Tuesday, February 9, 2016

On Writing Hangovers and Inspiration

Is there such a thing as a writing hangover?

That's just about the only way to describe how I felt yesterday after spending several hours Sunday with my writer's group, writing. In fact, all the extended writing time meant I actually had to plug in the laptop before it died on me. My phone as well since I was using it for writing music. 

As a result of all that good writing time, I went to bed exhausted then got up with a horrible headache yesterday and it pretty much stayed with me all day despite the Advil influx. Feeling much better today, though.

I did make some serious headway in the rewriting of the current project. Writer's group liked the new scenes I've written for the first quarter and gave me ideas on a few changes that I had already been considering. I've also made the decision to put back some scenes from the middle part that I had previously removed. A few changes will have to be inserted since one of the characters introduced in those scenes has now become part of the heroine's intro.

Now that I know the difference between revisions and editing, I don't feel so bad that I'm making major changes in the beginning of the story. That's what revision is all about. Taking the first, rough draft and making it make sense. Don't know if you've  noticed or not but when you're flying through that first draft, the ideas come so fast and furious that sometimes what you end up with isn't as coherent as it seemed to be as you wrote it.

That's what happens to me. In the effort to not backtrack during draft mode (a thing I don't always manage to resist, by the way), parts of the story tend to shift in ways that require changes in previous scenes. Ideally, those changes shouldn't be too major but rarely do things come up to ideal standards with the barely controlled chaos that comes with writing a first draft - of anything.

While I'm not sure there is such a thing as a writing hangover, I do know that it is entirely possible to be writing for so long that it all suddenly becomes muddled in the head and you really do have to walk away from it for a time before you can go back to it. Getting a fresh perspective is key to getting on with it. 

Then there is the other thing that happens when I've finished one scene and am ready to begin the next one. Unless I've already been mulling a scene over in my head for a day or two, I'm usually sitting there, staring at the screen with nothing in mind. I know where I've been and where I'm headed but for some reason can seem to find the right path to getting there. That's probably where an outline would help, huh? I've always been a pantser but lately have come to see the value of even the roughest outline. 

I suppose what I do in my head for a few days before writing the scene could be called mental outlining. It used to be that if I had an idea and didn't get it down in some way, it became lost in almost the next minute. Not so much anymore. Now I seem to be able to keep that idea rolling around in my mind long enough that by the time I do put words on the screen, very little if any of it is lost. The writing flows almost too easily. My fingers have a hard time keeping up with my mind. That's when writing is fun.

I've probably mentioned this before but part of my writing process when I'm stuck is to play a game on my computer. That keeps the non-creative side of my brain occupied while the creative side works out the scene for me. Did that yesterday and came up with a name for a new character. 

I'm sitting here today, watching the picture screen saver on the big computer while I write this blog post on my laptop. I have now seen a picture that sparked an idea for a new story using the character name I came up with yesterday. I am now considering and planning another story using the same galaxy I've created for my current project. 

I already knew this current project would lead to at least one other book, possibly even a series. There's so much to the main storyline that it could take several books to resolve. Series do seem to be popular. I know I enjoy reading a series since I get to spend more time with characters I've come to love while getting to meet new characters. I'm hoping readers of my stories will feel the same way.

No comments: