by J.D. Rhoades
(Note: this is the “workspace” post that was displaced last week because of our mourning for our friend David Thompson.)
I’ve really enjoyed having a look at the workspaces of other writers. And I have to confess, I’m a little jealous of some of them, particularly Tess’ attic office. I always wanted to write in a garret.
As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t really have an office to myself. I’ve always had to do my writing wherever I can find a quiet space. And with two kids in the house, quiet spaces have been kind of hard to come by for the last few years.
I do some writing on an old computer that’s tucked into a nook near the front door. It’s a nice nook, with a good computer desk, bookshelves, and a big bay window. It’s where I wrote my first three books.
Only problem is, it can get a tad noisy. The house has a very open floor plan, which is one of the reasons we bought it. But it also means that the kitchen is a few feet away from the space you see here. The family room is just past that. If anyone’s watching TV and commenting on it (and they usually are) it’s like they’re in the room with you. So I move to the bedroom. Sometimes to the bed:
Or, more recently, to a little desk we set up by the window:
Only problem is, my wife goes to bed early, and she likes to spend some time alone with a book beforehand, usually starting right after dinner, which is when I start writing. And, day or night, if laundry needs to be put away, she’s in and out of the room a lot (and trust me, in this house, the laundry piles up fast). So I move to the front porch:
Or the back deck:
(I find that the torches add a nice barbaric ambiance to the whole enterprise).
Only problem is, when it rains, or it’s really hot, or really buggy (and in North Carolina in the summer it’s liable to be at least two of those things) it’s hell to try to write outdoors.
But now that The Boy’s left for college, he’s graciously given me permission to use the desk in his room (and to close his door). Lynn spent two days cleaning it up and we had to haul a huge box of trash out of there, but it is a right cozy little spot, and quiet, and I finished the first draft of the WIP there.
Only problem is, it reminds me of how much I miss him.
As for process: I didn’t outline the first book at all. As I’ve gone along, I have started outlining more and more. Only problem is, by the time I start getting the words down on paper…well, you know the old military adage that “no plan survives first contact with the enemy”? Well, no plan of mine survives first contact with the actual characters. They take one look at the plot I’ve so carefully laid out for them, laugh derisively, and go “as if.” Then we’re off to the races. It’s hard for me to plan more than a few chapters ahead after that. Even with that minimal level of planning, the little boogers still insist on doing pretty much as they damn well please and refusing to even get their obstinate selves onto the page if I try to force them. Bastards.