Anyone who knows me or has seen a presentation by me, knows that I am not a linear thinker. If I get very animated in discussion, I’ll fire off a few parallel threads, and bring them together, only to split off a few more. It’s the way my brain works.
When I write, I don’t write linearly. I write scenes as they move me, and when I’m low on energy or not sure what to write, I’ll try stitching them together. Then I’ll move scenes around until I feel like I’ve cracked the lock, and the story’s there, taken out of the vault of chaos, and able to be polished up.
Writing The Wizard Killer is a different beast on many levels. Firstly, it’s not a novel. Due to its serial nature, and the particular type of style that I’ve created (a high intensity episodic serial), every episode’s got to make a solid hit. One of the ways in which I force myself to do that, is by writing each episode in order. And let me tell you, it’s MADDENING at times, but I think it’s part of the magic that makes it so special.
While I could abandon the approach that I use, I like the particular challenge of forcing myself to answer “what happens now” before taking another step. Yes, I have plans for where things will go, but it’s one thing to say they will go there, and it can be quite another actually getting the story there word by word.
This season, I’ve been writing them and letting them sit, before releasing them. For example, today I released episode 6 and I’m currently working on 11. Why? Because if nothing else, the stakes are higher this time, and I want to make sure that I deliver on them. Twice I’ve gone back and completely re-written an episode before releasing it because it didn’t hit the intensity mark, or it just seemed to bumble along.
I treat every written episode as a layer upon which I then start writing the rest of the season. I can’t just go and revise or change something substantial, because all of the layers on top will fall. It’s a challenging mental exercise to say the least.
Sometimes forcing yourself out of your comfort zone and keeping yourself there, can bring about a lot of creativity… as much as it can make you want to through your hands up, get an apple pie and a tub of ice cream, and hide away from the world with only rented movies or Netflix to keep you company.