On The Couch-With Larisa

The

While writing with my partners [Sarah & Sheal] the awareness of what our ‘style’ is, came into full view. I have determined [and I am not saying this with ego] am better at narrative writing than I am at dialogue writing. It was during a discussion with Sheal, that a lightbulb went off for us to write posts about the aspect or ‘style’ that a writer takes on. Writers sometimes struggle with what style to write in, what method to use, that sometimes we get in our heads and shut down instead of creating. I wrote about the concept of the dreaded ‘blank page’ in a Nanowrimo feature article because this is the most common issue authors face. The methods we use are sometimes a gift and a curse, and sometimes it becomes apparent when co-writing that you pick up and change your methods to adapt to a new phenomenon, seeing how another author works can give you insight into how to improve or how to help them improve because you are in collaboration. Collaboration allows for shaping and honing your skills because each voice can lend itself to the script. Sometimes this goes wrong, but if you choose the right co-author, it can be like skipping through an allergen-free meadow surrounded by glittering fairies that reveal an illuminated land of ideas and produce something epic.

My Methods:

I am able, to see a manuscript or concept very visually, I connect with the characters inside and can reveal them without ever breaking focus on the story. It’s a complex method to write, and as a complex person who has been able to compartmentalize life, it comes naturally to me to create a singular universe in which all thoughts are meshed together at once. I don’t know why this method works for me, but for me, I grew up in a world in which I had to be two people and so fractured thinking is something I am too close to. In both writing projects, I found that I had an easier time writing the narrative sections and also providing the ‘thoughts’ of characters without dialogue. To me the narrator is alive, it is a character too

Observer-Narrator: Secondary for me, is the method in which, you explain the story in the first or third person. This is common for me to do, with one difference. I include the perspective of the characters inside the book, I vary this method in my writing by changing gears a lot. Mixing methods allows me to vary up what my contribution to a project or book will be, it allows me to be freer in my creation of a piece of work and allows for me to work with a large selection of authors.

Honing in on what type of writer I am, I refer to this blog post that sums up a suggested list of 10 types of authors: https://paperfury.com/the-10-types-of-writers/. I would have to say I am number 9.

9. The Multi-Tasker

That writer’s working on one project? Aww, so adorable. You handle 6+ at one time. Plus you’re doing edits on a few manuscripts, beta-ing for a friend, casually writing a dozen novels, and, oh, plotting 2x dozen more. You’re like an octopus.

Yep, that’s me, I call it sometimes multi-failing as seldom in my effort to juggle it all, something falls to the wayside…like taking out food to cook or maybe sleeping…but its’ how I have always managed myself, I thrive being busy.

Writer or Storyteller

I would declare myself between a writer and a storyteller. I can switch between my right and left sides of my brain because I have learned to listen to both, even though one [the creative side] likes to be the boss, I do listen to the aspects of myself that want to convey more technical books like Embracing Heathenry. I prefer, the more creative explorative books like Morufell, The Bone Jar, etc because it lets me have some freedom to explore my imagination. I think there is a difference between the two, and I am not the only one. The site, The Write Practice [clever name], shared this article on the difference; https://thewritepractice.com/are-you-a-writer-or-a-storyteller/, and I felt very convinced by the articles summation that I am perhaps leaning on storytelling. I prefer the methods that allow you to just drift around, to convey things via images, sounds, feelings, hidden meanings, I enjoy that immensely

Strategies for Left/Right-Brainers: “Writing is interesting in that it requires a balance of opposites: inspiration and analysis, intuition and practicality, creativity and applied to learn. The process of creating a piece of writing engages both the right and left sides of the brain, and requires the writer to operate on multiple levels of consciousness, sometimes simultaneously.” http://www.theheartofwriting.com/blog/2017/4/8/right-brain-left-brain-the-writers-balance

This quote sums up the issues with being able to switch between both sides of your brain. To balance both forces within requires a large amount of control and also lack of control, it’s knowing yourself, and being comfortable in your skin enough to let go of your insecurities. I know how hard that is, sometimes I feel that my writing sucks, and maybe people out there think it does, but I have reached a place in my life, where I have discovered that my writing is a love I cannot retire, and so I keep trying and keep improving, and maybe, one little person out there, finds my writing and reads it with enjoyment.

“If we are naturally right-brain dominant, we will probably be at ease with the creative aspects of the writing process. We will be brimming with new ideas, and thrive on “downloading” new material from our creative Source. But when it comes to revision, self-editing, or organizing what we have created, we may run into challenges, and either ignore the need to organize/revise or move on to another project without finishing the current one. If we are left-brain dominant, we may love creating structures and outlines, and the process of planning our writing projects. We may also be more comfortable revising existing work than creating new work. And we may be tempted to “write what we know” (instead of creating something new and different) to stay out of that uncomfortable creation zone where there are too many unanswered questions.” http://www.theheartofwriting.com/blog/2017/4/8/right-brain-left-brain-the-writers-balance

Finding this balance is hard, but you can find it. Authors are always told you have to be ‘born with it’ or that there is some hidden writer’s DNA that you have to be born with and without it, maybe you should just take that job at wherever. There is no such thing, every writer has struggled to be where they are, every writer deals with frustration, you are not alone in this

Advice

  1. Read your writing out loud! Find a place in your house to read through what you wrote out loud! I use this method all the time. I am very annoying to my family, who are my unofficial beta listeners, and I read through every piece of writing with them because writing it and reading it allows you to ‘hear’ how it sounds and how to change the frame of the document to sound better. Our eyes sometimes misplace words and sometimes overlook things, so reading it helps catch that.
  2. Trust yourself. This is hard but listen to your head. It is important to work through hypothetical and other concepts that help you work through issues that might be holding up the manuscript.
  3. Get Inspiration: Pick up your favorite novel, go read some quotes somewhere, get out of your work and into someone else, this helps draw inspiration from others and determine a clearer way to move forward. There is nothing wrong with drawing on others to get yourself on the right track. Even watching movies, tv, and listening to music helps shift your mind onto writing and shows you the way. I do this all the time! I have music on while I write and often turn on some Amazon Prime movie while I am typing to have background noise and get moments to break up where I am stuck.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space][vc_column_text]I find you can toss out all the stuff you learned in English class because although these rules are there, writers break them all the time. Focusing too much on conforming leads to dry and almost robotic work that is a far cry from creativity.

For a laugh, read the new and improved, Rules for Writing because they are without a doubt, hilarious: https://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/29/books/review/colson-whiteheads-rules-for-writing.html

My favorite rule from this is definitely rule 7: “Rule No. 7: Writer’s block is a tool — use it. When asked why you haven’t produced anything lately, just say, “I’m blocked.” Since most people think that writing is some mystical process where characters “talk to you” and you can hear their voices in your head, being blocked is the perfect cover for when you just don’t feel like working. The gods of creativity bless you, they forsake you, it’s out of your hands and whatnot. Writer’s block is like “We couldn’t get a baby sitter” or “I ate some bad shrimp,” an excuse that always gets you a pass. The electric company nagging you for money, your cell provider harassing you, whatever — just say, “I’m blocked,” and you’re off the hook. But don’t overdo it. In the same way, the babysitter bit loses credibility when your kids are in grad school, there’s an expiration date. After 20 years, you might want to mix it up. Throw in an Ellisonian “My house caught fire and burned up my opus.” The specifics don’t matter — the important thing is to figure out what works for you.”

Yes, the nagging force of the uncomplete manuscript is like that, the horrible, evil, telemarketer that keeps calling you asking you if you’re happy with your cable company, its terrible, and can be overlooked and ignored.

Post It
Tweet It
Pin It
Larisa Hunter

Larisa Hunter

President of TLS, writer, mother, and wife. I love all things art all my life. When I am not busy writing or publishing, I really enjoy baking and cooking. My hobbies include gaming, crafting, and painting.