Changing Approaches

I’ve read a lot of articles and blogs by authors who talk about the way that they write or their “method.”  The truth is that there may be as many methods of writing as there are authors, but I’m coming to the conclusion that we need to be open to changing the way that we do things based on our current situation.

My preferred way of writing has been to get up in the morning and write but that isn’t really possible these days because of my schedule.  I have to tuck it in wherever I can, like writing in my head on my drive time then scribbling it down when I get to work.

Also, I prefer to keep taking in information on a topic until I reach a critical mass and start synthesizing it into a new form that will be my novel or short story.  That isn’t working for me right now so I’m planning to start my novel anyway and use Laurel K. Hamilton’s method of writing.  I remember reading an interview with her where she said that she writes along and when she comes to something that needs research she simply inserts something along the lines of [insert info on _____ here] and keeps going.  Sounds like a good way to draft.

At writer’s group last night, one of my fellow writers talked about trying to add to scenes and not getting anywhere so instead he was writing down everything he knew about all his characters and then he would see where that leads.  As he read what he already had, we made suggestions and we could see fireworks going off over his head as he made connections and thought of more.  (Writing as a group jazz improv is really fun, I have to say.)

I think it’s important to be willing to change directions or approaches when you find that what you’ve been doing isn’t working anymore, for one reason or another.  I just got the Scrivener writing software and I plan to do the tutorial for that and see if it opens up a new way of approaching the novel for me.  I might try Jim Butcher’s approach (from his blog) again because I think it might work particularly well for the novelization of Biomalware.

It comes down to this – when what you’re doing isn’t working, try something new because banging your head against the keyboard just turns on sticky keys.