Monday, October 1, 2007

On Writing: My Process, My Friend

As reported, I took a few vacations days from the day-job so that I could devote focused time to the deadline book. I've spent the past five days putting in 14-15 hour writing days. I'm pretty fried, but I've made strong, vital progress. This is how I work best. Long stretches of focused time. Because I'm very much a seat-of-the-pants writer. I discover and create as I go. Then I go back and add more layers. I typically write the last half of a manuscript in a cross-eyed blaze. What I turn in is pretty much first draft from mid-point on, although tweaked and polished due to the wondrous comments and edits of my fabulously talented critique partner, former writing partner, fabulous friend, Cyndi Valero.

Cyndi is currently deep in her own manuscript, a wonderfully imaginative and gritty fantasy. I know it's wonderful because she's been sending me scenes as she finishes them and I'm rivited! I feel guilty not being able to return the favor by offering her insightful critiques. Her first draft is like my fifth! Yes, I'm envious. But in the best way. She inspires me to work harder, dig deeper, write tighter. It's a beautiful thing.

Later this month, we'll be getting together for our annual weekend retreat. Just the two of us. We brainstorm our writing projects and gab for hours about whatever's on our minds. We also nibble on yummy snacks and laugh a lot. For the past few years, we've only been able to see each other ONCE a year. I can't tell you how much I cherish our annual friend retreat! And it's only a few weeks off. Yes!

Meanwhile, it's nose-to-the-computer. This is my last day off. Tomorrow it's back to the day job and minimal writing time. I best kick butt while I can.

Question for the writers out there. Do you work best in long stretches or short bursts? Do you thrive on a CPs input as you go along? Or do you prefer to finish the project before getting input? OR... do you prefer no input at all? Okay. That was four questions. What can I say? I'm curious.

10 comments:

Cynthia said...

B, I CAN'T wait for our get together! I am very excited.

Thank you for your compliments on my writing and for making me feel like a good critique partner. I'm so glad I can help. It is my honor to be involved in your stories.

BTW, the only thing that keeps me from hyperventalating about finishing my story is knowing that you are there. See, I'm convinced that I will go blank at any moment.
I won't know what to write next, how to solve the set up, how to .... whatever! You are the expert at this, and it is a huge comfort.

Thanks for being there for ME. Because I know how sharp your eye is and how honest you are. It allows me to move on with confidence when you say it's OK.

Love, C

Jordan Summers said...

I don't like to write down to the wire. It stresses me out...BAD. As I've gone along, I've had to plan a lot more than I ever used to with the books. The plots are more complicated and the focus is changing (ie less on the relationship, more on the action). I work best if I never stop writing because once I do it's like pulling teeth to get started again.

flchen1 said...

Not much of a writer, so I'll skip answering the questions ;) Just wanted to say how wonderfully blessed you both are to have a partner who shares your love for this very special craft! Yay for both of you, and may your time together be memorable and productive!

Beth Ciotta said...

Ah, C... *sniffle* Keep on rockin'. You're story's great!

Jordan, I hate writing down to the wire too. I'm a huge stress ball, but it just seems to be how it continully works out for me. I do outline. But it doesn't help a whole lot, because things happen and change as I go and then it's a big ol' domino effect. Oh, and I do write everyday, but sometimes it may take me two hours to produce one page. You see. This is why I don't write 'how to' craft articles. I wouldn't reccommend my methods to anyone. :)

Beth Ciotta said...

flchen1, I am indeed blessed! I'm sure Cyndi and I will have an awesome retreat. We always do! Thanks for thinking of us. :)

RAC said...

I would love long stretches of time to write, but will catch as catch can. I've never sought much in the way of critiques, but have alway appreciated any received. For the book I need to write after the new year, I think I'd prefer to write a complete draft or two before getting much feedback. None of this works if you don't have some confidence in yourself or those critiquing your work, however.

charleneteglia said...

I prefer long stretches but I've learned to work in short stretches because otherwise I'd get very little done now that I have two kids. *g*

I prefer to get comments on the whole ms., but my current book I struggled with several elements and I wanted to know if it was working from an outside perspective, so I sent off the first five chapters for feedback.

Roni Denholtz said...

I prefer to pace myself and do a few pages at a time. But then, I never did well with cramming in school. Some people work best under pressure--I don't.

Beth Ciotta said...

Richard, Charlene and Roni, sorry to be replying late. Thanks so much for sharing. I'm always interested in knowing how other writers tick!

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