[identity profile] blogfloggery.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] lkh_lashouts
Link: Be Sure
Disclaimer: This blog entry is verbatim, as originally posted on LKH's blog. Copyright belongs to Ma Petite Enterprises.



Mod note: Full size image here if you want to zoom in. Her Word Doc says "Angel Book."

Eomer and my current office view, for those that keep asking there’s a clue to what I’m writing in the picture.

I typed, Be Sure, today as I sat down to work on the book I’m writing. What I meant for it to do was remind me that I needed to pick an opening gambit and just start typing, but that’s not how my subconscious took it. Once I wrote those two little words, Be Sure, I didn’t write another damn word for an hour. It took me that long to figure out that it was those two words that had put a monkey wrench in the creative flow. Honestly it hadn’t been flowing that well to begin with, which is partly why the phrase stopped me dead in my tracks. Be sure, really? The beginning of a book for me is one of the least sure things in the world. I can know the characters intimately, the plot, the world, everything, but the beginning of a book is like the beginning of a romance, or a trip, you know what you think will happen, or what you want to happen, but what actually happens can be vastly different. That first date, like a first chapter can start out great, but fizzles and you think, nope I don’t want to do that again. The plot that seemed so brilliant in the planning stages is like that great vacation that you were positive the whole family would love and it turns into a nightmare of crossed schedules and hurt feelings. Staring at those two words, Be Sure, froze me. My muse and I stared at them and thought, but we aren’t sure. We aren’t sure of anything. The only thing I’m sure of is which world we’re writing in, and what characters we’ll be dealing with, but beyond that there are so many choices of where to start and how to get to the plot goals that its almost paralyzingly in its complexity. No, not its complexity, its possibilities. I’ve recently realized that too many choices is bad for me, that deciding is my strength and hesitation between choices is horrible for me both in writing and personally. So, I need to just pick a direction and start writing, even if it’s the wrong direction for me as a writer almost any decision is better than indecision. I think for a minute, or an hour, I forgot that. Be Sure, that’s for the end of a book, not the beginning. Right now its all about possibilities, nothing is off the table, or impossible, its all still there floating, waiting for me to choose that first leap into the empty whiteness and write.

Date: 2016-12-25 10:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lliira1.livejournal.com
I haven't even tried to read this because the wall o'text is impossible for me to parse. I wonder if this is what the manuscripts LKH's editors get look like. But heck, I'm procrastinating, I'll try breaking it up with an old fashioned blog flog and see if I can make sense of it that way. LKH in bold, me in boggled:

I typed, Be Sure, today as I sat down to work on the book I’m writing. What I meant for it to do was remind me that I needed to pick an opening gambit and just start typing, but that’s not how my subconscious took it.

It's official: she has no idea what her books are going to be about until she starts to write them. I don't understand how that's even possible, but there it is.

Once I wrote those two little words, Be Sure, I didn’t write another damn word for an hour. It took me that long to figure out that it was those two words that had put a monkey wrench in the creative flow. Honestly it hadn’t been flowing that well to begin with, which is partly why the phrase stopped me dead in my tracks.

I think what put a "monkey wrench" in her creative flow is that you can't just will plot to come to you from the ether. You need to actually, you know, think about it. "Be sure" is meaningless if there's nothing to be sure of. It's like those people who say you have to believe, doesn't matter in what, just believe. It's nonsense.

Be sure, really? The beginning of a book for me is one of the least sure things in the world. I can know the characters intimately, the plot, the world, everything, but the beginning of a book is like the beginning of a romance, or a trip, you know what you think will happen, or what you want to happen, but what actually happens can be vastly different.

Yes, your book can often go in a direction you didn't expect. That's life. And that's why people who insist on "being sure" all the time tend to make a mess of it. But maybe take a map on that vacation, i.e. outline the damn book? Could help.

Date: 2016-12-25 10:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lliira1.livejournal.com
That first date, like a first chapter can start out great, but fizzles and you think, nope I don’t want to do that again. The plot that seemed so brilliant in the planning stages is like that great vacation that you were positive the whole family would love and it turns into a nightmare of crossed schedules and hurt feelings.

You could try talking to the people you're going on vacation with before going, to hammer out schedules before hand. You know, that planning thing.

Staring at those two words, Be Sure, froze me. My muse and I stared at them and thought, but we aren’t sure. We aren’t sure of anything.

Huh. I don't think I've ever seen LKH admit she's not sure of something before.

The only thing I’m sure of is which world we’re writing in, and what characters we’ll be dealing with, but beyond that there are so many choices of where to start and how to get to the plot goals that its almost paralyzingly in its complexity. No, not its complexity, its possibilities.

OUTLINE. I rarely write down an outline, though I do keep a loose outline in my head. But outlining is the first step in fixing plot paralysis that's this bad.

I’ve recently realized that too many choices is bad for me, that deciding is my strength and hesitation between choices is horrible for me both in writing and personally. So, I need to just pick a direction and start writing, even if it’s the wrong direction for me as a writer almost any decision is better than indecision. I think for a minute, or an hour, I forgot that.

She's good at deciding but bad at choices? What? Also, any decision is not better than indecision. This kind of mental road block often means you're trying to go in the wrong direction, and you have to think about it for a while. She really seems to hate the "thinking" part of writing, but that's 90% of it. The actual writing's the easy part.

Be Sure, that’s for the end of a book, not the beginning. Right now its all about possibilities, nothing is off the table, or impossible, its all still there floating, waiting for me to choose that first leap into the empty whiteness and write.

There should be so many things off the table. For instance, don't make Anita pregnant. Don't make the death of a major character (Sholto) pointless. Don't praise rapists. I could go on all day.

Also, this is for all her fans who claim LKH has a story and/or character arc in mind when she writes. "Right now its [sic] all about possibilities". That would be a nope.

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