Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Sieve Mind

Blast and crap and cripes and criminy. This is not the first time I've pounced on a nugget of wisdom and then forgotten where I found it. Curse my sieve-like mind! This is why I write things down. In this case the nugget is this: Plan cold, write hot.

That is, be merciless, even surgical in researching and whatever level of planning is appropriate before writing. (I need a skeletal outline to keep me on track; even then I tend to meander. But the key is that it's just the highlights. 6-10 words would describe the whole book.)

The writing is magic: write hot. If only it were as simple and poetic as releasing the fire of the story onto the page! Ha ha, what a concept. Since that happens very rarely, I think what "write hot" really means is: glance at the outline every once in a while, but plunge into the story and write the first draft with fervor and energy and heat.

Plan cold, write hot. Who said that? It's brilliant.

It's similar to something I think Anne Lamott said in Bird by Bird: You have to hypnotize yourself in order to do the writing and truly, truly sink into the story. And then you have to un-hypnotize yourself to get back to that cold merciless place to revise it.

Plan cold. Write hot. Revise cold.

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