What if Kurzweil doesn't make it?
What if all the switches get stuck on destroy?
When the shuttle goes, we won't take it
When the final counter-measures are deployed
All we'll have is all this time

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Whatever works, Babe, whatever works

The illustrious ebear is doling out more advice on writing. I agree with her 100% on this one. When somebody tells you that to write you must (write for only two hour a day, writin only in the morning/evening, outline, write in order, do indepth research before writing, create protognists/antagonists that are like..., write a story in order with no flashbacks, use only Word, blah blah blah) they're trying to kill your creativity. If any of those things work for you that's excellent. They may not work for others. Heck, even my golden rule (do NOT twart the will of the characters) doesn't work for everybody (and not everybody gets what I'm saying, some very successful authors claim the characters don't talk to them; mores the pity, IMHO).

Seriously, do whatever works for you to get the words out. It may not make sense in the generation of the work. Don't worry about that, that's what rewrite is for. Heck, some people claim they never have to rewrite (I personally don't believe them). Write however makes sense for you to write.

I'm a seat of the pants writer. I start from Story Bones (just like what I share here) and discover the story as I'm writing it. While I may know where I'm going before I end a story, I hardly every know where I'm going when I start. Hell, My Favority War Stories was supposed to me mainstream fiction, and it turned into a Lovecraftian Horror piece. Who knew? Well, the Characters new, that's who.


Matt Mitchell said...

One of the first conclusions I finally came to for myself concerning writing is that all the advice in the world is worth its weight in sunshine if it doesn't fit with what you do. Jay Lake says to write a story a week (something I find impossible to do) and I've heard and read other authors offereing a hundred different methods for getting the work done. That in itself should be a lesson: If they all do it so differently, how can you expect yourself, as a writer, to conform to their version of How It's Done?

For myself, I write in spurts. Whichever Story Bone grabs me at that moment I flesh it out--and then rewrite about fifty times (yes! Everybody must rewrite!). I'll keep a project sitting for months without even looking at it, and then one night it'll grab me and I'll finish it in two hours. Example given: The Ghost of Tom Johns, which will appear in Down in the Cellar in '08, sat for two years as a few opening paragraphs with no real direction. I wrote it one night because it caught me right, and the third market I submitted it to snapped it up.

Steve Buchheit said...

Matt, exactly. I also write sort of like that. I've got lots of little ideas, and eventually one will take off like those water-game races at carnivals, evenutally one of the stories figures out how to put water in the clowns mouth and that horse takes off like a shot. Once that's done I'm back to the horse race.

I kow other people that would go mad with such a process.

Camille Alexa said...

I totally agree. Write what you write how you write. It's the only way.

Camille Alexa said...

Not to say it's not okay to try new things! I've tried many different things in writing (as in all other aspects of life), and found which ones seem to work better in one way or another. I'm still experimenting (may I never stop!).

Steve Buchheit said...

Camille, oh certainly. Jim C. Hines recently posted about trying to sell a new novel before having written it, which is new for him. And I most assuredly write novels differently than short stories.