Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Guess What I Did Today

Another writing day today. Three short stories edited and subbed, then a trip to the gym, and then it was time to think about my new WIP.

I did some more work with the Snowflake Method on Monday. I'd done the first three steps fairly diligently, so I started on step 4, but found myself unable to follow the instructions. I wanted to write more than a paragraph per sentence. Much more. So I did, and found that within a couple of hours I'd sketched out the first half, maybe two-thirds of the book.

Also on Monday, I found myself in a large and seductive branch of Waterstones. I gravitated, as always, to the creative writing section. Did you know I'm a 'how to' writing book addict? I must have read dozens. Thing is, I learn something from each book. I re-read the best ones, too, and learn something new every time. I find them immensely useful if I feel stuck, a few pages of a good one usually gets me going again in no time.

Monday wasn't too bad; I only bought two. One was 'No Plot? No Problem!' by Chris Baty, the founder of NaNoWriMo. I've never done NaNo, but I've followed the progress of those who do, and always find it fascinating. Chris Baty's book is excellent. He argues eloquently in favour of planning - but against overplanning, which he says can block writers. This was really useful for me.

The other book I bought was 'How To Write Science Fiction And Fantasy' by one of my heroes of the genre, Orson Scott Card. I'm halfway through this and it's inspiring.

Some of your answers to the questions in my previous post were also very helpful. Beleaguered Squirrel said 'My current thinking is that it's best to plan a broad outline but avoid getting too mired in detail, which then gives you room to breathe and be inventive within secure boundaries.' SueG, who has tried the Snowflake method, said 'I thought it was helpful, but I had to be very flexible with it. I had to use some bits of the process and not others, I had to be willing to make changes while I was going, etc. And that worked fine.' And Cathy said 'I guess it's a case of playing around to see what works best for you.'

So do you know what I did today? I wrote the first 1000 words of my new WIP! Word meter over on the right, thanks to the lovely Leigh. I thoroughly enjoyed it, too. Such a feeling of satisfaction - not better than chocolate, or sex, or selling a story, but a kind of calm excited completeness that is different from anything else. I hope I can sustain that feeling for a while, although previous experience leads me to suspect that at some point I'll be back here wailing that my story doesn't make sense, the characters are misbehaving, writing books is too hard, and so on. But for now - I'm happy.


HelenMHunt said...

Yey for being happy!

SueG said...

Yes!!!! Interesting how the structure of something like snowflake can release you and get you writing things that might now have come out otherwise. Just like a poetic form -- sometimes when 1 part of your brain is being constrained by a strict form, the other part is let free.

SpiralSkies said...

I'm all in favour of writing making us happy - it's not always that way, is it?!

Sounds as if you're in the groove... I must dig out my Chris Baty book. Ta for the reminder :)

Pat said...

'Did you know I'm a 'how to' writing book addict?'

Yes and you have pointed me in that direction from time to time. The great thing about you is you have not only a voluminous brain but one which can retain and utilise the information. I'm very jealous:)

Carol said...

That is brilliant news!! I hope you can maintain that feeling too....go you!!

C x

Queenie said...

Helen, yey indeed!

SueG, absolutely.

Spiral, no, it's not always that way, so I'm making the most of it.

Pat, thank you! The trouble is, writing books is so complex, and each book so different, that I feel I can never retain quite enough and need to keep reading and learning.

Carol, thank you!

Debs said...

It sounds like you've had a really productive week.

I watched The Book Show last night where Cathy Kelly was saying how she finds the first 30k words incredibly hard to write and mainly feels like she's writing rubbish. It made me feel so much better.

LilyS said...

I shall look out for the first book. I can't see me writing science fiction. I am reading 'Your Writing Coach' by Jurgen Wolff. It's really good.

Anonymous said...


Queenie said...

Debs, I have, and thank you, that's helpful for me, too.

LilyS, ooh, I haven't read that one, I'll see if I can track down a copy.

Hilary, indeed!