Rhythms of Writing

My first draft writing is a messy process. I know–my DH tells me all the time–that I sound very left-brained about writing. Organized. Logical. Structured.

And I am.

BUT once I have that structure, I’m VERY right-brained.
The Wayfinder by Darcy Pattison
Unexpected. Once I know the direction that I need to go, I don’t mind letting go and doing the unexpected. When I understand the function of a particular scene, then I’m free to be creative about how I accomplish that. One librarian recently told me that The Wayfinder (now available for Kindle, Nook, iPad/iPhone) continually surprised her; the actions/plot took unexpected turns and kept her reading. (WOW! I like THAT librarian.)

I like doing the unexpected and telling the story in a surprising way. I can only do that when I’m structured to an extent.

Uneasy. Sometimes, though, I’m uneasy about a section. Or a quick read by a friend points out a weakness. Then, the process gets very messy. I try writing something, then think, oh, this or that reference book says something about this, so I find the book and read a bit until–something strikes me and I’m off writing again. The rhythms of writing at this point are anything but smooth: staccato, jerky, speeding up or slowing down. I usually find that by the end of the day I’ve solved the problem(s). But I have no idea how I got to that point. It’s an uneasy process sometimes, but it’s the only process I have and I have to trust it.

I like the structure and organization at the beginning of the process, at the beginning of the day. But after I’ve set up the structure, I very much trust the messy right brain to pull through for me.

What does YOUR process look like? Do you organize first, then write messy? Or are you organized all the way? Or messy all the way?

8 responses to “Rhythms of Writing”

  1. I think I’m organized, but it stars not right until I’ve been critiqued, usually more than once. And I like to keep a running outline going so I can see where to swap things to keep the pace right.

  2. I find flashcards with possibilities of what happens next really helps. I just found this strategy and it’s already helped so much!

  3. I’m messy and organized at the same time, but different parts are messy or organized depending on the book. Plus every book I’ve written takes various time periods for drafting and revising, from a few weeks to a few years. I guess it’s like raising children: every child comes with their own personality and quirks and you can’t raise two the same. :-)

  4. OH yeah. Mega messy. Heck, if I can’t think of what color eyes or hair to give one of my characters I just write it with blank lines every time I’m gonna put a characteristic in. Even names. Sometimes I don’t know my character names until halfway through the writing. LOL. So, yeah. I’m pretty messy.

    Then it sits for at least three weeks and I go back. Yep..it’s fun going back to it after it’s simmered a little.

    Fun post. thanks! Have a great day.

  5. Lynn:
    I’m so glad I’m not the only Messy one!
    But, um, I do usually know character’s names up front. LOL

  6. Kimberley, so true. Each book does have its own trajectory. I just wish I could speed up this one!


  7. Oddly enough, I’m using Possibility Flashcards, too.
    Not sure it’s totally working, but it is point out possibilities.