Tuesday, July 07, 2009

“Make Me Live!” he said.

By Darvell Hunt

“I don’t want to write this story until I know more about the plot, or the characters, or what color of clothes the sidekick likes to wear on Tuesdays.”

I say things like this all the time. To my credit, I often write very quickly when I finally force myself to get to the computer and bring up MS Word. By the time I start to write, I really do know the plot and characters, because I have thought about them so much.

Unfortunately, it’s quite difficult for me to tell when that time arrives. When does planning and plotting become simple procrastination?

I’m not sure I know the answer to that question, but I do know that it has happened when I am not yet submitting my next story to an editor because it’s still in my head.

Instead, I find myself on Facebook or eBay or checking online classifieds, or even reading a book or taking a nap on the couch. And, in between doing all of those things, I’m still thinking about my story.

Sometimes I wish my characters would get more impatient with me, tap me on the shoulder, and say, “Hey! Make me live! And do it NOW!”

“OK, OK!” I say. “I will! But first, I need to mow the lawn....”


L.T. Elliot said...

I've been pondering this same thing about myself lately. I swear, I've just been waiting for your post, Darvell. I need to get my butt in gear...

David J. West said...

This is not a dig it's just something that hit me between the eyes and made me think I gotta just do it and it is true.

Steven Pressfield, from the War of Art.

There's a secret that real writers know that wannabe writers don't and the secret is this: it's not the writing part that's hard. What's hard is sitting down to write.
What keeps us from sitting down is Resistance.

He goes on about how resistance stop's us from doing what we know we need to do and it has to be overcome - so don't wait for the characters, Darvell-You tell them its time to get on the page. I need to remind myself of this all the time-Pressfield is right resistance is evil.

Cheri Chesley said...

There's the other side of this, too, Darvell. I did have a character yelling in my head to get in gear and write the story. I wrote 10K words in 2 days just to shut him up.

Molly in the Jello Belt said...

That's the truth! Recently, I'm finding that I don't know much about my characters until I put them down on paper. I'll have ideas in my head, and they change a lot as I start writing. So I've learned not to think so much, but just start writing.

Evelyn Curtis said...

Ha ha ha, this post makes me laugh, because it is exactly how I am right now. Your list of being on facebook, other internet things, taking a nap, or everything that is not writing is where I am too. It is easy to get in that rut. I suppose I wait around for the moment of inspiration to come, and it doesn't, until I actually set the time aside to force it out.

Thanks for the post. It is nice to know that I am not alone! Good luck!

Darvell Hunt said...

Thanks for the comments, everyone.

I've written a LOT over the years so far (around 10 novels maybe? I've lost count) so I DO consider myself a writer, but I sometimes get stuck in "non-writing" mode, even tho I'm always thinking about my stories.

I was just trying to be truthful with my experienes. I'm glad I'm not alone in my procrastination. Woe is us!

To my credit, last night I got back to my most recent work and began editing again. I need to add a few things to my mostly-finished manuscript, and then I feel it's about ready to send out.

Get off that couch, get off facebook, and WRITE! LOL. That's what I'm telling myself, anyway.

Thanks, everybody.