The Writing Process

I hope everyone will forgive me for another post on the writing process, but I’ve had two bouts with coming up with ideas for one of my WIPs in two different ways recently, and I found the contrast interesting.  I had to set aside the draft of a novel a while back because it had become such a tangle of characters wandering aimlessly across the pages that it depressed me just to look at it.  Finally, a few days back I set aside my laptop and started scribbling notes on a piece of scrap paper (I really ought to get a monogrammed moleskin notebook or something), starting with the things I knew I wanted to keep and sort of making a run at developing an actual plot for future events.  I don’t know why pen and paper works better for this sort of thing than typing, but it sort of worked.

It left me with quite a few holes, though, but today I think I used my other favorite method for coming up with ideas to largely fill them in and make a few connections.  My best state of mind for this sort of thing, even better than the state of mind I’m in when driving or waking far from any recording media, is sort of half-asleep.  So whenever I find myself awake in the middle of the night or something I now try to turn my thoughts to whatever writing problem I have.  Then I fall asleep and dream about something completely unrelated.  Luckily, my dogs are there to help me out.  Come six AM or so on a typical weekend, the dogs, who, you see, weren’t up until all hours writing fiction or query letters are rarin’ to go (I will pause here for twenty seconds for any agents who read this to make various jokes about query letters that appear to have been written by family pets)

Ha!  Most amusing.  Anyway, my point was that the dogs are of the opinion that I should get up at pretty much the same time on the weekend as I would if I were going to work, and make this opinion known by wandering around and poking me with wet noses and so on.  I can sometimes buy some time by letting them outside and staggering back to bed, but they generally spot a deer or something and start barking/baying their fool heads off, so I have to bring them back in to avoid neighborhood lynch mobs.  Then they settle in to wait patiently for breakfast for about three minutes before beginning to wander around making ominous noises of the sort I associate with eating inappropriate things or climbing on forbidden furniture before falling suspiciously silent.  This cycle repeats for a while as I lie in bed, keeping me nicely at that half-asleep state for quite some time, and sometimes allowing ideas to pop into my head.

~ by smwilliams on June 14, 2011.