Right Brain Creative Writing; Left Brian Editing

Posted at 02:45am on 31st August 2011
Photo: Right Brain / Left Brain

One of the most influential books I read when I was an unpublished, aspiring author, was Dorothea Brande's Becoming A Writer.  An American author (1893-1948) she identified the "adult / child" or Left and Right Brain aspects of writing.  The "child" is the unconscious, creative mind, and I recall her saying that an author may tap into this Right Brain mode via the practice of any repetitive manual work, such as ironing, gardening, or walking.

WHEN DO YOU EDIT A BOOK?

The Left Brain, or "adult" is the analytical mind which is required for editing.  And it is the fact that the two are quite separate and distinct modes of thinking that intrigued me.

Some authors finish a draft before beginning any sort of edit.  I find myself quite unable to do this and tend to edit as I go along.  In fact, reading and editing yesterday's work is what inspires me to proceed with writing today's.

CREATING CONFLICT: SURPRISING YOUR READER

There comes a time, however, when a major edit is required.  Although barely half way through, I'm at that stage now, with my next book.  One of my characters, a psychologist named Guy, has been widowed.  I didn't know that until Guy appeared on the page and met the protagonist, Julie.  Initially, he referred to his wife as having had multiple sclerosis.  Later, I realised that in order to add to the conflict, and surprise the reader at the appropriate time, I needed to change that.

That meant that all the subsequent scenes and chapters required a subtle change.  I simply could not proceed until I'd made these alterations.

STORY BOARD TO PLOT YOUR NOVEL

Of course, if you choose to story board the plot of your novel prior to beginning your writing, your editing may take an entirely different route to mine.  In that case, you will know everything about your characters, and there won't be any surprises.  At least, not for you, the author and creator of the novel.

RIGHT BRAIN WRITING

There are many books on the subject of Right Brain writing.  If you have experience of how you master your mind, do let me know, in the comment box below.  I'd love to hear, too, at what stage you begin to edit, and how you go about it.

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