The Inner Editor
I’m on the home stretch now, cleaning up book three ready to send to the publisher. Yesterday I was working on a scene when I realised I needed to add a new scene near the beginning to foreshadow an event and build tension. I’m a pantser. I have an idea where I’m going and a feel for what I want to say, then I go on a journey with the characters discovering the story as it unfolds.
I’m not alone in this. In an interview with Joe Abercrombie, George RR Martin said: ‘There are two types of writers – the gardeners and the architects. The architect plans the entire house before he drives a nail; he draws up blueprints, he knows how deep the basement is going to be dug and how many rooms there are going to be, where the plumbing is going to be. And then there are the gardeners who dig a hole, plant a seed and water it with their blood, and then they see what comes up, and they kind of shape it. I’m much more of a gardener. ‘ To see the full interview go here.
I don’t know if I could write any other way. It is a leap of faith, but I trust my Inner Editor to let me know when something isn’t working. And, after I’ve mowed the yard or cleaned the kitchen, the answer will come to me. I’ll know what’s needed to pull the story together.
For many years now, I haven’t been able to read books without seeing the writing craft that went into it, just as I can’t watch movies without seeing the art direction, the camera angles, the characterisation and plotting. When I do discover a book or a movie that makes me forget the craft because the story sweeps me away, then I consider myself really lucky. (And of course I have to watch/read it again to discover the hidden craft).
I’m beginning to think there is such a thing as the ‘story gene’. Sure you can learn all the writing or movie making craft, but some people just have the ability to tell a good story. Do you think there is an innate aspect to writing?
And just for fun – here’s a look at people and their on-line avatars.