I said I’d walk the Howling Horrors then jump straight back into the story. That didn’t happen. I took my pooches for a stroll through the lovely woodland in where I live, but my keyboard had a little break. The delightful Lady Orchid lives on the route I amble with the animals. I popped in for hot chocolate and a chat that lasted more than a few hours. That’s no bad thing, because enjoying romance and friendship is at least as important as hurling words.
It’s Friday, usually a day of held breath and excitement. Actually, I guess it still is because although I’m client free again (long, boring story that’s not as bad as it sounds), I’ve got the rest of the day to smash my way through some more words. Yes, I’ve had to lower my word count expectations, because writing on the fly is slow, but I’ve also seen some interesting differences between plotting and going organic (I’ve not no love for the term ‘panster’).
My as-yet-unnamed protagonist is a guy (Scav is heroed by a young woman, plus I’m not keen putting a lady through a splatter punk scenario because I couldn’t condone certain behaviour, even in fiction). From one sentence, I know he’s likely to be in his early-to-mid-thirties and knows how to dance fox trot (albeit not very well). He has shaggy black hair and works as a courier. He has also been terrified of caves since childhood.
Although I have some ideas, I don’t know why he has these attributes. They’re the interesting little character quirks that would make a real person interesting and also the kind of minutiae I’d never though of for Mona Kit (hero of Scavenger Hunt). Yes, I can tell you that Mona is a certain height with red hair, that her mother died in a fire and her father is an unknown, but I’d never thought that maybe she learned to toss knives to impress a wasteland guard who absolutely made her knees quiver or that she can’t stand the taste of cranberries because a mean-spirited kid from the shelter fed her the fruit for kicks when she was very young.
In Smith’s writing into the dark, he mentions that plotting comes from the brain’s left hemisphere and in the land of order and logic, the tried and tested are true. I found this interesting because, when plotting, there’s invariably a scene or seventy that are almost carbon copies of previous work. The scenes frustrate the hell out of me and invariably lead me to reach for my Perl IDE and run the programme again. I repeat this process a lot.
The right hemisphere is where the goblins live, stirring their big cauldron of ideas and throwing them willy nilly (sorry, love that phrase) out into the brain. According to Smith, writing into the dark (as he calls it) harnesses the right hemisphere, leading to greater creativity. I’m no neuroscientist, and I only have personal experience to back up his claim, but I can see the next chapter of Working Title in my mind, where things are possibly going to head and how I can dig my protagonist even deeper into the brown and smelly.
Strangely, I can also see exactly where I’d take this had I reached this point on an outline. The story would go in the same tried-and-tested direction that much of my other (unfinished) work has gone and I’d become deflated by the sameness of it all. I’d reach for the IDE and start the process again.
Let me be clear; I’m not saying that writing into the dark is the ‘One True Way’. With everything in life, we’re all our own individual bags of meat. I’ve probably failed as often going organic as I have plotting, it’s just at this point in time going in blind is working for me.
Anyway, I have an empty mug and an unlikable cop to inflict bad things upon. Have a great weekend and I’ll see you on the WordPress.
If writing’s your thing and you enjoy doing it, sit down grab your tools of choice and just crack on and enjoy.