Saturday, May 23, 2015

Throw out the rules when you're writing

This isn't exactly hard for me as I, in general, am not so great at following 'the rules' unless I want to. Who makes up these rules anyway? Who gives them the right to say, to do so? Do these people follow their own rules? For all those questions alone, I pretty much do what the fuck I want. I'm not a bitch-unless someone makes me-about it. I'm kind to small children, animals, and stupid people (but not ignorant). I don't attempt to be obnoxious but I also don't apologize for it either. 

Here's the problem with the rules when it comes to writing, writing is hard enough to do without adding all this bullshit of not writing a particular way-first, second, or third person or using particular words, no prologues and if you are dumb enough to do a prologue then you need an epilogue, no adverbs, don't open with weather, and a half ton of other bullshit. Yes, bullshit. All those rules-fuck'em. 

Write the damn story, don't stop to fix your switch from first to second or find another word to take the place of the fucking adverb. If your main characters meet cute in the down pour of a sudden spring deluge that has trapped them in a bus stop enclosure then fucking go with it. Get it out, all of it, the scenes that have been wandering around as you found the time before you could sit down, the snatch of dialogue that seemed so important it repeated as if on a reel and you just had to write it down. Ignore the rules, ignore the fact that the scene feels clunky even as you write it-write it anyway. 

My stories writes themselves and most stories do. While I often have a large part of the story in my mind before I sit down that just means I already know what I'm supposed to be typing when I get to that scene. Three times I've started in third person because I've been told over and over books are better in third person. My main character said- fuck that, this is my story and I've telling it my way. I do not argue with my characters because then they get bitchy and stop talking to me. Because I'm not completely in driver's seat for the most part the story, even if it has already run through my mind at least twice before I sit down to write because if I sit down too soon it just disappears like a mirage. I can kind of remember what it looked like but not always what it sounded like and duplicating, not gonna happen. 

I've heard other writers use the same expression, 'vomiting the first draft' and as gross as it sounds that's pretty much it. You have all this stuff you have to get out and it comes out this formless mass that you really just want to toss in the trash but you can't. There's this wonderful, horrifying, tear-inducing thing called revision. That's where you take that mass and try to make it into something solid. That's where you figure out that you might have wanted to be first person but all these other characters are talking so nope it's third, Well fuck, if you don't add a five page prologue you'll waste forty pages on backstory for all these characters and no you don't need an epilogue because everyone but the lone good guy came out alive. The adverb thing, don't even get me started on the adverb thing. Does it look and sound good? Do you have the abilities to write a better sentence without it? Okay fine do it but don't for a second think that the use of an adverb will have your reader tossing it and moving onto the next book because it just plain doesn't fucking make a difference. My one word of caution is, moderation. In a fifty thousand word story about a hundred or so adverbs won't make the slightest fucking difference. Ten adverbs for every one hundred words-pull out a thesaurus and look at the structure of your sentence. 

I rewrite at least three times. I vomit, throw myself onto my bed and weep from relief in a little ball. I try to let the story sit for a day or two, wait you forgot that scene, where did that scene come from and does it make sense that it's there? Then I go back and edit as I write, add the scene, cut a scene, add the multitude of dropped words and on and on. Then pretty quickly I print it out. Oh fucking shit, it's worse then I thought it was. My red pen bleeds then I go back to the computer and fix the stuff I found. Now it's more or less jello but still moving around too much. Then I print it out again and here's the part that can be most annoying. I use the find feature and type in- that, and, just, and but. Those words *sigh* I use them like I'm paying for words and they are only a penny. I do the find on the computer and write down the number at the top and then my goal is to cut that in half and the others by at least a hundred times. After that it's back to the computer. 

Writing is hard and there are no fucking short cuts to completing something that isn't shit. I have honestly thought in the past few months that I wish I could be happier doing something else that wasn't so hard. But there isn't, even if I didn't write the stories they would still come and make me crazy until I wrote them down. Yet, when I'm done, when I feel like I got it right all the tears, doubt, and frustration is completely worth it. 

In the past I've said rules are for people who need to be told what to do and how to do it. There's no paint by the numbers in writing. It's a blank page and you fill it with a story. 

No comments:

Post a Comment