Instinctive writing is like breathing. You do it naturally. If you pretend you are Robertson Davies (who I loathe) and try to write in his literary style (I call it dull and boring) you will fail. Similarly, if you mimic the high fantasy style of Georges R. R. Martin, you are dooming yourself to failure. That’s because you are not using your instinctual way of writing.
Talk to Your Readers
When I started this latest novel, I wanted to write high fantasy. It’s not an instinctive way of writing for me. And what I found was, while the nub of the story was exactly what I wanted – the style sucked … big time. I was copying someone else’s style, and of course, it didn”t work. Only when I used my instinctive style (which is more conversational, and in the contemporary/urban genre) did my story start to pop, and work.
Can Instinctive Writing be Taught?
Yes, I think so. If a writer is struggling and his/her prose sounds stilted – STOP writing immediately. Get a recorder, or your phone and tape what you want to say. Better still, tape yourself telling someone else your story. Chances are the words will flow because you’re allowing your instinctual self to take over. Not thinking about words, and phrases, and sentences – just the story. You can fix the flow later. What you want is the raw emotion and power that flows out of you.
I’ve said this so often I’m sick of hearing it from myself – but, GO WITH YOUR GUT. If you feel a character must say or do something even though it’s not in your plot outline – go with it.
Write the Clichés
Sounds like crazy advice, but this is your first draft and if the cliches allow you to show what your character feels or does – go with it. You can fix up the clichés later.
Stop Line Editing
You can do this later. Instinctive Writing means go with the flow. No over-analyzing and over-thinking. Let your gut take over.