Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The writing curve

Some scattered insights into the writing life ...

Disclaimer:  Today my take on the writing life will be different from yesterday's and from tomorrow's. Transitioning into being published is a shaky learning curve, I've found. I glean what I can from others' experiences, but it's a curve for the most part we seem to have to figure out for ourselves: up, down, slithering about, occasionally knocked sideways.    

First words: I love to write around a rough idea, and let the idea hammer itself into a rough story. Then I love to edit - mending the plot-holes of that rough story, and finding complications which need resolution, and finding the resolutions often more interesting than the original idea, as they turn unexpected corners.

Example:  In my last story a culprit wants to pluck the battery from an iPhone so the phone can't be traced (he is about as savvy about triangulation and tracking as I am). In draft one he sits in his vehicle and pops open the phone to access the battery -- easy. Then I investigated a bit and learned that hell, it's not. In fact opening an iPhone is hardly something a man-of-little-brains can do sitting in his car at the side of the road without his mini screwdriver set handy. So I had him get out of the car in a panic and start smashing the phone with a tire iron instead. This turned out to be illogical and created only more difficulties for the guy, as well as for myself. But illogical and difficult is much more lifelike, isn't it? Sometimes life runs smoothly, for sure, but often it just @#*'g does not.

Process: Like my moods, my process is all over the map, if it can even be called "process". My favourite time to write is in the mornings, but too often something more important crops up, usually around 8 a.m. Then by nighttime I can't think straight and sort of disintegrate in front of the TV. My New Year's resolution to "just make more time to write" turns out to be not scientifically viable. Still, with all that, the books do get written -- how, I'm not sure. It must be a kind of sleep-walking, binge-writing phenomenon.

Stay healthy, and never give up: Like Susan, who wrote about this in yesterday's post, I find getting together with other writers is necessary to my well-being. Sharing didn't seem to matter in the beginning. For years I wrote in my own private world of trial and error (and didn't give up -- there's that message again: don't give up) -- but now that my series is out there, and vulnerable, the company and comfort of a similarly engaged writing friend who gets it is vital to me. Does a non-writing buddy or husband etc. really get the highs and lows of this pursuit? Nope! Can they laugh at writing as hard as we do, or cry about it like babies, as we do? Nope!

So get yourself out there, make friends, and don't give up!
Take me, for example, once simply a mouse, this year I'm a mouse with a Launch of UNDERTOW, a Noir at the Bar reading (thanks for the invite, Dieter!) and Bouchercon to look forward to. 

Hope to see you all here or there...!





  

8 comments:

Art Taylor said...

Hang in there with the sleep-walking and the binge-writing! You can get it all done! :-)

Catriona McPherson said...

Hey, see you at Bcon (by when we'll both be organised and ahead and no longer . . . shehh.)

Cathy Ace said...

Looking forward to Bouchercon :-)

Susan C Shea said...

Looks like we will have critical mass at Bouchercon! And I understand the problem with process - one day it seems as though a new age of self-discipline has begun, the next day, meh.

Dietrich Kalteis said...

Well said, Rachel. Looking forward to seeing you at Noir at the Bar, and yeah, maybe at Bouchercon too.

RJ Harlick said...

I'll see you at Bouchercon too, RM. And I'm with you on the need for writer friends. They are our lifeblood.

Paul D. Marks said...

Love seeing your "process," Rachel. Or should I say processes. And one of the keys, as you say, is definitely stay healthy. Just keep on truckin'.

RM Greenaway said...

Great to hear from all of you! You keep on trucking too, and see you at critical mass in October :)