30 May 2011

The Dangers of Overnight Shifts

Normally, I would spend any 'free time' on an overnight shift trying to write. Granted, it doesn't always work out so well, what with the brain starting to melt and ooze out of my ears, thus making it very hard to construct a coherent sentence (if you only knew how many times I've deleted and retyped thus far). I do, however, do try to get some of it done on the night shift because it can be very quiet and there are very few distractions. Please note that I said it can be that way.

Tonight is actually one of those nights. I feel safe enough in saying it at this point because it's late enough that I'm not jinxing us. Well, let me knock on wood, just to be safe.

On a side note, the only place that I am this superstitious is at work. I can't explain it, but I genuinely feel that if I say a consumer's name and then knock on wood, they won't get referred. We all do it. How bizarre that a bunch of mental health professionals engage in such magical thinking. Anyway. Back to the point.

The biggest danger to trying to write on the overnight shift is not the incoherent sentences or weird mistypes because my brain is going so much faster than my fingers can keep up. No, the danger is that this is primarily when my characters tend to stage rebellions. Yes, I said rebellions. Or they outright hijack a scene - and when that happens I have no idea where we're going to end up in the story.

You see, I am not an outline-based writer for that very reason. I could start out with a beautiful outline, with my scenes highlighted and notes and research correlated. I could... but there would be no point because inevitably I am typing away at a scene and, in the words of Danny from CSI:NY, BOOM. We have gone in a completely different and unplanned direction. Now, this is exciting - it means my characters are coming alive and being who they are. It also is very annoying and irritating because I then invariably am plagued with the Well, how the hell am I supposed to get from this to where I was planning on going??? I don't know if you have ever had this happen, but it can really set you back a few days. Or, in the case of where I left off last week, at least a week. I am still stumped. So, I've moved on to another scene and I'll come back to it as soon as my muse has figured out how the hell I'm supposed to connect the two. Really. Any day now, Muse.

1 comment:

  1. I agree, that is one of the best parts of writing! As for where you were planning on going, you might get there or somewhere even more interesting. The editing stage is where I really sweat the continuity stuff.