Saturday, August 4, 2007

Top 5

Top 5 reasons I’m possessed to pound on the keyboard or, as it’s known in polite circles, why I write:

5) I can’t stand the voices in my head anymore – best way to silence chatty characters is type them on page.

4) I miss my characters and their shenanigans and/or adventures. I have characters who know how to pilot planes, sail boats, shoot guns, design buildings, paint beautiful landscapes, practice law, run multi-million dollar businesses – nope, I can’t do any of those things, but it certainly is fun going along for the ride with my characters.

3) I might earn some money from doing this. *GRIN* Okay, not much, but I can buy dinner at Sonic.

2) I can’t wait to find out what happens at the end of the story. No, I don’t plot all the way to the end. It’s too much fun to discover how the ‘happily ever-after’ works out.

1) Top reason I write, to delivery another story, in which one reader (more would be nice, but I can live with one) tells me, ‘This story kept me up all night. I couldn’t put it down. Couldn’t wait to find out what happened.’

What did I discover in compiling this list?

That I’m selfish. Uh-oh, not a great character trait, but a true one.

This process of writing is a solitary task. Not exactly the whole single-soul-locked-away-in-the-desolate-tower-until-the-writing-is-done, but it does feel like that at times. When there’s nothing but the blank computer screen, hands posed over the keyboard, and NOTHING in the brain, it can feel extraordinarily desolate.

So, do writers ever use outside help?

Sure. There are plotting sessions – my critique partners and I call them ‘plot-luck’ dinners. If my brain needs to work then food should be involved. Writers also use CPs or critique partners who ask tough plot questions, push for deeper character motivation, and overall better writing. Many writers use a BETA reader (someone totally not involved in the writing industry, but who loves to read – and will read the finished work just for fun). However, those persons claimed, the actual process of birthing words on paper, the creating of characters, building worlds, designing the perfect paragraph, well, that’s all solitary, lonely and oftentimes relentless in order to reach the end.

Maybe it’s not strange, after all, that my motivations for writing are so selfish. If I wasn’t motivated internally, what the psyche books refer to as ‘a real self-starter’ then I doubt I would ever have finished the first manuscript, much less five.

Okay, when there are a thousand great books to read, movies to see, things to do with family and friends, what motivates you to plunk in the chair and stay there until the writing is finished?

2 comments:

Maureen McGowan said...

I love the term plot-luck dinners. Sounds a bit like drunk writer talk, but with more food and less booze. :-)

L.A. Mitchell said...

When it's going well? (And this is totally self-absorbed) To reread what came the day before, since once it's gone, it's truly out of my head. I'm actually looking for the "Wow, that's good"s but sometimes stumble across the real stinkers. Then, I'm geographically in the right place, so I add. I also have daily, weekly and goals tied to page number benchmarks.

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