Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Flight of the Bumble Bee

I worry that my writing process is really, really dumb. That I go about everything all wrong.

Like I’m similar to one of those major league pitchers who throws his arms and legs all over the place, and no one can figure out how he throws the ball at all. Or I have some kind of unorthodox tennis serve style that’s going to land me in rotator cuff rehab eventually.

This is why I'll never feel it’s my place to dispense writing advice. My giving writing advice is like a bumble bee lecturing on aerodynamics.

You’ll probably see numerous references in your writing blog journeys to the question of whether you’re a pantser or an outliner. But what if you outline things and then you create your characters and then nobody does what the hell you tell them to do? What's that called? 'Cause that’s me. That’s how I write. I am out on the ranch, herding cats every day.

And in terms of a sensible creative process, here’s what my latest WiP experience has been like.

Yeah, I know. It’s a house.

My neighbor around the corner is doing some radical home renovation, and it requires moving his house. They picked the thing up with a crane, held it up on these tall stacks of railroad ties, and then they built a new foundation underneath the house. When that was complete, they set the house back down again.

This strikes me as a weird way to go about constructing or renovating a house. Normally it seems like you build the foundation first and then frame the house in. Add the roof. Put in some windows. And then pick out the door knob pulls for the kitchen cabinets. In other words, you build a house by following a logical, orderly progression of steps, starting with the big concept and working your way down into the details as you near completion of your project.

This is how I imagine I should be writing. But finishing up my latest manuscript has been more like the house moving experience. I feel like I did everything out of order, inside out, and backwards.

Well, once again I’ve started one metaphor and ended with another. How did I get from bumble bees to house moving?

See. This is exactly what I’m talking about, people. I’m just a cat herding cowgirl.