Wednesday, May 26, 2010

WiP Wednesday: The Joy of Writing Crap

You know, after spending so much time revising Evangeline, I forgot how much I love writing a new draft. I know writing a few chapters of a sequel is different than thinking up something completely new, which makes it that much more enjoyable, but for this first go around, I'm also allowing myself to write crap.

I'm finding that since I gave myself permission to suck, I'm not so stressed about how the story starts. Do we ever really know where the story should start when we begin a new story? I don't, even though sometimes I have a vague idea. In fact, it's often not until I've completed the first draft that I finally know how I want it to begin.

While giving myself permission to suck is great and all, even more fun is letting myself find inspiration in little, meaningless things, things I try to ignore when I'm in editing mode. Evangeline began as a scrap of paper I saw on the bus that looked oddly like a tarot card. And out of such humble beginnings came a 95K novel (with series potential ;D).

I was reminded of this the other day while I was watching The September Issue, which documented the creation and culmination of the 2007 Vogue September Issue. (For the fashion unconscious, September is the biggest and most important issue of all fashion mags, at least in the Northern Hemisphere)

Vogue's creative director, Grace Coddington—there's a fabulous interview with her about the documentary here—has long been one of my artistic idols. A former model, and photographer and one of the most influential women in fashion, Grace is surprisingly down to earth. Her photographs, however—and the photo shoots she plans, like the one below—are out of this world.

In the documentary, Grace tells an anecdote about her father. He always told her to never sleep while traveling, to pay attention and watch everything, because you never know what might inspire you.

I've been thinking a lot lately about this anecdote, and how if I'd been nodding off, or reading a book on the bus that day, I might never have had the idea for Evangeline in the first place. Everything happens for a reason, so I thank whoever unwittingly (or wittingly, I'm not that picky) dropped that wrapper or paper or whatever it was that turned into a story.

What's been inspiring you, lately?

If you're drafting, are you allowing yourself to write crap?

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