That’s right. I have been jotting and writing for years: ideas, blurbs, quotes, thoughts, geographical ideas, plot lines, and characters. Now, it is time to blend them together, and to create something.
Now, I’m no longer a student, and this is not a classroom assignment.
The rules have changed.
Gone, are the days where brainstorm webs (or whatever they were called, you all know what I’m talking about) are mandatory and worth marks. Gone, too, are word and page length requirements, along with formatting guidelines (I would say, “Good-bye, double-spaced!” but I have come to appreciate that spacing, now that I not longer have to budget how many sheets of paper I have left). Along with these, however, we also lose deadlines (unless you are a professional, but I am speaking more to the hobbyist or first-timer right now) and dedicated time to work.
Now, maybe some find this list perfectly true. Certainly, some will find pros where I see cons, and vice versa, and some may even think I am 100% wrong (I’d be interested to hear why — strictly out of curiosity). For me, though, these are true — well, deadlines is iffy, and actually the loss of them is both a blessing and a curse, since I operate extremely well under pressure and have turned out some of my best school work after waiting until it was almost too late to get really working — and provide a unique set of challenges.
My approach here is what I consider free-form: I have a plot idea, I have a setting, and I have some characters. Now, I have a general idea of where I want the plot to go, and I have some key character development points plotted out. The rest, though, will write itself, with me as more of the man recording what is happening. I have said before that I have an active imagination, and I don’t foresee this to be a problem. What may be a problem, is continuity. With a free-form approach like this, the risk is always there that you will screw up something you created. I really should buy a giant white board and write down the major things as they go, but likely what will happen is I will have fifteen different documents in a folder on my laptop detailing what key events have happened, who is who (especially when introducing other characters on the fly, so to speak), etc.
The other concern I have with this, is that since there is no deadline, other than what I set for myself — and let’s be honest, who doesn’t set a deadline for something that carries no consequence for failure, and push that deadline back when it seems impossible to meet? That said, in writing, sometimes deadlines are detrimental and lead to rushed work that isn’t as good as it could be (Thank you, George R.R. Martin, for taking your time and producing gold). We shall see, I suppose, which end of the spectrum I land on.
Finally, and quite honestly the most major cause of concern, is that there is no dedicated time set for this. That means, it is up to me to decide to sit down, and write. Sometimes I will spend an hour or two of writing, and the next session, throw it all away because I no longer like it. I suppose this is an artist’s issue in general, but all the same, as a 27-year-old adult with a job and other obligations, time becomes ever more valuable (luckily for me, I have no children, and therefore actually have some free time). To waste it is a little discouraging, and even then, my average day contains much less free time than I would like.
The true challenge here, I suppose, will be to actually sit down and write. It is my hope that blogging about this as I go, will keep me motivated, and my novel more front-of-mind.
Wish me luck.