Friday, January 28, 2011

Writing by the Seat of the Pants

This subject sounds risqué and/or painful. Actually this is the way I write. I put my behind in the chair, my fingers on the keyboard and type as my characters talk to me. Some nights it’s all quiet on the home front, no words come mind, paragraphs are difficult, and it becomes a discouraging situation.

In this case scenario, I find myself standing in front of the refrigerator, door open, checking out something to give me comfort. Lindt chocolate, ice cream, peanut butter, cheese stick, pecans, etc., anything quick and easy. Unfortunately, none of the above items make the words come any faster or easier.

The other night I couldn’t type fast enough. Words sprung to life as my fingers danced across the keys. The story took on a whole different direction and I was loving it. What a different a day/night can make. I felt like Nora Roberts, Clive Cussler, Ernest Hemingway. The novel was brilliant. But of course I had to come back to reality. Editing was involved.

Words can formulate in my mind at the strangest times. Like two weeks ago. I stood in line at Wally World waiting patiently for a little old lady around 90 to extract the exact change from her small snapable coin purse. She was having trouble getting the change out with her arthritic fingers to finish paying the 98 cents. I wanted to shout, “Give her a dollar”, but I was patient and kept my mouth shut. Then the words began, one after the other spilled forth into my memory banks. Beautiful paragraphs to fill the struggling chapter I had been working on. However, my memory banks have a small hole in them, referred to as senior moments. No pencil. No paper. And, the little old lady was still counting, 68, 69, 70. I wanted to pound my head on the basket handle but that would have hurt.

By the time I arrived home, my mind was a blank, no beautiful words, no characters talking, and I felt exhausted. Such is the life of a writer. Why do we continue to write? Because we have to. We are physically and mentally driven. How do we get our inspiration? One word at a time.

So dear readers, I sit in front of the monitor, fingers on the keyboard and prepare to finish the fourth book in the Anderson Chronicles, which finally has a title — TRAILS OF DESTINY.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Miss Bethany Fisackerly won a free book in my Title Contest. Congratulation, Bethany. I know you will enjoy reading James, Standing Tall and Micah’s story in the fall.


Betty Craker Henderson said...

Rats! Didn't you have an old envelope in your purse??? I may not have a notebook (which I should) along but I scribble on ANYTHING and I do mean anything when I think of something out like that! Poor thing, watching those wonderful words floating away. I'm sorry!

Eunice Boeve said...

Oh, boy! Do I indentify with your "seat of the pants" writing. I cannot plan, cannot make outlines. I have to get me a character, a time, a place, and hope something happens. So far, it has. The refrigerator calls me too at times, but usually if I can't get the words to come, the characters to get moving, I get sleepy. Oh so sleepy and sometimes even nod off. So I take a nap. Sometimes if I'm struggling with my writing, I pick a book off my shelves and read at random a few pages and then go back to my story. Usually that works. Also those brilliant passages that come to mind while standing in line, etc. aren't that brilliant when I get them home.

Heidiwriter said...

I'm a "pantser" too. :)
Now you know--carry a small notebook in your purse at all times for "those moments!"

Bethany said...

Wow, thanks Gwen! I just now saw this :) Hope you're feeling better, we missed seeing you Wednesday!