Apr 3, 2012

C is for Create Chaos


Chaos. Doesn't matter how much we try to avoid it, we are enveloped by it constantly. It's hard to ignore, we worry that it will prevent us from finishing our manuscript, from getting to our workshop on time or from even finding where we saved that darn WIP. But Chaos can be our friend. Chaos is creative.

The popular film I Don't Know How She Does It uses chaos as the conflict in the plot. It's the chaos in Oliver Twist's journey that added colour to an otherwise drab and grey environment. I'm a plotter, and one of the drawbacks of that method is creating carefully planned events to form a plot. Sometimes I need to just let go and let chaos take over my WIP. This way my characters end up in predicaments that take me days to figure out how get them to rescue themselves. I need chaos in my writing, and, in my writing practice.

How can you write chaos if you don't experience it. Do you go somewhere peaceful and quiet to write? I do. But what about heading into a crowded loud place, like a food court at the shopping centre? Don't ignore the chaos, soak it up and write it! Describe the calamity, the overlapping conversations, the movement and mixture of smells.

Order and planning lives in the left-brain, while chaos sprouts from the right side of the brain, the same side creativity resides in.

"Our real discoveries come from chaos, from going to the place that looks wrong and stupid and foolish." Chuck Palahniuk.

25 comments:

  1. I'm a panster, so I have a bit of discovery, which I love. Ever listen to Wait Wait, don't tell me?" on NPR? He said some of the jokes are scripted, but the funniest ones are often spur of the moment.

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  2. I work in an environment of chaos-- I experience it daily!! From that I could write about it!!

    Great post by the way!! And thanks for stopping by to see me today!!

    Cheers, Jenn
    http://www.wine-n-chat.com

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  3. In the art room, the best work comes from a calming and chaotic environment - Calm with music and materials - chaotic with creative energy.

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  4. You're right - chaos does add colour and excitement. I usually shut it out but I might try, as you suggest, to soak it up, for a change, and see what happens!

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  5. Good quote and message to embrace chaos. It's true. Maybe we need to just be present and absorb it, then go to a quiet place to recreate it in our writing!

    Play off the Page

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  6. Years ago, I learned to do my college homework at the McDonald's Play Place. My children screamed and played with others while I was concentrating. Yes. You can actually concentrate in the midst of noice and chaos.

    Mother of five.

    Shelly
    http://secondhandshoesnovel.blogspot.com/

    PS. Great post!

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  7. Although it doesn't overwhelm me or usually hinder me, I don't like chaos. I try to live by the exhortation, "Let all things be done decently and in order." (I Cor 14:40) But suppose for a writer, chaos could be beneficial.
    Gregg Metcalf

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  8. I hardly ever can find a quiet time to write, there is always chaos all around me. I wonder if my writing would be different if I changed my writing habits.

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  9. Great post, Alex, and great insight into the creativity that chaos unleashes. I'm a pantster, and I can tell you that sometimes--most of the time, in fact--that chaos becomes unwieldy and out of control... But it *is* creative, and when harnessed, can lead to excellence that astounds even ourselves. Great, great post!

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  10. My life has been chaotic, needless to say I write!

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  11. That's interesting what sides of the brain creativity, chaos, order, and planning are in.

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  12. OMG, I can't even imagine actively having to search for chaos. It's all around me. But it's funny that you brought this up, because the need for chaos is the subject of two of my novels. Not chaos in the small sense, but rather chaos in the universe sense. For me, I think it comes down to chaos is where the magic happens. I love the idea of leaving room for it in your manuscripts. :D

    Martina

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  13. I have to write through the chaos though I much rather be somewhere peaceful. I can handle writing out of a coffee shop, but don't think I could a food court. That takes a special kind of concentration.

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  14. My brain definitely love its right hemisphere. Chaos likes to reign supreme! :)

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  15. Even though I'm a planner, the planning stage is somewhat free-style and chaotic.

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  16. Hi, Charmaine! I had to hop over and let you know that I saw your book on Amazon and grabbed a copy. I was SO EXCITED!! Can't wait to read it. :-)

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  17. excellent post. I tell people I live in the state of perpetual motion and my job is chaos management.

    When I write though I tend to want to be alone with the voices in my head because they are so chaotic it takes time to sort them. Which based on your article now makes perfect sense.

    *~MAJK~*
    Safireblade.com
    A to Z CHallenge

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  18. Oh, I think I'm a pro at writing chaos. I've experienced a lot of it. :) Great post.

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  19. I'm a pantser who's discovered I like working with a bit of plotting, so I get exactly what you mean by dipping into chaos! But I think I'd rather write it than be surrounded by it - I have a hard time writing in loud noisy spaces ...

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  20. I am NOT a fan of chaos. I don't work well in it. LOL! I really don't. I keep trying to tell my boss that. He isn't listening... HA!

    Stacey~

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  21. Hi Charmaine. The right side of my brain is over developed while the left side has atrophied, lol. Now that explains my state of 'ordered' chaos.

    Denise

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  22. Hello! This is a great post for the letter C. Perhaps that is part of my problem. When I write, I like things too quiet, too calm. Maybe I need to throw in a bit of chaos once in awhile. It definitely can't hurt to give it a try.

    Susanne
    PUTTING WORDS DOWN ON PAPER

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  23. I love chaos, if I can filter it out. I live surrounded by chaos, in Greece. Chaos can be positive as well, though.
    Good luck with the Challenge.

    Bex
    www.leavingcairo.blogspot.com

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  24. Sounds like a great writing exercise!

    Alana @ writercize.blogspot.com
    a to z

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