Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I'm a Chainer...A Blog Chainer

Since I love to blog, but sometimes I run out of things to talk about (I know, I know, most of you are not simply fascinated by my life! Shocking!), I signed up (at QT, no less) to be part of a blog chain. Check out the other bloggers in the chain. I put their links on my sidebar.

So I guess it's my turn. You can visit the first post in this chain here, and the second post here. The next post can be found here (well, whenever GG posts it, that is). The topic is Writing Methods. Here's my attempt to offer my own methods--but be warned, they are methods of madness. :)

First a brief bio of how I became a writer. I'm sure you'll all read this several times, memorizing every word. Ha, ha!

I've been an avid reader for much of my life. I never gave writing a second thought. It was just something I had to do to pass my English classes. I hated English. I mean, really, really hated it. I took the AP test as a junior in high school just so I wouldn't have to take English anymore. Seriously.

I started writing over Thanksgiving last year, 2007. I thought, "Hmm, maybe I should try this whole writing thing." A month later I had my first novel typed out. It stunk. Really, really bad. But I believed in myself, and decided that my newfound friends--the ones talking to me in my head--deserved to be heard (read) by others. So I joined an online critique group, and the rest is history.

Not that I've published my novel yet. But I'm on my way. Every journey begins with a single step. So now that I've gotten the boring backstory out of the way, here's my writing methods.

I write almost exclusively on the computer. Almost always from 9 or 10 PM until 1 or 2 AM. I have a goal to write 1000 words every single day of the week. Sometimes I write more--a lot more if the voices are talking. I rarely write less. If I don't feel like writing, or the characters aren't telling me the next part of the story, I free write. Every word counts.

Since I have kids, I have to drive them places, wait for them at lessons, etc. I started taking a 6-inch by 9-inch notebook in my purse. I'll write scenes out by hand while I wait. That's my "good" notebook. My "notes" notebook has notes, thoughts, lines of dialog, whatever I think of as I'm driving. Most of it is written sideways in illegible writing, little snippets of thought that I don't want to forget. I hardly ever read it again, but if I don't jot it down, it flies out of my brain and I can't get it back.

The writing is backward because that's how PhotoBooth works. Not that you could read it anyway. This is the beginning of one of my novels. You never know when inspiration is going to strike!

I don't outline. Like ever. I may write a few lines about something I think might come up in the novel later on at the end of the working draft. When I finally get to that part, I delete that paragraph. I have only started a novel at the beginning once, and it was a sequel, so I'm not sure if that counts. The novel I'm currently shredding in crit group, the first scene I wrote is now chapter 30.

Just to recap my Mindless Musings:
1. My goal is to write 1000 words every day.
2. I do most of my writing at night after my life has calmed down.
3. I carry notebooks with me everywhere I go in case inspiration strikes.
4. I don't outline, but I do make rough notes.
5. I believe in myself.

:) There's my post for the chain! Man, I thought I wouldn't have much to say, but I sure can ramble! Tag, Leah, you're it!



Carolyn Kaufman | @CMKaufman said...

Yay! This is a really interesting topic. I wish I could write 1000 words a day. Maybe after I finish editing this novel I should just start something and make myself do that. I have trouble starting (and sticking with) new novels.

You know that sooner or later we're going to have to do a chain where we talk about where we get our ideas.

Kate Karyus Quinn said...

Wow, I am also impressed by the 1,000 words a day. That is a goal I have been recently shooting for and not quite reaching. I also think the fifth point you listed is really important to the process and something that no one else has really touched upon.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful! Well done. 1000 word a day. Good for you.

H. L. Dyer said...

Elana, I love this. :)

Although your reversed picture gave me pause. I can actually write in mirror image about as fast as I can write normally.

I discovered this bizarre talent in junior high school, during a special art history lesson on Da Vinci.

The speaker insisted we all try writing like him to see how difficult it was. I had no problem. That poor lady was stymied. *snort*

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