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Jay Lake
Date: 2008-01-08 04:23
Subject: [process] "Don't bother me, I'm thinking."
Security: Public
Music:the heater humming
Tags:green, process, writing
I don't like to talk about process while I'm writing. You'll note I've been posting word counts and WIPs. The word counts are primarily for me to be accountable in public — working live, without a net. The WIPs are meant to be fun for you. Process stuff? As I've said before, that's like thinking about gyroscopic precession while riding a bicycle. I don't know about you, but I fall off.

However, I will offer an observation or two here. This very intensive production mode I've been in just lately is new for me. I've always been fast, and I've long been capable of prodigious bursts of output, but now I'm a bit slower and considerably more consistent. But when I'm doing these big days, my brain won't shut off. I have a terrible time getting to sleep, and it almost feels like I'm in an altered state. Which of course makes me wonder if brain imaging studies have been done of writers deeply embedded in their working fugue. In my case, I seriously suspect some different language centers are in play, just as if I were speaking a foreign language. I'd volunteer if someone has the lab and the time.

Anyway, lying awake at night with my brain in gear, things come to me. A week or so ago, I had a conscious insight into what Green is about, thematically. Last night, after I quit writing and went to bed, I had a conscious insight into Green is about, plot-wise. Yes, I know it sounds insane to write 170,000 words then discover the plot, but Fred has been covering my ass quite well. He always does. (Having an outline helps, too.) I don't have much retro-conning to do as a result of this thinking. It's more like discovering the inevitability of the ending inside the gnarled grain of the text.

And I think that's always true of good fiction, or even decent fiction. The nature of the ending is inevitable from the nature of the beginning, but not in an obvious way. It's all about the pacing of the reveal. This is, of course, one of those pieces of writing advice which borders on both profundity and uselessness, but I think it's my shiny for today.

My bicycle awaits.
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S. Boyd Taylor
User: sboydtaylor
Date: 2008-01-08 15:13 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Nice observation about the falling off the bicycle because of thinking about the process. I think I might have done just that.
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Judith Agrathea
User: agrathea
Date: 2008-01-08 18:35 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
It would be very interesting to study the mind of a writer while in the writing fugue. I don't write near as often as I ought, but I have had the same experience when really embedded in a novel. It's definitely an organic process that has the potential to put one into an altered state. Sometimes you discover the story, sometimes the story discovers you, and sometimes it's a little of both. It's always fun for me when a story takes on a life of its own and starts bossing me around.
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jeffsoesbe: vpxi lobsterzilla
User: jeffsoesbe
Date: 2008-01-08 21:06 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:vpxi lobsterzilla
Fred has been covering my ass quite well. He always does.

Fred? Hadn't heard about that before. Is Fred akin to kenscholes's Leroy?

- yeff
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2008-01-09 00:17 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Yes. I believe it's a Damon Knight term, originally.
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