I’ve recently, after months spent editing and tweaking my vampire novel, started a new WIP. I felt a bit rusty at first, a bit unsure. I knew I could write books, but actually doing so, letting the story pull me along, was something I hadn’t done for a while. So I started slowly, trying not to force it, trying to remember how it felt to let things just flow instead of agonising over each sentence.
A blogger friend once wrote about there being seasons in writing. A season for editing, a season for planning, a season for writing. This resonated with me (well, not so much the planning part, as I’m a dedicated Pantser, but certainly the rest of it). It seems as though I’ve just come out of a very long season of editing and submitting, the wheel swinging around to writing again. I’m very happy about it.
Another blogger friend said recently, and I’m paraphrasing slightly, that I’m at my best when I’m writing. And maybe she’s right. I certainly enjoy creating – there really is nothing like the fire and excitement of a first draft, when the words just flow from my fingers, the story unfurling in my mind. I tend not to write scenes in any particular order – I just start with an idea and see where it takes me, enjoying the revelations that come with each scene, the puzzle of knitting all the threads together.
Way, way back, at the very beginning of my blogging days, I wrote about unearthing stories. This idea was based upon something Stephen King wrote in ‘On Writing’. He described finding stories as ‘unearthing a fossil,’ and, as soon as I read those words, I could see mine. This is what I wrote back in 2014:
Can still see them, poking out from the forest floor, delicate carapaces of bone or polished wood, it’s hard to tell as I unearth even more of them. One is almost clear of the ground, the story complete, just a bit of polishing required. The others are still offering up new discoveries, new aspects every time I look at them, whether it is a change of only a few words or a whole new idea. But the important thing is that I keep looking at them, keep exploring the angles, the nooks and crevices, until the job is done, the story told.
I’ve unearthed quite a few more since that original post, with five books now published and one more written, but the lovely thing is that I’m still finding them. My new WIP is set on the California coast just near Monterey, and I swear I feel as though I’ve been there just from writing about it; I can almost feel the California sunshine.
That’s the beauty of both reading and writing, I suppose – when this world seems a bit too much, we can escape somewhere else. I’m glad this season has taken me back to California – wonder where it will take me next?
How about you? Do you find your writing also falls into different ‘seasons’? Or do you work on everything at once?
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Love that comparison of digging up fossils.
Thanks, Craig. They do need a helluva lot of polishing, though ;-D
yep all of that rings true; the winter being when i can’t write or edit for whatever reason – everything seems fallow and rather flat and empty. and those story ideas – like a myriad of fungi in the autumn, popping out of the oddest places with their spectacular shapes and colours.
That’s really interesting, Geoff, and beautifully expressed 🙂 I can just see all those wonderfully coloured stories popping up everywhere!
Reblogged this on Sue Vincent's Daily Echo.
Thanks so much for sharing, Sue 🙂
Lovely to see you back, Helen 🙂
Thanks, Sue 🙂 Slowly getting into the swing of it again, but it’s nice to be back. Hope you’re well x
Well and buy with April. We really must make time hough… 😉 x
Glad to hear you’re well and yes, we really must make some time 🙂 Perhaps in May…?
May sounds good 🙂
I do like that metaphor about the fossils.
Thanks so much! It really appealed to me when I first read it 🙂 It’s been interesting hearing from other writers what they think, too.
Reblogged this on anita dawes and jaye marie.
Thanks so much for sharing! 🙂
I wish I could find my seasons. I know you will do well .💜
Thank you, Willow 🙂 And I’m sure you’ll find your seasons, too.
Yes I must just keep searching 💜
I love this way of looking at our modes of working. Nicely put.
Thanks, Sandy 🙂
Identifying with you all the way. My latest comes out this Friday, after months of dedicated editing and getting everything organised for publication. I can’t do more than one thing at a time, and although vague ideas for the next WIP are circulating inside my head, I won’t sit down and make a start until this one is out in the world.
I’ve always been a pantser, but with each subsequent novel in my series, I’ve found the necessity to do more planning, so that’s where I will be going next. I will never be a total planner, but I now have a bunch of threads to draw together from the previous three books, to lead up to the climax of the overall story in book #4, so some planning is essential.
When I’ve done that, I shall start writing again.
As you say, seasons for different aspects of the craft.
Congratulations on your latest book, Deborah! And yes, having a series means even us Pantsers have to do a little bit of planning, I guess. I still find the characters run away with me, though… 🙂
Thank you. And oh yes, characters always insist on doing their own thing, don’t they?
They really do 🙂
I feel like an old fossil sometimes. Lol. Hi Helen, I’m back and I’ve posted a couple of your reviews with more to come: https://authorkevincooper.com/2019/03/20/oak-mist/
Hi Kev! Apologies for the delayed response – I’m away at the moment 🙂 So pleased to see you’re back in blogland, and thank you so much for sharing the reviews 🙂 And haha, I know how you feel…
No worries, Helen. Hope you’re enjoying yourself… That’s the most important thing. Good to see you again. 🙂
I do write “in seasons”. My creativity comes in waves, and when it is high, then it is a writing season. Then there’s a lull. There’s no telling how long and there’s no fighting it. This is how it’s always been for me. I wish I was more creatively flexible–I’d get more done I’m sure.
It’s been fascinating to hear from people how they write, and how their creativity flows. I suppose the thing is that we are all on our own journey as creatives – what may work for one person doesn’t necessarily work for others. I love being in a creative writing season, but appreciate the necessity of having an editing season. I would love to have a ‘being paid lots of money for my writing’ season haha! 🙂
So interesting! I am in my “editing and blogging season” and I find I miss writing. There’s nothing like a new creation. I am encouraged by your idea of different seasons. 🙂
Hi Theresa! Thank you for commenting, and apologies for my delay in responding. I miss writing too, when I’m in an editing season – there’s nothing like the thrill of a new story (which I guess is why we write them). Glad that my ‘seasons’ idea spoke to you 🙂 It’s a nice way to consider the creative process, I think.
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