Thursday, February 13, 2014

Giving Plot to the Plotless Part 6: The Journey Goes On

Its only been a little over a year since the initial affair which sparked so many words and characters. It feels like forever ago. Not just fifteen measly months. A writer's world and skill set can change a lot in fifteen months.

This series began as an experiment for me in a lot of ways. An experiment in pantsing rather than plotting. A test to see if I could collaborate with another writer. A challenge to see if I could work backwards from my usual process, shoving material into a structure rather than creating the structure before the material.

In many ways, I got a lot out of this experiment and I continue to do so. I enjoyed the freedom it gives me. I enjoyed the sensation of being bossed around by my characters and watching things I thought were absolute and immovable change before my eyes, heedless of my thoughts. Going with the flow of my creativity and whims to this degree felt really good.

It still does. Because my friend and I still have the freedom to make this series what we want it to be. We can take it new directions. We can write whatever scenes we want even if we don’t plan on including them in the final product.

I guess, more than anything, I took away a sense of the diversity of writing. There is no one way to go about something. Writing can be solitary but it can also be done with company. Writing can be organized or it can be free formed. Writing can remain forever in a secret folder on the computer or it can be finish and sent out into the wide, vast world of publishing. It all depends on what the writer wants. Whether or not they want control or they want to let their characters take them for a ride.
And sometimes, a balance of all these elements isn’t so bad either.

I’d encourage other writers to jump out of their comfort zone in future projects. Experimentation in writing is your friend. If you're predominately a first person POV writer, delve into the 3rd person. If you prefer the comforts of fantasy, experiment with a little straight realism. If you like dark, gritty drama, try your hand out at whimsical comedy. It doesn't have to be GOOD. It can suck and when its done you can lock it in a 'never again' folder.

I could have easily discovered a deep rooted hatred for pantsing with this experiment with my friend. If I had, that would have been fine. But at least I tried. The best writing has always come from trying out an idea that seems ridiculous and will probably never work. Whether it be a genre or a category. Genre fiction wasn't always so respected by the world. And who'd have thought 20 years ago that there would be a huge explosion in Young Adult fiction? Heck, who'd have thought five years ago that New Adult would become such a thing?

Great things come from experimentation and throwing your muse out into the great unknown. At least in my case, I got a lot out of the experiment and I will continue to do so in the weeks, months, maybe years, to come.

Thanks for following me on this little journey and there will be more posts on the way soon!

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