Thursday, December 16, 2010

What Have I Been Up To, You Ask

I ask myself the same thing.

You may recall a few weeks ago, while on my exercycle watching the TCM series about moguls and movie stars, I was inspired by one of the names I heard. In spite of my commitment to being retired, I couldn't shake off the idea. I woke up thinking about it, played with it during the day, and tried not to think about it when I went to bed at night.

A couple of weeks after I got the idea, I made up a chapter outline.

(I'm not worried that this could be regarded as a spoiler because my handwriting is so bad not even I can read it. And I've changed some stuff. Those numbers on top are my effort to estimate the length of the book [15 pages times 13 chapters]).

But no matter how much I loved the idea (and I did and I do with an unhealthy passion), I couldn't make myself sit down and start writing. You know,Page One Chapter One. That sort of writing.

So I've been letting myself write sections of it instead, scenes I've been fixated on, hoping to get them out of my system. I figured if I enjoyed writing the scenes enough, at some point I'd write Chapter One and all that, and slot the previously written scenes in.

I may still do that. I'm writing more and more scenes. I'm even rewriting some of the material, as my mind plays around with the plot. My guess is I've written 30, maybe 35 pages. No Chapter One yet, or Two or Three. Not even the end of the book, which I know pretty much word for word.

I've never written a book this way before, so I'm not sure I really am writing this one now. Maybe I'll lose interest and never get around to the disciplined writing of Chapter One, Chapter Two. Or maybe I'll decide that much as I love the story, it is a little on the crazy side, and best left in the privacy of my own computer.

But meantime I keep writing and exploring and playing with the story. If this is what retirement will be like, I kind of enjoy it!


Friendly Neighbourhood Bookseller said...

I sometimes write that way. It's a lot of fun to start with. Not so much when you have to go back and fill in...I'm glad you're enjoying it and I look forward to a new book from you in a couple of years. :}

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Good chilly morning Friendly Neighbourhood Bookseller (well, it's chilly here)-

I can't guarantee any new book for you to read in 2 years, since I can't guarantee I'll actually finish writing this thing, and I certainly can't guarantee that anyone will publish it.

On the other hand, I'm about to start cleaning my apartment, and at least it should keep my mind occupied while I dust and vacuum!

Friendly Neighbourhood Bookseller said...

It's certainly chilly here, too - winds from the Arctic, they're telling us! I'd believe it, too, it's icy out here.

I'm glad you're enjoying writing it, at least. Have fun!

Wanda Vaughn said...

That's an odd way to write a best seller, dear author.

I know what you mean about just having fun with it. I used a few years of NaNoWriMo experimenting with writing techniques.

One year I just sat down and wrote by the seat of my pants - even I wasn't exactly sure what was going to happen from writing session to session.

One year I wrote the ending, then went and planned the story out backwards.

Another year I wrote chapter outlines on note cards. That was the most boring for me.

Mostly I just start with Chapter One. It seems to work best for me. How much planning I use after that just depends.

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hello again to Friendly Neighbourhood Bookseller and good evening to Wanda Vaughn-

Everyone has different styles of writing, but what I'm doing now is an approach I've never taken before.

But what the hey. I'm having fun, and since there are no expectations, having fun is the way to go!