Right Minded Wilderness

How do I decide how to set up scenes, how much description to use, and what needs to be told versus shown? I don’t have a good answer.

I really don’t decide. Not consciously.

I write by the seat of my pants, flow of consciousness style. Sometimes, to appease my OCD left brain, I sit down beforehand and outline scenes and fill out character worksheets, but when it comes to the actual story writing, I am a creature of pure instinct and impulse.

When I’m writing, I migrate over to the right side of my brain. It’s a wild, uncharted wilderness over there. It’s chaos. When I’m there, I become that creature of instinct and impulse, relying on the untamed side of myself to do what is needed, what’s best, for a particular scene.

It’s a non-linear place. I have to let go of my inhibitions, trusting the right brain creature to avoid plot holes and navigate the bog of doom in that lies in wait in middle of the book. I have to trust that when I emerge from the right minded wilderness – wild-eyed and exhausted – my left brain creature will be able to make order out of the chaos. It has the raw materials mined from the right brain, and has to make notes on how to refine those stones into polished gems.

If the right brain is a wild animal, the left brain is definitely the ringmaster. You can try to tame the creature, but you never know when a lion is suddenly going to turn on you.

Sometimes my left brain has no idea what to do with what my right brain dug up. The left brain often needs more material from the right brain, which it refuses to give. And sometimes, when the left brain needs to destroy something the right brain is attached to, it shrieks and rattles its chains as if in pain.

My left brain is still trying to figure out how to control my right. It doesn’t dare venture into the right brain wilderness, so it has to wait for the right brain to show its face. Although it has found ways to coax it out of hiding. The partnership is a tenuous work in progress.

To be honest, my left brain is still learning how to craft the raw materials mined from the right brain into a finished product.

I’m still trying to figure out how to decide. How much do I leave to the OCD mind, and how much do I leave to the right minded wilderness?

Sara is a Kansas-grown author of the fantasy and horror persuasions. She is convinced that fantastical things are waiting for her just around the corner, and until she finds the right corner, she writes about those things instead.

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