Thursday, June 18, 2009

More Advice For Writers

Writing a story is like being a scientific explorer. The early stages of gestation, world-building, plot-noodling and then navigating your first draft are the heady days of discovery. You get to go new places, see new things, and generally, you'll be surprised at what is out there to be found.

And then you have to come out of the wilds, sit down, analyse, and present all your findings in the proper manner for peer review in an academic journal. You're still sifting through and surrounded by the treasures you've brought back, but it isn't the same. You're not out there.

There is a vast difference in the mindframes required to make the most of being an intrepid explorer (first draft), and being an analyst (revisions). They're very different hats.

When wearing the exploration hat, I look like this;

Slack-jawed, vacant-eyed, inert, and lost in the roiling miasma of my inspiration flatulence. I love brainstorming. World-building is a terrible crutch of mine. I get carried away with the shiny, with making things bigger and more ridiculous and fun, because the bigger, more ridiculous and fun the world is, the more interesting it will be to break, and then fix.

I'm supposed to be wearing the analyst hat.

Today, I put the explorer hat on. Not just once, but twice, on two stories that aren't even mine. My head just exploded and I had to thinkthinkthink, and I knew I shouldn't have started that way because I know that's like crack to me, but I did it, and now I'm screwed. I don't want to revise, I want to create! I want to go somewhere new!

But no. I am not bushbashing today. I am treading a known path. With a big stick. And I will not insert any dinosaurs into this short story. No. No I will not. Even if the mental strain required to refrain from doing so will squeeze my brain out through my sinuses. This story requires only a tweaking of balance. Dinosaurs are not tweaking.

Writers, beware. Never lose control of what hat you wear.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous21/6/09 00:56

    Fuck! We're supposed to have hats!

    -- E. Drake