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Knowing, or not knowing?

Writing is weird. Everyone who does it must have something completely different going on in his or her head. It's a wonder that the result is a product that is uniform enough to be read and understood, even if the interpretations and reactions differ from reader to reader.

I was just reading a blog post at advancedfictionwriting.com that was talking about writing quickly, really quickly. Nanowrimo speed all year long. That appeals to me, because I have more stories in my head than I have time to tell them.

Planning was the key. Because if you knew the story, and the characters, and the arcs, it was quick work to get it all down.

I'm not a particularly quick writer. Now I'm wondering if that's because I usually DON'T know, despite all my best intentions--my outlines, my notes, the Post-Its stuck all over the bedroom door--what's going to happen. Not exactly, anyway.

I often think I know what's going to happen. I sit down to write, and then realize the scene is something else entirely. If it feels good in my gut, I keep it. This tendency of mine means that my outlines and notes are usually useless after I've written the first 5000 words, but I'm OK with that. I'm part of my audience, too. The reason I write is to see what happens next, and there's some point between my brain and the keyboard where the story metamorphoses and becomes something greater than a notion in my head that's accompanied by a couple of hazy mental images.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 14th, 2007 10:16 am (UTC)
See, and if I know what's going to happen I have zero interest in writing it all down. I write it all down in a rush of eagerness to find out what happens next. If I already know, I get bored and the writing becomes work.

Dec. 14th, 2007 03:32 pm (UTC)
I agree, I get bored too if I know what's going to happen. I might "sorta" know, but maybe I don't know exactly how. There has to be some discovery there. That's where the flow comes in, for me.

I guess that doesn't mean that I start with nothing, though. I usually know a direction and a theme and a focus. It's filling in all the details and twists and turns as I write that's the fun part for me.
Dec. 14th, 2007 03:41 pm (UTC)
Oh, yes! I don't start from nothing, I don't think I could. But as I write character driven stories (for the most part) my pre-work falls more into 'make up three or four interesting people, make something odd happen to them and watch what happens'. LOL

Converge and Merge probably would have benefited with me paying a bit more attention to the outline, though -- maybe then it would have been one look like I'd originally planned. Heh!
Dec. 14th, 2007 11:49 am (UTC)
I have a couple different writing modes. One's like yours there, and that's my most common. Another is like byrne's, that's always fun. And my favourite is when I know generally what's happening and am in the perfect groove of the story and I can write and write and write until it ends. Of course, that latter mode leads to not eating, sleeping, cleaning, attending to nothing else but coffee and bathing. :p
Dec. 14th, 2007 03:33 pm (UTC)
*Sigh* I adore that groove that you're talking about. I call it "flow," same thing. Those are the days that I look forward to and fantasize about. I think I'd rather be in writing flow than go to a party or do something decadent.
Dec. 14th, 2007 03:39 pm (UTC)
Me, too. Flow is a good word for it. *sigh* It's better than just about ANYTHING. I swear I'm only in it for that feeling some days... when it ever decides to show up. *hunts it down*
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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