Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Good night, inner editor - see you soon

I know some writers who put together their stories line by line, winging it, with no idea where their characters will lead them.

Not me. Maybe it comes from years of working on deadline, but I like to have a plan.

In fact, it may sound boring, but I usually know what will happen in my stories, chapter by chapter, until the very end. Oh, I don't know every sentence and every bit of dialogue, of course, but I have my scenes laid out pretty firmly in my head before my fingers ever hit the keyboard.

But not this week. I'm trying something new. I'm putting away that internal planning guide and starting fresh each night. Will I feel more creative if I start that new chapter without an outline in my head? Or will it overwhelm me? I'll soon find out.

Why mess with my process? Well, in my latest project, I've been finding myself stifled - by silly, stupid things. Was this character a boyfriend or a cop, or both? How did this character get out of jail on a Saturday?

The devil was in the details, and the details were overtaking my plot - and my good sense. So I've decided to put my inner editor to bed for awhile and see what happens.

Wish me luck.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Even if the words won't come . . .

On nights like these, I try to remember what one of my favorite editors used to say: "Even if it's crap, just get it on the page."

Because if it's not on the page, you'll never be able to change it.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Is creativity a muscle or a vessel?

I work with a woman who has a really boring job. It's not a secret. She knows it - we've laughed about several times.

But the other day, we happened to start talking about non-work stuff, and somehow, we got onto a rather impassioned discussion about the book Twilight.

She is an avid fan. My tastes lean a little more toward Sookie Stackhouse and her vampire world.

But during the course of the conversation, she mentioned that she has a fine arts degree. She wanted to be an artist, and on the weekends, she still is very creative. She doesn't mind that her job is boring, she told me. If it wasn't, she'd give away too much creativity to leave any for herself.

I've been thinking about that for awhile. I can't decide if I agree with her. I guess I've always thought of creativity as a muscle that became stronger every time you used it, not as a vessel that you had to worry about emptying.

But I'll admit, when I was a journalist and I wrote and developed stories every day, I was pretty zapped by the weekend. By Saturday, I didn't really feel like writing my own stories. I did, though. And I feel like it made me a better writer.

Now, I'm on on the fence - but I'm still leaning toward my original view.

Any thoughts?