Saturday, June 7, 2008

Winging It

Yes, I'm late, WAY late, but I've got an excellent excuse!! I'm traveling. I'm in Cinncinati at the moment attending the Lori Foster Author/Reader Get-Together! Having a blast, but I'm exhausted all ready. Anyway, on with the post!

I’m often asked where I get my ideas from. I’m never sure how to answer that question because I really don’t know. Take this post for instance. I don’t have any clear cut idea of what I’m going to end up with here, but as a pantser (someone who writes by the seat of their pants) I just wing it.

What drives me nuts is when I stop being a pantser and I become a plotter (that’s a writer who plots out where they’re going). I become a plotter when I stop typing and reread what I’ve written to ensure I’m coherent with my words. I usually am, coherent that is (although my sanity is another story), but I don’t trust myself to get it right. Thus, I go back and try to edit. But when I do this, the worst happens.

Generally, I stop to edit when I come up with this wonderful line I want to use. I mean it’s sheer poetry, brilliant and worthy of Dickens, Bronte, you name it, it’s awesome. But I’m obsessively compulsive about going back to make sure the damn thing will work with what I’ve written already. I mean you can’t put brilliance on the page if the rest of it is mediocre. So what do I do? I hang onto that line in my head and go back to review my previous words. To quote Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, “Big mistake, Big, HUGE.” BAM I’ve hit a wall because the rest of the damn paragraph looks decent but the problem is, I’ve forgotten that brilliant line I stopped for, just to see if it would fit. ARRRGGGHHH!

Now you’d think I’d learn my lessons, but writers tend to be creatures of habit, and if you (or we) change something on them, we get completely out of sync. I mean we drop off the cliff with blood curdling screams of frustration the whole way down. But I’m determined to learn how to save those brilliant thoughts. Someday I’ll remember to type the damn line out BEFORE I go back and edit.

Of course that means I’ll have to start hiding the bodies of my family as they have this annoying, irritating habit of just walking into my office as if I’m not even involved in writing. Of course that’s the topic of another post. So will someone please remind me of that?

Tell me what drives you nuts?


Susan Kelley said...

I'm a pantster too. I plot mostly in my head and then whatever gets me to that end is what goes on the paper. I understand what you mean about thinking of that great line. I started writing things down in a journal. I sometimes writes words I hear in a movie or newscast and think, 'I am going to use that cool word sometime.'
As far as driving me nuts, well, it's such a short trip to get me there. LOL

Monica Burns said...

Hey Susan, Sorry for the delay in responding. I sure wish I could subscribe to the posts here without making a fricking comment! LOL

I like your idea of writing something down, just one problem, I can't write while I'm driving and I can't write in the shower! LOL