Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Writer's Lag?

Somewhere recently, I either read or heard the following quote. I cannot remember who said it or to what reference it was, but I can so resonate with its premise. I won't get this verbatim, I know, so bear with me. It went something like...

Writing a book is like driving in the dark. I can't see very far in front of me but if I keep moving forward, I'll eventually reach my destination.

Oh, that is so me right now.

Do you find that your projects take on a life of their own? I don't mean characters taking over the story -- oh sure, mine tend to do that from time to time -- but the actual writing process itself?

For instance, the current wip is my 10th full length novel project. By full-length I'm talking category length or longer. I have three published novellas besides the those. As I'm writing this novel, with a projected length of about 70-80,000 words, I've noticed some resistance. Okay, well, perhaps it's more than resistance. Let's just call it full out writer's lag. Kind of like jet lag, you know? When my body comes to a direct and abrupt halt and won't go no further. Well, imagine that with the writing. Complete and abrupt halt. I refuse to call it a block. Maybe just a stall. Lag. Whathaveyou.

Anyhoo, last week it hit me. This book doesn't want to be written like most of the others. Usually, my MO is to write the story front to back, Chapter one, scene one, scene two, scene three, Chapter two, scene one, scene two, scene....

Resistance. This book ain't liking to be written in thataway. I'd written the first three chapters and then the lag. Scenes started coming scattered, begged to be written. Where do they go? Not sure yet. Get it down, save it, plug it in later. Hm. Seems to be working. For this project anyway.

At least I'm laying down fresh copy, right? Getting the story told, correct? Even if it's out of sequence? Okay, my OCD will just have to calm its little frenzied nerves and be done with it.

I refuse to lag any longer. This appears to be working. Huh, who woulda thunk? If this is the way this book wants to be written, then so be it.

Yes, I might know my destination and the path may be uncertain but if I keep moving along, just like driving in the dark, I'll eventually get there. Lags and all.



Devon Matthews said...

Maddie, I do the same thing. I love the plotting and brainstorming stages, then the energy seems to drain when the actual writing begins. I've decided it's because I know what it takes (the work involved and time)to write a full-length novel. So there's a dread factor involved. I know I'm going to have to commit to it totally to get the job done.

When I'm truly stuck, I write a bare skeleton in that spot and move on. But only after I've agonized over it for so long I have to give myself a swift kick.

I love getting those out of sequence scene inspirations. I keep my ms. in one huge doc. so I CAN skip around. Those scenes that pop up usually go down on the page like we're channeling them. That's why I love them. They're pure inspiration. So, go ahead and write them before you lose them. Look at it this way, it's just that much more done on the ms. when you catch up to that place in the story that you've already written.

Whatever works. ;o)

Unknown said...

Maybe sometimes the method of getting from point A to point B has to detour to point C before you can backtrack in your writing travels.

Though the method might change the path, it won't really change the destination. You'll still get where you're headed, but maybe with some detours to more vivid scenic routes along the way that just have to be seen first. ;o)

Sounds like if it's working, it's working. I know you'll be able to tie it down and pin it together, regardless of how the book wants to be written!:o)