Tuesday, March 08, 2011

The Right Brained Writer

By Robin "Red Hot" Kaye

I love taking courses and just began re-taking one of my all-time favorites. It’s called Empowering Characters’ Emotions and is given by Margie Lawson. It’s not a new class for me—this is the third time I’m taking it. You might wonder why I would take the same class three times. I tried explaining it to my husband and he just didn’t understand. The class forces me to look at my words under a microscope, and after writing five books, I fear falling into rut. I worry that I’m just going through the motions. Every time I take it I feel as if my writing gets fresher.

Today I took a test to see if I’m left brained or right brained. I found out I’m incredibly right brained. I guess that’s not too unusual for a writer. As a “strong right brainer,” I look at the whole of something before examining the details. I go with my gut instead of going with something that makes perfect sense. I realize now why my husband, a “strong left brainer,” can’t figure out why I feel it necessary to take the same class three times.

A writer who is left brained tends to be a plotter. Left brainers know where they are going and how everything works in the story before they write the first word. Me, I’m like a fart in a windstorm—I have a general story line and an idea of the internal and external conflicts, and then I jump in with both feet and see where it takes me. It’s exciting. It keeps me guessing and forces me to keep looking over my shoulder, wondering what else is going to happen. I do envy those lefties though. I think that knowing what I’m going to write every day would take a lot of the guesswork out of my so-called writing schedule. Still, I can’t imagine writing a book and knowing how it’s going to end before I even begin. What keeps the left brainers interested?

I’m in the process of sharpening my writing, making it fresher, testing my imagination, giving it a much-needed workout and I love the process. My next book is due in September, and as usual, I have no clue as to what it’s about. Sure, I know the hero, sort of…definitely not well enough. The heroine is a mystery and as for the story… Yeah, well, let’s not get into that. I’m sure you get the picture. I’ve learned after five books that my right brain will eventually elbow me in the ribs with an idea (hopefully sooner rather than later) and I’ll jump in and get caught up in characters, the story, and the writing. The resulting story will be a more imaginative book than had I not taken the same class three times with a fabulous teacher like Margie Lawson.

If you'd like to test your brain, here's a link to one of the many available. Here is one of my favorite left brain right brain tests and only takes a second. It's the dancer. Have fun!


Refhater said...

According to the test I use both sides of my brain exactly the same. That must be why I have OCD so bad.

Left Brain Dominance: (16)
Right Brain Dominance: (16)

Have a good one!

Robin Kaye said...

Wow! You are soooo lucky! You get the best of both worlds. Impressive!

Barbara Vey said...

I won't take the test because I'm afraid they'll find no brain.

Thanks for donation of the eReader as a prize on today's Anniversary Bash. Over 200 commenters already, so feel free to mix with the readers, they love talking to authors.

Yesterday we ended with over 2,000 comments. Let's see what the suspense/thriller writers can do. Everyone is at the crime scene now. :)


TerriOsburn said...

Wow, I got the same results Refhater did. But I think I lean more toward left brain. I'm a plotter and must know where I'm going with a story before I can figure out how to get there.

But much of the story also comes about along the way. Scenes and even characters show up in my head long after I've started writing. The chaos and uncertainty of not knowing what comes next would mean I'd never get anything written.

Took me a while to figure it out, but even knowing what scene I want to write, I still get excited to see how it will turn out.

Robin Kaye said...

Hi Barbara! Thanks so much for stopping by! I've already stopped by the party! I'm still looking for that fudge!

Robin Kaye said...


Thanks for letting me know how you lefties do it. I'm so far right brained, I can't even imagine how lefties do it!

Robin :)

Joan Swan said...

Hey Robin,

Okay, so I got the same results, too: 16/16 and when I went to look at the dancer, she was moving clockwise...but after scrolling down, reading and scrolling back up, she was scrolling counter-clockwise.

I'm...damaged! That what I am!

Amanda Brice said...

Now I remember where I took this test before...in one of Margie's classes!

I must have missed one of the questions because I ended up 16/15 slighly more Left-dominant, which isn't a shocker then that I'm a plotter.

But I think I threw off the results by answering "yes" to both of these statements:
"I've considered becoming a poet, politician, architect, or dancer."
"I have considered becoming a lawyer, journalist, or doctor."

I'm a former dancer, who used to work in politics, who is currently a lawyer and author. :) No wonder I'm so confused!

MsHellion said...

I took the first test and got exactly as Refhater did. *LOL*

But in the dancer test, I was left-brained.

Robin Kaye said...

Maybe it's the test. I didn't take that one. I took one in my class and I'm about 80% Right Brained. It might be worth looking for another test just to see if it's accurate. I had no idea there were so many who used both sides of the brain. I'm seriously jealous. As for the dancer, she always starts out going clockwise, but if I concentrate real hard, I can make her change directions. I think I can get my left brain to kick in if I have enough going on around me to distract my right brain. Starbucks usually works.

Amanda Brice said...

I really do think it's the version of the test. When I took the test when Margie spoke at the WRW retreat a few years ago, I came out 75% Left Brained.