Does he not shut up?

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Every night, without fail, when I click the Stumble button a few times and after I've cycled past the games and the cat pictures (honestly, how many of those do we need? I have four cats. I don't come online to look at MORE CATS), it brings me to some sort of writing page.

Most of these are harmless and I think little of them one way or the other. Some of them, though, are How To Write More Betterer pages. I don't understand them. I don't agree with them.

Tonight, I found The Snowflake Method.


I briefly considered going through the Snowflake Method bit by bit and taking it apart here, so you would have a long blog post to skip. But then I realized I really hate blogger who quote articles bit by bit just so they can snip at 'em.

So I'll snip at the whole thing. I am so manly.

Folks, you don't have to write a book like this. Your book doesn't have to be written step-by-mother'lovin' step. You don't need to write a one sentence followed by a paragraph followed by a page and so on. You can just meet a character and start writing. You can have a situation, a line of dialog, anything you want and just start writing! Do you like to outline? So just outline what you want to outline, in as garbled a mess as you need to, and then get on with it.

A query letter I got once, through BBT Magazine, had this line toward the bottom: My second novel is currently slated to enter production at the end of next month.

Neat! And I am currently slated to change my pants around the same time! It's not a damn movie. I realize that kid was just trying to sound highly impressive, but it just comes off as silly and lazy.

Writing gets way too high-handed at times. The writers do, I mean. The writing itself fails to care one way or the other. Writers are either plucking their mystical words out of the ether as their ethereal muse guides them along their paths to Byzantium, or else they are acting as though their books are movies, like above.

You can just write. Okay? Nothing more, nothing less, just write. That doesn't mean you have to write by the seat of your pants, because not everyone does that, but good lord. This is writing.

This is storytelling, when you get down to it. We are the descendants of the men who told stories around a campfire, handing them down from generation to generation, and of the women who told their own stories in their own languages that the young men did not know and the old men were too wise to learn. We owe it to each other to tell stories. Not tell each other how we're someday going to tell somebody a story.

It's like dieting by reading a ton of dieting books. You're still getting fatter. This is the same thing. You can outline and plan and prepare all you want, but if you don't get down to it sooner or later and just write, then you're not accomplishing anything. Sooner or later, it goes from planning to stalling. One is useful. The other is fear.

3 Angst(s):

Midnight Muse said...

Wait, what are you saying? Ancient man didn't sit around the campfire, along with his fellow ancient-man story tellers, and stress over how to begin his next tale? He didn't agonize over whether or not he should include a prologue - didn't spend days fussing about the legalities of using Og's real name in retelling Og's fascinating story?

They didn't sit around the campfire and worry about word count, plotting, structure, outline/no outline, or whether or not the story of how Mambutu got his groove back is too controversial for their times?

Say it isn't so!


Pete said...

GROG: You give Grog Og's story, Grog give you clamshell.

OG: What Og do with clamshell?

GROG: Og be real published author.

OG: Og eat that?

GROG: An' Grog put Og's story in words out loud.

OG: Why Og not do that?

GROG: because Grog traditional publisher.

OG thinks about it.

Then, OG KILLS GROG with the leg of a brontosaur.

Ha ha! Of course, this is inaccurate. He probably wouldn't have used a brontosaur leg, for example. Ha ha!

Carrie said...

*shields snowflake charts from Pete's judgemental eyes*


Ok, fine. I agree with you.

I think each writer has to do what works, be it outlining/not, snowflaking/not... or whatever. But honestly, I think the writer's method should come naturally. Sure, play around with snowflakes if you want, but when you sit down to write, really write, you'll lead yourself down the path that works in your own head. And hey, it might be different for different stories.

But geez, don't try 18,037,386,476 different methods, because then all you're doing is trying out methods and not getting any writing done.