Thursday, December 3, 2009

What I Mean By 'Anything'

When I ran out of ideas, I just wrote anything until the plot started churning again on its own, which it reliably did.
I was just saying that the other day.  But what does it mean to write anything?  For some people, it means quoting the dictionary.  For me, it means pure self-indulgence.

I write detailed descriptions of clothes, places, daily life, backstories, and where-they-are-nows.  In other words, I write all the stuff you're supposed to elegantly suggest in your story without boring your readers to death with plotless exposition.  Fuck that.  Call these notes in prose form.

If I get stuck even for expository vignettes, I literally just write in my fantasies: the character is wearing a dress I've always wanted, or living in my dream house, or telling someone off with a razor wit.  If I'm hungry, she's eating whatever I'm craving.  If I'm tired, she takes a nap.

I really can't explain why it works, but inevitably these diversions make a problem more complicated, a character more layered, the stakes a little higher. As long as I keep writing, I can find my way back into the story.  I know even as I write this horseshit that I'll take it out, but it's still beautiful.  It's the string on which the sugar crystals grow into rock candy.


  1. That's one of the most helpful things I've read about how to overcome writer's block and I love the image at the end.

  2. Anything means something. Where the pen starts is not where it need end! The action of writing leads to the result - hence the benefit of writing anything.



  3. Thanks for the compliment, fairyhedgehog :)

    Welcome Don!