Six impossible things

Posts Tagged process

Pavement conditions (More Driving Metaphors)

A while back, I had a discussion with a fellow professional writer whose stated goal was rapid production. Since he was the sort of writer who writes in huge bursts, focusing on speed above all else had been working well for him. My objection was that he […]

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Looking for Perfection

A long time back, I heard a story about a man who wanted a famous artist to draw him a picture of a cat. “Come back in a year,” the artist told him. A year later, the man returned, eagerly anticipating the masterpiece that had taken the […]

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Outlines and Revising Them

There are two sorts of outlines that writers do: submission outlines and planning outlines. A submission outline is my term for the one you send to the agent or publisher in hopes of selling the book. A planning outline, on the other hand, is a writing tool. […]

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Process, Progress, and Works-In

The other day, one of my dear friends and I had one of those long, rambling, writerly conversations about our current works-in-progress, our process, and the horrors of the literary life. At this particular moment in time, we are at opposite points on the first two, which […]

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What drives the story

“What drives your story, plot or characters?” There are a bunch of problems with this question. First off, what drives the story isn’t an either-or dichotomy; it’s a continuum that runs from the total-action-with-cardboard-characters tale at one end to the nothing-but-character-introspection story at the other end, with […]

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Speed Intervals

Last week, I ran across a writing-advice book that focused firmly on productivity, and promised to teach you how to write thousands of words per hour. The author’s method for achieving this miracle rested on two fundamental ideas. The first was taking the writing process apart so […]

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The End of the Plot

For a lot of writers, endings are the hardest part of plotting. Either they know where they want the story to end up, but not how to get there, or they know a lot of things about the story, but can’t seem to work out what the […]

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Brainstorming blockages

“The best ideas don’t need to be sought out at all; you just have to train yourself not to swerve out of the way when they jump out in front of you.” – Jon Forss Brainstorming is a mental activity, so it is unsurprising that most of […]

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Patterns

As many readers of this blog know, I am a knitter, and have been for years. When I first learned to knit, I wanted strict directions for anything more complicated than a rib-stitched scarf: a pattern that calls for this yarn and that needle size. I focused […]

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Learning to see

One of the experiences that is common to most long-time readers is that of running across a book that they loved when they first read it (usually ten or more years previously), settling down for an enjoyable re-read, and realizing that the book is horrible. It’s not […]

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