Monday, April 11, 2011

Planning to write

Here are some good places for writing:
On a train.
At the beach.
On a wall (no wall in particular, any wall will do).
Up a tree.
Up a ladder if you're in the city and there aren't any immediately available climbable trees.
On grass, provided the grass is not inside a house.
On a bench (same rule applies).
Beside the water (same rule doesn't apply; baths, showers & even the kitchen sink are all good for this one).

This is how I write: longhand, in almost indecipherable handwriting, with 'x's dotting the 'i's. I write with black ballpoint pens that I buy in Paperchase because they're pretty & colourful on the outside & have floral or butterfly patterns on them, & I can't (or perhaps won't, I'm not sure, I've never tested the theory) write with anything else. I write my thesis notes on a narrow-ruled A4 pad & everything else on a variety of pretty narrow-ruled notebooks. The lines have to be thin & not too dark; grey or blue are best. When it comes to fiction, I write poetry anywhere (on any number of notebooks, alongside my college notes, in my phone, on my skin) & I type stories or novel-bits on Word documents. Until now.

I've been having Writer's Angst about my werewolf book for a while now, so I recently saved everything I had in a folder called "[Instert Name of Novel Here] Draft 10 - Early 2011," (yes, draft ten, I had a hard time believing it myself) & I started the whole thing from the beginning, & I made one of my main characters a girl instead of a boy, & that felt right, so I made her a vampire instead of a werewolf without really realising it & that felt right too, unfortunately, so now it seems I'm doomed to write about vampires in fiction as well as study. Le sigh.

My problem is that I like to plan things. I like to plan & plot & chart & I swear this makes me sound a lot more organised than I am in real life. So when I hit a rut with my werewolf book I continue the plotting of another book I'm working on that's still in the planning stage, & when you stack that up with my thesis whose first chapter is only now nearing the end of the planning stage you're left with a lot of planning.

So last week I turned off my laptop & took a new notebook (from Paperchase, narrow ruled with nice thin lines) & began to write a story with only two settings, four characters & minimal descriptive passages. I haven't & amn't planning ahead other than knowing in the back of my mind more or less where I want the story to go, & I'm not typing a single word of it out on the computer until it's finished. And I have the funny feeling that it'll get finished before any of the others.

What about you, how do you write? Are you a planner or a jumper-into-the-deep-end? What works best for you? Do you type or handwrite? Are you as obsessive as I am about how you write? Please tell me you are, so I don't feel so alone!

Speaking of planning, I think that's why I'm always so bad with blogs. I feel the need to plot & plan everything (seriously, you should see my shopping lists; the one that comes with me to the shop is usually the second or third draft) to the detriment of actually writing it. And I much prefer writing to planning. It's a strange predicament. Anyway, I didn't plot or plan this post at all, which is possibly why it's here. I actually set out to write about Sucker Punch & Buffy the Vampire Slayer but in order to do that I have to plan out what I want to say so I'm just going to go away quietly & compose my thoughts & I'll be back in a couple of days (I get distracted easily, okay?) to write them.