Machete, Plan, Machete, Plan, Machete

Anna described my creative process pretty succinctly:

When I have a project that I don’t know how to proceed with, I get out my machete, fling my (non machete) arm over my head, and throw myself into the jungle, blind and swinging.

After a day or a week or a month of this, I open my eyes, look behind me, and it becomes clear whether I’ve been making a path or a labyrinth.

It is neither fun nor efficient.

Recall, if you will, a post from a few days ago, where I resolved to get a plan, to guide my writing, and to not just write in all directions all at once. Maybe you want to know how that went? (If not, do go read something more interesting.)

One thing I’ve learned talking to other writers is that there are no stupid tricks. If the trick works for you, then it is brilliant. One friend makes a crayon graph for her young adult book. Her major themes are family, the love interest, and the ghost story. Each theme has a different color, and she charts them over each chapter. In each chapter, one of these themes should be higher on the graph than the others. If not, she needs to refocus.

Yesterday I despaired, then wrote a crappy working title for four new chapters. Then I cut and paste a bunch of stuff out of the four previous chapters into the Crappy-Titled Chapters. I like cutting and pasting, because I don’t have to read very carefully. I like my crappy titles, because I didn’t have to think about them very hard, and yet they let me know what the theme of each chapter is. At some point, I will print out my Crappy-Titled Chapters and edit them, but my task today is merely to write some shit to expand one Crappy Chapter. (In addition, calling them stupid names makes me feel better.)

So I will find all my notes and all my files relating to Crappy Chapter and write them into prose. This is not going to be good prose. Nope. It’s going to be totally pathetic prose. It’s going to be Chef Boyardee prose. But it’s going to be a thousand more words than I had yesterday. So there.

What stupid tricks do you favor?


4 responses to “Machete, Plan, Machete, Plan, Machete

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