Writing habits

An equally apt title would be writing madness given the events of the past two days. When I originally decided to write a post about this I was worried because I was not writing enough, I don’t have that problem at the moment. I’ve written more in the past few days than I have all month. Of course I can’t help but want to know why exactly that is, to pick about what is so different about this week than all the others. I wonder if it’s my “anything can happen” directive that has sparked this bout of creativity. Strange if it is, seeing as how I don’t like chaos and disorder usually. Though I have a feeling my kind of chaos is a little bit more organised than most, plus it’s easier to deal with when you are the architect of said chaos. Another possible reason may be the complete lack of pretence at an attempt at balance, I’ve let my obsessions have free reign and I haven’t pretended otherwise.

I came up with an interesting possible explanation for my lack of interest in writing anything fiction related these past few weeks. I’d never considered how social a process it was. I mean that in the sense that in order to write anything, you have to spend time with your characters, sometimes talking to them and playing scenes out in your head and I guess recently I’ve had more than enough social time. I know that part must be true because of the lack of Hansi (in human or android form), if I don’t want him around then I really must have had enough social time. I think that’s also the reason for the fact that I’ve spent a large part of my waking hours playing Fallout 3, there’s nothing better for such a state then wandering alone through the wasteland, all alone but for your trusty weapons. It’s heaven in a sense, there’s no-one to bother you and even better, you get to collect things.

On one hand it’s interesting, the randomness of ideas and how they come about. Just the day before yesterday I had a really random idea upon waking up related to my third android story, it’s as if I woke up just to make a note of it because I went back to sleep afterwards. I have a feeling what I was dreaming about was related but I have no way of knowing that, I also have a feeling my dream was Jogi related (but then it always feels that way) or possibly Schneider related. Given that I call him a bot, that would make a lot of sense. And on the other it’s annoying because I like to know why, I like to track back the process of how and where an idea came from.

Something similar happened with the Jogi song as well, I was thinking of nothing more than his name when I started writing that and soon as I wrote the first verse, the second easily followed. Sometimes, in fact most of the time you don’t even have to try, it’s just about letting the right thoughts have free reign, about making sure there is a conducive atmosphere for them to flourish in, the right kind of head space. That’s frustrating though because it can be so unpredictable, one day you can write five pages and the next day nothing at all. The writing may not require much effort once you’ve started but getting there in the first place does, I find some quiet time usually does the trick. Occasionally you have to physically separate yourself from all your gadgets, as useful as they can be they can also be a terrible distraction.

Now if only I could stop obsessing over the name of my protagonist, I can’t write anything for that story until I settle on his name. I’ve gone through four names now since starting. First Manuel (after Neuer), then Roman (for Bürki and Weidenfeller – plus it’s German for novel), then Jürgen (after Klinsmann) and then finally Hans-Jürgen. I thought I had solved the problem with that last choice, but once again for reasons I don’t understand, it too has been rejected. My first choice was Hans-Joachim but was rejected for being far too obvious, now I’m wondering if that’s not the case, if sometimes the best choice is indeed the simplest and most obvious one.  Getting hung up on details like that is just finding an excuse not to get on with the story. Even if Hans-Joachim proves to be just a temporary name, I should use it if it means I finish the chapter I was on and start on the next one.

3 responses to “Writing habits

  1. I like your observation about how social a process writing fiction can be. When I read fiction, I often feel connected to the characters and am disappointed when the book ends. It’s like having a friend move away and never finding out what happened to him//her.

    • That’s a good way of putting it. It’s made me think of it from another angle too, if it’s hard for a reader to let go of a character, how much harder is it for the writer to do so. I wonder if people ever put off finishing a story for that reason, especially if it’s something you’ve been working on for a while. Then the characters have been around for so long, it’s like they are a part of you life.

      • If an author’s work is driven by the characters, that’d be tough. Some authors are more plot-focused, and when the story ends or the mystery is solved their content to move on. I prefer character-driven novels myself. I think they’re harder to control plot-wise because sometimes the person your character has evolved into simply wouldn’t do the sort of thing you’d originally planned to have them do. To me, stories are about motive, and it’s difficult to enjoy a story when you don’t know enough about the characters to understand what drives their behaviour.

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