Saturday, January 24, 2009

Writing habits

I wrote a scene today that I felt rather proud of. Of course, it’s still in rough draft format and will need some polishing but that’s part of the beauty. It was remarkable not for its completeness or refined elegance, but for the character interaction and development that took place within it.

I honestly felt like I was outside looking in on my characters interacting with one another as if they had no idea that anything from this world existed. That sounds odd, I know, but it’s the best I can do to explain it. I always enjoy those writing stints where everything just seems to work out and mesh, but I am learning more and more that I need to write even when it feels a bit forced.

The truth is, I can still come up with some decent ideas, even if they don’t seem all that brilliant at the time. Taking a moment or two to analyze the direction the chapter is going every now and again has given me great insight into my story and has allowed me to make some changes here and there that give the plot a little more dimension and clarity.

Throughout this process I’ve been able to avoid a few situations that felt forced and mangled and I’ve changed the order of a few chapters to put the plot development on the right track. I’ve still got some refinement and tweaking to do on Chapter 1, but I’ve done my best to leave it as it is and keep accurate notes on the changes I want to make. I think this is important because it helps me avoid being stuck in an endless loop of refining and rewriting the same material. Besides, who knows what minor details I might think to add in later chapters that will require even more rewrites?

I guess the major benefit to sitting down and thinking about all this is that I’m really starting to develop a system of writing that I can adhere to and use to propel my writing further. And that’s the point of all this, isn’t it: To write more and to write consistently?


Jim Murdoch said...

Yes, it took me a while to realise I had a system. As far as I was concerned I sat down and wrote and if anything I was a bit disparaging of systems but the fact is, and I guess it took three novels for me to realise this, I always work the same way. I wouldn't be so bold as to suggest anyone else work my way, although I have no doubt many do, but I would suggest you go with what feels natural and worry less about sticking a label on it and calling it a system.

Unknown said...

Thanks Jim, I always appreciate your insight. Anything that keeps me writing at this point is a step in the right direction, I think.