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As an aspiring writer, I blog about whatever happens to move me at the moment -- though some posts contain serious content, my big-picture goal is to bring a little humor into an often humorless world! Welcome, y'all, and make yourself at home! Please make sure you update your bookmarks!

When you are offended at any man's fault, turn to yourself and study your own failings. Then you will forget your anger...Epictetus

Saturday, May 30, 2009

I write because I...have to...

It's always interesting to me to read about how authors write. Do they need complete silence? Do they write in the morning? In the evening? Anytime? Do they set aside a time where no one is allowed to bother them? And, do they write quickly? Or do they agonize over every word? The thing is most authors, on their blogs and websites, don't really go into that much -- maybe they think nobody would be interested but they're wrong.

I always like to point out that I'm not published -- I don't know if I have the fire under me to attempt it -- I've made a few stabs at it -- but I do write. For me, writing is fun and, quite honestly, if I thought I had to write in order to pay the bills, I'm afraid the muse would go running off, screaming like a banshee. But I'm sure there are some writers who work well under pressure. I would not be one of them.

Anyway, I thought I'd discuss my writing habits...

First of all, I always have story ideas swirling around in my head -- it just all depends on which one gels as to what I end up writing at any given time. Why one thing is ready while something else isn't, I don't know -- sometimes it's the less clear story which demands to be written, while the more thought-out one has to languish awhile longer. Sometimes something inspires me -- sometimes it's a favorite actor who I can imagine in the "role" of the main character. Sometimes it's another book I've read which sparks or re-ignites a plot in my own head. Sometimes it's just something which pops up unbidden. Either way, once those voices start talking, I have to listen. It's as if they are in my ear, saying, "Hey, Lynn, write this down!"

I've always claimed that my characters name themselves and the novel creates its own title. I can't explain that but it happens all the time. Once, a character took the name of another character in another story -- and I had to ask Character #1 to rename himself when it came his turn to be written. He obliged very nicely -- and it wasn't until later than I realized he'd chosen a name which could be shortened to the nickname which Character #2 had stolen. So, Nick was happy and so was Dominic. I was thrilled that they all could share my head and get along.

There are other strange things that happen. I've written sentences or paragraphs which really didn't seem necessary but then, chapters later, something happened which referred directly back to that. I've also written scenes where I stare at the computer and ask a character, "What are you doing? What do you want?" because I've just written something that I have no idea where it's going. I've also written things where I sit back and shake my head and say, "I didn't know that."

As far as when I write -- anytime I feel like it and when I can. Where -- could do it anywhere I have computer access. Don't need quiet but can write in silence. Can also write when there's a lot of noise. If the muse is speaking, she doesn't care what's going on around her.

I'm also a "bang out the chapters" type. My first draft is always quick and easy -- it's bare bones but gets all the major plot points and specific lines down. It's when I go back later to edit, that the details come out -- as does the throwing out and adding in. It can be a hard process but, for me, it's actually when I feel the most creative.

I've seen myself get better at writing over the years. At this point, I've written ten novels or novellas. I can see the improvements I've made over time -- all the things I've learned to do and, more importantly, not to do. I've tried very hard to break bad habits -- I still make those mistakes but I've learned to catch them -- often in the the editing process. I'm not saying I'm a great or even good writer -- but I think I have improved.

I love all my characters but some more than others. I've had peripheral characters which have become favorites. And main characters which have changed their personality on me. I've had characters say, "I'm not saying that, get her to say it..." I've had characters I thought were bad turn out to be good. And I've had more than one announce that they are, in fact, gay.

Well, okay, whatevah.

It's an odd world to inhabit and if you could get inside of my head, it would probably scare you. Scares me because, half the time, I like it in there much better than out here.


  1. Great post! I'm like you, I write because I have to. Stories and ideas are always bumping around inside my head and I have to get them out on paper. Although I do use the computer for much of my writing, I don't let the computer stifle me. I write EVERYWHERE - waiting in traffic, in doctor's offices, at the store, in parking lots - I always have a notebook with me.

    I'm not a very disciplined writer, and sometimes I'll be working on one story and another one will demand attention. It's like your kids fighting - the squeaky wheel gets the attention.

    Just as a point of reference for you, even though I have you blogrolled on my writing blog, I found this post faster because you posted the link on FaceBook. I've started to get more traffic on my blogs by posting certain links - FaceBook is taking over the world!

  2. I'm not disciplined either -- which may be one of my problems with pursuing getting published -- though it works fine with the writing part. I do, on occasion, jot down notes if I'm not near a typewriter but the heavy-duty writing always takes place on the computer -- I really need to be able to get it down as fast as I think it so computing works very well for me -- sometimes I actually type faster than I think! LOL!!

    I'm still trying to get used to Facebook -- there are some things which are useful about it but there are others that make me go, huh!

    Anyway, I actually did the "import blog" thing but then had second thought and discontinued it -- not sure if I'd want all my blog stuff on Facebook!!