Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Close the door

In my dogged ear copy of "On Writing" by Stephen King I have marked up countless nuggets of sheer genius. I have never forgotten where he says writing is telepathy [and then goes on to demonstrate it] nor where he tells readers they must master the basics.

Overall, I think I'd like Stephen King, if we were to meet. Not because he is a famous writer but his sense of humor resonates with me. It is more witty than howling funny. He also is "twisty" [like Ted Dekker] and I love trying to braid plot twists in to my stories whenever possible. Sometimes I even get knots.

But today I'm not talking about the genius of craft on deeper levels. I'm talking about those first drafts. While Stephen King's term "door shut writing" is fine I prefer to call it vomiting on paper.

Why would you vomit on paper?

When I vomit on paper I'm throwing the entire story as I see it. A sculptor mushes the clay in to a general shape before getting out the fine tools and pushing and mushing it in to a piece of art. The same is true with our writing.

For those of us finishing NaNo the brilliant piece you just completed is door shut writing. I always discourage ANYONE from showing their writing at that stage. Every single time I break this rule I am sorry. There are times where I think it is simply AWESOME and I have to share my genius or I'll burst.

The only thing that gets bursted is my bubble.

When you are free to simply write whatever falls in your brain [even though I'm a heavy outliner] you are able to crank out word count [throw mounds of clay on the table] and see some general shape.

Then set the MS aside. I usually try not to go back to it at all until I've completed another MS. That gives me time to fall in love with the genius of my writing in another novel [she said with a snicker] and then return to face MS one.

The problem with leaving the door open all the time is you'll constantly edit. Editing is critical. Editing-when done at the wrong time-stifles creativity.

As those of you who have completed the 50K of Nano can attest, when you put your head down and simply WRITE 50K is nothing.

So if a writer like Stephen King has to write a first draft out of the glare of spotlight-I think there's something in it for the rest of us.

Close the door-and see how much more productive you become.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and I'll see you next week.

Your Coach for the Journey, Tiffany Colter

Tiffany Colter is a writer, speaker and writing career coach who works with beginner to published writers. She can be reached through her website at www.WritingCareerCoach.com
Learn more about Tiffany's Marketing techniques on her main blog.
Read Tiffany's award winning manuscript "A Face in the Shadow" on her fiction blog.


Jennifer Roland said...

It's a Stephen King kind of day! My book review today is of On Writing, and I also focused on King's discussion of the closed and open door phases of writing.

Coincidence? Maybe. Or maybe the universe is trying to tell me to get cracking!

Your Coach for the Journey, Tiffany Colter said...

That is funny, Jennifer. Clearly it is a sign! :-)

So, get writing!