When I’m writing a new story, I have a particular manner of approaching it. I tend to let it churn around and around in my head, and then when I think it’s ready, I’ll write it in one sitting. From conversations I’ve had recently, it seems I’m not the only one who works this way.
Yet when I was asked to write a monologue recently – which I performed on Thursday – I approached it in the manner suggested by the person who set the challenge. That was to think of somewhere that means something to you, either good or bad, and write about this place for 15 minutes without stopping. Then think of somebody striking, whether someone you know personally or who is in the news, and write about them for 15 minutes without stopping. Finally, put them together and use that as a jumping-off point.
At first, I didn’t know whether I could do anything with the place and person I chose, but after those 15 minutes of writing, I found a lot of usable material, which I then assembled into a poetic monologue. Instead of writing from the top to the bottom, I worked on the second part first, setting my ideas to an iambic rhythm; then worked on the first part second, using a dactyl meter.
It produced a piece with which I’m very happy and went down well with the audience. I wonder whether I should approach more of my pieces like this?
I’m tackling National Novel Writing Month at the same time, where the aim is simply to write the raw material for a first draft and worry about the editing at a future date. As always, I’m finding unusual twists and turns simply by the process of writing. For instance, the novel was originally to be a series of newspaper reports about an inventor, with a historian filling in the gaps. However, more and more of the inventor’s own words started to creep in, and now it’s written almost entirely from her point of view with only a little help from the historian.
The next time I work on something original, I might try writing it out instead of just thinking about it, but I’ve learned a little lesson on that front as well. NaNoWriMo was planned out on three sheets of paper the size of newspaper pages. This is fine to refer to when writing at home, but inconvenient to take along to a cafe.