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Thursday, January 12, 2006


I've been taking a look at the blogs I like to read, and probably 90% of them are writers blogs. I think part of this interest is that they're generally well written. I did a surf around the blogosphere shortly after I started this one up and found so many horrendous ones, that it kept me from doing that again. Misspelled words, abbreviated words until I thought I was reading an incredibly long Prince song title, and entries full of profanity that were of little interest to me. Don't get me wrong. I'm not averse to swearing or hard language. You should have heard me yesterday on the commute home--especially when I had to brake after I'd been cut off for the third time on the freeway. It's just that these blogs had no substance behind the words. It seemed to be done merely for shock value and nothing else.

Writers blogs are also interesting to me because I like to see how other writers work. This sometimes leaves me thinking, OMG, I must be doing something wrong, but then I remind myself that every author works differently. That's one of the reasons why I don't talk much about how I write. I don't want anyone else thinking OMG, I must be doing it wrong.

Back when I was in junior high, and first decided I wanted to be a writer, I went to the library and checked out half a gazillion books on it. I don't know if it was just my lucky day or what, but every book was written by some plotter-type writer. They were talking about 3x5 index cards and bulletin boards and moving the cards around until the story fit, and a host of other (IMO) anal things that must be done before writing. I tried. I still have the pack of damn index cards that I bought. And it took all the joy out of writing away from me. I actually hated something I once loved, but these books all said (or at least implied) that the only way to be a successful writer was to follow their method.

Fortunately, I had an epiphany. I realized that I would never write again if I was required to do all this plotting crap. So I threw the index cards in a drawer and decided (probably at the ripe age of fifteen) that I was going to do it my way and have fun. That if I had to do the plotting stuff to get published and this meant it would never happen, well, so be it.

So after my horrendous experience that nearly stopped me from writing, I tend not to talk about how I work because I never want to drive another writer to the point I was at. Besides, since I'm largely a seat of the pants writer with a little framework around me, my process tends to be summed up with: "I just sit down and write." :-)

I do know that I'm very character driven. One of my writing buddies and I were talking about how stories come to us. She gets a plot idea first and then finds characters that would be the most impacted by that story. Me? Characters come in and start talking to me. I have no clue who they are or what their general story is until they start talking to me. Sometimes I don't know anything that's going to happen in the book at all beyond the setup scene.

Like when Ryne (heroine in the WIP) came in. She talked and talked about her people. (She's from a society of magic users.) I didn't know anything about her, not even her name, that came later. I didn't know her story either--not at first. My fun comes not so much from the actual writing, but from unfolding the story and the characters, watching them change and grow, and then make it to their HEA.

There are probably writers everywhere shuddering over my method. Fair enough. Just remember to do whatever works and ignore anyone who says their way is the "right" way.