I read, recently, on another blog this quote from Picasso "I always do what I cannot do in order that I may learn how to do it." This seems the general motto of NaNoWriMo -- challenge yourself to do what you cannot do, i.e., write a novel in a month. I have heard of some acclaimed novelists who were said to be able to do this [short novels, of course] and produce novels they did not rewrite. I can't remember if those were people who wrote formulaic work like murder mysteries. Such geniuses in music have existed, Mozart was said to be able to write a symphony in a week or two without revision.
I don't expect to write a whole, and certainly not a polished, finished novel in the month of November but I wrote the introductory 1800+ words yesterday and truly enjoyed it I'm a seat-of-the-pants writer. I do not start with a plot or with notes about my characters. I have a very simple plot in my mind: protagonist has a goal, goal seems attainable, complications arise, goal seems unlikely to be attained, goal is attained but probably in a somewhat different manner than was originally envisioned. I'm being very general because I know things will change as I wrote.
Mainly yesterday, and today -- in a few minutes when I go to that file and start writing -- I am setting the physical scenery, and describing the characters. I haven't yet had Liz, the protagonist meet Geneva, who is a sort of antagonist. For me the delight in working from the seat-of-the-pants is discovery as I write. I set it in the part of rural southern Indiana where I grew up. It's a landscape that is easy to write about and enjoyable. The characters are the type of people I have known although none are based on my actual family or people I know. A certain dialect is spoken there that I enjoy using to give flavor to dialog.
Many people doing this exercise [they are all over the world. I haven't looked at the total number, but I'm sure it's on the website] are working more "traditionally" with outlines and laborious notes they made in the last few weeks. Good luck to them. It's a matter of temperament -- and possibly of age and experience. I know words flow easily and I do not have ego issues at stake. This is a story I attempted once possibly twenty years ago, maybe more, I now have a different perspective and more experience so I can write in greater detail. I'm having fun. That's an important factor. I strongly suspect Picasso had fun every time he took up pen or paintbrush, he couldn't have kept going for so long and produced so much art if it weren't a great pleasure.
ELDER MUSIC: Drinking Songs 3 - This Sunday Elder Music column was launched in December of 2008. By May of the following year, one commenter, Peter Tibbles, had added so much knowledge an...
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