I don’t know whether I’ve posted on this before, but I don’t mind posting on it again– it’s just as relevant now as previously. I have found that when I’m excited about something, I do it much more efficiently and quickly than when I’m bored.
Obviously, this applies to just about everything one does, but I’ll just talk about writing for now.
For some odd reason, a few days ago, I was having a little trouble writing a few scenes of the Phil Phorce. They were going slowly and I found myself getting easily distracted by piddling things like, you know, chores and silly TV shows. It wasn’t that I wanted to do those other things– I just wasn’t interested in the scene I was supposed to be writing.
It’s obvious what comes next. The only solution to this problem is to get interested.
My constant fallback is humor. Humor interests me. Therefore, to make a scene interesting to me, I just have to make it funny.
What if the scene only works if humor is kept low? I’m stuck.
But there are more ways to get excited about a scene than just humor. What about chilling revelations? A new character? Explosions? (My personal favorite these days.)
Seeing another story done well is a perfect incentive to write well yourself. It gets you excited about what a story can be, and why you’re writing in the first place. Tiny things in a good story spark exciting ideas for your own story. You see an emotional character arc and say to yourself, “I want an emotional character arc.” Is it copying? No, not necessarily. It’s your character, remember– it’s your character arc. They might begin the story flawed and finish the story fixed, but that happens with every good story, and it’s not copying.
There are different things that shock you and excite you about new, interesting stories. There are the characters, the world, and the emotions. The trick is to get just as excited writing about these things as reading about them. I adore a complex plot that makes no sense until the big reveal right at the end– capers especially, like Ocean’s Eleven or Mistborn. So what must I do to write such a story? I have to get excited about keeping information from the readers and the characters. I have to be like a parasite, feeding off of the confusion caused by my secrecy. Even though I’m not getting current feedback, I have to live on the memories of my own confusion, and the twisted pleasure of giving that to someone else.
Then there are characters. I love it when a character worms its way into my heart, then dies. I love happy endings too, but the knowledge that I’ve been manipulated skilfully and I don’t even care– that gets me more than anything. So if I want to get excited about a beloved character’s death, I have to enjoy the manipulation, enjoy leading the reader in one direction, then kicking them in the other.
I’ve never truly posted on manipulation, but it’s one of the best things about human society.
I’ve posted several times about how much I love plot twists in books. However, I never really knew how fun it could be to absolutely destroy a character’s life until people began reading the Phil Phorce. When people yell at me to hurry up and post the next section because they absolutely cannot wait, I know I’m doing it right.
So sometimes, even though you’re concentrating hard on getting the style right, getting past your wordcount goal for the day, or just getting through the main character’s dinner, you have to put your mind to something else, something that excites you in this scene. Because if that dinner was the platform for a giant argument between the main character and his sidekick, it’s definitely worth it to be excited about the argument rather than the silverware.