I am not a methodical person. When I have a practical task to complete I do try to be methodical but rarely succeed. The trouble is I have a very low boredom threshold and a patience deficiency.
For instance, I decide to paint a room and I determine to start in one place and methodically work my way along until the whole area is covered. Sadly this is not to be. After a few minutes the boredom sets in. I try putting on some music but that doesn’t change the physical task. So I move to the far corner and put some paint on there and then decide I will get a different brush and do round the electrical socket and the light switch first.
This is all very well but fairly soon I lose track of which bits I have done and which I haven’t. The fading afternoon light doesn’t help and in the morning the full patchiness horror is revealed. Instead of doing a methodical second coat I then start dabbing at the thinly painted patches because that it a marginally more interesting pastime. Suffice to say this second coat is not the last.
The reason for recounting this unproductive character trait is that I have realised recently that I am having to be methodical in writing Invisus. Because I have chosen to simply sit and write it as it comes I can’t start jumping around the timeline and the plot. I could try but, as I have mentioned previously, I find that unexpected events and characters happen during the writing process. How then can I jump ahead when I don’t know everything that will have gone before?
Up to now I have not even been tempted to try writing in non sequential sections. I have kept a direct and methodical path, telling the story as it unfolds. I did consider, at the beginning, of using two perspectives and jumping between them but when reading I am not keen on that style so it didn’t make sense to try to write like that. I do find sometimes that I feel there is a long road still stretching ahead of me and I get impatient to get to what I see as more interesting parts of the plot. This impatience is what gave me the realisation that I am actually writing in a direct and methodical way. When the surprise wore off I felt quite pleased with myself and my impatience lessened. After all, every bit of the plot needs to be interesting and the current part deserves the very best attention.
I find I write in small chunks of 400 – 1,000 words at a time which I think helps. I take on board the philosophy of stopping when you still know what is coming next. By the way, another tip I was once given was to stop writing in mid sentence so that when you sit back down to write again, you mentally go back to your thinking more easily. I do this sometimes or write a memory jogger note for next time. I also keep a running word count now so that I can see that I truly am progressing. A bit sad I know but I do find it encouraging. Currently I have just exceeded 20,000 words and am feeling pretty proud of that.
So I will content myself with occasional conscious, and lots of subconscious, thinking about the plot sections to come, and the odd scribbled note of a phrase I like or an idea I might use. Or I might not use. And I will continue my direct and methodical writing because I would never want to lose the surprises which are born from it.