Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Write-ousness


From my theme calendar -- for the month marked "Courage."


Through all those steps in producing a story, when do you feel most like a writer?

One could break the stages down:

1. the idea -- the sudden, blazing, Eureka! moment when the thin, scattered filaments arc into light.

2. planning, outlining -- the people and the plot. A gleeful, hand-rubbing process.

3. research -- landscapes, weapons, history, occupations, whatever appropriate to your new world. Question marks dance a pavane. Tongue semi-permanent at the side of your mouth.

4. nailing that opening scene -- ramming down the gas pedal.

5. writing -- just writing. Twisting the plot, choke-holding skittish characters. (And feverishly clicking on word count.)

6. writing -- when the words flow like sweet water.

7. typing The End. -- Did it! Done! High fives of elation w/self!

8. revision -- the re-arranging of scenes, the pouncing on plot holes, the typos and the clumsy grammar. Fly-swatter time. (Sometimes you feel like the fly.)

9. the mechanics of submission -- the split of personalities. You become a salesman and a much lesser god without the law. The MS ceases being sentient and crawls into a box.

10. receiving an acceptance -- personalities re-unite.

11. seeing the story in print -- fondling may ensue.

12. the ancillory/appendix stuff -- like reviews, interviews, book signings etc. The Outside World intrudes. You're not sure you recognize yourself but it's interesting.


I would have to say I felt most like a writer -- A Real Writer -- when I was damnnear stuck somewhere between the 17,000 and 22,000 word mark. Made myself sit in front of the computer and grimly pound. Much like a 13 K route march in full kit. Every. Single. Day. Managed a paltry 200 words a session -- on good days.

But. I felt like a Writer.

When -- at what part of the process -- do you feel most like a Real Writer?

Please:
Dear Moonrat invited me to guest blog at Editorial Ass for her Celebrate Reading Month series. My post went up last night. Please visit. You'll see some familiar names, like Chris and Cindy and Ello, and you'll discover new names and new books.

49 comments:

kmfrontain said...

I feel like a writer the second I get to work on my own stories (says tired editor). It doesn't matter what aspect I work on, just that it's mine.

spyscribbler said...

Only number 6. That's it! That's the only time I feel like a writer. Which means the rest of the time, man, I don't know. Drives me mad.

And number 6 only blesses me a couple days a month.

Rick said...

I'll feel like a real writer when I make a real sale. Within that limit, I feel most writerlike when I come up with something that works well - a passage that does what I want in the immediate situation and also moves the plot ball forward, or a sneaky way to get background in without an obvious infodump, etc.

I guess that's also #6. Of course, half these triumphs will end up having to be taken out and shot come revision time.

writtenwyrdd said...

It varies. That Woot! moment arrives for many reasons, like having an idea flash that solves a problem, like when you reread and think I'm a freaking genius! or when you get that initial and wondrous idea for the story itself.

Lots of moments.

BernardL said...

I feel most like a writer when all the threads of plot, seemingly unrelated, flow together, sharpening the vague picture I had from the beginning.

laughingwolf said...

for me, it's when i hit the last 'period' in the last sentence

it starts with the 'concept', feels good when it all 'flows' from my pounding on the keys, but once 'done', as in 'first draft', i feel justified

Whirlochre said...

For me, its when all the perhapses unite into a workable because; when isolated shreds of character, plot and fancy bind themselves together in a moment and you realise you've passed beyond the stage of processing memories or stereotypes or empty description and spawned something that now lollops awkwardly around the house of its own accord, bawling FEED ME.

strugglingwriter said...

I feel like a real writer when I actually finish something and my story is in the hands of a reader. There's few better drugs in the world than hearing that someone has read one of your stories and it affected them.

Robyn said...

Number six. But I always get caught on number 9. My personality won't split.

Demon Hunter said...

I honestly feel like a writer all the time, even when I'm frustrated. :*)

Bernita said...

These are wonderful perceptual moments!

pjd said...

Like writtenwyrdd, for me it's the a-ha moments amid the process. Sometimes it's figuring out the one thing that will fix a broken story; sometimes it's when I've finished a scene and realized that my subconscious wove in some harmonics that I hadn't intended but which work really well.

But I most feel like a writer when someone who reads a lot of good books reads something I wrote and says, "Well done."

Bernita said...

PJD?...Well done.

pjd said...

awww, Bernita, you're sweet.

December/Stacia said...

I never feel like a real writer. Maybe I will when I have a big contract. If I get one. :-)

StarvingWriteNow said...

Neat post--and I love that picture. It is inspirational and kind of reminds me of my current path in this life. Does it have a title/author/link associated with it?

raine said...

I'd like to say #6, but the water hasn't been very sweet lately...

Probably #1. THE IDEA. That stunning, inspired moment when the brain cells spark with energy and the adrenalin starts pumping, that plug-in to the divine moment. Creativity rather than process. I think I'm lazy, lol.

Carla said...

Great picture - where does it com from? It reminds me of the Storr on Skye.

Bernita said...

Just stating the truth, PJD.

December, if you're not, don't know who is.

Beth - LOOK Die Bildagentur de Fotograften GmbH - Alamy.
I love it too.

That's an electric moment, Raine. Water ebbs and surges, you know.

Bernita said...

Don't know, Carla, but it's magnificent.

ChrisEldin said...

Loved your reading post on Moonies!

I usually feel like a hack. But then I'll have a paragraph here and there that will make me proud.
:-) Guess it goes back to being published to feel acknowledged as a 'real' writer.

Bernita said...

Thank you, Chris - left out the part about sucking my thumb and scratching black fly bites.

Gabriele C. said...

Lol, I've never broken down the process into parts.

Charles Gramlich said...

That's a great question and one that deserves some thought. I think there are several times when I feel like a "real" writer. 1 is, like you, when I'm struggling with a piece, trying to make something work and shifting it around, and when it finally clicks in place I feel it. 2, when I'm working on a couple of different things, like a story for one market and an article for another. At that time I feel like a "professional" at least, as if I'm a person whose job is writing. 3, when I'm holding something in my hand that is published and am fondling it.

Bernita said...

If you did, Gabriele, it would have to include those plot bunnies.

For you, Charles, process, professionalism, and proof.

Travis Erwin said...

I feel like a writer everyday, but I refuse to call myself an author until it's published.

Bernita said...

Lucky you, Travis! There are days when I feel like an idiot.
I agree about author. Not a word I'm comfortable with.

SzélsőFa said...

Definitely when around stages 5 and 6.

But Strugglingwriter has a good point, too.
I never had any of my poetic writings printed on paper, in any language, though.

Bernita said...

"never had any of my poetic writings printed on paper, in any language, though."
Something we look forward to and I'm sure will happen, Szelsofa.
You have the gift.

Ello said...

I felt most like a writer when I am propelled to write without thinking. When it just comes flowing out of me.

Chumplet said...

I'm a big fan of number four but I feel even better when I hit number six. If only I didn't stumble at number eight.

I'll check out your Moonrat entry.

Sam said...

I feel like a writer when I'm writing.
I feel like a salesperson when I'm in the submitting process. No, scratch salesperson. Put in begger. The person on the street, hand held out, cardboard sign at his feet with 'Will work for food'.
I feel like a writer again when the book is in edits, lol!

Scott from Oregon said...

I like the process of creating, but if I take it seriously, it loses its flavor.

For me it's just the feel of making up stuff...

It's like the feel of building stuff only my back doesn't hurt at the end of the day....

Bernita said...

Ello,Sandra, and Sam, that's a wonderful feeling.

You like to avoid a different set of callouses, Scott!
The comparison between construction and story-building is apt and the skills are the same.

I'm still giggling over Whirl's "lolly-popping around the house..."

Vesper said...

For me it's 5 and 6 mostly, and also 7 in a way. I experience a huge high, especially if it's a short story, then for a day or two after it's finished a dreary low, till I start working on something else.

I'm still hoping that, one day, No. 10 and 11 will happen...

Bernita said...

Vesper, I'm certain it will. You write with grace and beauty.

freddie said...

I feel like a writer when I'm writing and only when I'm writing my own stuff. I never feel like a writer when I write a passage or a story that will go into a textbook, and my name isn't attached to it, no matter how good the client feedback is.

Even when I'm credited for my work in educational publishing, I still don't feel like a writer. I guess I won't until I get something of mine published that I started from scratch and wasn't written to assignment. Until then I'll feel like I'm dancing around the edges.

Bernita said...

Very interesting, Freddie!
An "ownership" perspective.
Thank you for commenting.

haunted author said...

I feel a little wierd about the "author" part too, but "Haunted Writer" was already taken as a blog name.....

I was trying to wrangle a couple of those plot bunnies into some sort of order, in my head, while doing the dishes, when I heard my daughter say to my son- "Don't bother talking to her- she's writing"

It made me laugh and made me think, "ok then, I'm a writer"

Bernita said...

Perceptive of your daughter, Haunted.
A lot of "writing" goes on in my head too.

archer said...

When I know I'm pumping sludge but I don't stop because God damn it, I KNOW there is oil down there and I am by God going to see it fetch a price or herniate a disc first.

Whirlochre said...

This distinction between writing and thinking is an important one for me.

Thinking is the plotting, the hints of description, the dialogue etc which you play through like a film/movie — and then write down what you've got/seen/heard.

I used to begin with a blank sheet of paper — an instant recipe for writers' block as there won't necessarily be anything to write in spite of the twitching pen.

Technically, the writing part is the scribbling of marks and thwapping of keys — a useless exercise if you haven't thought of what to say first.

Bernita said...

Yep, Archer, that hard hat feeling.

And beatitude, Whirl, when both occur simultaneously.

Suzanne Perazzini said...

I love one to four and then comes the hard part. Eleven and twelve are great, haven't had thirteen yet but my first book comes out next Tuesday so I'll comment on that part later.

Bernita said...

Suzanne, you'll have to tell me about # 13.

The Anti-Wife said...

Hi, Bernita! I feel like a writer when the words come out faster than my fingers can type. Doesn't happen often, but is exhilirating.

Bernita said...

A vote for # 6 on steroids.

AW, I hope your recovery is going well.

Steve Malley said...

When I wake up from dreaming about the story.

Bernita said...

I have dreamed of editing my story, Steve!