Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Uncovering the Fossil

"The writer's job is to use the tools in his or her toolbox to get as much of each one out of the ground intact as possible. Sometimes the fossil you uncover is small; a seashell. Sometimes it's enormous, a Tyrannosaurus Rex with all those gigantic ribs and grinning teeth. Either way, short story or thousand page whopper of a novel, the techniques of excavation remain basically the same."

--Stephen King 'On Writing' pg 164

I don't plot. I'm not saying I never will in the future, but I don't think it'd pan out too well for me. Everyone who has ever loved my writing has always told me that my best stuff comes when it just...comes. Stephen King mentions that he leans more towards intuition than anything else when it comes to writing.

He and I are completely different genre's of writing (and he still, to date one of my favorite authors)and yet I think any serious writer could benefit from his advice.
I don't like sounding artificial and contrived and trust me, I know when I do even if someone else doesn't pick up on it.

When I pick up my pen and paper every evening I absolutely have NO idea what's going to happen. I have a general feeling for the story as to where I want it to go and even the voice that I'm writing in--but there is a profound beauty in discovering things as your character does.

When you do that, you're uncovering a fossil. Maybe only a little bit at a time, but yeah...there's definitely something under there.


Tess said...

Interesting thoughts. I've done writing both ways - plotting and not. In the end, the plotting was a bugger up front, but ended up being a smoother ride in the middle and end. the non-plotting novel was tons-o-fun at the start but had some gut wrenching, super painful bumps along the way. :D

In the end, I find that a very sketchy plot outline helps me keep focused, but I don't waste time filling it out too much.

Love the fossil analogy!

ElanaJ said...

I am not a plotter. I'm more of what I like to call a thinker. When I can't think of what should come next, I think some more. I rarely know more than a scene or two in advance, although I do have a general overarching plan of where I have to go. But what I have to do to get there? No. Freaking. Clue.

That's what makes it fun. :)

Sun Up said...

Elana...I'm a thinker too. When I get stuck I sit and think until I know where I want to go.

And Tess, I agree..when you don't plot..it's alot of fun..but when you get stuck--honey you are STUCK and it's painful. See my blog post MOMENTS.

Like the both of you, if I have a general idea of where I want the story to go...I'm alright.

Last night a light bulb off...and I cackled...alot. Not pretty.