Had a great session with the Unwritten writing group tonight. The next part of the story had been percolating in my mind since the last writing session, so I had a good idea what was going to happen in the ensuing pages of the story, but my character had some other things to talk about first. It wasn’t until the last page or so of writing that I actually got to this part I’d been planning to write.
This is just something that happens with writing, and why I always prefer to have a rough outline and nothing concrete because it can either make it too easy and simplified and not as genuine if you’re forcing your characters to do specific things, or your characters will do their own things and you end up with something totally different.
This then led to a discussion with my friend, Kurt — which is just one reason we have this writing group: so we can bounce off thoughts and ideas, as well as talk about the writing process. I was telling him how when I’m working on the first draft of a project, I try to put absolutely everything I can into it, superfluous details and scenery, extra description, tangents and asides that I’m pretty sure will get cut in the early editing stages of the next draft, but I feel this way I’m not leaving anything out, so that details won’t get missed or possibly forgotten if I don’t put them in in the first draft. I do of course continue to add stuff also in future edits.
But then Kurt talked about his process with his first drafts and how he creates more of a skeleton of a story initially and then in later drafts will add a lot more of the details and scenes and description.
This is just a fascinating reveal on two completely different styles in writing.
Finally, I did somewhat employ Cory Doctorow’s writing “trick.” In his interview he talks about how he stops writing in the middle of a sentence to make sure he’ll be sure to keep writing the next time. While I can’t really make myself do this — I believe I just won’t remember how I was planning to finish the sentence and will just have to write a new one — I did the next best thing with not completing a scene. So when I go back to writing it, I’ll still know what’s going to happen next and be able to keep writing.
And now for some work in progress . . .
I’ll be the first to admit it felt both stupid and embarrassing to be sitting there talking into a microphone for the umpteenth time that month knowing no one was going to say anything back, while other people in the room went about their business, trying their best to ignore me. I’d find myself whispering, trying not to disturb anyone else, and then wonder if maybe someone was listening on the other end of that particular channel and because I whispered, they didn’t hear, so I’d say the same thing again, louder, and then think the guys must think I’m losing it. It was a job you eased yourself into and found your “zone” where you worked best and then you did it, repetitively, over and over, with nothing to show for it.