Monday, March 24, 2014

Want to be a more productive writer? Put down your crystal ball

     He didn't have it all figured out...
     The words are still echoing in my brain.
     That's basically what my favorite author, Armistead Maupin of  "Tales of the City" fame,  told a packed auditorium about many of the clever plot twists, characters and callbacks scattered throughout his nine book series.   He didn't "plan" them ahead of time.    He just wrote.
     I mean, I knew the early books started as newspaper columns, but come on...
     You really didn't "see' the whole story before you started?  Or at least half?  There are anagrams and intricacies that could only have been achieved by months and months of outlining, right?
     He didn't have it all figured out.
     He just wrote.
     He told the audience that in the
beginning,  his goal was to just stay one step ahead of the readers.  And he found that when he needed to "connect the dots."  They just seemed to be there.
      Really?   What is this?  Magic?
     I like to plan.  Well, I take that back.  I'm not a planner in my day-to-day life --  much to my boyfriend's chagrin.  But when it comes to a writing project,   I can outline like a mutha.   My brain wants every detail spelled out before I start.   Every twist.  Every turn.    I want to be clever.     I want to know that when the heroine wears the blue dress in Episode 3,  it will become a significant plot point in Episode 75 and later how it will appear -- to the audience's surprise --  in the closing shot of the series finale.
     I can easily get caught up, postponing the actual "writing" while I think and over think.
      He didn't have it all figured out. 
      He ... didn't.... have... it ... all ... figured ... out?
      He didn't have it all figured out! 
     ... Whew!  What a relief!
     The Universe knew I needed to hear that.   I needed to be reminded to trust myself enough to just WRITE.    Sometimes you gotta put away the charts and graphs,  the outlines and the formulas and just dive in.
      You can't connect dots that you never actually created.
      I get it.  Loud and clear.
      Will I change my ways completely?
      Well .... let's just say I'm planning on it.

No comments:

Post a Comment