Writing with Energy: The Haphazard Approach
In the last two posts, I discussed why starting a writing project at the beginning of the story or at the end, can have unexpected challenges. In this post, I’ll discuss what the haphazard approach is and why I think it produces works with more energy.
The haphazard approach to infuse energy into your writing
Seems a bit silly to call this an approach but it’s the only term that comes to mind. And being haphazard, it also seems a bit odd to be listing the steps to follow. But here goes:
- Close your eyes. Think about your story or memoir. What comes to mind? The day you found out there was no Santa (I hope I’m not giving anything away)? When the heroine finds out she has been betrayed?
- Whatever comes up, write about that. Just start typing.
- Keep going. It doesn’t matter whether it’s in the middle of the narrative you want to tell or if you’re unsure of the exact surname of Aunt Mary’s third cousin by her second marriage. Make a name up and keep going.
- Write as much of the scene as you can, investing all your energy and creativity into making this the best scene you can.
- When that scene is done, repeat the process with a different scene. Doesn’t have to be the prequel or sequel to the scene you’ve just written. Just anything that interests you at this moment.
It can’t be that easy
It isn’t easy, in fact. It’s very hard work to get down the emotions, action, and settings in a way which reflects what you want to depict. But it ups the chances that you are writing from a place and about a subject which energizes you and your writing.
So, you continue this haphazard way, not worrying about continuity of story, possibly changing the name of your hero half-way in, perhaps writing a scene which is very similar to one you have already written. Doesn’t matter. This is all stuff you can fix later. Just get down as much as you can in as vivid a way as you can.
I am basically advocating separating the creative process of generating the story from the equally important but different process of developing a narrative which hangs together and makes sense from the first page to last.
But the astute among you will have figured out that, while this haphazard approach helps get the story down, there is a point where you have got all the component parts but not in a form which others would recognize as a story. Next post.
Not the only way
Naturally, this isn’t the only way to tackle a writing project. One writer I know has to have the first line before he can start. Dickens had to have all of his characters named before he could get going. Other writers plot the whole thing out before they write a word (I’ll have more to say about this in another post). You can even actually start at the beginning or end of your narrative if you take into account the caveats I’ve outlined previously. But I encourage you to give my method a try. I have found it works not just to write the story but occasionally, even allows magic to strike.