While browsing through Michael's art store the other day, I came upon a 40% off canvas sale. Well, I usually don't spring for the big ones because they aren't cheap. I ended up buying one that's 24" x 36" and giggling the whole way home. If you didn't know I draw and paint, I have to ask how long you've been following my blog, or if you've ever seen one of my book covers (most notably Yassa and The Bird).
Here are a couple of my artworks:
But, anyway, as you can see, I have no lack of skill. Yet, I find myself staring at the blank canvas, wondering what in the world I'm gonna put on it. I don't want to stop once I've started, and I don't want to hate it halfway through and have to gesso it out and start over.
So I find myself planning.
If you know anything about me, you'll know I'm a strict pantser when it comes to my writing.
When the thought of picking up a brush and going at a canvas makes me cringe, how the hell can I craft a story by the seat of my pants?
Truth: I don't.
I think about the book, plan out my characters, and have the plot (at least a beginning and ending) in mind when I sit down to write. I think a true pantser would sit down with no idea what they're going to do and bang out a book.
Like people say a true artist sits down and bangs out a painting.
But is it really that easy? No. Most of the famous artists in the world never sat down and slapped paint around on a canvas. They had direction, and they had a picture in mind before they ever began. This leads me to believe art rarely comes from nowhere. Even color choices made by the artist who attaches balloons to the wall and throws darts at them is a decision. There's never complete freedom in art. Everything has a plan.
Writing novels is an art form. Sure, you can write whatever you want, whenever you want, and throw it out there for the world to consume. But readers will become disenchanted if your novels have no cohesion, plot, or character building. Just like art lovers will spot an amateur painter if the colors on the canvas clash.
On the same note, there must be some freedom in painting like there is in writing. My imagination is my only limitation as far as situations, characters, and plot go; but I'm bound to certain rules of the written word—like artists are bound to rules of composition and color usage. Even Jackson Pollock had a specific idea in mind when he tackled a work. But he got to choose the colors. Note my baby pink oak tree up there.
What I'm saying is: We all have freedom in our writing or art, but knowing all you can know about your craft—and using that knowledge—never hurts.
I guess buying that canvas did more for my thought process than I realized.
It's still sitting there, completely blank, waiting on me to make a decision.
I'm knee-deep in my section of the Fractured Glass anthology. It's so much fun giving characters free reign to lead me in the direction they choose. I've had a number of epiphanies while writing. Interesting twists and some mighty creepy situations are emerging as I bang the keys. Not long now. Good thing I had a plan, eh?
Time for you to join in the discussion here! Do you think it's possible to write an entire novel from the hip? Or do you think you must know the building blocks on all sides in order to craft something with no idea where it's going or how it'll get there?
Inquiring minds wanna know.
Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!