Friday, May 7, 2010

Pre-Writing

I'm not one of those I've got to get my 1,000 words down today! type of writers.  You won't find me working on more than one book at a time either.  When I commit to something, it consumes every part of my creativity.  Even blogging becomes a challenge when I'm working on something I love.

And right now?  I've got something I really like in the pipes.

At first, I knocked out 80 pages, like it was nothing.  Turns out, nothing is exactly what those pages happened to be.  The voice was wrong.  The story kind of meandered all over the place.  I wasn't sure who the main character was. 

So I trashed them.  And I cried.  Gnashing of teeth, that whole bit.

Since that time, I've slowed down a lot.  As I said above, I've never been a conventional writer.  I work in furious two week spurts, finishing a draft quickly once I've got the voice in my head.  After that, I jump right back in without any time off and do a quick re-read where I re-write as I'm reading, making changes as I see them in real time.

But most of all, I take a lot of time to just think about my story.  I turn it over in my head, think of funny situations - the major points in the plot.  I try and get an idea of who the character is, how he'd react in a given situation.  This type of wondering surrounds my brain for weeks, even months, at a time. 

For a long time, I was envious of the people who meticulously plotted out their stories.  Those who had complete genealogies of every character in their book.  Of course, anybody who constructed their own language was mocked without pity.  Obviously.

Like many of my writing quirks, I've come to learn that this is just a part of my process.  And more so - it seriously shapes how my characters turn out and how I'm able to jump into their particular voice in a matter of seconds during revisions. Maybe I even enjoy this part of writing.  Where everything seems possible, and I get a chance to laugh at jokes that only I've heard.

Okay, I'm off to go play some xbox.  But don't be confused.  It is totally work.  I like to call it pre-writing.

5 comments:

  1. Video games are great for letting your mind float. Or killing time. This sounds a bit like the way I write though I do make a loose, simple outline before vomiting out a first draft. The only problem is that I write way too much and then up editing for length for ages.

    Thanks for the glimpse into your process Bryan.

    Today's guest bloggers are Lisa and Laura Roecker!

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  2. I did a ton of Wii pre-writing today. But, I do like the mulling time. Sometimes too much. I have to make Tina crack the whip and make me sit down to write. I would live in my head for far too long. I've loved Tina's Practice Room blog sessions. Very social after the work gets done. Best of both worlds.

    I love hearing about how non-plotters write. (I'm a pantser). And I only can work on one thing at a time, too. Thanks for letting us get inside your process!

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  3. 一定要保持最佳狀況呦,加油!!!期待你發表的新文章!........................................

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  4. This is my new favorite blog (of the week). Don't even know how I found you. I think someone I was following on Twitter RTed or replied to you or maybe their cousin's boyfriend's dog's overpaid walker's agent posted something on your blog. I don't know. But your posts are brilliant. I laugh, I cry, I learn something new. How could I ask for anything more?

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  5. And I followed Kierah over, so there!

    I refer to what you're talking about as my stewing period. I can never dive into the actual BOOK right away. I usually conceptualize a sort of vague thing that I write on a single side of notebook paper... maybe over the next month or so a scene with trickle out to get a feel for the characters... but it is typically 3-6 months before there has been enough percolating to actually start WRITING the thing.

    After I finished my first book I had a heck of a time getting going on another (because I'd sent my first to readers, so there was no editing to do just yet). I forced out about 12 chapters of something because the book I really WANTED to write would not flow, but about 5 months later, suddenly things tumbled into place and I wrote my second book in just 6 weeks (part of a trilogy, which is now all written, though nothing is edited, yet)

    But thankfully, three different books are stewing. I think I will never be short on material again, as I can alternate between editing and writing.

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