Blog No. 217
I suppose a more accurate title for this post is how do I right, but I made the title based on a question I’ve received many times at many events over last year (and a few times before that). Also, I have to contend with Christian’s blog now, and he did a post about his writing, so I felt I had to one-up him some how. I’m going to do that by doing the same thing he did and hope that somehow works for some reason. Also, I’m going to talk about other things, because it’s my blog and I fell like it. Besides, I’m in a rotten mood because I was rear ended on Monday and I am once again fighting some illness. The disappointing thing is that I was having a good day otherwise.
There are nearly as many ways to write a book as there are people out there writing them. Some may talk about panters or planners, but I find the dichotomy a bit of a silly representation of a much more complicated thing. Writer and editor Justine Alley Dowsett did a good post on the subject, I believe last week. She goes into more about the description of the two, so I’ll gladly ignore that and move on. The real point is that when a writer sits down to write, he or she has a certain idea ready to go. Some start by writing and see what happens, some do intricate planning, and most do a variation on the two. Personally, I love to get going on as soon as I can. Most of the story ideas I get have already been stewing in my brain for a while, so I have a good idea of where the plot is going and who the characters are.
I’ve tried planning out the plot points, doing character descriptions, creating arcs, and so on. No matter how little I plan, it always falls apart in the writing. Besides, all those things could easily be methods to delay any real writing. I know some authors who need that framework, or they get nothing done. I’ve also known folks who plan out a multitude stories and never do any real writing. Everyone has to just do what works for them. I tend to let the words fly until I find myself with options or at an impasse. At that point, I take a step back and look at where I’m going and where I want to end up. I suppose that’s some planning, but why label it? I sort out where I’m headed, sometimes writing down an point or two I want to make sure to include, and I get back on the keyboard. Sometimes the pause is a minute or two of brainstorming with a colleague, sometimes it’s a couple days of stewing. The main concern for me is getting back to writing as soon as possible.
To be clear. As I write, I also tend to take notes. It could be as simple as a person’s name I’m likely to forget in a few chapters, or an element I’ve added that needs to be addressed later. Sometimes it’s even a change that will have to be addressed earlier in the book (which I leave for the second draft). Also, if I have an idea for a story that I know I will work on as soon as what I’m writing is finished, I tend to jot down some ideas I may use when I sit down to write. The big factor for me is that even the small planning I sometimes do gets ignored, forgotten, or otherwise lost in the flurry of writing. It’s a waste for me to do any more than I do. But that’s just me. While there are those to write blind or take the time to create a bible before they start (an actual writing term) the majority of folks are all over the map. Plus, people can change how they do things with experience. It’s a bit of a mess.
Am I a panster? Sure. Am I a plotter? Yeah, a bit. It depends. My next event is the Reading at the Goodwill Bookstore, Jan 21st at The Goodwill Bookstore. I’ll be there with some guests and even if you’re not super into the readings, it’s a cool bookstore. You should go. Also, the events list is heading into June, so check that out on my page or the Adventure Worlds page. One last thing. Before everything was ruined on Monday, I was having a stellar day. Mostly it was due to both Anchor Coffee House, with their excellent coffee and amazing staff, and Barrel House, with the same quality staff and the unbelievable Monday $5 burger and fries. I have no stake in either business, but the time I spend at those places tend to put me in a good mood. The my car gets hit. Oh well. See you at the next reading!