August 7th, 2011


An interesting experience.

Everyone's back a day earlier than expected. I'm a bit disappointed, as I was really enjoying the alone time. Also, I had a breakthrough last night that I was hoping to continue today.

The first couple of days had went rather quietly. I didn't really do anything I wouldn't normally do, but I got to go about my business without interruption or criticism, which was nice. Yesterday, though, was quite interesting for me. My mind started wandering, and the beginnings of a story began to form. I sat at the computer, and before I knew it I had almost two whole chapters written down. I just started writing and didn't stop until it got late and I began to fatigue mentally.

The best part was that, since no one was around, I was able to act naturally without fear of being criticized. You see, when I write I often become very absorbed in my work. Even when I leave the computer, my head doesn't leave the story. I start pacing around in a sort of daze. I start talking to myself. I sometimes talk as my characters to get a better understanding of their feelings and motivations. Yesterday I held a lengthy interview between two of the main characters. I'm nervous about people seeing me like that. I must appear crazy, pacing around and talking to or as people who aren't there; talking to myself about seemingly random things.

It really helps, though. My characters become more fleshed out in my mind. The story improves, since I have a pretty good idea how each individual character would react to certain situations. This allows the story to unfold organically. The characters are presented with a situation, and their reactions drive the story forward. Some of their actions come as a surprise even to me, taking the story to places I could not have planned for. Things sometimes happen that I didn't see coming. This is not to say that I have no control over the story or that I don't do any planning. I have a rough skeleton plot in my mind, and I do pre-plan certain scenes, but how we get from point A to point B isn't really up to me.

Of course, a lot of this gets edited in post. If the story takes a turn I don't think fits, or if something happens that doesn't quite make sense, I will go back and rewrite it later. The editing phase is mostly me bringing order to a work that was created in a chaotic fashion.

TVTropes calls this writing by the seat of your pants. It came as something of a relief to know that I'm not the only person who writes this way, and have plenty of examples for validation.

One thing I learned from this experience is that I'm more in tune with my work when I have the space to do as I please without fear of being judged.
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