I don’t know how many of you are watching Project Runway: All-Stars, but it made me so mad during last week’s episode when Kenley was overheard saying “you can’t be a designer if you don’t sketch” in response to Mondo’s failure to sketch at the start of the challenge.
Excuse me?! Never mind that I’m not a big Kenley fan to begin with, but who the hell does she think she is? :curses
There are no rules about that sort of thing when it comes to creativity. Sketching a design before you begin putting a dress together is the same as plotting & writing a synopsis before you begin writing a story. Some writers do very detailed synopses & know every little thing that’s going to happen in a story, plot-wise. Others fly by the seat of their pants & make decisions as they go along. But that doesn’t mean there’s a “right way” or a “wrong way” to go about it. Everybody has to find their own process & what works best for them.
Personally, I tend to go back & forth a little bit. For some books, I do massive plotting & very detailed synopses. For others, I map out the general idea & all the high points, but my synopsis is a little on the anemic side & I do come up with new ideas & directions as I write. And then, too, there have been times when I’ve had nothing more than a basic idea of characters, motivation, & storyline before I dove in & just started writing, pulling everything else out of my…well, you know.
I remember, too, when I first started writing & would attend a myriad of conferences, workshops, & writers’ meetings in an attempt to learn the craft. And quite often advice would be given as though the way the presenter’s way was not only the “right” way, but the only way. And that’s simply not the case. Believe me, I tried.
Just about every piece of advice I heard or was given, I tried. Some of it worked for me, some of it didn’t. And even more often, what worked best for me was a mix of other writers’ processes formed into my own personal process via trial & error. And I still do a bit of the trial-&-error thing to find what works for me today, because it seems to be ever-changing. Which is why, when asked for advice about writing, I may tell you how I do something, but try to make it clear that’s only how I do it, & that my way may not work for everybody.
But even though it is far from “wrong,” Mondo’s way can be tricky, too. By not sketching (a.k.a. plotting things out ahead of time or writing a detailed synopsis) one has to be prepared to be caught with their proverbial pants down. Selling a story is going to be a little tough if you don’t have a detailed synopsis to show the editor what your plans are. Or if your editor asks how you plan to solve a problem with your heroine when you haven’t gotten quite that far in your own head, there’s going to be a lot of mental “Uhhhhhh…” & dead air on the phone line. Just as Mondo had to stumble through trying to convey his design plans to Nanette Lepour without a viable sketch.
That is the only caveat I would offer to finding the best steps in your own creative process, because you do want to be prepared & able to answer at least minimal questions when asked. Aside from that, I would just say that Mondo’s designs eat Kenley’s designs for breakfast, & in case you missed it, Kenley was sent home while Mondo WON! Take that, Little Miss Know-it-All. :moon
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