Saturday, November 05, 2011

The little things

I'm having dongle issues, so I have to rely on dial-up until the new one arrives and it takes an annoying and frustrating amount of time to even log on.

Anyway, I am motoring along with the book - and waiting for the Nano techs to create the word count meter.

I do not plot, so Nano is true pantster writing for me. Sometimes... I hit a road block, which I have currently done. So I've stopped for the day to allow the subconscious to come up with a way through.

It occurs to me that the subconscious is the best tool for completing a task like Nano.

With the rush of the first few days, we manically set fingers to the keyboard and write whatever pops into our head - be it structured by plotting, or free writing - and move on to the next scene. But... our subconscious tells us everything we need to know about the work.

Usually, it is little things, things we don't consider important until much later when we decide we are brilliant. Most of the time, that's absolutely true. We come up with genius phrases, intriguing clues, dynamic characters who start off as total wankers we want to kill.

As we begin the next slog, those 'little things' become important; that wanker of a character suddenly saves the day, or provides an important foil to someone we've created in their place. That genius phrase becomes integral to the overall theme, and that intriguing clue we were so chuffed about... leads absolutely nowhere, but excludes a suspect.

By the end of the first week, a lot of writers have decided, "nah, bored now... oooh, Rage has been released!" And their bright and shiny work remains unfinished. It's a shame. With a little intestinal fortitude and patience, the work could be completed.

There is always time to write. Always. The daily amount of 1667 isn't so much when you're in the depths of action, or conversation or describing an alien world.

The little things we think so unimportant at the beginning are our subconscious giving us the carefully planted clues tocontinue writing and finish the book, even beyond 50,000 words. But it has another name, one that is sometimes derided and disdained as foolish. Pay attention, because it is the reason we write, the reason we go on. It is... the Muse, and one of the most valuable tools in a writer's arsenal.

No comments: