Wednesday, June 08, 2005

How We Work

Cat Fisher

I don't know a single writer who is so set in her ways that she will never try anything different. This is especially true when an author starts out on a new project that is unlike most of what she may have already written.

A couple years ago I wrote a book called Muse. It is a comedic mystery novel, and this presented problems for my less than logical brain processes. I had to work out the clues, the answers, the steps... not just an outline of events, which I often do, but a new approach to the 'why' questions of the book. The hows, and wheres, and what really happened....

I think I did a good job. The book has only been out once in submission (my bad) and I was told that the writing was excellent but the start too slow. I've been editing that opening again and trying to interject a little more excitement into those few moments when my MC realizes he's stuck in the middle of nowhere with a dead car and a massive storm blowing in around him.

I had never written anything like Muse before. I hope to write more like it again.

But (getting back to the topic at hand) it was not at all like writing, say, Glory. Glory is a near future, post apocalyptic fantasy novel. It's almost the world as we know it. You can recognize our world, but things have changed. The events are straightforward, the enemy clear from the opening. Different approach. Far different work in research.

There is more to writing than sitting down and doing the writing itself. We all know it. Ideas, approach, research, editing, market research, editing some more...

I think this is one of the great things about writing, in fact. There is no 'sameness' to it. What I do today is not the same as what I will do tomorrow.

It's a great life!


Nonny said...

OK, that is one frickin' awesome picture. :)

I've run into writers before that have insisted they don't want to try something different, even when what they're doing obviously isn't working for them. That said, usually they change their minds after awhile and experiment.

IMO, experimentation is a key part of writing ... because if you only do the same thing, you never challenge yourself, you never learn, you never grow. Stagnance is akin to death for a writer; sure, some of the BNA's can get away with doing the same damn thing, but they've already got a base readership, and not all of 'em last long for doing it.

Personally, if I do the same thing all the time, I get bored. It's why I play in different genres. There are some things about my writing that are similar ... I'm fond of romantic subplots, twisty plots, and dark mood/atmosphere/themes. Usually those will turn up in my fiction in one form or another, but they're elements of a story that cross genre barriers. And they'll be different depending on which genre I'm writing in.

Whew. Got lengthy there. :P

Carter said...

Very cool picture! I guess you realize, though, that you just lost all chance of having RWA or any of its chapters link to you.

If you're not trying new things as a writer, you aren't learning anything. If you aren't learning, then where's the fun? What's the point? It's sure not the money.

Zette said...

Hadn't thought about the picture and RWA. LOL!