Monday, May 28, 2018

A Real Rushed Post from a Real Rushed Mary

A post by Mary Fan
Hey everyone! Happy Memorial Day! My apologies for totally spacing on this week's post... I'm
afraid I have nothing Memorial Day appropriate to say, so I'll just ramble about writing stuff instead.

Last time I was on here, I blogged about how I'd committed to so many writing projects that I had to resort to using a spreadsheet to keep track of it all. Since then, I've decided that even if I can keep up (which I'm starting to wonder about), it might behoove me to step back and breathe a little. So I've decided that after I finish my next manuscript (which is due to my novel critique group in August... and I have exactly 1000 words so far), I'm going to build in at least one day a week where I do absolutely nothing writing related. No drafting, no editing, no formatting... nothin'. Sounds like it shouldn't be hard, but weirdly it's hard to commit to... Have you ever had to slow yourself down and say "whoa whoa, hold your horses"?

On a separate topic, I've noticed lately that my writing style has been evolving. I used to think that I had My Method and that it would apply to everything I ever wrote. The Method was: come up with plot concept. Populate plot with characters. Create encyclopedia-type notes document for world-building. Then proceed to obsessively outline the book until I have a detailed chapter-by-chapter outline (some of which have been over 10,000 words long).

The last book I wrote, I tried to do an outline and kept getting stuck at the halfway point, so I pantsed it. Just sat down and wrote with no idea what would happen in each chapter until after I'd written it. The book before that, I had a skeletal outline, but I barely followed it (so in my view, I pantsed the whole thing). Now the latest book I'm working on is a mystery with lots of suspects and twists, so I felt like I had to have detailed notes on what was what. But still, I got stuck at a certain point. So I've just started writing, and I guess when I get to the point where I got stuck, I'll pants it again.

I have no idea why my writing style changed so drastically. Maybe it's because before, I was more afraid of blank pages and needed as many pre-writing-type docs as I could summon to metaphorically hold my hand. Or maybe it's because experience has showed me how often I deviate from the outlines anyway. I've no clue.

So next time someone says or tweets something like "THIS IS THE ONLY WAY TO DO WRITING", stick two middle fingers in the air and walk away, because clearly that's not true. Writing methods can vary person to person, and apparently sometimes within a person.

Have you ever found that your writing method changed?


Kimberly G. Giarratano said...

You do you, Mare.

Cheryl Oreglia said...

Yes, and sometimes it makes my head spin. Just when I think I have a good rhythm going, something changes, and poof I'm off in a new direction. I think there just might be a fleet of writers tucked in the back of my mind. As if Sybil, I have no idea who will come out and play.

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