Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Writing quote XII

The faster I write the better my output. If I'm going slow I'm in trouble. It means I'm pushing the words instead of being pulled by them.
(Raymond Chandler)

To some extent, this is why I write the way I do; unplanned, at least at the very early stages. To plan and follow the blueprint is, for me, rather unadventurous. Ergo, it's also pretty boring. I'd never heard it put the way Chandler put it here, but I think I get it. Pushing words means that you're forcing something to happen. You're being the primary agent for change, or for creativity. And of course, the urge to scratch that itch to create something is why we do what we do. But I think there has to more than that. There has to be the feeling of being taken on the ride with the characters. Because if we can't inspire ourselves to invest in our characters and their journey, what hope do our readers have?


Mike said...

What point do find structure kicking in? Is it that point when you feel that *you* know where the story is going?

james roy said...

Mike, I've got structural ideas also bouncing around from the very beginning. But yes, that becomes a proper consideration once I've scratched around for a bit, and identified what kind of story I'm telling, and who I'm telling it about. Because as Chandler very cleverly says, otherwise I feel like I'm pushing the story rather than being pulled along by it.

Jo said...

I love Raymond Chandler - both his writing and his quotes about writing. I find a lot of inspiration in both. I also find that I write better when I just let myself enjoy the adventure along with my characters, rather than trying to push a story along a pre-determined path. Of course, sometimes this leads me to a point where I'm not quite sure what's going to happen next, at which point there is another fabulous Chandler quote that I like to refer back to:

"When in doubt, have a man come through the door with a gun in his hand."

Tristan Bancks said...

Nice, James. I tweeted the thought below an hour or so ago and then found your Chandler quote. I think I was trying to say a similar thing:
'Some books write themselves at 2000 words a day. Some at 1000. At 1000 it's less of a mess but, perhaps, less inspired.'
Push vs. Pull. I like it.