When I write I tend to just grab on to an idea and let it take me where it wants to go. It’s how I’ve always written. When I took creative writing classes in college I always chomped at the bit when they forced us to go through the process of outlines and character sketches, ad nauseum. I always did everything they wanted and then the night before the assignment I would conceive and write a completely different story from the one we had spent weeks working on. And I always got an A.
When I became serious about my writing this year, my first story was mapped out meticulously. The story crashed and burned as the characters came to life and my three protagonists had zero chemistry. I abandoned that for a story I dreamt. That became The Last Guardian. My notes were scarce and rarely did I know what was going to happen until it did. While it allowed me to complete the novel, I’m not satisfied that the story works. I’ve been trying to toe the middle ground with Jak and the Giants – I’ve been setting up guideposts along the way…major plot points that Jak and his minions have to hit. The rest I’m leaving up to them. Last night I had a really wonderful session where I “figured out” how part one is going to go. (I figured out that my story works in three distinct sections).
I don’t know how that made much to do with anything, but I feel much more confident going forward that I have a solid and entertaining story, and that I’ve left more than enough room for Jak to explore and run off the rails a little bit if he wants.
I’ve also been inspired to give writing free hand a shot. I have terrible handwriting that only my mother and I can read. My teachers in high school and college were thankful I knew how to type so that they didn’t have to read my writing and I often had to fight my teachers because they would mark answers wrong that were right simply because they couldn’t read them. So I’ve always been a typist. I type very fast but lately I’ve felt that my speed typing keeps me from really being able to think about what I’m writing. I’ve been pushing myself so hard to get quantity out that I may be losing some quality.
I ordered a Cross Century II, couple of nibs of various width and a couple of different inks (Noodlers Polar Black came highly recommended as did one from Levenger). Being a lefty I wanted to make sure that I had a fine nib and a medium nib and a couple of inks to see which one would smear the least. I don’t write in that crampy, crabby left-handed pose, but prefer to attack it head on and drag my fist right through what I’ve just written.
I’m going to give myself permission to take my time and make every word count and see what happens. I personally think I’ll grow terribly frustrated at first, but will warm up to it later. I’ll keep you up.
Word of the Day: Sinister