Jul 8, 2013

Pushing your Writing

I have started working on a novel that I'm very excited about. I'm a plotter (mostly) and I'm fleshing out characters and setting and researching deployments in the Air Force, audition lists for Julliard, baking recipes, bugs and the way MS first manifests and then progresses (welcome to my world).

This part is very exciting but also frustrating to me. I love pushing myself (just did a spinning class for the first time in over a year and the first time post ankle reconstruction surgery), but at the same time, I question if I can do it.

I heard once that Neil Gaiman (who has a great article in this months Poets and Writers) that at the end of writing American Gods, he came to the realization that he didn't know how to write all novels, he just knew how to write that one (if anyone knows a link to the direct quote, please share in the comments). I am making that my mantra.

I know J.K. Rowling took a lot of crap for writing something that wasn't the magical world of Harry Potter, but can you imagine being cornered into just writing the same world and the same characters, forever? I know there are people who write a specific genre, but even then, you have access to so many different possibilities. And yes, it is very scary to try something new. This could totally flop.

But maybe not.

How have you pushed yourself in your writing? And could I have used many more parenthesis in that post?

12 comments :

Elisabeth Kauffman said...

Ha ha! I love parentheses.

I feel like every time I come to the page, I have to push myself, think outside the box. Otherwise I won't ever get to the picture I have in my mind of the story I am writing.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I think you could use a few more!
That's why I am wrapping up my series at three books. I've said all that needs to be said about Cassa and Byron. Will I tackle something new? Not planning on writing more, but who knows.

ilima said...

I wrote a middle grade once. Although it's a decent book, I HATED writing it. But at least I tried something new, right? :) I'm tackling a new book with a very different voice and that has been fun.

YVONNE LEWIS: said...

As I write poetry mainly about what is happening in my life I don't have to look and plan that far. It would be a challenge if I could write a novel but there is so much more than writing a story, as I have read like you have written one has to research their characters,
Good luck with the book.
Yvonne.

JeffO said...

I don't know that I could write the same characters and world over and over again, though I suppose it's also possible that all my characters are the same, under different names....That's not a thought I like to have.

I give a lot of credit to people who can do that, though. Especially in a case like Rowling's, where the characters were consistent, yet showed growth over time.

Julie Luek said...

I've actually appreciate when writers can write in different genres. I know sometimes a very well-known author gets stuck in the series that has made her famous, but writing is about expressing our imagination or what ignites our thoughts-- that can be anything!

Rosalyn said...

Tasha, I'd be frankly surprised if you brought something new to writer's group that *wasn't* difficult. :)

I included the Neil Gaiman quote in a post I wrote a little while ago--it's actually from the intro to the 10th anniversary edition: http://thinkingthroughourfingers.blogspot.com/2013/06/neil-gaiman-and-imperfection.html

Andrew Leon said...

No, that's not the Gaiman quote. He's talked about that every so often, but it's not that he only knows how to write that one novel. Basically, he wrote his first novel (Neverwhere) and thought, "I know how to write a novel, now." Later, he started his second novel (Stardust? I don't remember for sure) and was having some trouble with it. In talking to an author friend, he said, "But I wrote a novel, I know how to do this," and his friend responded, "No, you knew how to write that one novel, the one you're working on now is a different novel." The idea, then, is that you have to learn, each time, how to write the novel that you're writing. Each one is a separate entity has to be learned all on its own.

Andrew Leon said...

Oh, and I just saw him over the weekend on his Ocean tour (review for the book on my blog, today), and he talked about that just a little bit because he talked about why people think he hates sequels.

David P. King said...

Just as some actors can be type-cast into the same role forever, writers can write themselves into a corner. Can you imagine Stephen King writing a MG series that isn't horror? Might not be taken seriously at first. At the same time, you want to find your market and give what is wanted. Then you have guys like me who likes to write different things all the time - high fantasy one project, period thriller the next. :)

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I think very few series are so successful for so many books like Harry Potter. I really enjoy writing in series, but then I like to finish them and move on.

prerna pickett said...

I love this. I really hope I don't get cornered into one genre when writing. As a writer it's my goal to get that one story that's in my head out, the one that continues to persist, and not all of those ideas can fit into a neat little box of definition.