it isn't funny and I could no more write that way than fly to the moon.
Teri

Nita Wick said...

I'm the same way, Lexi. I have to write whatever scene is in my head at the time. Then I piece them together making certain the plot and character arcs are smooth. :)

I tried doing the "page one to the end" thing on my first book. It took two years to write the first half of the novel. When I decided to change tactics, I wrote the last half in 3 months.

Hope it works for you, too. :)

Cat Schield said...

If a scene jumps out at me, I sit down and write it, no matter where it fits in the book. I'm not always in the mood to write a lovescene. When I am, I do. I've also written the last chapter before I'm half way through if I get a brainstorm for a scene at the end.

This being said, I think writing a synopsis first helps me a lot.

I can't wait to hear how your new process works for you.

Lexi said...

Teri, isn't it wonderful that we all get results with a different method?

Lexi said...

Nita, I'm really hoping that I can whip out my rough draft a lot quicker now since I've pretty much plotted and and sketched the GMC for the characters. As for writing on the fly, I've always done that, just not with all the other ducks in a row.

Lexi said...

Ah, Cat. I hadn't even thought about writing a synopsis first. I don't think I'm ready for that. As for how the process works, you'll definitely hear about it!

Crystal said...

At least your getting everything prioritized and the way you feel comforable doing it hopefully, will make things go more smoothly for you;) Have a wonderful and relaxing 3 days of writing!!

Bailey Stewart said...

You should write the way that works best for you ... and if writing out of sequence is your thing, than do it.

I'm a panster. I don't have an outline, a synopsis or anything except a storyboard for my characters. I don't stop and edit, I just keep going and going and going ...

Lexi said...

Crystal, I've got a good feeling about my process and my upcoming weekend!

Lexi said...

Bailey, I've always been a pantser. The only difference now is I know I HAVE to have the GMC clear in my head if not written out BEFORE I start pantsing! That's tee part that's completely new and being "tested".

Heather said...

I like your plan and hypothesis -- sounds good and solid. Do whatever works for you!

Lexi said...

Gotta find that magic combination, right, Heather?