Friday, February 05, 2010

Do we really change our process?

I'm starting a new book. I'm always excited at this stage of the process, eager to start my new shiny idea, intoxicated by the possibilities and the idea of getting words on the screen takes precedence over all other non-essential parts of my life.

I'm so eager, I've written the first thirty pages without knowing where the book goes, what happens through the middle, and, this is rare for me, even the ending.

I tell myself those first few chapters give me a handle on the characters, start me thinking about them and their backgrounds, and why they do what they do.
But really, those pages are about my own excitement. I always do this, start a book without really thinking it through and then, moaning and groaning, end up re-writing the beginning over and over.

And during the re-write of each book, and this includes the one I just finished, I promise, the next time, I'm going to think it through, plan it out, create white boards, character notes, backgrounds, work the plot back from the beginning, and then, and only then, will I start writing.

So this time, maybe not at the very beginning, but soon, very soon, I'm going to create a white board, and really, absolutely, 100% create a fluid plan for this book.


Karen W said...

Good luck with that. I say the exact same thing every time. And like you, I wrote 30 pages and now I'm having to take the time to go back and figure things out. And I'll rewrite. And rewrite. Sigh.

Off topic - Do I want to go see Bon Jovi?

Maureen McGowan said...

I'm starting to think that writing the first chapter and getting it wrong is part of my brainstorming process. Even if I think I've thought things out, I can't really see the problems until I start writing.

And Karen? Do what you have to do re: Bon Jovi :-) Me? I've never seen the appeal.

Eileen said...

Yes and no.

I think, over time, we refine our process. We are who we are and our brains work the way they work. I am not a particularly linear thinker and yet a novel kind of requires that. I used to write a bunch of different scenes and then link them up. This resulted in a sort episodic quality that I didn't like. I still can't always write a book from beginning to end, but I come closer and have learned how to connect the scenes up so they feel like a more organic process.

Molly O'Keefe said...

you and I share the same white board plan - I think my white board dreams are due to a belief that if I did this whole writing thing differently - I would manage it better because my process seems so hectic - so nail-bitingly worrisome. And a whiteboard, you see, will fix that.

But I think your excitement for the idea is better than any whiteboard. Go with excitement, it will serve you better.

Karen - hell yes you want to see Bon Jovi!

Stephanie Doyle said...

White board... not going to happen. Clipping things out of articles that are the essense of my character... not going to happen. Typing up an interview with my character... not going to happen.

I used to think it was becuase I was lazy. But now I know - I just don't need the formality to write my books. For I have to sit and write and go with it. Some stuff will work, some won't. Hopefully I catch the junk.

Karen - "Shot through the heart and you're to blame... Darlin' you give love a bad name!"

Nuff said.

Maureen McGowan said...

Karen, clearly you can take Molly and Stephanie with you to see Bon Jovi. I'll stay home. ;)

Sinead M said...

I'm with Maureen on the Bon Jovi thing, I do not understand the appeal..

The white board is sort of a sexy concept to me... I suspect the actual creation of it will not be sexy in any way..

Alli said...

I am with Stephanie re: the process and Bon Jovi. Although I'm a late convert to Mr BJ (when I saw a doco with his wife and kids and the happy families they portrayed - it appeared real - then I was converted). Sad that the bad guys don't appeal to me as much anymore... oh, I'm getting old... where were we? White boards? Nah.

Sue said...

District 9 -- I get that the first 3/4 of the movie was allegorical and it was done brilliantly, but then it became all about his escape and then trying to get the space ship off the ground, and ho hum by that point. The lead was brilliant and the casual abuses by those in power (especially the father in law) were also brilliant, everything else, not so much.

Dahl's books work for me -- totally. Saying you want to have sex with someone and then finding that willing someone isn't that tough, and I don't think that makes it abusive or the person a "user." Just because a person is the initiator of sex doesn't make them a "user."

Sue said...

oops - sorry that should have been with the "hype or buzz" blog

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