Sunday, April 19, 2009

Writing like a Tapestry or an Oil Painting

I think distractions are the enemy of creative people. I think creative people can create despite some distractions. Too many distractions are the death knoll to creativity. Distractions are everywhere. Some are easier to remove than others.

I am not easily distracted from my weaving. I am currently working on a couple of tapestries and several weaving projects. I am so passionate and focused about my weaving I can work around or ignore many distractions.

I am however easily distracted from writing. I have always wanted to write a novel. Isn't there a novel in everyone trying to get out? There certainly is one in me. I started 4-5 years ago doing research, developing my characters and sketching out my plot. I wrote the prologue and the first chapter and stopped. Completely stopped.

I got very busy in the last few of years from volunteering...I have been doing the monthly newsletter for the Southern California Handweavers Guild for the last three years as well as been in charge of publicity for the Association of Southern California Handweavers. Both were time consuming but fun. They did however suck a lot of the creativity out of me, consume a lot of time and were an easy distraction from writing. I also participate greatly in the guilds I belong to... I figure that if you should participate. If not, why bother being a member.

I had started the novel before all this volunteering and stopped as the volunteering consumed my creativity. I made a conscious choice this year to be more selective in my volunteering, significantly reduce the distractions and re-start my work on my novel. That was my New Years resolution to myself.

It has taken me awhile to restructure my volunteering activities. But the distractions are lessening. In the last couple of days I have started to write again and it is quite exciting. I simply love getting up in the morning and spending an hour or so on the novel before I go weave. Currently, I am re-acquainting myself with my well developed characters and re-creating the plot which is in disarray.

Today I realized I had to decide what method I want to use to get this novel written. It will 12 chapters.

Do I want to write like I weave a tapestry? With tapestry I have an overall plan - the cartoon [for me a fairly detailed cartoon] and then I weave and perfect each section before moving onto the next.

Or do I want write like I create an oil painting? In painting I have a sketch, then I paint a layer, perhaps re-paint some sections, re-paint a different section, touch up something else, move around from section to section, re-paint something again etc. until I am happy with the result.

In the tapestry method I would spend much more time on each chapter making sure all the facts are in order, characters are acting correctly and timing correct. This is like tapestry where you have to do all the planning and execution for a section at one time before moving on. After all 12 chapters are done then the final edits occurs. For a tapestry this final edit is like the tiny tweaks one might do at the end...covering an exposed warp or adding a dot of color here or there. These are little tweaks since the big issues are already resolved. Essentially each chapter get the BIG edit prior to the final edit at the end which is more like finishing the tapestry - ensuring it is ready for public viewing.

In the oil painting method, I write quickly as possible with little regard to ensuring everything is quite right. I don't have to write sequentially. I can jump from chapter to chapter and fill in spots where I have a good idea. And leave until later sections where I have an issue or question. Once all the sections chapters are written the novel gets a VERY BIG edit.

I need to decide on an approach...I am still musing while my plot is straightening out.

1 comment:

Peg in South Carolina said...

How interesting!! I suggest you just write and see what happens. For a lot of writers, the characters start talking to them.............. Your approach to writing could end up to be a combination of the two.