Monday, April 18, 2011

A-Z Blog Chain: Off-the-Cuff Writing

Eric wants to know When was the last time you just sat down and started writing, with nothing but a whisper of an idea to guide you? Did you find it easy to do or did you find yourself struggling for a more organized story?

Let me call this off-the-cuff writing so I can combine the blog chain and the A-Z challenge again.

Sometimes I feel that many of my blog posts are off-the-cuff. Actually, thanks to my blog, I can figure out the last time I tried this with fiction: March 9. I came up with a short story idea while I was thinking about the topic, and I started writing it that night. Unfortunately, while the story opening was compelling enough to get me started, I wasn't sure where to take it, so I only wrote a page or less before faltering. The problem is I didn't give the story enough time to marinate in my mind to give me a solution or an ending. I haven't given up on it, and I'd like to get back to it when I finish my current revisions.

Other people on the blog chain have commented that the pantsing method requires many revisions, and I've found that to be my experience too. However, the key is being able to get through the first draft, no matter how messy it is. I've found for me that I need a beginning, an end, and a couple ideas of scenes along the way to get started. I've also found that while I can win NaNoWriMo, my momentum screeches to a halt on December 1st. Maybe I wear out my desire to finish the story by forcing myself to write at such a fast pace.

For more on off-the-cuff writing, check out Kat's and Kate's responses.


Rosalind Adam said...

I use a method called stream of consciousness writing, where you just write without thinking, planning or correcting for 5 minutes. I do this with creative writing groups and sometimes just on my own. It frees up the pen and encourages writers to lose their writing inhibitions.

Michelle H. said...

I never tried the NanoWrimo. I feel writing a novel in a month too time constraining for a pantser like me :)

Eric said...

Michelle H - Nobody says you have to finish the novel in that time. You just have to get the 50K words down. If you need a NaNo buddy to get you going, give me a buzz.

As for the post, this is a great answer. I completely know what you're talking about where you wrote a page or less and then the momentum just fell off. That happens to me a lot. I have found that if I think about an idea for a couple weeks before putting it to paper, I usually have a lot more solidified. Of course, that doesn't qualify for this kind of writing. Probably this stuff only works for short bursts before even us pantsters have to some kind of organized thinking.

Christine Fonseca said...

Can I just tell you who impressed I am that you know the DATE you last did this. LOVE IT!

Anonymous said...

Free writing can certainly get the words flowing...outlining helps keep them heading in a good direction, LOL!

Nice post!

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