Friday, January 29, 2010

Sometimes you feel like a nut...

As some of you know, my bio short bio goes like this: Ashlyn Chase describes herself as an almond Joy Bar. A little nutty, a little flaky, but basically sweet, wanting only to give her readers a delicious experience.

Well, most of the time, I write humor...or try to. Lately, my muse--Thalia, the muse of comedy, seems to be on vacation. That doesn't stop me from writing. Oh no. I refuse to give in to writer's block! I just power through it by writing something else. That's why I often have two or three novellas or short stories coming out along with a big single title.

My latest single title is finished! YAY!!! At least the first draft is. There are a few humorous moments. At least my critique partner laughed in all the right places. But it's not funny enough for me. Anyway, I learned this trick recently--from another blog of all places! Take those chapters that are giving you fits and copy them into a separate file. Now you have the freedom to play. Nothing is destroyed if you decide to take bold risks on those few pages. And often you'll find things you can do better.

I would imagine this not only works with comedy, but other genres as well. I'd be curious to know if anyone else tries it, and how it goes for you...

Ash

12 comments:

  1. I keep two files at all times. One in which I write everything: narrative, skeletons of scenes, descriptions, character analysis--no order, except for the occasional heading so I can find it later. I call it my notebook.

    Once the story begins to jell, I open another file. Into it I copy what seems to work. I go back and forth between them. When I have a scene that doesn't work, I put it back in the notebook.

    A lot of times when I'm stuck, I read through the notebook and discover a scene I didn't know what to do with before, but now realize it unsticks the stuck place.

    It sounds like you're doing another version of the same strategy.

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  2. Thanks MM,

    I've been doing story boards up to now and can move scenes around, but never thought to open a whole new file and just "play." Certainly whole new scenes could go into a "play" file too!

    Ash

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  3. Hi Ash,

    I'm the kind of writer who finds it difficult to continue until I have the current chapter the way I want it. Don't know what kind of writer than makes me, but so far it's worked for me. I do think moving the chapter to another file to work on it is a good idea and I might give that a try the next time I'm stuck!
    Amelia

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  4. Interesting, Ash. I keep a file I call bits and pieces. It's full of work that I cut because it might have been funny, but it just didn't work where I put it. Sometimes I find myself going back there and picking things up and copying it to different places.

    Comedy is hard. I for one have a difficult time making things funnier. I might go back and write a scene in a different POV, and then with internal dialogue it gets funnier, but other than than doing that, making something funnier tends to feel forced.

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  5. I haven't tried this yet, but will be doing so in the near future. Just got my first rejection letter, so it looks like I will be able to do some playing. :) Thanks for the idea.

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  6. I know what you mean by feeling forced, Robin. However, sometimes I spot an opportunity I missed for a better comment when I go back a bit.

    For instance, My heroine is agast to find out that in order to be marked as her were-hero's mate, he has to bite her. Her line was,

    "You're going to b--bite me?"
    at first I simply had him quietly nod his head. Later I wrote...
    "L'il bit," and he shrugged.

    At least it made my critique partner laugh.

    Ash

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  7. "L'il bit." He shrugged.

    Priceless, Ash!

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  8. I LOVE your bio, Ash!!! That is so cute! :)

    What I do is layer. My scenes are skimpy when I first write them. And so as I'm going over them, and over them, and over them, I make them what I want them to be--more sensual, adventurous, thrilling, more detailed, more funny, etc. :) But when it starts out, it's just the bare-bones. :)

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  9. I'll skip and head on to the next chapter then go back.

    This sounds like a good idea though.

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  10. Congrats on finishing your latest single title, Ash! I know what a wonderful feeling that is. :}

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  11. Never tried the separate file thing. Perhaps I'll give it a go!

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  12. Very interesting technique, but I know it would never work for me. I write very ordered and like Amelia have to finish one part before I move on. I do do back and edit constantly, but essentially one portion gets finished before I write more.

    I do know all about powering through though! I have had to do that more than a few times when my handsome muse is off gallivanting about elsewhere.

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