Drifting toward a story

Orthodoxy has never been my strong suit. Complex outlines and detailed character sketches, although vital for some, only serve to annoy me. Rather than a reasoned, calculated story approach, my writing takes more of a slash and burn course. I don’t spend much time in discussion with my muse. I simply turn off the “editor in my head” and let the words be what they will. This may not be the best approach, but it seems to end up consistently as the Auburn McCanta Theory of Words and Work.

In Natalie Goldberg’s grief-saving book for writers, Writing Down the Bones, she tells us that when our writing feels good, there is a vitality that sings and an honesty that makes her want to cry. I know what she means. For me, I need to let a story just come and sit down with me for a while. We need to become acquainted with each other. I allow my characters to approach me as they choose. No hurry, worry. I spend a lot of time just being with a story, its characters, its tone. Then, when the time is right, the story tells itself to me … and I write it down.

Of course, that doesn’t mean I don’t spend hours upon hours researching, “Googling,” and considering various paths and structures. On the contrary! I’m a research dog and love the process. Still, when it comes time for telling the story, you’ll not find an outline on my desk.

Oh, there’s one other thing I should mention – I also spend a good deal of quality time at Starbucks with a Mocha in one hand and a dream in the other.

3 thoughts on “Drifting toward a story

  1. I have heard a lot of recommendation for turning off the editor in your head. Many of the greats have insisted on doing open and unrelenting dialog. Omitting punctuation and grammar from your writing process is a great feat in my eyes. Call me a perfectionist. Basically, call me a control freak for that matter.
    I agree that a slash and burn mentality is the best approach. It preserves the emotion; something that has to be captured. What is a story with out emotion? It is just a recount of experiences. The characters lives, the taste of the ice cream, the color of the sky and the feelings of loss due to a death can only be felt if the words accentuate the emotion.
    I love the new blog. It is a pleasure to place my first posting here.

  2. Being a perfectionist is a problem but like any problem it has a solution. You can always improve your attitude towards things and people by accepting the fact that nothing in this world is fully right or fully wrong. Each person, thing or event has both a postive and negative aspect. What we need to do is focus on the positive aspect and accept the negative aspect the way it is. Definately we need to work on imroving the negative aspect but only as much as it is in our capacity. Rest we can leave as destiny.