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The Motive Center
September 11th, 2004
05:44 pm

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Many Styles, One Result

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From:loupnoir
Date:September 11th, 2004 05:07 pm (UTC)
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One of the things I heard several times at Worldcon from the audience was "do you outline or write organically?" There was a desperate tone to this same question each time I heard it. You could tell that the aspiring author knew if they could just latch onto the "one true way" then everything else would fall into place. Ha!

What was also interesting was one of the "high concept" panels in which all of the participants said how they had to do X or Y to before they could even start writing. You could feel the terror mount in the room as X and Y were very lofty approaches to producing prose. I recall thinking something along the lines of "But, if I spent all my time worrying about whether my characters were supposed to be speaking in iambic pentameter or whether I've got symbolism throughout, I'd never get anything written." And then, like a gulp of fresh air, one of the panelists wrinkled his nose and said that he never wrote that way. I swear, all of the other panelists shifted away from him.

Whatever works, works.

Thanks for the new terminology. Love Mozartian and Beethovian as approaches. Both men produced wonderful, unique music and each did it the way that worked for him.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:September 11th, 2004 07:14 pm (UTC)

Oh please!

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I write mysteries, and here are just a few of the things I've said at panels that have flatly contradicted other writers:

1) I don't write every day. Shoot, when mine and Steve's girls were smaller, I was lucky if I bathed every day.

2) I don't outline, unless required to be an editor. Even then, it's usually a synopsis, and once the synopsis is approved, I stick it in a drawer and don't look at it again until I'm done. Ideas that look fabulous in an outline are lame as can be in a manuscript.

3) I don't write chronologically. This was a big break-through for me, and gets you away from that, "I don't know what comes next," problem. You probably know something that will happen later, or just a scene that will be fun to write. So who cares which was written first, as long as you edit and smooth out any rough edges.

4) Lord knows I don't write out detailed character descriptions. If a factoid doesn't come out in a book or story, I don't really care. If all you need is somebody to give a bit of exposition, the fact that the hotel clerk's father ran out on her mother when she was two, making her lose all her hair in frustration, isn't worth my time to figure out. And it may be that if the clerk shows up again, I'll need her to have a full head of hair. Why lock myself in if I don't have to?

So Loup Noir--and Steve--are SO right. Whatever works, works.


Toni L.P. Kelner
(wife of Steve)
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