3/24/10

What's your favorite pair of jeans?

Mine, depends on my mood or where I going in them. 
Writing on the Couch = Comfy Jeans. 
Girls Night Out = Skinny Jeans
Rock Concert - Holey Destroyed Jeans

I own 27 pairs of jeans (I just cleared a few out for donation too), one for every possible mood.  It never occurred to me that my jeans habit could transfer over into my writing. I have written one book, working on two more and each one I’ve started with a different approach.

First Book = Sloppy Jeans
You know the jeans, they don’t really fit you, more than just comfy they are hanging off your body baggy in all the wrong places.  Too long but you can’t really cuff them.  Well, unsure of myself, I started writing my first book with an idea for a story.  Yes we all do that but let me show you how well I messed that up. 

Loosely basing all my characters on the people around me, I gave them certain duties and roles that they awkwardly fumbled around in.  I forced them to act a certain way just so I could move my story along.  Research?  Yes I did plenty of research on the facts surrounding the “paranormal” philosophy behind their powers.  Let me just say, the first book was almost completely written before I even discovered the blogging community (a little to late).  By the end, I looked like a little girl in overly baggy jeans with my shirt tails hanging out trying to walk around in my mother’s high heels.  Very sloppy and not really mature.

Second Book = Skinny Jeans
Oh yes, skinny jeans; hot tight jeans that give you a great butt, perfect with heels and big flashy earrings.  Not wanting to repeat my mistakes in book one, I decided to take a more rigorous approach.  Take my beautiful synopsis; I outlined it, created a plot map and detailed out the characters.  I planned each step of the way.   I knew where I was going and what to do next.  I looked good in those jeans.  The story felt solid, the characters voices strong, even though they were loosely based on people I knew, I liked this approach much better.  This time I had the resources (agent blogs, published authors blogs, writing tools and tips websites) to write a good book.   But let’s face it, I might look good in those jeans but they’re for parties or making a girlfriend jealous.  You can’t wear those jeans 24/7 and really be comfortable.

Third Book = Comfy Jeans
Comfy stretch all over but still shapes the outline of your figure.  A little ragged and torn on the heels reminding you they’ve been with you for a while but still look good.  Here, for the first time not one single character, event or place is based on anything/anyone I know.  Period.  Taking a scene from a dream I had, I wrote out my current chapter two.  Then I asked myself, why or how did these people get here?  From that question and one scene I started writing my dystopian novel.  

Ideas stared spilling out of me.  But for this story I do something I’ve never done before.  I don’t allow myself to think more than a half a chapter ahead.  The MC, I didn’t have a name for her until her best friend called her by that name.  If my MC doesn’t know the answer, neither do I, until it’s time to know that answer.  Does that make sense? I don’t know how the book is going to end and I’m okay with that.  I find, like the second book, if I plot and organize too much then I’m bored.  I already know what’s going to happen, why keep going?   Each scene I write now predicts what will happen next, not my over planning.  The characters and location are based on emotions I want that specific character to evoke on my MC.   

Then I realized, this is my writing style.  This fits me but comfortably and I look good in these jeans.  Sure, I can’t wear them with heals and go out the girls but they look great with the 10 pairs of assorted flip flops I own.  So I started writing “by the seat of my pants” and the story took off.   That’s when I knew my jean obsession spoke metaphorically for my writing passion… 

I’m a pantser.
Now most sources I’ve read frown upon pantsing.  Sure the writing is euphoric and the words pour easily but the final WIP ends up being an editing nightmare, a fun read but not much consistency or structure.  I say:  Blech!  Rubbish!  Hogwash!   You have to find what feels good for you.  What works for one may not work for the other.  And to say there is only one way to write a book is socialistic.   Maybe it will be more work to polish my piece but it will be mine, ALL ME and I have to say…it feels good.

So when you’re writing, either methodical or pantser, what jeans are you wearing?
Yes, that's the stack of jeans in my closet.

16 comments :

  1. I'm wearing my comfy jeans - definitely! Great analogy. :-)

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  2. Love this post! Love jeans! I'm sporting my skinny jeans 24/7. It may sound silly, but it makes me feel I'm dressed to impress. I'm just weird like that.

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  3. I think I have one leg in my comfy jeans, and one leg in my sloppy jeans.

    I love this analogy, though! And I'm jealous of your jeans collection. I only have 3 pair...*sniff* But I love them!

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  4. I love this analogy! What a great way to think about writing.

    I own 1 pair of jeans...yep 1 pair. Love them!

    I am a skirt/dresses girl, but my one pair is soft, still holds shape and a little edgy.

    My writing however is a mixture of your styles. I start off sloppy just writing the story then it begins to sharpen and take a better structural shape by the end I am (hopefully) comfortable with the characters and their message has managed to come across as they need it to...so yeah that's me! ;o)

    Visit My Kingdom Anytime

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  5. Excellent analogy. I own several pairs of jeans, but they're all the same style (comfy). The only reason I have numerous pairs is to match my expanding/shrinking waist line, otherwise I'd wear the same pants for all occassions. I place comfort above everything else!

    Now T-shirts...thats a whole other story!!

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  6. I'm in some blend of the comfy jeans and the skinny jeans (which is odd, because I wear a boot cut). With what I'm writing now, I have a sort of checklist. 'Okay, MC has to run into Male Lead. Think. Think. Think. Okay, write.'

    It works for me.

    Very cute post. :)

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  7. I prefer to write, pantless, then there's no room for being confused with wearing a certain pant type, in my writing. :P j/k of course

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  8. Very clever! I'm all over comfy jeans. Actually, a tee shirt and comfy jeans are part of my executive suit. :)

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  9. Hi there :)
    I am featuring your blog on my blog. If you're curious, why don't you come and check it out.
    http://readersrandomramblings.blogspot.com/2010/03/six-degrees-of-blogging-separation.html

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  10. Sloppy jeans, for sure. The people around me should be very scared....

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  11. I used to have a ton of jeans too, but I organized them much differently. One pile was jeans that I had worn five years before, then 4 years before and 3, so on and so on. I gained weight a lot and I had wishful thinking that I would return back to those sizes. Now I've gotten rid of most of them.

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  12. Thanks everyone for commenting. Sorry it has taken so long to get back to you all. Laundry and packing for my big vacation next week is keeping me from my laptop. Scary, I know.

    You guys are so complimentary, thanks. I love jeans and I'm glad you could all relate.

    Void - Pantless? I believe it.

    Southern Princess - One pair of jeans? Seriously? How is that humanly possible? I don't wear anything else until summer, then it's jean shorts.

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  13. I'm just happy if they fit and are clean.

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  14. lol, Travis - that's such a dude thing to say.

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  15. Er -- what does it say when I'm a grown woman and I have only one pair of jeans?

    It's because of me being abnormally shrimpy. I wear size 00P (no, no, NO, it is NOT a blessing, but a CURSE), and finding a jean that doesn't make me look like a tarty 12-year-old is almost impossible.

    But then again ... it could be that, following your analogy, I am so NOT a pantser. Yes, I realize I have control issues. Yes, I know they make pills for that. :-)

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  16. Cynthia - You poor thing. That really stinks. I feel your pain. I watched a What Not to Wear episode where they revamped a woman's wardrobe who had felt like she had to shop in the kids zone. They really helped her a lot. She had no idea how many petite options were out there. But it sounds like your one jean choice is not a choice.

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