Sunday, November 30, 2008

Patience in you have any?

As of late, I'm discovering a lack of patience when I write, and I'm wondering....where did that come from? You see, I'm the kind of person who savors the writing process....slowly chewing on the words and phrases I create. Yet, recently, I notice how my mind wants to focus on the ending and not on the here and now. It's maddening. I hate it, but can't seem to stop it at times. It's a challenge in discipline to stay with the story, build it step by step, carefully choosing the details, but it is totally necessary. The quality of writing depends on it. I have previously written about impromtu writing. And that is a wonderful exercise to get your creative side flowing. In its place impromptu serves well. But for heaven's sake, that shouldn't mean for you to run a race all the time, ignoring the quality, producing a hodge podge of jumbled words and phrases where even revisions won't save you because it turns out such a mess! When you are creating your "masterpiece", savoring is key. Even if that annoying voice in the back of your mind keeps telling you to hurry up and get to the ending, you should slow down. Enjoy. Savor. In any case, I will continue to try and pace myself, get back to the rhythm I normally keep, and enjoy the process. My writing "sanity" depends on it.
So, what do you think? Do you have patience? Or does that annoying voice sometimes bug you, too? Share your thoughts.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Interesting Site....Do you cluster your ideas?

I came across a site that talks about clustering your thoughts, ideas, etc. It refers to the right brain/left brain concept. When you need to get your creative juices flowing -- there in your right brain -- try clustering the ideas that pop into your head. You can web them -- those words and thoughts -- and then see if that will help you to write about, well, whatever it is your creative side is trying to tell you to write about! Anyway, it's worth a look. So check it out and see what you think. And a Happy Turkey Day to all :-).

Here's the website:

Friday, November 21, 2008

Style and Genre...are you a match?

Many wonderful comments to the previous post gave me the idea for this one. So, thanks to all who blogged!

Descriptive writing and action. They combine in varying amounts to create what the author hopes will be engaging reading. But can we say each genre of reading requires it's own unique formula for writing? Does your particular style of writing, eg. heavy on the action, light on the descriptive, lend itself to a certain genre and therefore "push" you in that direction when writing? Often, mystery and suspense lean toward the action scenes and leave the flowery descriptions out of the picture. Literary works may find description of character, scene, etc. a heavy but necessary component to achieve success. This may sound too black and white, and I recognize that fact. Take a really talented author and no matter what the style, he or she can write whatever he or she may want. But it's an interesting topic. Can your style of writing influence the genre you choose? Share your thoughts.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Description... How much is too much?

Description and Details... I often need to tell my students before, during, and after a writing assignment to include details... supporting details, sensory details, vivid, colorful, meaningful DETAILS! Of course, you need to understand that writing is like a tooth extraction for my wonderful kids. They want to know exactly how many words they need...right down to the last letter. No more, no less. Yet, for those of us who enjoy the written word, we create our beautiful masterpieces with those many, many words and phrases...maybe too many. I was reading in Stephen King's On Writing -- one of my favorite references on the subject -- where he states, "good description usually consists of a few well-chosen details that will stand for everything else" and "that it's as easy to overdescribe as to underdescribe. Probably easier." He continues to explain that what comes into your mind first, what you see first... those details are the most genuine and best to use. He's not big on physical description of characters, but rather description of time and place, i.e. the setting. I agree for the most part. Who cares what kind of handbag and shoes someone is wearing? Unless the shoes are going to be an important clue to a murder, for instance, it's unnecessary. I'd much rather hear about the character's character than the color of his or her hair. And as King puts it, "get on with your main job, which is telling the story" and don't bog down your writing with weighty details that bore your readers.

So, what do you think? Do you agree? What "details" do you tend to include in your writing?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

To Prepare or Not to Prepare....How do you write?

Inspiration versus preparation... It's a quandary for some... If you wait and write after preparing notes, an outline, etc., does it take away that creative spontaneity and leave the writing sterile and cold? Or does preparation keep you organized in thought, preventing your writing from taking a haphazard, frenzied path?

I personally find spontaneity great, but if I am working on a longer project such as a novel, then sooner or later -- and it's probably better to be sooner -- I will feel the need to organize my ideas, make that decision on where I'm going. Of course, then I always change a few details here and there along the way. Heck, I even do that with a simple email, come to think of it.

But let me know what you think... What works for you? Bottom line for me is... I'm at the wheel and that's great no matter what road I drive on!