I know that’s not how it goes, but hopefully you’ll understand in a minute.
I recently had an interesting conversation with a fellow member of my writers group when he asked me whether I wrote an outline for the story he’s critiquing. I told him I didn’t, and he said he could tell because of an issue he noted. Funny thing is I’ve also noticed the same issue in his outline-driven-writing, so it seems his reasoning is flawed, but I digress. He added that he used to write without an outline, but changed his ways after taking a creative class. To add to this, the other member present shared she always uses outlines too.
Suddenly, I felt like a little mouse. Although, I too had taken a creative class many years ago, it seems my brain has its own agenda when it comes to writing stories.
How can a group full of plotters understand or even grasp this phenomenon that I’m just taking dictation when scenes fly through my mind, unless I can’t get back to a story right away and I don’t want to forget? So, I stay quiet and keep writing.
Isn’t that harder to go back and fix things, some may ask?
Perhaps, but my brain won’t write creatively any other way. There are times I’ve reread scenes and said, “Wow, girl, you wrote this? Cool.” But, there’re other times I’ll say, “Wow, girl, what were you thinking?” I’ve even cross-pollinated characters or characteristics from one story to another. Whether a scene is a keeper or not, I laugh, then tap into the muse to continue or improve upon the story. It’s like an adventure, or like putting a puzzle together to appease my brain’s left side. I’ve given my mind permission to run wild with reckless abandon, until, that is, I have to work at my day job.
Even when my thoughts are caged, the wheel keeps spinning (thus, the reference to the mouse in the title). The characters live their lives, and I struggle to keep up. It becomes even more interesting when two or three stories are nibbling at my right brain space. When I have other work to do, I find I’m yelling at the characters to quiet down for a few hours. Sometimes, they listen, but I can still feel them lurking.
I’m not against plotting. Like I said in a previous post, I plot my technical writing. I would appreciate respect for the direction my creative writing has taken.
Even now, while writing this, I’m doing so without an outline, but I’ll have fixed it up a bit before it hits the blog. All I ask is just a little understanding and less judgment. In the end, though, I’ll need to connect with others like me.