Monday, October 15, 2012

Tie Me Up

Silly readers!

I hope you weren't expecting another kink-inspired Mommy Porn post, although that particular post did get lots of hits. I think, however, that had more to do with the 50 Shades references than my skill with words. And, despite the Christmas decorations on display at Target, it's still October and I'm still in monster mode.

Today I'm going to talk about my mean Mummy Monster. The one that ties my brain up in tight little knots and leaves me wondering whether I'm really cut out for this writing gig.

There are two kinds of Mummy Madness. The first one is the kind where I'm writing along and then, as though my brains have brakes and someone else is driving them, everything comes screeching to a halt while I try to find the word I want. Seriously! It's like fishing around in a drawer filled to the brim with things that are almost, but not quite, what I want. Let's see, was it untenable, untoward, untouchable, untethered.  Arrgh!!

The second kind of mental bondage that can leave me feeling Mummy Bound is the necessity of following the internal rules of the story. Depending on what you're writing, internal consistency can pose a challenge that has the potential to leave you feeling entombed.

Somedays, I feel like my books are a corn maze where I write myself into a dead end, turn around, back track, do a circle and wind up in exactly the same place.

Of course, outlining would probably help with this problem, but then I'd never experience the incredible euphoria that comes from seeing the big exit sign and knowing I managed to get there all by myself. 

And then of course, sometimes being Mummy Bound isn't a bad thing at all. The best kind of Mummyness comes on those days when the words flow at a steady 65 mph and the route is clear for miles, sort of the way I imagine it would be to drive through Nebraska. On those days, there's nothing more comforting than being wrapped up in a big Mummy Monster of cozy words.


22 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'd be lost in that corn maze forever if I didn't outline!

Cecilia Robert said...

Mmh a poor outliner. I enjoy writing, letting my mind and fingers take me there. Then outline much later on when I'm through. (Great post title btw, my mind automatically went down that alley..LOL)

Michael Offutt, Tebow Cult Initiate said...

I definitely rely upon an outline to get going on a story.

Hart Johnson said...

Yeah, I'd never get untangled without some markers along the way--less a full map of the maze and more periodic flashing beacons to give me a better direction.

Alison DeLuca said...

The corn word maze - I am stuck there often! If I see you, I'll give you coffee and we can wander together.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

The mummy brains happen for me when I've been writing or editing and the brain just gets too tired and shuts down. At that point, I just have to stop.

Don't think I could write without an outline though.

Jessie Humphries said...

I got me some serious mummy brains right now! But ever since I started using Blake Snyder's beat sheet, I feel like I can jump right in to writing and have the freedom to make choices based on already strong structural choices. I don't think that came out very articulate!

nutschell said...

I can't think of diving into story without an outline. *shudders* too scary!

Nutschell
www.thewritingnut.com

Johanna Garth said...

Alex, sometimes I feel like I am.

Cecilia, me too which is what makes the editing process so hard.

Michael, I stop about halfway through and get my bearings.

Allie, is that you over there? I think I can see you just on the other side of the maze.

Diane, I have those shut down moments too.

Jessie, I should check out the beat sheet.

Nutschell, you just jump in. Kind of like diving off a diving board.

conniejjasperson said...

This is so awesome - I just did a post on outlining - I think I will add a new paragraph and link this blog post to it!

Anne Gallagher said...

The book I'm writing now is the first one I've ever outlined before the writing even started. I'm a pantster girl. I don't mind the corn mazes because sometimes they lead me (actually my characters) where I never thought they'd go. Some days, that's a good thing.

As for words, got the old handy dandy thesaurus. I know it's a pain to stop and think about what you want to say, so usually I just highlight that word and keep on writing. I'll get back to it later.

Sarah Ahiers said...

I dunno. I outline and i always have those big euphoria moments where i discover how it all comes together. You just have to make sure that the outline isn't too detailed, and then you'll still be surprised

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Johanna,outlining has never helped me, because I don't see those binding and restricting knots until they actually appear in the story. And most of the time, my characters will show me the way out, if I listen to them carefully enough.

When writing an outline in advance, I don't know my characters well enough. Even if I think I do, I don't. So they can't give me any help before the story is actually written.

Barbara Watson said...

"A Mummy Monster of cozy words." Love that thought.

Carol Kilgore said...

Just this morning I searched through the word drawer for that one exact word. I finally gave up and slammed the drawer. And there lay the word on the counter. Exclusive. Now why couldn't I grasp such a normal word? Mummy Brains are not my friend even though they hang around sometimes like they are.

E. Arroyo said...

My first draft is a huge mess when I'm done but two things are very clear to me: my characters and plot. With that, I go back and fine tune. I'm good at ignoring messes around me. =)

jenny milchman said...

Love the mummy monster. Know the mummy monster. Then rip off her bonds.

Not *those* kind of bonds.

Hope to follow my own advice when I begin my new book...any day now...as soon as I can head for Nebraska.

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

Sounds wonderful to have words flow at 65mph. Driving through Nebraska? Not so much.

xoRobyn

Pk Hrezo said...

This happens to me all the time too. Mostly I just forge thru when I'm writing and let myself totally suck, then go back and fix it.
I heard once in order to free your right brain, you have to cast off the shackles of the left or else you'll be conflicted and possibly give up.
Makes sense when you think about it.

Talli Roland said...

I know the main turning points, so the mummy maze can't ensnare me!

Ella said...

I'm fascinated with your corn field process! Mummy bound for sure-I do love going 65-75mph in a type fest of words. It is like a skein of mummy yarn at my home! Quick grab the other end and meet me for some Zombie brew, lol.
What a great feeling~ You know your writing process reminds me of my creative one. I start on one idea and go with it-most of the time, it never was quite what I envisioned~
So glad you were okay-with my Ella Lyons possession~ I really was the only girl who got an A in Lab Biology :D Math-that is a mine field of mummy madness! Maybe Zombies lol

alexia said...

When I'm writing a first draft, I refuse to stop for word choice and little stuff - I make myself put it off until edit time, and then agonize over it. It's hard, though!