Thursday, October 22, 2009

Q&A

I'm Allliiivvveee..!

Over at Bookface[TM] (where I am I think spending far too much time... maybe) Jane Hart Mason was good enough to ask me:

Howdy... I hope you don't mind if I ask you a quick question, and I promise not be hurt if you don't have time to answer, or if it is your rule not to or whatnot. I am working on a little story of my own (not really to publish, just for my kid), and although I know what happens next and so on, I just can't seem to get it done. It may just be writer's block, but I am wondering if you have any tips or method as to what you do when this (if this?) happens to you. I have heard some writers set aside time to work on their stories, and even if they can't get anything written, they force themselves to sit there and think about it at least. Have you ever had any success with this? Mayhap you are one of those who is able to just pour it all out without pause, and if so please disregard this query. (I wish! DMC)

... to which my answer was:

Dear Jane, Great question. It beats at the heart of every writer's journey/struggle. For me writing can frequently be like pulling teeth from my jaw = hard and very painful. Even when I am enjoying a story (like I am currently with a novella also set in the Half-Continent) I still have this crazy reluctance to write!!! Don't ask me why, I just work here...Making yourself just sit and write regardless is probably the only way "to get it done"; feelings are rebellious and fickle - only sometimes do I "feel" like writing. Unfortunately it will have to be like getting an injection, you turn up, face the pain, push through and get on with the good stuff afterwards, congratulating yourself for your courage.You might try setting aside half an hour or so with a goal of 100 words. Sounds a tiny amount perhaps, but in such a small, hopefully less painful quantity two things might happen: 1/ the story will get chipped away in little lumps (re: the way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time) OR 2/ you just might find your flow and go on longer, writing more words and even get into the whole project again.Making a list of "beats" as I call them might help too, an extremely brief dot-point of each significant moment. I have just discovered this device in the latter stages of the 2nd draft of MBT Book 3 and it makes my head and the way forward so much clearer. Even if you reckon you know what is coming, this might make it even clearer and build some enthusiasm in you to press on to boot.How is that? Hope it helps. Unfortunately writing is not a magical process, it it the grind of getting the words down occasionally intersped with moments of inspiration, delight and relief. It is climbing a steep mountain on your own and when you are at the top, it is climbing all the way back down again. So, climb on, brave author.

Also, check the comments of previous post for answers to your excellent and helpful questions.

11 comments:

portals said...

Thanks for the answers and hope the process is going well.

janers said...

Things coming along much better, thanks to the "beats." Being able to jot down a concise, important point has been immensely helpful in getting it all organized. Thanks so much,

Regards,
Jane

Alyosha said...

Wise advice. And though it may be doubly true for a career like writing, where self motivation is the only motivation, it's also true to some degree for any career. There have been many times, as an engineer faced with a large project, that I'll take some extremely minute portion of it and tell myself "just do this; that's enough for now; just do this one little piece."

Alyosha said...

Oh, and one other thing... though you did get most of the questions on the last post, you did miss this one: did the Gott's originally come from Parthia?

monday said...

Marvelous advice, Mr Cornish, which has convinced me to get my butt off the internet and my nose back in my notebook.
for handwriting I like to count pages rather than set time. it is far too easy for me to write and erase the same sentence twelve times in an hour. perhaps you are familiar with this? :)

D.M. Cornish said...

Indeed I am, Monday, indeed I am...

Ahh, yes, the Gotts and Parthia. I think that the two groups are of the original peoples but must say that I have not finalised this point yet (I am even now having a notion that perhaps the Gotts were originally from the now Half-Continent but dared the journey overseas long long ago only to eventually be driven back over the sea again to where they came from... Hmm...)

K.T. said...

I don't write, but this sounds like good advice for drawing too.

And ooh, glad to hear you are writing another Half Continent story.

Headtrip Honey said...

This is completely random, but I found this in an Etsy shop, and it TOTALLY looks like something that Europe would wear:

http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=33316899&ref=cat2_gallery_9

Emma Nicole Reinmuth said...

I've been stumped after a few chapters and find I distract myself by creating new characters/creatures/objects synopses on a different document... It's a constructive method of procrastination, if you will...

Recorpkl: A rather nasty case of athletes foot smelling rather like the waste product of an ailing Bogle

>_>

<_<

D.M. Cornish said...

Very constructive ENR.

Martin said...

I appear to have a very old, original D.M.Cornish drawing inside an Asterix book. Do you think it might be worth something one day?

I shall now grin quietly to myself

MDB