Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Battle: Free-Writing Strikes Back

      Brush off the first round of blaster fire, here is the rebuttal to the Outline vs. Free-Writing debate.  Free-writing is a good and useful tool, but is it a better path than outlining? 
Is the Dark Side a better place for the Skywalker family?  Here is a definition of Free-Writing from Wikipedia: “… a person writes continuously for a set period of time without regard to spelling, grammar, or topic. It produces raw, often unusable material, but helps writers overcome blocks of apathy and self-criticism."
     Free-writing is a great tool to generate momentum and creative passion in writing. It alleviates the writer from the rules and restrictions of grammar, plot design and character development. In its wake is raw, visceral prose unencumbered and utterly free. Free-writing cuts the bonds that hold the beast at bay; Yet “with great freedom comes great responsibility”.
     The goal of most writing is to create a lasting story that tells a truth about the writer, an experience or the world. In a piece of free-writing there is a mass of emotional words with a form all of its own direction. The content of the piece might provide all the structure necessary, but as oft is the case, the piece could flail violently like a ship without a rudder; without guidance the fury of action is wasted.
     One issue I have with free-writing is that with the freedom there can be a lack of inspiration; even a protagonist needs and antagonist.  Sitting down to write with a blank page/screen with no pre-conceived idea for the writing session could be an exercise in futility.  Rowing in a constant circle with no direction is great for exercise, but poor for travel.  Too much of a good thing can be emotionally and creatively draining.

From "Outrigger Sailing Canoes"
     Another issue that I’ve run in to with free-writing is the use of my own cliches as crutches.  It goes unnoticed and it becomes a part of my “style” but it also is an anchor slowing down forward progress.  I can often lean heavily on metaphor rather than “showing” an action.  I discovered this after drafting some portions of the d20 adventure I’m working on.  Although I am now aware of the Achilles' heel and I try to avoid it in free-writing sessions, it always seems to read its ugly head (see if you can spot the over-usage of metaphors in this article).
     Using free-writing as a part of my writing toolkit, I learned something wonderful: I have a long way to go…  How do feel about free-writing?  Do you use it as your main source of new material?  Do you long for the wild and unrestrained ways of the Dark Side?
Next week: Battle: The Final Showdown! (and a piece of free-writing from the d20 Adventure)

From "Video Game Reviews"

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