Anonymity and Creativity

So I just started a new novel today. No idea where it’s going to go, I have no plot ideas, I’m just pantsing.

Anyway, so I’m writing randomly, and apparently one of my characters now is a wise old dad who has a daughter, I’ve named her Sabre because that popped in my head and I’m like, hey, sure, sounds good (I think I was penduluming between Sabre and Sabra, but chose Sabre, sounds cooler, like Sabre Dance). So the dad drops this jewel of a quote, and I think I agree with it:

Anonymity is the stuff of creativity.

And I think I agree on one level with him, because when you’re not afraid of backlash, you’re more open and feel freer to explore things.

What do you think?




Writer’s Block?

I’m ill.

“What are you ill with?” you might ask.

And I would respond this way: “With writer’s block.” Yes, I have that dreaded affliction tonight.

But it’s not writer’s block-writer’s block. It’s one of those pesky forms of writer’s block that isn’t really writer’s block, but you don’t know what else to call it, so you give it the grand and horrific (and quire frankly, dramatic) title: writer’s block.

You see, I was just sitting before my computer, writing away. My keyboard was clinking and clanking, the scene was unfolding, and I even had an idea for what should happen in the next scene. And, the current scene even had a twist! A twist that I didn’t even see coming!

“What is your problem, then?” you might say with a confused look.

I would respond in this manner: “I don’t know.”

Because truly, I don’t know what the matter is. I just know there is something the matter. It’s not that the scene doesn’t make sense, or the twist is too twisty.

Actually, I think I know what the matter is  now, at least somewhat:

The story is going on and on, and I don’t think it has direction. I mean, there are these two princes, one is ill, and the other is now apparently locked up in some dungeon (I don’t plot, I just write, so I’m usually surprised by what happens to my dear characters). And there’s something about this thing called the Soul Vine. And there are these people called the Rogues. There’s even a witch. And a dragon. And Monks. And swords. And magicians. And snake charmers. And…and…and…

There’s just too much, and now the block is that I don’t know what to do with everything. It’s like being in the sea, and you’re just riding a wave, having fun, everything is grand, and sunny, and beautiful and relaxing. And then there’s a pretty little fish coming near your feet. And then another. And then another. And you’re all like, “OH! How beautiful. Look at their colorful little bodies, and their lovely black stripes! Oh my, I can watch them come near my red-painted toenails all day!”

But then another one pops on by, and then before you know it, there’s a school of fish swimming around you. Which is all fine and dandy at first, until the school grows larger and they start spinning around you faster, and now you don’t know what to do, because you’re stuck in the middle of brightly colored, striped fish, and it feels like you’re watching a herd of running zebras, and it’s dizzying. Plus, the waves of the sea are trying to carry you off, and the fish keep following, most likely attracted to your colorful toes.

So that’s my dilemma.

Ever have that dilemma? How’d you resolve it? Did you resolve it? How do you not even get into that dilemma, because to know how to avoid the problem is so much easier than to know how to fix it.

Are you a panster or a plotter?

If you write, you would have inevitably come across two major writing styles.

Either you plan until you’ve got a lot of plot. Or you write in a creative heat by the seat of your pants. You are either a plotter or a panster.

I’m a panster, so I can tell you more about that. When I write, I usually have an idea, something basic, maybe a character or a world, but usually some element that I can work with. Maybe it’s half a logline–whatever.

So I sit down to my computer or pull out a notebook and pen–and I start writing. I don’t worry about where the story is going to go (well, I do, but I try to let go of the worry knowing that it will all work out in the end), I don’t worry about how the characters are going to react. I just write. I’m like the little secretary hunched over her keyboard. I just do what I’m told–what the characters tell me to do, really.

I guess I’m their slave. But I don’t mind so much. It’s kinda fun (until you have to start editing. But that’s another story).

A plotter on the other hand well, plots. They outline, diagram, have a list of characters, maybe a map drawn up of their world, things like that. They’re in control of the story, how the story is going to go, how characters are going to act. Of course, they’re not completely rigid, but certainly a bit more, shall we say, organized than a panster.

Other writers are a bit of both–they have some plot, but they also make it up as they go along. Neither technique is better than the other: it’s what works for you. In the end, it’s the story that matters. The process of creating it isn’t the most important thing (you can argue that it is, but I won’t argue that right now), the end result is what your reader/publisher/agent/maybe nobody will read. So use whatever technique works best for you.

So…which are you?