Taking dictation

Anne Lamott says this about plot:

Over and over I feel as if my characters know who they are, and what happens to them, and where they have been and where this will go, and what they are capable of doing, but they need me to write it down for them because their handwriting is so bad.

I’m anxious to finish my book, and yet I seem to find a thousand ways to waste my writing time. Today it occurred to me that my right brain had sent my left brain on a mission while it worked because apparently a lot is going on over there. I’ve just “taken dictation” on a crucial scene between Jalal and his father. And Renee is standing in the wings saying, “Me next!” so I guess I’ll have to go see what she has to say.

How’s your progress? Are your characters guiding your fingers on that keyboard?

11 thoughts on “Taking dictation

  1. Hi Linda. That’s nice of your characters to chat with you so willingly. Sometimes I don’t know what the girls in my book are up to until they’re knee deep in it! Enjoy your talk with Renee.

    I’m offically starting draft two tomorrow, and I’m quite scared! But I’ve reviewed the entire first draft and have plenty of places to dig into. First order of business will be to get the inciting event to start sooner. I realized things don’t really get moving until chapters 4 or 5!

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    1. They don’t always talk to me; they’ve been in a snit before when I tried to force the story. Good luck on your revision. I’ve just written a few scenes on index cards and have been switching their order around to sort out a plot problem.

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  2. I love that quote. I often feel the same way. I wish some characters were guiding me right now. But, editing has taken over my brain and stomped out all creativity. (My inner editor is mean.)

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  3. Progress here… slow. I have 3 people to proofread my first draft and that was… um awhile ago. I’m not keep track so as to not get discouraged with how BLOODY long it’s taking! Hee hee.. ehem…all better now. I’ve made a few changes right after I printed up their versions, naturally, but nothing more since that.
    I love how your characters talk to you. That’s a cute mental image. : )

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  4. I’m with Kasie, my editing has taken over and the only things I hear my characters saying is, “Don’t kill me, please.” Those are their last words.

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    1. Oh, well, see that’s why I write it perfectly the first time … no editing! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. Actually, if I think about editing, I’ll just quit writing now.

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  5. Linda, I’m not writing fiction right now, but poetry. But I’m finding a similar phenomenon – sometimes, the words just take off and something emerges that came from – who knows? – and is a complete surprise to me.

    I love it when that happens and the work is always more interesting than when I have a plan.

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