Thursday, November 02, 2006

Is this the write way?

I had an interesting phone call just now which has just obliterated the post that I was going to do. A friend or a friend rang and said "I've just read your book, it's good, how did you write it?". I ummed and ahhed and tried to sound a bit more literary than I was feeling but managed to sidestep her blunt question and move smoothly on to another subject.
Don't get me wrong, I am still high from the other night and could quite possibly rattle on about the story and background until the world stopped spinning. What I wasn't prepared for was the "how".

Looking back the question could be construed in different ways. How did I 'manage' to write it would have been easy and could have been answered in one phrase - stolen time.
I could have also interpreted it as "How the hell did someone like you manage to write a whole book?". Again easy - anyone can write.

So how did I write it? How do I write? How does the idea get itself on to the paper/screen?

Oh dear, this is something that I am not very comfortable with but I suppose it is time to come out of the closet.
When I went on creative writing courses (all for the wrong reasons btw) I found quickly that I didn't fit into the norm. I listened with interest to the tips for avoiding writers block. I listened and made notes about plots and plans. Plans that should stretch across the wall, accompanied with six months worth of research all packed into a neatly labelled lever files for easy reference. Some people planned out the entire novel on rolls of wallpaper and some used colourful post-it notes to map out chapters. Others gathered plots like precious antiques, storing them away for future reference and some made meticulous bullet-pointed lists of motivational cues and complete character breakdowns.
I sat my glasses on the end of my nose and nodded my head in all the right places and all the time I was thinking 'I hope we don't have to show that we know all of this' and my mantra became 'they do it their way and you do it yours'.
I don't really know what right and wrong is, I only know that I don't do it like that.

I write the last sentence first and then work towards it and if I don't use it in the end, then who the fuck cares?
I wouldn't know a plot if it bit me on the ass and planning would take all the excitement out of the next bit which I am usually dying to get to.
We should surely write in the way that is comfortable for us. Am I wrong? Tell me.


Anonymous said...

Well - how did you do it?

Anonymous said...

Just keep doing what you're doing. It works.

Anonymous said...

did a degree in creative writing and I did find a lot of their tips and ideas very useful. I no longer experience writers block and I believe that what i have to say s mportant enough to warrant the words, but then was lucky because not one sngle lecturer told me to plot. Well one did in scriptwriting (actually showed a useful way of plotting out the story) but not in novel writing.

Still, its all for nothing if I havent actually written a book. And I havent. I have so much respect for you for having done so.

Suzan Abrams, email: said...

As time goes on, Minx, from now, you will be asked more difficult & personal questions revolving around your book & your life.
You don't have to answer anything you don't want to & esp. not to a journalist. You can say, "No comment" or "I reserve my comments if it comes to that."
This post makes for pretty good answers all round.
But at the end of the day, if you want to answer just be yourself and speak from the heart.

love always

Debi said...

This is a rhetorical question, right? I mean, you don't really think there's right and wrong ways to do just about anything, do you? (That's a rhetorical question too cos I know you don't.)

It's whatever works for you - and your way obviously DOES work for you cos we're holding the book in our hot little hands to prove it!

Marie said...

I start with an idea and some characters. Then I think of a begiining and an end but I don't like to do much plotting. I find that as I write my story the plot evolves from the characters anyway. I may know what I want the novel to be about but I don't plan too much. I jot down ideas and storylines but most of my writing is done on the screen.

I agree with Debi - whatever works for you.

Unknown said...

Oh Debi, not fair, you know me! Just trying to say that while the rest of the population are casting from the bank, I am bringing the fish home in me teeth! Much more fun, n'cest pas?

jenn said...

No, Minx, I think you're right. I don't follow the rules either... I just sort of let the story flow out of me, then I revise, revise, revise until it all makes sense on paper the way it did in my head... but I have to get it onto paper first.

Saaleha said...

Hey, s'long as you end up with a really good book, it doesn't matter how you got there. And if it's axcellent, then that's a bonus. And I haven't read yours yet, but I'm sure it's great!

Confucious Trevaskis said...

My take on it is.....that you lived IN the book as you were writing............?