Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Experts and How You Write

I'm rereading a writing book right now. Specifically, Lew Hunter's Screenwriting 434.

It's pretty specifically aimed at screenwriters (but a lot in it, except for specific formats, applies to comics - and even to prose).

In fact, this book is packed with advice. So, how much of it am I going to apply? Not much, in truth.

Lew Hunter is an expert. He's a leading teacher. He's worked for everyone. So, why wouldn't I try to write like him?

Simple. Hunter is a heavy outliner who practically uses the Koontz method. He writes, then polishes, then writes some more.

I'm a pantser who needs to let work "rest" between writing and editing. I've had to learn to outline for comics - just like in script work, you have to put together a treatment - but for my prose work? Not happening. And if I'm editing a novel, I need to let the dang thing sit for a month.

If I tried to write like Hunter, it would be a disaster. That doesn't mean there's not stuff I can learn from him.

If Hunter tried to write like me, it would be a disaster.

Don't write like anyone. I always advise newbies to try all of the various methods - try outlining, try not outlining, and work out what works for them. You have to work with your own creative process, not somebody else's.

No matter how much of an expert they are.