Tuesday, July 18, 2006

My writing process

This post triggered by Nancy's response and questions to a previous post.

She writes:
This begs a question: can/do you push yourself to write when you're *not* in the mood (assuming no deadlines loom over your head), or do you wait until the mood strikes you again? If you push yourself at those times, are you as happy with the finished product as you'd be if you waited for your Muse to visit?

Usually, when I write about my "process", I feel like the biggest goober on the planet.
"Call me Goober."

I always have the intrinsic need to write. And inspiration will hit at the oddest times. A phrase. A song. Anything can and will trigger an idea. The ones I deem worthy of actually writing (not just a literary flash in the pan) I jot down in a notebook.
I will dog-ear the page that I wrote down the title and a brief premise. I will often refer to this notebook when I feel the need to start something different.
Current count is twelve.
This doesn't include:
My Paranormal Series--Nancy, you know which one I'm talking about.
My Guardian Series
The Time Travel Romance
Two Erotic Romance-One Paranormal, One Contemporary
My Torrid Teaser
My sequel to the book that lives with an agent right now.
My Detective Series-partial requested by an agent

Can you feel the ideas pinging in the air? Yeah, me too.

Now. When I sit down to write, I usually have an idea what I'm working on. Some books are a struggle. These are the ones where I started out at ninety miles an hour and then hit the sagging middle. Btw, the absolute most horrific part for me to write. Ack.
OEE-at the agent's-I wrote in one month. From April 4 to May 4. That was as smooth as honey. Flowed right from the fingertips. And the whole story was like that. *bowing to the literary gods*
I'm making myself finish the Teaser because I cannot stand to have something so close to being finished without just damn doing it. This is humorous because I have an Erotic Romance that is approximately 30,000 words finished. But the story is writing itself in my head right now. Not ready for fingertips, believe me.
Which brings me to my subconscious. Others may call it a Muse. To me, a Muse is: any of the nine sister goddesses in Greek mythology presiding over song and poetry and the arts and sciences 2 : a source of inspiration ; especially : a guiding genius

My Muse is a collection of my synapses that party hearty. And every once in awhile, if I'm very good, I get an invite to the party. That's when the real fun begins. Could be an all-day invite. Could be a weeklong writingfest. It just differs. But if they're not feeling it, neither am I. On the days that they feel like being exclusive, and I NEED to write, I bang on the door until they let me in.

If I self-impose a deadline, I will make it. Come hell, high water, or natural disaster. I will not miss a deadline. Barring that, I write what most appeals to me at the time.
Back to my subconsciousness. Stories brew in my wee cranium non-stop. And until the right combination is found, I let them brew. When I get the "click", the RIGHTNESS, of the plot and premise, then I write.
I like to have all my elements lined up. What's the black moment? Conflict? Villain? Turning point?
When all the literary elements converge, I do the happy dance. It's as if someone lifted the blinders, and I have the "go ahead" I was waiting for. I've written 70,000 word stories IN MY HEAD. I do not use character sheets. Or plotting devices. Or anything else. The characters exist for me. I can describe their houses. The clothes. The pets. They are as real to me as the people I work with. I jot. Names of characters. Basic plot. And that's it.
Since there are so many different stories to write, I am never at a loss for something to work on.
As far as deadlines go, my Guardian series is contracted. But I'm working out my heroine and guardian in my head right now. I wake up to the thought of their interactions. Plot. And black moment. I'm building the hero's family in my head. I'm plotting. I'm pondering the setting. I let these elements knit themselves until I have what I need.

Do I force myself to write? If I have a deadline, then yes. I will sit in the chair and stare into space until I feel I have the words I need. If I feel the words suck swampwater...I'll wait until something better comes along. And yes. There will always be something better. Something that fits what I want. It just takes a bit of music and staring to find it. (For me)
I absolutely loathe having to rip up what I've just laid down. Case in point...I was going to call this post "A fork in the road" because my second Teaser story is not headed in the direction I want. Therefore I'll have to cut the last couple hundred words and take it in a new direction. This, to me, is the height of irritation. I want it right the first time. And if not right, then damn close.
Now I'll have to run the characters in reverse, rather like rewinding film, until I reach the point where I feel I veered off into undesirable territory. Lights, camera, action. I begin again.

I've never really laid this bare for anyone. (I'm feeling rather occupationally naked)
I usually sum it up quickly with a "I write what tickles my fancy at the time."
But an honest question deserves an honest answer. And this is mine.
Hope it helps.
I'm off to rip a bit of the Teaser and make it right.


Tempest Knight said...

I call my muses the bitches because they hit me with ideas at the oddest times, when I can't sit and write at all. Last night, as I turn off the light and lay down in bed, they bitch-slapped me with this idea for a 3rd. wereanimal story. I had full scenes dancing on the edge of my sleep. The worst was the Morpheus's power was stronger so I fell asleep. This morning I tried to remember some of the things but nothing... Grrr...

chryscat said...

I understand completely. I've tried a mini-recorder by the side of my bed. A notebook. Anything to capture those moments of sunshine and light where the info spills through the cracks.
When I can't grasp the info the next morning...it's often referred to as "hell on earth."

Tori Lennox said...

"Call me Goober."

Not that it has anything to do with this, but there's a wide-spot-in-the-road town in our area called Goobertown. *g*

When (thinking positively here) I eventually have a contract, I'm going to have trouble getting over my "don't write when I'm braindead" style.

chryscat said...

Tori: *laughing* You'll do JUST fine. Really.
It'll only be a shifting of paradigms. Good for ya. *wink*

Bryan said...

Now is not a good time for me to read about how other people have success... I laugh at success... I embrace my block... I'm having the time of my life this week, no matter how miserable I seem to the rest of you. I'm going back in my cave now. I'll be good. I promise.

chryscat said...

Mr. Bryan: I don't know whether to snicker or hug you.
*snicker* *hug*
There. I feel better.
Go back to that cave. Be good. And I'll see you later.

Michelle said...

I'm very disciplined when I have a publisher request...it's when I don't that I tend to slack off. Bad Michelle! Bad, bad!

Rene said...

Well, Goober, I don't have a process. And by not having a process, I have a process. I've been churning out the pages lately and I wanted to think it was a renewed dedication to my craft. But I think my "lifestyle change" has more to do with it. If I'm involved in my writing, I can't think about food. It is easier to eat grapes at the keyboard than nachos.

Everyday is a new day with me and my writing. Sometimes I will push myself to write if I'm not in the mood and whammo, the words start flowing.

Rene said...

BTW, should I change your name on my blogroll to Goober?

chryscat said...

Michelle: Well, sure. Between that and the glorious stay at anonymous resorts. sheesh
Rene: Okay, you snarky heifer. LMAO
Changing my name on the blogroll is definitely unnecessary.
Way to go on the writing!